Western Rose Cocktail

Western Rose Cocktail
1 Dash Lemon Juice. (1 dash Lemon Juice)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/4 Apricot Brandy. (1/8 oz Brizard Apry, 1/8 oz Blumme Marillen)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz North Shore No. 6)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Along the lines of the English Rose Cocktail, but with only Apricot Brandy and no Grenadine.

I’ve been out of Rothman & Winter Apricot for a while now, and kind of feel like my Brizard Apry has probably seen better days. I mean, it probably has been open for 4 years now. Whatever fruity youthfulness it might have had, are probably gone.

I figured one way to get back in the direction of the Rothman & Winter would be to use some Apricot Eau-de-Vie in this, instead of all liqueur.

Between the Vermouth, Gin, and aging apricot liqueur, this skates on the edge of some sort of children’s medicine. Not sure how to exactly move forward with this not entirely successful experiment.

There’s the direction of Julie Reiner’s Gin Blossom, using Bianco/Blanc Vermouth and no lemon.

Gin Blossom
From a recipe by Julie Reiner, Clover Club, Brooklyn, and Flatiron Lounge, New York,

45 ml (1.5 oz) Plymouth Gin
22.5 ml (.75 oz) Martini Bianco
22.5 ml (.75 oz) Blume Apricot Eau de Vie
2 dashes Orange Bitters
1 Lemon twist, as garnish
Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add the garnish.

A lovely cocktail.

I’ve also really enjoyed re-imagining the Judgette Cocktail with Old World Spirits Indian Blood Peach Eau-de-Vie:

Judgette
3/4 oz Peach Eau-de-Vie,
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth,
3/4 oz DryGin
dash Lemon
dash simple.

Stir, Strain. Orange Peel.

They are all a tad finicky, with their dashes of this or that, very much the sort of cocktail I enjoy rocking, but other bartenders probably hate. Anyway, something about the Western Rose just didn’t quite do it for me. Either the Judgette or the Gin Blossom would be preferable.

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.

Wembley Cocktail (No. 2)

Wembley Cocktail (No. 2)
1/3 Scotch Whisky. (3/4 oz Famous Grouse Scotch)
1/3 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/3 Pineapple Juice. (3/4 oz Pineapple Juice)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Harry McElhone notes in his 1928 “ABC of Cocktails” that this is a “Recipe by Charlie Forrester, Grafton Club, London.”

To be honest, this is just weird.

Being 2/3 mixers, it’s kind of watery, and with the not particularly assertive mixing Scotch, like this famous grouse, it tastes mostly like vermouth and pineapple.

Right, well, Wembley, then, from the wikipedia article:

Wembley is an area of northwest London, England, and part of the London Borough of Brent. It is home to the famous Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena.

Wembley is derived from the Old English proper name “Wemba” and the Old English “Lea” for meadow or clearing. The name was first mentioned in the charter of 825 of King Beornwulf.

Well, I seriously doubt they were juicing pineapples back in 825 AD, but I was just thinking of the arena, amazing that the history of this area goes back that far.

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.

Wembley Cocktail (No. 1)

Wembley Cocktail (No. 1)
1 Dash Apricot Brandy. (1/2 tsp R&W Blumme Marillen)
2 Dashes Calvados (1 tsp Montreuil Calvados Reserve)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Dry Vermouth)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze lemon peel over glass and drop in.)

Kind of a strange bird, the Wembley (No. 1). Really just a Martini with a few dashes of Apple Brandy and, uh, Apricot Eau-de-Vie…

OK, I was cheating, I probably should have used Apricot Liqueur in this.

But it just seemed more pleasant, and more intense, to use an Eau-de-Vie.

It’s just a half teaspoon (generously) of either one, that little Apricot Liqueur is going to have very little impact.

How is it? Well a fairly dry, yet still somewhat fruity Martini.

How you feel about it, will likely depend on how you feel about Martinis and polluting them with ingredients other than Gin and Vermouth.

