Whizz-Doodle 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.

Whizz-Doodle Cocktail
1/4 Scotch Whisky.
1/4 Sweet Cream.
1/4 Crème de Cacao.
1/4 Dry Gin
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Uh, yeah, right. I’m not making that.

Especially since I’ve already made it once, under another name: Barbary Coast Cocktail

Casting about for a Re-make/Re-model for this cocktail, I recalled the strategy I used for the Parisian Blonde, using a sort of divide and conquer method I learned from Erik Adkins at Heaven’s Dog.

I was chatting the other day in the Mixo Bar, grousing about having to make this horror. Between the insults to my Mom’s honor and comments about my own extreme age, I managed to sneak in a question, asking my compatriots which Scotch would go best with chocolate. Paul Clarke suggested Speyside, with its flavors of honey and heather. Unfortunately, (or fortunately,) the only Speyside Single Malt in the house at the moment is The MacAllan Cask Strength.

Hm, honey and Scotch is always a winning combo. But, do I have to use Creme de Cacao at all to get the chocolate flavor in this cocktail? Maybe another strategy for the Chocolate. And speaking of other strategies, does the Dry Gin have any function at all here, beyond a lengthener? Why not just use Vodka, and a single grain vodka at that, for the other spirit in this drink?

Whizz-Doodle Re-Make/Re-Model

1 oz Macallan Cask Strength Scotch;
1 oz Vodka Which Shall Not Be Named;
1 Barspoon JC Snyder Wild Buckwheat Honey*;
dash Bittermens Mole Bitters;
1/2 oz Cream;
Bittersweet Chocolate.

Dissolve Honey in Scotch and Vodka, add a Dash (or two) Mole Bitters, and stir with ice to chill. Strain into a cocktail glass. Whip cream to soft foam and float on top. Garnish with grated bitter chocolate.

Holy Crap! That is pretty decent, a dessert cocktail for Scotch and chocolate loving friends. It is certainly an improvement over the Barbary Coast.

*As a certified honey enthusiast and student of Botany, I will note that this is NOT the type of honey most often sold in the rest of the US as “Buckwheat Honey”. Most Buckwheat Honey comes from the same Buckwheat used to make Buckwheat Flour (aka Fagopyrum esculentum). The honey which Bees make from this type of Buckwheat is extremely dark and pungent. Some say unpleasantly so. However, in California there are several native plants also called Buckwheats: California Buckwheat. The honey Bees make from these plants is fairly lightly flavored and quite pleasant. If you don’t have access to California Buckwhat honey, choose another light, not too fruity honey. Clover would probably be a good choice.

Re-Made/Re-Modeled.

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.

White Lily Cocktail

White Lily Cocktail
1/3 Cointreau. (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1/3 Bacardi Rum. (3/4 oz Barbancourt White)
1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz Miller’s Gin)
1 Dash Absinthe. (dash Absinthe Duplais Verte)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I normally don’t enjoy drinks from Judge Jr.’s 1927 book, “Here’s How”, but I found the White Lily strangely interesting.

There is just something fascinating about the combination of Barbancourt White Rhum, Orange, Miller’s Gin, and Absinthe.

However, I suppose I am cheating slightly by using a rum like Barbancourt instead of a Dry Cuban Style Rum. Even being a fairly mild agricole-ish rum, Barbancourt brings a lot more to the party than the average Molasses based white rum. So sue me.

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.

White Lady Cocktail

White Lady Cocktail
1/4 Lemon Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/4 Cointreau. (1/2 oz Cointreau, Shy 1/2 oz Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
1/2 Dry Gin . (1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Ostensibly one of the most famous Savoy Cocktails, this was even sold as a bottled cocktail during the early years of the century:

Let’s talk a bit, first, about mixing Citrus Based Cocktails.

First off, a lot of times, it can be hard to balance a cocktail with only a liqueur as a sweetener. So, I sometimes hedge my bets by substituting in a portion of simple syrup for the liqueur. Reducing the amount of liqueur also puts the primary spirit of the cocktail in clearer focus, than using entirely liqueur.

This works really well in a Margarita, or its Gin cousin here, the White Lady.

