Mint Julep

Juleps.

Mint Julep
The Julep is a delightful potion that originally came out of the Southern States of America, and many great men have sung its praises through the years. It was the famous Capt. Marryatt, skipper and novelist, who introduced the beverage into the British Isles and below we quote his recipe in his own words : — “ I must descant a little upon the mint julep, as it is, with the thermometer at 100 degrees, one of the most delightful and insinuating potations that ever was in- vented, and may be drunk- with equal satisfaction when the thermometer is as low as 70 degrees. There are many varieties such as those composed of Claret, Madeira. etc., but the ingredients of the real mint julep are as follows. I learned how to make them, and succeeded pretty well. Put into a tumbler almost a dozen sprigs of the tender shoots of mint. upon them put a spoonful of white sugar, and equal proportions of Peach and common Brandy so as to fill it up one-third, or perhaps a little less. Then take rasped or pounded ice, and fill up the tumbler.
“Epicures rub the lips of the tumbler with a piece of fresh pineapple, and the tumbler itself is very often encrusted outside with stalactites of ice. As the ice melts, you drink. I once overheard two ladies talking in the next loom to me, and one of them said, ‘Well, if I have a weakness for any one thing, it is for a mint julep!’ a very amiable weakness, and proving her good sense and good taste. They are, in fact, like the American ladies, irresistible.”

Most of the above comes, verbatim, from Jerry Thomas, however Mr. Thomas’ exact recipe for the Mint Julep is a bit more advanced:

88. Mint Julep

1 table-spoonful of white pulverized sugar.
2 1/2 table-spoonful of water, mix well with a spoon.

Take three or four sprigs of fresh mint, and press them well in the sugar and water, until the flavor of the mint is extracted; add one and a half wine=glass of Cognac brandy, and fill the glass with fine shaved ice, then draw out the sprigs of mint and insert them in the ice with the stems downward, so that the leaves will be above, in the shape of a bouquet; arrange berries, and small pieces of sliced orange on top in a tasty manner, dash with Jamaica rum, and sprinkle white sugar on top. Place a straw as represented in the cut, and you have a julep that is fit for an emperor.

Well, I’ll give it a shot, combining both.

First off, a couple points. First, as related by many authors including Mr. David Wondrich, the “Peach Brandy” in the Southern Mint Julep, is NOT a liqueur, it was an actual Brandy made from peaches and aged in wood. Unfortunately, this is a hard commodity to come by in the modern age, and when you do find it, often costly.

A while ago, a friend made up a batch of Pear Brandy and aged it in Oak, of which I purchased a small bottle. So I will use this instead.

Second, regarding Mr Thomas’ elaborate mint ritual, as I’m stripping leaves from the mint, I usually just use those pieces in the bottom of the julep cup, and leave them there.

Lastly, the julep should technically be made with “shaved” ice, which is hard to do at home, unless you have a ice shaving machine. I don’t, so I just beat the crap out of some ice cubes. It’s not quite shaved, but close enough.

Mint Julep

1 1/2 oz Artez Folle Blanche Armagnac
1 1/2 oz Aged Pear Brandy
generous 1/4 oz Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup

Strip the lower leaves from several sprigs of mint. Place the leaves the bottom of a julep cup and add the gum syrup. Press gently into the gum syrup to extract flavor. Add Brandies and fill with fine ice. Stir until the sides of the cup frost and garnish with fresh sprigs of mint and slices of orange.

So, the Julep is a funny drink. Often, people see the mint and think the Julep is similar to a Mojito. Then they’ll order one and discover it is a big, cold, glass of slightly sweetened and minty Brandy (or Whiskey). A great Julep is a fantastic drink, but without the citrus and soda, it can be a bit of a shock to the system of someone expecting a mild drink like the Mojito.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Brandy Fix

Fixes.

In making fixes be careful to put the lemon skin in the glass.

Brandy Fix
Pour into a small tumbler 1 teaspoonful of sugar, 1 teaspoonful of water to dissolve the sugar, Juice of 1/2 Lemon, 1/2 Liqueur Glass of Cherry Brandy, 1 Liqueur Glass of Brandy. Fill the glass with fine ice and stir slowly, then add a slice of lemon, and serve with a straw.

