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.

Coffee Cocktail

Coffee Cocktail

The Yolk of 1 Egg.
1 Teaspoonful Sugar or Gomme Syrup.
1/3 Port Wine. (1 oz?)
1/6 Brandy. (1/2 oz?)
1 Dash Curacao.

Shake well, strain into a small wineglass, and grate a little nutmeg on top.

The name of this drink is a misnomer, as coffee is not to be found among its ingredients, but it looks like coffee when it has been properly concocted.

The Savoy recipe for the Coffee Cocktail doesn’t make much sense to me. Small, quite sweet, and very eggy. Notably, it is the only Savoy recipe I’ve noticed so far, where the fractions don’t add up to a whole. Typo? Evidence that the fractions are actually portions of some standard measure rather than the total volume of before chill liquids?

Thanks to the DrinkBoy forums, Dale DeGroff, and Darcy O’Neil, I recently found out it is originally from Jerry Thomas’ book.

Thomas’ version is as follows:

Coffee Cocktail.
(Use a large bar-glass.)
Take 1 tea-spoonful powdered white sugar.
1 fresh egg.
1 large wine-glass of port wine. (2 oz?)
1 pony of brandy. (1 oz?)
2 or 3 lumps of ice.

Break the egg into the glass, put in the sugar, and lastly the port wine, brandy and ice. Shake up very thoroughly, and strain into a medium bar goblet. Grate a little nutmeg on top before serving.

The name of this drink is a misnomer, as coffee and bitters are not to be found among its ingredients, but it looks like coffee when it has been properly concocted, and hence probably its name.

Makes more sense, though uses a whole egg and leaves out the Curacao.

Of particular interest, is the fact that Craddock (or the Savoy editors) leave out the critical, “and bitters,” from the comments. So, we see Thomas (or whoever wrote his copy) discriminating a traditional “Cocktail” as containing bitters, while the Savoy pointedly does not.

I split the difference and semi-accidentally upped the booze to port ratio:

Coffee Cocktail

Coffee Cocktail

The Yolk of 1 Egg.
1 Teaspoonful Caster Sugar.
1 1/2 oz Ficklin Old Vine Tinta Port.
1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac.
1 Teaspoonful Brizard Orange Curacao.

Shake well, strain into a small wineglass, and grate a little nutmeg on top.

Very nice. I will have to go back and redo it with the proper amounts of port and brandy.

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.

Clover Leaf Cocktail

Clover Leaf Cocktail

Clover Leaf

The same as CLOVER CLUB, with a sprig of fresh mint on top.

so…

The Juice of 1/2 Lemon or of 1 Lime (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1/3 Grenadine (3/4 oz Homemade Grenadine)
The White of 1 Egg (whisk this a bit before adding)
2/3 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Boodles Gin)

Shake well (Combine above ingredients in boston shaker and shake for a minute or so without ice. Crack the seal on your boston shaker and add ice. Shake well again.) and strain into cocktail glass.

Interesting, how much difference switching two ingredients makes!

For the Clover Club version, the first smell is that of the Tanqueray Gin, then you get the lime. It really is a tart, lean, gin forward cocktail.

With the Boodles and lemon in the Clover Leaf, you get the lemon, the grenadine, and maybe the mint. I guess there is gin in there; but, I’ll be darned if I can taste it.

I guess I would be inclined to call the first Tanqueray and lime drink the manly “Clover Club” and the Boodles and lemon the “Pink Lady”!

Oh, one note, Robert Vermeire, in his book “Cocktails: How to Mix Them” suggests The Clover Club should be “shaken up with one or two sprigs of mint and decorated with a mint leaf on top.” I’ve tried it that way and found it pretty tasty. Though, ultimately, I think maybe lightly muddling the mint sprigs in the gin, then removing them before shaking might be better.

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.

Clover Club Cocktail

Clover Club Cocktail

Clover Club

The Juice of 1/2 Lemon or of 1 Lime (Juice 1 Lime)
1/3 Grenadine (3/4 oz Homemade Grenadine)
The White of 1 Egg (whisk this a bit before adding)
2/3 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin)

Shake well (Combine above ingredients in boston shaker and shake for a minute or so without ice. Crack the seal on your boston shaker and add ice. Shake well again.) and strain into cocktail glass.

First time I’ve experimented with “Dry Shaking” the ingredients before adding the ice. It does seem to emulsify the ingredients nicely before chilling, and give the foam a better set.

This is actually a much tarter cocktail than I thought it would be. Quite nice, really.

Different versions of this cocktail from different eras call variously for Groseille (Red Currant) Syrup, Raspberry Syrup, and Grenadine.

The erudite Paul Clarke has a wonderful writeup of the cocktail here:

A Change in Fortune

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.

Chocolate Cocktail (No 2)

Chocolate Cocktail (No 2)

Chocolate Cocktail (No. 2)

The Yolk of 1 Fresh Egg
1/4 Yellow Chartruese (1/2 oz Yellow Chartruese)
3/4 Port Wine (1 1/2 oz Warre’s Warrior Port)
Teaspoonful of Crushed Chocolate (heaping teaspoon of Scharffen Berger cocoa powder)

Shake well and strain into medium size glass.

Yes, well, again, I am not sure what might be meant by “crushed chocolate”. I couldn’t imagine how crushing a chocolate bar would result in anything except a mess.

Extra equipment: 2 small bowls, rubber spatula, and a whisk or fork.

Alternative instructions:

Dump a generous teaspoon of unsweetened Cocoa Power into one of your bowls. Add a teaspoon of water and mix until it starts to form a paste. Add a little more water at a time and continue mixing until it reaches the consistency of melted chocolate. Separate the white from the egg and whisk the yolk into the chocolate. Measure the liqueurs into your mixing tin or glass. Pour in the egg and chocolate mixture. Add ice and shake well. Strain into cocktail glass.

While I enjoyed the Chocolate Cocktail (No 1) and I know port and chocolate are supposed to go together, this reminded me of that old reese’s peanut butter cup commercial: “Excuse me, you got Port in my Chocolate. Why, no sir, you got chocolate in my Port.”

Unfortunately, they don’t really seem like, “two great tastes that taste great together,” at least in a cocktail. I dunno, maybe white or tawny port would work better.

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.

Broken Spur Cocktail

Broken Spur Cocktail

1 Egg Yolk
2/3 White Port (2 oz Quinto do Infantado White Port)
1/6 Dry Gin (1 oz Tanqueray)
1/6 Gancia Vermouth (1 oz Cinzano Rosso Vermouth)
1 teaspoon Brisard (sic.) Anisette (1 teaspoon Anis del Mono Dulce)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. – eje)

Once again, my poor grasp of fractions betrayed me. I thought the vermouth seemed a bit heavy in the flavor profile.

This would be more accurate:

1 Egg Yolk
1 1/2 oz White Port
1/2 of 3/4 oz Dry Gin
1/2 of 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 teaspoon anisette

The drink seemed a little flat to start out with. The nutmeg, (not pictured), punched it up greatly, and I highly recommend adding it as a garnish.

The drink itself is one of the better eggey flip-ey things I’ve tried. Liked it much more than I expected.

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.

Breakfast Cocktail

Breakfast Cocktail

1/3 Grenadine (3/4 oz homemade)
2/3 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)
The White of 1 Egg

Shake well and strain into large wine glass.

A slightly grenadinier “Pink Lady”? Nom de cocktail so men can order a pink cocktail with grenadine and gin without being embarrassed?

I’m fond of grenadine and gin, so had no problems drinking this down.

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.