The other element is the balance between sour and sweet elements of the cocktail. I find my preference is for slightly more sweetener than sour, of course depending on the sweetening power of the sweet element, syrup or liqueur. But if I’m using a 1-1 simple syrup, something like 3/4 ounce lemon or lime to 1 oz simple, or 1/2 oz liqueur and 1/2 oz Simple, works for me.

It’s worth noting, aside from the concentration of the syrup, that not all liqueurs or sweeteners have the same perceived sweetening powers. For example, the very popular Agave Syrup has much more perceived sweetness than even a very concentrated Sugar Syrup.  With a cocktail with 3/4 oz lemon or lime, you will probably not need more than a half ounce of Agave Syrup to balance the tartness of that cocktail.

From the other direction, some liqueurs or fruit syrups may contain a tart element which will reduce their sweetening efficacy in a cocktail. Depending, you may need to increase the amount of sweetener in the cocktail to balance out the cocktail.

Also, sometimes it is fun to change up the spirit to sweetener ratio.

Especially, if you have a particularly nice spirit, say Tequila or Brandy, it can be interesting to reduce both the tart and sweetening elements of the cocktail.

For example, with a tasty Calvados or Reposado Tequila, I would probably use 2 oz and spirits and only 1/2 oz of lime and a bit more than 1/2 oz of sweetener.  This puts the spirit first and foremost in the cocktails taste.  For example, during a recent event a friend and I made Jack Roses with exactly with that ratio: 2 oz Groult Calvados Reserve, 1/2 oz Lime Juice, 1/2 oz Grenadine. They were fantastic.

On the other hand, making the Jack Rose with Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy, I would absolutely go with 1 1/2 oz Spirit, 3/4 oz Lemon, 1/2 oz 1-1 Simple Syrup, and 1/2 oz Grenadine.

Also, some spirits are quite a bit sweeter than others, especially those where sweetener is allowed by the class definition: Rum, Gin, Blended Whiskey, etc. You may not need as much sweetener when making a Rum or Gin Sour, depending on the brand or style of Spirit.

The character of the citrus you are mixing with, can also be a big element when deciding how to balance your cocktail.

It was interesting, I recently worked an event organized by an East Coast Mixologist. He had made drinks for the same event in NY. However, when he batched the drinks on the West Coast using the same recipes he remarked to me, “Damn your bright, tart, West Coast citrus juice, it is messing up my batch recipes.”

Harry Craddock’s Simple Gin Sour sweetened with Cointreau was not the first cocktail with this name.

The other Harry, McElhone, first published a cocktail with this name in his book, “Harry’s ABC of Cocktails”:

White Lady
1/6 Brandy
1/6 Creme de Menthe
2/3 Cointreau
Shake well and strain.

However, for some reason, Craddock’s sour is the one we think of when we mix a White Lady, rather than McElhone’s Cointreau and Creme de Menthe based drink.

Go figure…

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.

White Cargo Cocktail

The White Cargo Cocktail
1/2 Vanilla Ice Cream. (1 oz Ciao Bella Vaniglia Gelato)
1/2 Gin. (1 oz Tanqueray Gin)
No ice is necessary; just shake until thoroughly mixed, and add water or white wine if the concoction is too thick.

Another prohibition era indulgence ripped from the torrid pages of Judge Jr.’s 1927 “Here’s How”, the White Cargo is really pretty awful.

Without the soda fizz of the Silver Stallion, or finesse of the Soyer-au-Champagne, the White Cargo’s only real “virtue” is the slightly salacious name.

I assume, one feeds this to one’s date before knocking them out and selling them into the White Slave Trade!? They are certainly going to be very grumpy when they wake up on that slow boat to China with a vanilla flavored hangover.

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.

White Baby Cocktail

White Baby cocktail
1/2 Gin. (1 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin)
1/4 Cointreau. (1/2 oz Cointreau)
1/4 Sirop-de-Citron (1/2 oz Homemade Sirop-de-Citron)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

There’s a quote in the Savoy Cocktail Book that goes with this cocktail, but I think it best for all of us, if I will leave it to your enterprising fingers to search out.

I used the Ransom to provide a couple more layers of character along with the citrus elements.