Certainly no more sacrilegious than the Dirty Martini, just going in another direction.

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.

Weeseur Special Cocktail

Weeseur Special Cocktail.
4 Dashes Absinthe. (1 tsp. Absinthe)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Carpano Antica)
1/4 Orange Curacao. (1/2 oz Clement Creole Shrubb)
1/4 Dry Gin. (1/2 oz Junipero Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

As a variation on the Martini (Medium), or perhaps Fourth Degree, the Weeseur isn’t bad. I do like the Creole Shrubb and awful lot, it is one of my favorite Orange Liqueurs, so I rarely complain when I get a excuse to use it.

The name seems like it should be Dutch or Afrikaans, but I can find no trace of Weeseur on the web that makes any sense.

Note the presence of the exciting new Cocktail Kingdom measuring jigger!

Cocktail Kingdom Japanese Style Jigger 22ml/15ml

Finally a Japanese-style jigger with a 3/4oz side (or 22ml for those of you who are metrically inclined)! Been waiting for this for quite some time.

I also know that the gentlemen of Cocktail Kingdom went to quite some trouble to find a manufacturer who could deliver an accurate 3/4 oz jigger.

In fact, when I was in New York recently, another bartender showed me how badly calibrated some of the usual bar supplies conical stainless jiggers were. Some were off by as much as 1/8 ounce when compared withe the Cocktail Kingdom Jigger.

I checked mine at home with the Cocktail Kingdom Jigger and found them not quite that far off. Whew!

The big problem now is I usually use 3 jiggers: 1/2:1, 3/4:11/2, 1:2.

Now I have to get used to using only two jiggers: 1/2:3/4 and 1:11/2.

Well, if I ever want to work in NY, I guess I’ll have to.

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.

Webster Cocktail

Webster Cocktail
1/8 Lime Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Lime Juice)
1/8 Apricot Brandy. (1/2 oz 3/4 oz Brizard Apry)
1/4 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Sutton Cellars Brown Label Vermouth)
1/2 Plymouth Gin. (3/4 oz Plymouth Gin, 3/4 oz Bols Genever)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

A favourite cocktail at the bar of the S.S. Mauretania.

Well, I kind of feel like I have been a bit hard on the Sutton Cellars Brown Label Vermouth, so I thought, “Hey you! Blogger asshole! How about using a tart vermouth in a tart cocktail?”

With all these odd Savoy Cocktails, sours ostensibly, where you find French Vermouth in the place of what should be Lemon Juice, I have often wondered about the flavor character of historical French Vermouth. Was it tarter wine? Fresher Vermouth? Has all the industrial processing and filtering now applied to commercial vermouth changed its character?

Sutton Cellars, on the other hand, is fairly low tech. Herbs macerated in California White Wine, with a small amount of unaged Brandy and Agave Syrup.

So, is the Sutton Cellars closer to what Dry Vermouth might have tasted like in the 19th and early 20th Century?

Well, certainly, there was no Agave Syrup around 1900, and probably the spices and herbs used by Sutton Cellars are fairly distinct from European Vermouth making traditions.

My personal feeling is that much of the early French Vermouth was probably closer to what we now call Blanc or Bianco Vermouth, and that the Dry Vermouth, as featured in the modern Martini, didn’t evolve until later, in the early to mid-twentieth Century.

A puzzle for you, if Dry and Bianco/Blanc vermouth existed contemporaneously, why do no Cocktail recipes differentiate between these Vermouths? Why do most just call for “Italian” or “French”?

Anyway, I like the Sutton Cellars Brown Label Vermouth in the Webster. Its somewhat outre spice component, especially Vanilla and Christmas-like Spices work well. These ballsy flavors lend complexity to the drink where most other dry vermouths would just be bowled over by the Gin, Apricot Brandy, and Lime.

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.

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.

Warden 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.

