Corn Popper Cocktail

The Corn Popper

1 Pint Corn (Georgia or Maryland).
1/2 Pint Cream.
The Whites of 2 Eggs.
1 Tablespoonful Grenadine.

Fill highball glasses half full of this mixture and fill up with Vichy or Seltzer.

This is another of the recipes Craddock (or the Savoy editors) cribbed verbatim from Judge Jr.’s “Here’s How”.

The recipe in “Here’s How” includes the following recommendation, “Don’t get near a fire after one of these!”

Being the literalist that I am, and knowing that most of the commercial “corn whiskey” is of questionable merit, I was thinking I would use some semi-vintage J.W. Dant Bourbon I found at a liquor store. It’s the only whiskey I have that actually tastes like corn.

However, I decided to double check on “Corn”, so consulted “Moonshine” (Link to his excellent book on the subject) historian Matt Rowley in regards to the Corn Popper.

He replied:

Now you’ve drifted into some interesting semantic territory rather than merely obscure ingredients.
In the Savoy book, some things are what they seem – absinthe is generally that, despite variations in style. So is applejack (usually). “Corn” is a shorthand code, especially a post-prohibition work, merely for illicit spirits (often, but not necessarily, whiskey) that may be made from nearly any ingredient except fruit, but including sugar, wheat, rye, “ship stuff,” sorghum, cattle feed, mule chop, and, on occasion, corn.

Just like “The South” is used as a false badge of authenticity when attributing origins to quite local corn whiskey, “corn” itself is a suspect appellation.

Shake loose that notion that “corn” is ever really corn whiskey. Unfortunate, but there it is. From the 1920’s through the late 1990’s, sugar formed the backbone of American off-the-books distilling. It was cheaper, faster, and more profitable to make sugar spirits than corn. When the price was right, you could call it whatever you want.

Also, there is and was such diversity in manufacture from unregulated distillers that November’s corn was rarely the same as August’s (which may, in fact, be more prone to being an ersatz whiskey because the harvest wasn’t in yet). Even today’s new wave of home distillers who are very serious about their brandies and absinthe will bump their corn with table sugar.

Add to that regional flavor profile variants, the effect of water on the flavor profile (both in fermenting mash and cutting the distillate), and the taste and sugar content variability of pre-prohibition heirloom maize among genuine corn and you quickly find that a cocktail specifying “corn” might as well specify “liquor” as an ingredient.

As you’ve noted, the nationally available commercial examples of corn whiskey are, well, less than inspiring and I’ve yet to find one I’d recommend as anything than a learning experience.

If all you have available is commercial corn liquor, try the corn popper with bourbon (or white dog if you can lay your hands on some) – it’s probably not a bad place to begin even though most corn – real or not – tends to be clear, uncolored, and often unaged whiskey. This is not the time to break out your finest as you wander into Delmarva milk punch territory.

Well, alright, then. With that in mind I set about re-doing the recipe for a single serving.

The Corn Popper

1 1/2 oz clear, pungent, liquid of unknown origin
1 egg white
3/4 oz Cream
1 teaspoon Grenadine (homemade)

Measure ingredients into cocktail shaker. Seal and shake well. Break seal, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into collins glass. Top with selzer or sparkling mineral water.

Corn Popper Cocktail

The drink has a nice flavor of yeast and malt. Reminded me a bit of a very potent malted egg cream.

Also, interesting, that the drink really isn’t very sweet. I was being pretty generous in using a whole teaspoon of Grenadine, as Savoy/Judge Jr. only call for a tablespoon of grenadine in a pint of liquor and a half pint of cream.

This probably betrays some weakness of character on my part; but, I was having a Unibroue Maudite later in the evening, and thought, you know, topping up the Corn Popper with Maudite instead of sparkling water might be kind of nice.

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.

Cordova Cocktail

Cordova Cocktail

Cordova Cocktail
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Tanqueray)
1 Dash Absinthe. (Lucid Absinthe)
1 Teaspoonful Fresh Cream.
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Cinzano Rosso)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I was making dinner and had some fennel fronds around, so I dropped a couple on top as a garnish.

This was kind of weird.

Cream, Gin, Sweet Vermouth, and Absinthe really isn’t a combination I would think of.

It’s not a bad cocktail; but, really didn’t do a lot for me, either. I’d say, probably, I would greatly prefer it without the cream, thank you very much.

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.

Café De Paris Cocktail

Cafe des Paris Cocktail

Café De Paris Cocktail

The White of 1 Egg
3 Dashes Anisette (1 Barspoon Anis del Mono)
1 Teaspoonful of Fresh Cream
1 Glass of Dry Gin (2 oz Boodles Gin)

Shake well and strain into medium size glass.

Kind of underimpressed with this one. Maybe I overshook and it got a bit diluted? Anyway, I felt like the anis could have been a bit stronger, and the cocktail a bit sweeter.

Cafe de Paris is a famous nightclub in London.

The Prince of Wales was a well known guest in the early days, somehow insuring the club’s success. Hmmm… Wait a sec. Seems familiar somehow… Something about Prince Harry and a treasure box, Mahiki tiki bar becoming successful in London. Do the British never get tired of these characters?

