Champange Julep

First, just a reminder that Sunday, February 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.

Champagne Julep
Use long tumbler.
1 Lump Sugar. (1/2 oz Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
2 Sprigs Mint.
Fill glass with Champagne (Delmas Blanquette de Limoux). Stir gently and decorate with slices of fruit in season.

I guess the odd thing about the Champagne Julep is that the recipe omits the inclusion of any ice in the glass. I’m chalking that up to carelessness, as it wouldn’t really seem like a julep to me without the fine ice.

Regarding various Sparkling Wines, in my opinion, most Champagne is a little low on the value per dollar scale. Others often recommend using Prosecco or Cava instead of Champagne. While there are good examples of these wines, a lot of the more common ones are only OK. Decent examples of American Sparkling Wines tend to be nearly as expensive as their French counterparts.

My favorite value per dollar Sparkling wines are French sparkling wines from other regions than Champagne. Just about every region of France makes a sparkling wine, but, as with American Sparkling Wine, they can’t call it Champagne. There the wines go by names like “Crémant d’Alsace”, “Crémant de Bourgogne”, “Crémant de Jura”, “Crémant de Luxembourg”, or “Blanquette de Limoux”.

As far as the Champagne Julep goes, well, it is refreshing, cold, and light.

Maybe the sort of drink for those times when an Old Cuban might be a little too much.

What? You don’t know what an Old Cuban is?

Well, let’s rectify that situation right now!

Old Cuban

3/4 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
6 leaves mint
muddle and add ice
1 1/2 oz Cruzan Estate Dark Rum
2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with champagne.

Recipe cribbed (Old Cuban) from Robert Hess, over at The Cocktail Spirit.

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.

Buck’s Fizz

As usual, I got home and did the prep for this evening’s dinner. This time, arborio rice with fresh porcini mushroom and smoked salmon.

Soak dry mushrooms. Brunoise of carrots and onions. Washed and sliced leeks. Sliced fresh porcini. Drain Mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid. Mince dried mushrooms. Crumble smoked salmon. Chop fresh herbs.

After getting that in the can, I filmed the week’s cocktail, the Buck’s Fizz.

Bucks Fizz
Use long tumbler.
1/4 Glass Orange Juice.
Fill with Champagne.

My plan was to:

Rinse glass with Miracle Mile Orange Bitters, pour bitters into mixing glass.

Make Buck’s Fizz in bitters rinsed glass.

Then make a real drink with orange bitters, like a Martini… Oh crap, I have no Dry Vermouth.

Well, make the unjustly ignored Jabberwock Cocktail instead, since I have Gin, Sherry, and Cocchi Americano.

Jabberwock Cocktail*
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (Miracle Mile Orange Bitters)
1/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Junipero Gin)
1/3 Dry Sherry. (3/4 oz Manzanilla Sherry)
1/3 Caperitif. (3/4 oz Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon (er, orange) peel on top.
* This will made you gyre and gamble in the wabe until brillig all right, all right.

So, Buck’s Fizz. Isn’t that just a Mimosa? Well, sometimes you’ll see Buck’s Fizz variations which include Cherry Heering, Orange Liqueur, Gin, or Grenadine and most Mimosas are equal parts orange juice and champagne, but, yep, at it’s most basic, The Buck’s Fizz is a fairly dry version of the Mimosa. Or the Mimosa is a Orange Juice heavy Buck’s Fizz.

Is there anything wrong with spiking your champagne with a little Vitamin C?

Always a mess. Clean up, upload photos and video.

Make the dressing for the tomato salad. Slice Tomatoes. Wash greens.

Put reserved mushroom soaking liquid over low heat and add additional chicken or vegetable stock. Heat 2 saute pans. In one large enough to hold your rice dish, add oil and 1 cup arborio rice. Heat until toasted and fragrant. Add carrot and onion brunoise, toss and cook until tender. Add chicken stock and cook until rice is nearly tender, adding more stock as necessary. While this is going on, saute your porcini mushrooms, when they have given up most of their liquid, add the leeks. Remove from heat and reserve. When rice is nearly tender, add the minced dried mushrooms, sauteed mixture, and herbs. Stir in some grated cheese, if you like, and the crumbled salmon. Top with a little more grated cheese and serve while warm. Toss salad and serve with warm crusty bread.

Music in the video is from the new Amon Tobin CD, “ISAM”.

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.