With the Ransom and homemeade Sirop-de-Citron this doesn’t have bad flavor at all, but really could have used a bit of lemon juice to spruce it up.

It’s just too sweet as it is, a liquid lemon life saver.

Might be good warm, if you have a cold or sore throat, otherwise, add a dash of fresh lemon juice.

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.

Westbrook Cocktail

Westbrook Cocktail
(6 People)
3 1/2 Glasses Gin. (1 1/4 oz Bols Genever)
1 1/2 Glasses Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1 Glass whisky. (1/2 oz Famous Grouse)
Before shaking (I stirred), add a little castor sugar. (Dash Rich Simple Syrup.)

Not sure where this oddity came from, it doesn’t seem to be among the party cocktails in “Drinks–Long and Short”, but anyway, Gin, Whisky, and Italian Vermouth. Hm.

Well, if I have to make this cocktail, and it doesn’t specify “Dry Gin”, I’m making it with Genever, instead.

Going from the Genever, Scotch seemed like an easy choice, Malt based Gin with Malt based whiskey. At the moment, my “mixing” Scotch is usually Famous Grouse, well, unless I feel like splurging.

I dunno, the Westbrook isn’t really awful, slightly tarted up Genever Manhattan, with Scotch instead of bitters. Makes sense in a twisted kind of way.

Gosh darn it, I would like to try it with Brucchladdich‘s new Gin and their Scotch! (Hint! Hint! Hello, in case you liquor companies hadn’t noticed, I like Scotch. Send Whisk(e)y, not mediocre Cachaca, I already have more of that than I will likely use in this lifetime.)

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.

Welcome Stranger Cocktail

Welcome Stranger Cocktail
1/6 Grenadine. (1/2 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/6 Lemon Juice. (1/2 oz Lemon Juice)
1/6 Orange Juice. (1/2 oz Orange Juice)
1/6 Gin. (1/2 oz Junipero Gin)
1/6 Cederlund’s Swedish Punch. (1/2 oz Underhill Punch)
1/6 Brandy. (1/2 oz Dudognon Cognac Reserve. Talk about over kill, eh? Sadly, it is all I have in the house at the moment.)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

This cocktail is likely from Harry McElhone’s “ABC of Cocktails”, in which Harry notes, “Invented by the author.”

Wow, 6 ingredients and a great name! An interestingly proto-exotic drink from Mr. McElhone, eh? Orgeat, instead of Grenadine, with a float of sherry and you’re pretty much got Trader Vic’s Fog Cutter!

The use of Swedish Punch gives this an interesting character and is the dominant element in this equal parts cocktail.

Maybe I’ve gone crazy and Savoy Cocktails have warped my brain and palate, but this isn’t bad at all.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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.

Virgin Special Cocktail

Virgin Special Cocktail
(6 People)
Take a glassful of red-currant juice, and a half glass of gooseberry syrup. In another vessel bruise a glassful of fresh raspberries, upon which pour successively a glass of Brandy, 2 glasses of Gin, then the currant juice and gooseberry syrup, and let stand for half an hour. Then add a glass of White Wine, the ice, and shake.
Serve, placing in the glasses either a raspberry or a small sprig of red-currants.

A very pleasant and refreshing summer cocktail.

Right, talk about absurd. Well, the next time I see Red Currants at the supermarket, I shall be sure and buy them so I can rush home, juice them, and use them as a garnish for an authentic version of this cocktail. Unfortunately, I almost never see them.

So, I shall be substituting a combination of Black Currant drink and Pom Wonderful Pomegranate juice for Red Currant juice. I am also fresh out of Gooseberry Syrup, so shall use some Gooseberry Jam I found at Roxie Market, instead.

1 oz Black Currant Ribena
1 oz Pom Pomegranate Juice
1/2 oz Gooseberry Preserves
2 oz Raspberries
2 oz Pellehaut Armagnac Reserve
4 oz Martin Miller’s Gin
Cavas Hill Cava Sparkling Wine

Combine Black Currant Ribena, Pomegranate juice, and Gooseberry Preserves. Add a 2 oz measure of fresh raspberries into another container and muddle, upon which pour successively a 2 oz of Brandy, 4 oz of Gin, then the currant juice and gooseberry syrup, and let stand for half an hour on ice. Add ice and shake briefly and pour into coupes. Top with sparkling Wine. Serve, placing in the glasses with a couple raspberries and a cut strawberry.