Anyway, my favorite story from the Cafe de Paris website:

In 1939 the Café was allowed to stay open even though theatres and cinemas were closed by order. People gossiped their way through the blackout and the Café was advertised as a safe haven by Martin Poulson, the maitre d’, who argued that the four solid storeys of masonry above were ample protection. This tragically proved to be untrue on March 8th 1941 when two 50K landmines came through the Rialto roof straight onto the Café dance floor. Eighty people were killed, including Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnston who was performing onstage at the time and Poulson whose words had come back to haunt him. Had the bomb been dropped an hour later, the casualties would have been even higher.

The Ken Snakehips Johnson Story. I’ll take that over a story about the English monarchy any day.

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.

Buds Special Cocktail

Buds Special Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1/3 Sweet Cream (3/4 oz Whipping Cream)
2/3 Cointreau (1 1/2 oz Cointreau)

Stir (What? Shake!) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Orange Peel.)

I guess I had an idle hope that this would be something like a Creamsicle in drink form.

After tasting it, my response was, “Bleah! Bud, man, what were you thinking?”

I don’t normally have such a strong reaction to these cocktails, but, hopes dashed, down the sink after a couple sips.

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.

Barbary Coast Cocktail

The Barbary Coast Cocktail

1/4 Gin. (1 oz Beefeater’s Gin)
1/4 Scotch Whisky. (1 oz Compass Box Asyla Scotch Whisky)
1/4 Crème de Cacao. (1 oz Bols White Creme de Cacao)
1/4 Cream. (1 oz Cream)
Cracked Ice.

Serve in a highball glass. (Fill highball glass with crushed ice, build ingredients in glass, stir until outside of glass frosts over.)

Most other cocktail books seem to either make the Barbary Coast as a shaken “up” cocktail (1/2 oz each ingredient) or as a highball (2oz whiskey, 1/2 oz rest, built over ice, topped with soda).

However, since this is one of the few Savoy cocktails that doesn’t include the instruction, “Shake well and strain into cocktail glass,” I’m pretty sure that wasn’t intended. There is also no mention of soda. I decided to treat it as a “swizzle”. Also, I didn’t have dark Creme de Cacao at the time, but it might be a better choice, just for coloration reasons, than the White. Or if you’ve got it, Mozart Black Chocolate Liqueur will bring both color and some nice dark chocolate flavor.

As an aside, with many of the cream cocktails I’m afraid I must admit the routine is, shake, strain, sip, dump. They’re usually too sweet and my doctor has told me to avoid dairy. For what it is worth, against my own best interests, I finished this one.

Also, based on the assumption that this cocktail is named after the San Francisco’s Gold Rush era Barbary Coast neighborhood, I will include the following quote, from Benjamin Estelle Lloyd, writing in 1876:

The Barbary Coast is the haunt of the low and the vile of every kind. The petty thief, the house burglar, the tramp, the whoremonger, lewd women, cutthroats, murderers, all are found here. Dance-halls and concert-saloons, where blear-eyed men and faded women drink vile liquor, smoke offensive tobacco, engage in vulgar conduct, sing obscene songs and say and do everything to heap upon themselves more degradation, are numerous. Low gambling houses, thronged with riot-loving rowdies, in all stages of intoxication, are there. Opium dens, where heathen Chinese and God-forsaken men and women are sprawled in miscellaneous confusion, disgustingly drowsy or completely overcome, are there. Licentiousness, debauchery, pollution, loathsome disease, insanity from dissipation, misery, poverty, wealth, profanity, blasphemy, and death, are there. And Hell, yawning to receive the putrid mass, is there also.

Nice to know things haven’t changed too much…

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.

Barbara Cocktail

Barbara Cocktail

1/4 Fresh Cream. (1/2 oz Cream)
1/4 Crème de Cacao. (1/2 oz Bols White Crème de Cacao)
1/2 Vodka. (1 oz Rain Vodka)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Shake on some Cocoa Powder to garnish.)

This Alexander variation is one of the only 4 uses of Vodka in the Savoy Cocktail book. I admit, I prefer my Alexanders made with Brandy. But, that’s not really saying much.

By the way, if anyone has advice on better brands of white Crème de Cacao, please let me know. The Bols (US) isn’t bad; but, not the greatest, either. Not a very intense chocolate flavor. I suspect these cocktails would be better with a more full flavored liqueur. Brizard, maybe?

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.

Alexander’s Jamaican Cousin

A while ago I posted the series of Alexander Cocktails: Alexander Cocktail (No. 1), Alexander Cocktail (No. 2), and Alexander’s Sister.

I didn’t post an original cocktail of my own, that I liked best of the bunch. Sorry, Mr. Craddock, we always love our children the best.

But, since Marleigh over at Sloshed! is posting about the Brandy Alexander, I figure I might as well put it up.

Alexander’s Jamaican Cousin

1 1/2 oz Flavorful Dark Rum
3/4 oz Pimento Dram (Jamaican Allspice Liqueur)
3/4 oz Cream

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Grate on some fresh nutmeg.

If you try it, drop me a note and let me know what you think.