Valencia Cocktail (No. 2)

First, just a reminder that Sunday, October 31st, 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.

Valencia Cocktail (No. 2)
4 Dashes Orange Bitters. (4 dashes Angustura Orange Bitters)
1/3 Orange Juice. (3/4 oz Fresh Orange Juice)
2/3 Apricot Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Brizard Apry Liqueur)
Shake well, strain into medium size glass, and fill with Champagne (Cavas Hill Cava). (Long Orange Peel Garnish.)

Hm, there really is the kernel of a good drink here, but this is far, far too sweet.

Let’s re-imagine this just a bit:

4 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Brizard Apry
3/4 oz Chateau Pellehaut Armagnac
Cava

Ah, now that is much better, in fact pretty close to delicious and recommendable. Definitely an improvement over your bog standard Mimosa or Bellini. Brunch with a kick.

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.

Soyer au Champagne

Soyer-Au-Champagne Cocktail
1 Liqueur Glass Ice Cream. (Scoop Tahitian Vanilla Gelato)
2 Dashes Maraschino. (2 dash Luxardo Maraschino)
2 Dashes Curacao. (2 dash Brizard Curacao)
2 Dashes Brandy. (2 dash Germain-Robin Brandy)
Stir well together in medium size glass and fill with Champagne (Blanquette de Limoux, Cuvee Berlene 2005). Add slice of pineapple or orange, 1 cherry or strawberry.

Well, first off, First & Hope I’m afraid Soyer au Champagne did not, first appear, “in the 1949 Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts.” At the very least, both Harry McElhone’s “Harry’s ABCs” and “Barflies and Cocktails” contained it prior to the Savoy Cocktail Book.

In fact Ted Haigh in, “Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails,” the Soyer au Champagne, sez the drink is, “circa 1888,” well before any of the books above were published.  It certainly is similar to a lot of drinks put forward by the esteemed William “The Only” Schmidt in his awesome book, “The Flowing Bowl”.

Ted, though puts forth the idea of serving this in a coupe, instead of a chimney as I did, with a lot less ice cream.

Let’s examine Harry McElhone’s recipe, as I feel certain that is where Harry Craddock found this monstrosity.

Soyer au Champagne

In a large tumbler put 1 measure of Vanilla Ice Cream. 2 dashes Maraschino. 2 dashes Curacao. 2 dashes Brandy.

Fill balance with Champagne, stir well. and add a slice of Pineapple, a slice Orange, and a slice of Lemon. 2 Cherries. 2 Strawberries.
(A very popular beverage on the Continent.)

Hm, wow, Harry proscribes an f-ing baroque nightmare garnish scenario for this puppy! Geez, pineapple, orange, lemon, 2 cherries, and two strawberries!? Is he joking? In addition he sez, “large tumbler,” which I guess is more akin to a modern water glass?

Anyway, the other month at someone at Alembic ordered this. We hadn’t invested in Vanilla Ice Cream, so we made do with simple and cream. I didn’t think it was exactly awful, but Danny thought it was possibly the worst thing he had ever put in his mouth.

Making this again, I found it odd. When I first made it, I thought it was kind of tasty, but maybe too concentrated, so added more sparkling wine. Ooof, as I dried it out a bit more with the sparkling wine, it just got worse. There’s a balance here, surprisingly, and too much champagne really ruins the cocktail.

Maybe Ted is right, in picking the coupe. At least that way you can’t over pour the champagne.

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.

I.B.F. Pick-Me-Up Cocktail

Note: I’m gonna run this one before the Hurricane, as it is a just about perfect New Year’s Day Cocktail.

I.B.F. Pick-Me-Up Cocktail

I.B.F. Pick-Me-Up Cocktail

In a wineglass place one lump of Ice, 3 dashes of Fernet Branca (1 tsp. Fernet), 3 dashes of Curacao (1 tsp. Luxardo Triplum), one liqueur glass of Brandy (1 1/2 oz Cerbois VSOP Armangac), fill remainder with Champagne (Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne Brut). Stir and squeeze lemon peel on cocktail glass.

According to their Blog (!) the…

International Bar Fly (IBF) was founded in 1924 by O. O. McIntyre at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France. Our members, known as International Bar Flies, have included Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, George Gershwin, Sinclair Lewis, Franklin Roosevelt, Gene Kelly, Noel Coward, Burt Lancaster, Thornton Wilder, Marlene Dietrich, Michele Morgan, Elsa Maxwell, and many more. The organization is devoted to the uplift and downfall of serious drinkers. New members are welcome.

