Ben Franklin’s Milk Punch

Just so you know I’m not completely nuts, here is Ben Franklin’s recipe for Milk Punch, circa 1763, via documents on the Massachusetts Historical Society website.

Ben Franklin’s Milk Punch

Franklin’s Milk Punch recipe shares characteristics of two types of beverages–possets and syllabubs. Possets combine hot milk with ale, wine, or brandy, sugar, and spices. Heat and alcohol curdle the milk. Possets were used as remedies for colds, and were consumed from the spout of a posset cup, which let one drink the whey from the bottom and eat the curd later. Syllabubs combine milk with wine and lemon juice (or other acids); the acid from the wine and juice curdle the milk. Served in a glass, the foamy curd of the syllabub is eaten with a spoon and the punch drunk.

To make Milk Punch

Take 6 quarts of Brandy, and the Rinds of 44 Lemons pared very thin; Steep the Rinds in the Brandy 24 hours; then strain it off. Put to it 4 Quarts of Water, 4 large Nutmegs grated, 2 quarts of Lemon Juice, 2 pound of double refined Sugar. When the Sugar is dissolv’d, boil 3 Quarts of Milk and put to the rest hot as you take it off the Fire, and stir it about. Let it stand two Hours; then run it thro’ a Jelly-bag till it is clear; then bottle it off. –

As you can see, I’m not taking too many liberties! The brandy would have been cask strength at the time, thus I feel OK using a bit less liquid. I have to say, though, he was pretty liberal with the citrus!

Young Man Cocktail

The countdown to the last “Cocktail” continues.

Say it with me, “FIVE!”

Young Man Cocktail
1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 dash Angostura Bitters)
2 Dashes Curacao. (1/2 teaspoon Clement Liqueur Creole Shrubb)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica Italian Vermouth)
3/4 Brandy. (2 1/4 oz Osocalis Brandy)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Add olive or cherry (Olive!).

I have these great Agrinion Olives from Greece, so it wasn’t entirely perversity that led me to choose to garnish with an olive rather than a cherry. All the same, I suppose a cherry would be the more 20th-21st Century garnish.

Maybe I can start something new for the future? Random Cherries or Olives in cocktails.

Nah, probably not.

If I hadn’t been out of decent cherries, I would probably have preferred it.

Other than that, the Young Man is a perfectly enjoyable Brandy Manhattan, nothing wrong with that. I feel younger already.

…But maybe that’s just the burden of making more Savoy Cocktails being lifted from my back…

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

Yolanda Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Feb 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.

The countdown to the last “Cocktail” continues.

Say it with me, “SEVEN!”

Yolanda Cocktail
1 Dash Grenadine. (1 splash Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1 Dash Absinthe (1 dash Duplais Verte Absinthe)
1/4 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Martin Miller’s Gin)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Carpano Antica)
1/4 Brandy. (3/4 oz Osocalis Alambic Brandy)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze Lemon Peel over glass and drop in.)

Yolanda sez to the barkeep, “You know, this Victor Cocktail is good, but it would be better with Grenadine and Absinthe.” And you know what? She was right, it is better with a dash of Absinthe and Grenadine.

Something about the herbal character of the Absinthe and touch of sweetness and tanin from the Grenadine pulls this together in a way that the Victor doesn’t even approach.

Raise a glass to Yolanda, whomever she may have been!

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

Wow Cocktail

Wow Cocktail
1/4 Bacardi Rum. (1/2 oz Havana Club 7)
1/4 Hercules. (1/2 oz Hercules 5a)
1/4 Calvados or Apple Brandy. (1/2 oz Calvados Montreuil)
1/4 Brandy. (1/2 oz Osocalis Brandy)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Wow, indeed.

3/4 Booze and 1/4 Aperitif Wine, this is not awful, exactly, but not compelling. Mostly just boozy.

I thought maybe bye choosing Havana Club 7, that I could bring a bit of extra character to the drink, but I think it just distracted from the two brandies. A white rum would have been wiser, I think, in this case.

I guess some of the problem might be that this is not entirely my favorite batch of Hercules. Back to finding Quady Elektra for Hercules, and back to remembering to put the mint tea in.