Oft times, people looking at the two pages of the Savoy Cocktail Book with the Daisies on one side and the Fixes on the other, will have the question, “What is the difference between a Fix and a Daisy?”

If we say a “Daisy” is Spirits, Citrus, Sweetener, Ice and Soda Water, then the only real difference between the Daisy and the Fix is the presence of Soda Water in the recipe for the Daisy.

Looking at some old recipe books:

While the 1862 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide did not include Daisies, he did include a section of “Fixes and Sours”.

Brandy Fix.
(Use Small Bar Glass)

1 table-spoonful of sugar;
1/4 of a lemon;
1/2 wineglass water;
1 wineglass brandy.

Fill a tumbler two-thirds full of shaved ice. Stir with a spoon and dress the top with fruit in season*

*The Santa Cruz fix is made by substituting Santa Cruz rum instead of brandy.

Gin Sour
(Use Small Bar Glass)

The gin Sour is made with the same ingredients as the gin fix, omitting all fruits except a small piece of lemon, which must be pressed in the glass.**

**The Santa Cruz sour is made by substituting Santa Cruz rum instead of gin. In making fixes and sours be careful and put the lemon skin in the glass.

For Jerry Thomas, then, a Sour is a Fix without a fruit garnish.

From Harry Johnson’s 1888 “Bartender’s Manual”:

Gin Fix
(Use a large bar glass)
1/2 tablespoonful of sugar;
3 or 4 dashes of lime or lemon juice;
1/2 pony glass of pineapple syrup; dissolve well with a little water, or squirt of selters;
Fill up the glass with shaved ice;
1 wine glass of Holland Gin.

Stir up well with a spoon, ornament the top with fruit in season, and serve with a straw.

As usual, Mr Johnson is slightly more ornamental than Mr Thomas with his sweetener choices, but the two recipes are more or less the same. Sugar, Citrus, and Spirits served on fine ice and ornamented with “fruit in season”.

While we are at it, we might as well check Cocktail Bill Boothby, from 1908:

Fix.

Fill a punch glass with fine ice and set it on the bar. Then take a medium size mixing-glass and put in it one dessertspoonful of sugar, the juice of one lemon, a jigger of whiskey and enough water to make a drink large enough to fill the punch glass containing the ice. Stir well, pour over the ice in the punch glass, decorate and serve with straws.

With Boothby, I think the words, “punch glass” are particularly telling. A Fix is a single serving punch, mixed a la minute, and served over fine ice.

OK, back to the Savoy. The most troubling part of the Savoy Brandy Fix recipe is the “Cherry Brandy”. What do the authors mean, Cherry Liqueur or Cherry Eau-de-Vie?

Well, let’s try it both ways and see what we get.

Brandy Fix (Kirsch)

1 1/2 oz Artez Folle Blanche Armagnac VSOP
3/4 oz Clear Creek Kirsch
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1 teaspoon Rich Simple Syrup
Peel 1 Lemon
Grapes
Lemon Slice

Shake on cracked ice and pour into a wine glass decorated with whole lemon peel. Garnish with fruit in season and lemon slice.

Huh, that’s actually not awful, in fact kind of tasty. The Cherry Eau-de-Vie diversifies the flavor and increases the intensity of the Brandy’s taste in the drink.

Brandy Fix (Heering)

1 1/2 oz Artez Folle Blanche Armagnac VSOP
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1 teaspoon Rich Simple Syrup
Peel 1 Lemon
Grapes
Lemon Slice

Shake on cracked ice and pour into a wine glass decorated with whole lemon peel. Garnish with fruit in season and a lemon slice.

On the other hand, this IS kind of awful. Maybe my Heering is past its prime, but this tastes rather too much like cough syrup for me to be comfortable with. I can only imagine this would be even more medicinal with Gin or Genever. I might be wrong, but I’m going to side with Eau-de-Vie for the Brandy Fix.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Apricot “Brandy”

Received the following question from BWonder on the Sea Breeze Cooler:

First off, let me say I love your blog and I use your improvements/substitutions to mix Savoy drinks at home quite often. One thing I don’t get is why you tend to use Apry and Orchard Apricot in place of apricot brandy. I have a bottle of Finger Lakes Distilling’s peach brandy (as well as Apry and Orchard Apricot), which I think is more similar to apricot brandy than an apricot liqueur. It makes a completely different drink. I’m in Rochester, NY – perhaps out on the west coast you can’t get a real peach/apricot brandy?