Warden Cocktail
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/4 Hercules. (1/2 oz House Made Hercules #5a*)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Tanqueray Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

As Fifty-Fifty type Martini-like beverages go, this was all right. Sort of like adding a couple dashes of Angostura bitters to your regular Martini.

My all time favorite cocktail with Hercules is still the Personality a la Roy, but this isn’t bad either.

*Hercules #5a

1 Stick Cassia Cinnamon, crushed
2 tsp. Coriander Seed, crushed
3 Cardamom Pods, crushed
8 Whole Cloves, crushed
1 tsp. Quinine Powder
1 tsp Gentian Root
1/4 Cup Yerba Mate
Zest 2 Valencia Oranges
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
750ml Picpoul de Pinet
1/4 cup Osocalis Brandy

METHOD: Combine spices, peel, yerba mate and wine. Heat to 160 degrees. Filter through chinois and add Brandy. Let stand for at least a day. Pour liquid off of sediment and through a coffee filter and bottle.

Forgot the peppermint tea from Hercules #5, because I am a moron. Reading about Vermouth production, discovered that one of the commonly used wines in France was Picpoul de Pinet. Happy coincidence when a local grocery store started carrying it. Well, sort of happy. I still prefer the Quady Essencia Orange Muscat for the base of Hercules. Any time I’ve used drier wines, the final product is less appealing.

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.

Vermouth and Curacao Cocktail

Vermouth and Curacao Cocktail
1 Glass French Vermouth. (2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/2 Liqueur Glass Curacao. (3/4 oz Clement Liqueur Creole Shrubb)
Use medium size glass and fill with soda water (Err, Cavas Hill Cava. What?).

Like this Vermouth and Cassis Cocktail, this is another from Harry McElhone’s 1928 “ABC of Cocktails”, and like the Vermouth and Cassis, there really isn’t too much to get excited about.

Using Champagne ups the ante slightly, but I dunno, there just isn’t that much to the combo of Vermouth and Curacao. Nothing wrong with it exactly, just not that exciting.

If you make it, I’d at least spice it up with some Orange Bitters.

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.

Vermouth and Cassis Cocktail

Vermouth and Cassis Cocktail
1 Glass French Vermouth. (2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1 Liqueur Glass Crème de Cassis. (1 1/2 oz Brizard Creme de Cassis)
Use medium size glass and fill with soda water (Err, Cava Hill Cava). (Garnish with long lemon peel.)

Right, a poor man’s Kir Royale!

Well, I couldn’t resist juicing up this rather unremarkable sparkling vermouth cocktail from Harry McElhone’s 1928 “ABC of Cocktails” with a little champagne.

So sue me!

I’ve written about my Fish Provencal-ish before, but this was a particularly tasty version with local rock cod.  We had a bounty of fantastic fresh Dry Farmed Tomatoes from the Farmers’ Market, so I blanched them to remove the skin and made the whole deal from scratch.  so tasty.  Served it with a Quinoa Pilaf and Spicy Braised Greens.  Yum.

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.

Van Dusen Cocktail

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.

Van Dusen Cocktail
2 Dashes Grand Marnier. (1 tsp. Grand Marnier)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Unlike the very well known Vanderbilts, I am unclear whom the Van Dusen might have been named after. The cocktail is from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 book, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks,” so that would make it early century New York, possibly society.

The most interesting character, kind of contemporary with that time, was Harry Van Dusen, aka Van Denmark (1881–1948). An author who was well known for children’s serials, “Just prior to World War I, Van Demark began to write mystery stories, including “The Vanishing Diplomat,” which appeared in Black Cat. This was followed by a thirty­ year avalanche of stories of action and crime with the Western story formula predominating.”

Whomever, the Van Dusen refers to, it isn’t a bad cocktail at all.  A slightly sweetened Martini, I chose to use Hayman’s given its friendliness to citrus flavors, and indeed, it worked well with the Curacao.

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.