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

Willie Smith Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Jan 30, 2010, 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.

Willie Smith Cocktail
1 Dash Lemon Juice. (Very Generous Dash Lemon Juice)
1/3 Maraschino. (1/2 oz Maraschino)
2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Osocalis Brandy)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Sort of a Brandy heavy Sidecar, sweetened with (too much) Maraschino Liqueur, the Willie Smith Cocktail might have been named after Willie the Lion Smith…

From an Answers.com Article:

Willie the Lion Smith was a pianist who stood at the center of the New York City jazz world in the roaring 1920s. He performed at the most fashionable nightclubs in New York City’s predominantly African-American Harlem neighborhood, accompanied other musicians on recordings, and inspired and mentored a host of younger musicians. Smith is regarded as a pioneer of stride piano, the first important solo piano style in the jazz tradition. He is less well known than other pianists of the 1920s such as James P. Johnson and Thomas P. “Fats” Waller, primarily because he made few recordings under his own name until later in his career.

You can listen and learn more here on this NPR piece:

Jazz Profiles from NPR: Willie “The Lion” Smith

William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff Smith, aka Willie The Lion Smith, was a piano player who greatly influenced many future Jazz greats during the early part of the 20th Century.  A contemporary of Fats Waller he bridged the “Stride” piano style with the Chamber and Swing Jazz styles that were to come. He made his true fame playing Harlem house parties during prohibition, influencing other more famous players like Duke Ellington.

Interestingly, he felt the legalization of liquor did more harm to Harlem, than Prohibition ever did, as White people with money no longer had a reason to frequent the clubs and house parties where many in that neighborhood made their money.

“It was legal liquor that did to Harlem what scarcer tips and shuttered warehouses had failed to do.”

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

Whip Cocktail

Whip Cocktail
1 Dash Absinthe.
3 Dashes Curacao.
1/4 French Vermouth.
1/4 Italian Vermouth.
1/4 Brandy.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

When I was researching this cocktail, I discovered it in Robert Vermiere’s 1922 “Cocktails: How to Mix Them”.

In that he says, “This cocktail is well known amongst the naval officers of the Mediterranean Squadron. It is composed of: 1/8 gill Absinthe Pernod; 1/8 gill of French Vermouth; 1/8 gill of Brandy; 1/8 gill of Curacao; Shake until Frozen. In Egypt they call it “Kurbag,” which is the Arabic word for whip.”

So, in Vermeire’s world, the Whip is an equal parts cocktail.

Figured I’d give that a go.

Whip Cocktail

1/2 oz Jade PF 1901 Absinthe
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Clement Creole Shrubb Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz Osocalis Rare Alambic Brandy

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

Just coming off of the nearly undrinkable Which Way Cocktail, it’s interesting to see how much difference the moderation of a bit of vermouth adds to the enjoyment of the drink.  Well, that and some variety of taste from Orange Liqueur instead of Anisette.

This isn’t bad, not bad at all, and it didn’t need the rejiggering given to it by the Savoy editors.

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

Which Way Cocktail

Which Way Cocktail
1/3 Absinthe (3/4 oz Kubler Absinthe)
1/3 Anisette (3/4 oz Anis del Mono dulce)
1/3 Brandy (3/4 oz Osocalis Brandy)
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

Which Way?

I believe, yes, you may have some problems with directionality after a couple of these sweet boozy treats.

Which way did he go?

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

Waterbury Cocktail

Waterbury Cocktail*
2 Dashes Grenadine. (1 tsp Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/2 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1/2 tsp Caster Sugar)
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime. (Juice 1/4 Lemon)
The White of 1 Egg. (1/2 Egg White)
1 Glass Brandy. (2 oz Chateau Pellehaut Armagnac Reserve.)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

*Yes, Sir! A stem-winder.

A “stem-winder”? What on earth is a stem-winder?

From Word Detective.com:

It all goes back to the humble watch. Before there were electronic battery-powered wrist watches, before there were manually wound (or self-winding) mechanical watches, before there were even watches worn on one’s wrist, there were pocket watches. And if you go way back, those pocket watches were wound with a separate tiny key. This may sound cute, but it was a major drag, because the process was awkward and the key was easily lost. So in 1842, when the French watchmaker Adrien Philippe (co-founder of Patek-Philippe) invented a “keyless” watch that was wound by turning its “stem” (a knurled knob on the side of its case, today called the “crown”), it was such an improvement that it won Philippe a Gold Medal at the French Industrial World’s Fair.