First, thanks for the kind comments! Always glad to hear the blog is read and appreciated.

Fruit Eau-de-Vie are used rarely in cocktails.

High quality Eau-de-Vie are too expensive, scarce, and hard to produce to be used in any quantity for cocktails.

You will not find a bottle of Apricot Eau-de-Vie in 99% of bars today, and that has not changed in the last 200+ years of cocktail history.

When a cocktail recipe calls for “Apricot Brandy”, 99.9% of the time, what the recipe is actually calling for is “Apricot Flavored Brandy” or “Apricot Liqueur”.

For the remaining 1% of cocktails, it is a problem.

At least, with “Cherry Brandy”, you can be fairly certain that when “Cherry Brandy” is written, the author means Cherry Liqueur, as there is a common name, “Kirsch” or “Kirschwasser”, which is usually used in cocktail recipes calling for Cherry Eau-de-vie.

In the case of Apricot Eau-de-Vie, this is not the case. We’ve only got “Apricot Brandy” for either substance.

About the only advice I can give you is to familiarize yourself with the “families” of drinks.

In this case, make a few “Coolers”.

What is in most of the drinks called “Coolers”?

The “Shady Grove Cooler”, for example: 2 oz Gin; Juice 1/2 Lemon; 1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar; Shake and strain into a tall glass. Fill with Ginger Beer.

With the sweetener from the Ginger beer and the 1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar, this is a fairly rich drink.

Would a very dry drink made of half gin and half Eau-de-Vie with only the sweetener from “2 Dashes Grenadine” make sense in the same class of drinks as the Shady Grove Cooler? Would it be any good?

Remember, you’re building this drink into a 14 oz Collins glass with “1 lump of ice” and filling it with only chilled soda.

As a practical exercise, invest in some of Destillerie Purkhart’s “Blume Marillen” and make the drink this way:

Sea Breeze Cooler?
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Grenadine
1 oz Apricot Eau-de-Vie
1 oz Dry Gin
1 Lump of ice.
Use long tumbler and fill with soda Water. 2 sprigs fresh mint on top.

Try it and have a few friends try it. What reaction do you get?

Invest in a bottle of Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot and make the drink this way:

Sea Breeze Cooler?
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Grenadine
1 oz Apricot Liqueur
1 oz Dry Gin
1 Lump of ice.
Use long tumbler and fill with soda Water. 2 sprigs fresh mint on top.

What reaction do you get?

Given your new knowledge of the “Cooler” category, which drink makes more sense?

Brandy Fizz

First, just a reminder that Sunday, June 26, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Brandy Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 tsp. Caster Sugar)
1 Glass Brandy. (2 oz Dudognon Cognac Reserve)
Shake well, strain into medium size glass and fill with syphon soda water.

Source: Hugo Ensslin, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks” 1916-1917, “Made same as plain Gin Fizz*, using Brandy instead of Gin.”

*Gin Fizz. Juice of ½ Lime; Juice ½ Lemon; 1 tablespoon of Powdered Sugar; 1 drink Dry Gin. Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into fizz glass, fill up with carbonated or any sparkling water desired.

Right, so I’m a bit of a moron, here I was saying the Albemarle Fizz was a bit sweet, when, according to Hugo Ensslin, like the Plain Gin Fizz, it should have been made with the juice of “1/2 Lime and the Juice of 1/2 Lemon”.

And again, I failed to notice when making the Brandy Fizz.

Damn.

Well, I have to say, while it might have been OK with the Raspberry flavors of the Albemarle Fizz, I don’t think lime juice would have been awesome in the Brandy Fizz.

I was perfectly happy with this drink as it is, with its Cognac Flavor flag waving proudly.