This is a fine, fine cocktail and, apropos of New Year’s Day, a proper restorative for the drinker who may have imbibed a bit too seriously the night before. Depending on your feelings about Fernet, the I.B.F. may or may not benefit from a slightly generous hand with the teaspoon of that substance. I kind of thought it needed a little more…

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.

French “75″ Cocktail

The French “75” Cocktail

2/3 Gin. (1 1/2 oz Aviation Gin)
1/3 Lemon Juice (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1 Spoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 tsp. Caster Sugar)

(Shake with ice?) Pour into tall glass containing cracked ice and fill up with Champagne (Louis Bouillot, Cremant de Bourgogne Rose ”Perle d’Aurore”).

Hits with remarkable precision.

Visually quite attractive to use a Rose Champagne …errr… Cremant de Bourgogne here.

The French “75″ and 75 cocktail have been discussed in some detail in the following eGullet topic:

Frank Meier & the “Soixante-Quinze”, Frank, of the Ritz, had a 75 cocktail.

Long story short, there are two cocktails, the “75″ Cocktail, (grenadine, Gin, Calvados, and lemon juice. served up.) and the French “75″ cocktail, (Gin, sugar, lemon, crushed ice. Top up with champagne.) Both are apparently named after a French field gun of some sort used during World War I.

I guess the most common mis-conception about the French “75″ is that it is made with Brandy or Cognac instead of Gin. On more than one occasion, out in bars, I’ve heard it ordered that way.

The other big thing is ice or no ice. Judge Jr., Patrick Gavin Duffy, and the Savoy Cocktail Book, all say cracked ice in a tall glass. It seems like it is more common these days to skip the ice and just build it in a champagne flute. I’ve made them without ice in the past, and thought the over ice version this time was quite refreshing. It seems like it would be nice on a hot day.

I shook the gin, lemon, and sugar with ice before adding it to the iced glass, because it seemed kind of weird not to mix them. I guess you could just dump the sugar in there? Or mix them in the bottom of the tall glass a bit before adding the ice?

Judge Jr., in his book, “Here’s How” makes the illuminating connection, quoted below:

This drink is really what won the War for the Allies: 2 jiggers Gin; 1 part lemon juice; a spoonful of powdered sugar; cracked ice. Fill up the rest of a tall glass with champagne! (If you use club soda instead of champagne, you have a Tom Collins.)

So basically nothing more than a Deluxe Tom Collins.

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.

Fancy Cocktail

Fancy Cocktail
(6 People)
Pour into the shaker 5 glasses of Cognac and a dessertspoonful of Angostura Bitters. Shake thoroughly and serve, adding a little champagne and a piece of lemon-rind after having rubbed the edges of the glasses with lemon syrup.

I usually make this cocktail, something like this:

Fancy Cocktail for one

Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with a slice of lemon. Frost the edge with superfine or caster sugar. Pour into the shaker 2 oz Cognac and a generous dash of Angostura Bitters. Stir with cracked ice until well chilled, and strain into the frosted glass. Top up with a bit of champagne, squeeze a piece of lemon peel over the glass and drop it in.

Cocktail disambiguation via David Wondrich’s “Imbibe!

In Mr. Wondrich’s book, he divides the types of “cocktail” into the following categories, “Original”, “Plain”, “Fancy”, “Improved”, and “Old-Fashioned”.

“Original Cocktail”, is ye olde bittered sling, specification of spirits, bitters, sugar, and water. Nutmeg optional.

“Plain Cocktail” is Gum syrup, bitters, spirits, and curacao served on the rocks with a twist of lemon.

“Fancy Cocktail” is Gum syrup, bitters, spirits, and curacao, stirred with ice, and strained into another glass and garnished with a twist of lemon.

“Improved Cocktail” is Gum syrup, bitters, spirits, maraschino liqueur, absinthe, stirred with ice, strained into another glass and garnished with a twist of lemon.

And “Old-fashioned Cocktail” is the “original” served with rocks instead of water and a lemon twist instead of nutmeg.

Anyway, he notes the “Fancy” category sometimes included a frosted rim, a la Crusta, or a top up of champanski. Hey, who would argue? Though, I wonder what sort of individual would say, “Excuse me barkeep, believe I will have a fancy brandy cocktail, thank you!”