It’s hard to imagine today, but the new “stemwinder” watch became an instant public sensation of almost delirious intensity, the iPod of its day. It was so popular, in fact, that within a few years the term “stemwinder” entered the lexicon as a synonym for anything excellent and exciting. By the end of the 19th century, “stemwinder” was being used to mean, first, an energetic person, then a rousing public speaker, and finally an especially inspiring speech itself.

Hm, is the Waterbury Cocktail, in fact, so “excellent and exciting”, as to justify the term, “stem-winder”?

Well, it is a nicely spirit forward sour, of the sort which has become largely unfashionable these days. Certainly, it would be more a la minute to make this with the juice of a half lemon (3/4 oz) rather than the juice of a quarter lemon and increase the sugar slightly.

But when you’ve got a nice Brandy, like this Pellehaut Armagnac, why cover it up with extra citrus?

It is interesting to play around with the sweet and sour ratios for a sour, rather than apply the same one to every spirit or drink.

PS. Bummed this is the last of my Pellehaut Armagnac. I think it will be back to the slightly cheaper Osocalis, at least for a little while.

PPS. Jesse informs me, there will be no Notoberfest this year. I am seriously bummed, but he did get married, I hear that takes a lot of time from planning other events, and is working on launching his own beer brand concentrating on barrel aged fruit beers: Old Oak Beer. I suppose I can cut him some slack. However, if you feel the need to get some Jesse learning and beering on, you might want to check out this workshop he is presenting Dec 12 in collaboration with Local:Mission Eatery, Holiday Beers. “At the December gathering, we’ll be focusing on holiday beers, and pouring some of my favorites, including Anchor’s Our Christmas Ale, Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale and He’Brew Jewbelation 14, plus a few more surprises, including bottles pulled from my own cellar…I’ll be working with Chef Jake to pair these beers up with some great treats, including a cheese pairing (the cheese pairing we’re serving is particularly exciting) and hearty winter fare. We’ll also be tasting the ingredients that go into beer, learning about the brewing process, and generally having a good time with beer, food and conversation.”  Sounds tasty!

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

Washington Cocktail

Washington Cocktail
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (2 dash Angostura Bitters)
2 Dashes Syrup. (1 teaspoon Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
2/3 French Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/3 Brandy. (3/4 oz Chateau Pellehaut Armagnac Reserve)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

A Vermouth Cocktail with a stick, there is nothing wrong with this cocktail, in fact rather enjoyable. The combination of French Vermouth and Brandy makes more sense to me than the combination of French Vermouth and Whiskey.

In fact, it kind of reminds me of a light version of of my coworker’s drinks at Heaven’s Dog, Dion Jardine’s, amusingly named variation on the Brooklyn, Brandy Does Brooklyn:

Brandy Does Brooklyn
1.5 armagnac
.75 dry vermouth
Shy .5 maraska
Shy .5 picon or amaro nonino
Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.

Now, if only Dion would get his act together and launch the blog he has been threatening, “Drinking with Bartenders”.

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

Ward’s Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, November 28th, 2010, 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.

Ward’s Cocktail
1/2 Liqueur Glass Chartreuse. (3/4 oz Green Chartreuse)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Chateau Pellehaut Armagnac)

Use cocktail glass. 1 piece of Peel in glass to form a circle. Fill with cracked ice. Pour the liquors very carefully so that they do not mix. Brandy must be poured in last.

I interpreted “Peel” to mean a Lemon Peel, as in a Crusta, and lined the glass with a horse’s neck of lemon.

This was OK, but I think my ice was not fine enough.

I used my swing-a-way ice crusher, which makes what might be called “pebble ice”. I think for this type of drink, or for juleps, this really isn’t adequate. You really need fine or shaved ice to do some of these drinks justice.

I mean, who doesn’t want a Green Chartreuse and Brandy Snow Cone?

If you say, “I will pass, thanks,” we may have irreconcilable differences.

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