Though, to be honest, with a Cognac as fine as the Dudognon, a plain soda and Cognac Highball would have been perfectly delicious.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, its the only Brandy I have in the house at the moment.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Breakfast Egg Nogg

Breakfast Egg Nogg
1 Fresh Egg.
1/4 Curacao. (1/2 oz Clement Creole Shrubb Liqueur)
3/4 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Osocalis Fine Alambic Brandy)
1/4 Pint Fresh Milk. (4 oz Meyenberg Goat’s Milk)
Shake well and strain into long tumbler. Grate nutmeg on top.

Continuing with the out of season Noggs, we have another example, this one with a slightly unusual sweetener, Orange Curacao.

Though I am unclear about exactly why sweetening with Orange Liqueur instead of Sugar makes this appropriate for breakfast.

The implication of Vitamin C?

Nothing wrong with the Breakfast Nogg, but my favorite remains the Baltimore Egg Nogg.

Safety Note: As with any recipe containing uncooked eggs, there is some small chance of salmonella. If that risk bothers you, use pasteurized eggs.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Baltimore Egg Nogg

Baltimore Egg Nogg
1 Fresh Egg.
1/2 Tablespoonful Sugar. (1/2 tablespoon Caster Sugar)
1/4 Glass Brandy. (1/2 oz Osocalis Fine Alambic Brandy)
1/4 Glass Jamaica Rum. (1/2 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum)
1/2 Glass Madeira. (1 oz Cossart and Gordon 5 Year Bual Madeira)
1/2 Pint Fresh Milk. (4 oz (I am cheating) Goats Milk)
Shake well and strain into long tumbler. Grate nutmeg on top.

I like to pretend that I have some sort of insight into the Savoy Cocktail Book, but it is a big book. I had been ignoring most of the back of the book until relatively recently. Janiece Gonzalez found this recipe and started making the Baltimore Egg Nog for people about a year ago after a couple Savoy nights. It totally caught me by surprise. Maybe my favorite egg nogg ever and has been really popular with whomever we have made it for.

If there is any trick to it, it is to go with a Madeira with some character, not that bullshit “Rainwater” Madeira. Well, that and a flavorful and funky Jamaican Rum, like the Smith & Cross.

Yes, I once again display a brazen disregard for personal safety, by cracking ice with a chef’s knife. I do have an ice pick, but it scares me. I don’t really know how to use it and feel fairly certain that the first time I tried it, I would have it sticking in my palm. So I use the knife I am comfortable with to crack ice. Your Mileage May Vary. In deference to Frederic’s good point and Chris’ squeamishness, I promise not to show this technique in any future videos.

Regarding safety: Clearly, holding ice cubes in your hand and cracking them with a 6 inch chef’s knife isn’t really, uh, wise? Don’t do that. Or if you do, don’t say you saw me do it here. You can, however, blame Andrew Bohrer, who showed me this technique. Also, as with any recipe containing uncooked eggs, there is some small chance of salmonella. If that risk bothers you, use pasteurized eggs.

Music is from the Dodos new CD, “No Color”.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Brandy Toddy

First, just a reminder that Sunday, April 24, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Brandy Toddy
Dissolve 1 Lump of Sugar. (1 tsp Caster Sugar)
1 Lump of ice. (1 Big Ice Cube)
1 Glass of Brandy. (2 oz Cognac Dudognon Reserve) Use medium size glass (…and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg).

Coming from the land of Brandy Old-Fashioneds, Wisconsin, it is interesting to make an even older drink and probably its mixological forefather, the Brandy Toddy.

Again, all we’re doing here is making an old-fashioned and leaving out the bitters.

Given my Wisconsin heritage, I figured I should bypass my usual California Brandy, for something a bit more celebratory, maybe a Cognac. The Cognac Dudognon Reserve is about as celebratory as I get, that is, on a state employee’s wages.