As the “Savoy Cocktail Book” seems to have the most bad luck transcribing these pre-prohibition of cocktails, (see the Savoy “Coffee Cocktail” and “Brandy Crusta” for other poorly transcribed examples,) their “Fancy Cocktail” recipe makes almost no sense. I mean, how can you “rub the edges of a glass with lemon syrup”? Just sounds really messy to me. They have also decided to solidify on Cognac and leave out the Curacao. No tremendous loss there.

I’ve sort of gone with the Chicago method for the “Fancy Cocktail” and left it at that.

I like the “Chicago Cocktail” and I like the “Fancy Cocktail.” Guess that makes me some sort of flannel wearing dandy. Woo!

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.

Chicago Cocktail

Chicago Cocktail

Chicago Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Curacao (Senior Curacao of Curacao)
2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Frost edge of glass with castor sugar and fill with Champagne (Cremant de Limoux, J. Laurens Brut).

Probably a lot easier to frost the glass with caster sugar before you strain the cocktail in to it!

A very nice variation on the champagne cocktail. I’m not normally a fan of the sugar rim, as most cocktails are plenty sweet without the extra sugar. Plus, the sugar tends to make drinking the cocktail a sticky and goopy proposition.

However, in this cocktail, the sugar rim makes for an intersting construction. The liquid itself is somewhat dry, very nearly compelling you to go around the rim sucking the drink through the sugar to experience the whole cocktail. A very cool tension between execution and flavor.

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.

Cecil Pick-Me-Up Cocktail

Cecil Pick-Me-Up

Cecil Pick-Me-Up Cocktail

The Yolk of 1 Egg
1 Glass Brandy (2 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre)
1 Teaspoonful Castor Sugar

Shake well and strain into medium-size wine glass and fill balance with Ayala (Louis Bouillot, Cremant de Bourgogne Rose ”Perle d’Aurore”, a bit past its prime.) Champagne.

This is quite eggy.

It is tasty, and all. Still the first impression is a big taste of egg yolk.

Later the champagne and brandy make themselves apparent.

Weird, really. A breakfast drink, I suppose!

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.

Blue Train Special Cocktail

Blue Train Special Cocktail
(6 People)

Fill the shaker with cracked ice and pour into it 1 glass of Brandy (1 oz Korbel VSOP) and 1 glass Pineapple Syrup (3/4 oz pineapple juice, 3 tsp superfine sugar, stir to dissolve). Shake carefully, and then add 3 glasses of Champagne (3 oz Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava). Give one or two more shakes and serve without further delay.

As usual, I am halving the recipe by assuming two ounces per “glass” and then making half. This one seemed a bit small.

I’ll give decoding this my best.

Blue Train likely candidates.

1) South African luxury train.
2) Train from Paris to Calais, “Le Train Bleu”.
3) “Splendid Belle Epoque restaurant in the heart of the Gare de Lyon railway station.” Also, “Le Train Bleu”.

You may remember a certain Barney Barnato from the Barney Barnato Cocktail. When Barney Barnato died, he left his two year old son an heir to his millions. When this son, (Joel) Woolf Barnato, grew up, he became quite the bon vivant. His enthusiasms included car racing, Bentleys, drinking, and parties. He and his friends were called “The Bentley Boys”. They competed in various European motor races. In fact, Woolf Barnato won the Le Mans race three times out of three starts, a record that has not been beaten to this day.

In March of 1930, Woolf Barnato was at a party in Cannes. Some speculation arose about the speed of the cars among the attendees. Many wondered if it was possible for someone to race the famous express rail, “Le Train Bleu,” and beat it from Paris to Calais. Woolf pooh poohed this idea, and said his custom Bentley could get to London before the train got to Calais. Bets were laid and Woolf wagered 200 pounds he could get to his favorite club in London before The Blue Train arrived in Calais.

The next day, when “Le Train Bleu” left the Paris station, with the assistance of a second driver, Barnato departed simultaneously. Barnato reached Calais the next morning at 10:30 AM, and took his car on the ferry across the channel. He arrived at the Conservative Club on St. James Street 4 minutes before the Blue Train arrived in Calais.

I would guess a champagne cocktail or two might be in order.

From then on he called his custom Bentley “The Blue Train Special”. He even had a bar built into the dashboard.

The cocktail is rather tastier than I expected. Sweet, fizzy, and slightly exotic. Just the ticket for a Bright Young Thing during London’s exuberant 30s.

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.