The music in the video this week is somewhat unfamiliar to me, something Mrs. Flannestad brought home, a Dubstep entity named Mount Kimbie.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Egg Sour

First, just a reminder that Sunday, April 24, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders (and me) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Egg Sour
1 Teaspoonful of Powdered White Sugar. (I skipped the extra sugar)
3 Dashes of Lemon Juice. (Very generous 3 dashes Lemon Juice. OK, really the juice of 1/2 small lemon, about 1/2 oz)
1 Liqueur Glass of Curacao. (1 1/2 oz Clement Liqueur Creole Shrubb)
1 Liqueur Glass of Brandy. (1/2 oz Germain-Robin Craft Method Brandy, 1/2 oz Germain-Robin Coast Road Reserve Brandy, 1/2 oz Osocalis Alambic Brandy)
1 Egg. (1/2 large egg)
2 or 3 small Lumps of ice.
Shake well and remove the ice before serving. (Garnish with drops of Angostura Bitters.)

Right, I couldn’t even make a whole drink by combining 2 of the comically small, yet delicious, Brandy samples sent to me by Germain-Robin. I had to throw in a little Osocalis, sorry about that Germain-Robin. I understand smaller distilleries must struggle with sample requests, but how about enough to wet your tongue?

I couldn’t see the need for any extra sugar in a drink that is already half “Curacao” and only has “3 dashes Lemon Juice”. It certainly wouldn’t qualify as “Sour” if made to those specifications.

We only had “Extra Large” eggs at the moment, so using a whole egg seemed a little excessive.

On the whole, this is a tasty Egg Sour, I liked this drink quite a bit. I would definitely make it again for myself or even for a customer.

A lot of times, I find modern cocktail mixers will throw Lemon Juice into Flips, even though drinks in the “Flip” category traditionally contain no Citrus. I guess, thinking about it, what they’re making are Egg Sours for their customers. Tasty, but not a Flip.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Special (Rough) Cocktail

Special (Rough) Cocktail
1 Dash Absinthe.
1/2 Applejack. (1 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Osocalis Alambic Brandy
Shake well and strain into cocktail.

Well, sometimes people are just drinking to get themselves somewhere else. Out of their head, out of their life, out of their city.

And I guess this is a fast train out of town.

On the other hand, the name is pretty accurate. This is a rough way to go, more like hopping a freight train than riding in a luxury sleeper cab.

I hesitate to call it a complete waste of perfectly good booze, but I will go on record saying I would have rathered just drunk the brandy on its own.

It’s also been made not too long ago, as the slightly differently punctuated, “Special Rough Cocktail“.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Brandy Cocktail (Another Recipe) for Bottling

First, just a reminder that Sunday, March 27, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders (and me) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Huh, this Brandy Cocktail sounds interesting, what with the tincture of licorice and all…

Kinda Sazerac-ish!

Brandy Cocktail (Another Recipe) for Bottling
5 gallon Brandy.
2 Gallons Water.
1 Quart Gomme Syrup.
1/4 Pint Essence of Cognac.
1 Ounce Tincture of Cloves.
1 Ounce Tincture of Gentian.
2 Ounces Tincture of Orange Peel.
1/4 Ounce Tincture of Cardamoms.
1/2 Ounce Tincture of Liquorice Root.
Mix the essence and tinctures with a portion of the spirits; add the remainder of the ingredients, and colour with a sufficient quantity of Solferino and caramel (in equal parts) to give the Desired color.

Sure I can’t get anyone to sponsor these experiments? Someone with A LOT of friends?

I will note that all of these cocktails come, more or less, verbatim from the 1887 version of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide that Darcy has up over at Art of Drink:

Cocktails for Bottling

For example:

Brandy Cocktail for Bottling.
Take 5 gallons of spirits (70 per cent.).
2 gallons of water.
1 quart of gum syrup.
¼ pint of essence of Cognac.
1 ounce of tincture of cloves.
1 ounce of tincture of gentian.
2 ounces of tincture of orange peel.
¼ ounce of tincture of cardamoms.
½ ounce of tincture of liquorice root.

Mix the essence and tinctures with a portion of the
spirits; add the remainder of the ingredients, and
color with a sufficient quantity of Solferino and caramel
(in equal parts) to give the desired color.

However, they do not seem to be in the 1862 edition of his book, as published by Mud Puddle Books.

On to “Non-Alcoholic Cocktails”!