I split this between two glasses, one for me and one for my wife. We were both surprised how dry the cocktail was. With its pinkness and fruity garnishes, we were expecting it to be a lot sweeter and more girly than it is.

I generally hate muddled cocktails, just because of the mess they make in the sink and your shaker, but this was one for which I could see making an exception. Very different from a the modern take on this type of drink and quite enjoyable.

Breaking News!

Between the time I made this cocktail, and the publication of this post, I received word from David Wondrich of a new source for Savoy Cocktails.

It appears most of the “party” cocktails, those marked for “6 People” came from a 1925 book by Nina Toye and A.H. Adair called, “Drinks Long & Short”.

While David identified the source, Greg Boehm, of Cocktail Kingdom, was kind enough to scan the cocktail recipes section of the book so I could collate and check for Savoy inaccuracies. It’s good to have friends with deep libraries.

Scanning through, I discovered the “Virgin Special Cocktail” was in the book under another name.

Midsummer Cocktail: A very pretty and refreshing summer cocktail. One glass of the juice of fresh red currants, half a glass of Sirop-de-Groseille. Mash a cupful of fresh raspberries and pour over them a glass of brandy and two glasses of gin, add the currant juice and the Sirop and let stand half an hour. Add a glass of sweet white wine, ice, and shake. Serve with a raspberry or small bunch of currants in each glass.

Well, that’s pretty close to the Savoy Cocktail Book recipe. The only big difference being a common misunderstanding about “Sirop-de-Groseille”. While it seems like Groseille should be Gooseberry Syrup, it is, in fact, Red Currant Syrup. Well, Gooseberries and Currants are very closely related.

More information here, on Jennifer Colliau’s website, Small Hand Bartender: Sirop-de-Groseille

As for a substitution, if I had known the recipe called for Red Currant Syrup, I probably would have used a combination of Pomegranate Juice and Red Currant Jelly, and skipped the Black Currant Kool Aid.

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.

Vie Rose Cocktail

Vie Rose Cocktail
1/6 Lemon Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/6 grenadine. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine
1/3 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Miller’s Gin)
1/3 Kirsch. (3/4 oz Clear Creek Kirsch)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Another cocktail from Harry McElhone’s 1928 book, “ABC of Cocktails”, Harry notes this is a, “Recipe by Dominique, New York Bar, Nice.”

The French expression, “Vie Rose” or more fully, “La Vie en Rose,” means literally, “life in the pink”. To say something like, “Elle voit la vie en rose,” means, “She is an optimist,” looking at life in a possibly slightly over-optimistic way. It is often used to describe persons newly in love, and not entirely unlike the English expression, “Rose Colored Glasses.”

The Vie Rose Cocktail is in the vicinity of the other “Rose” cocktails, except it has no French Vermouth.  I have to admit my favorite of the bunch remains the “Rose Cocktail (English Style)“, with its interesting use of Apricot Brandy instead of Kirsch.  Of course, I think that particular English Rose is best made with Apricot Eau-de-Vie, not Apricot Liqueur.

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.

Tuxedo Cocktail (No. 1)

Tuxedo Cocktail (No. 1)
1 Piece Lemon Peel. (1 Piece Lemon Peel)
2 Dashes Absinthe. (2 Dash Lucid Absinthe)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry or 1 oz Sutton Cellars)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Tanqueray Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

For two weeks I thought I probably had cancer, now I am told I probably don’t. Lucky again.

Spend a couple weeks worrying and then it is just supposed to go away. Never mind about that. “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Doesn’t seem quite that easy to get over.

A second chance?

When my Dad had his heart attack, he viewed the life he came back to as a gift. Everything after nearly dying was a bonus.

While my situation was nowhere near that dramatic, nor as dramatic as someone who recovers from Cancer, still, it provokes some thought about the direction of your life.

The Tuxedo is a Martini with a dash of Absinthe, Period.

As such, it is a fairly enjoyable cocktail, if you enjoy Martinis and Absinthe, as I do.

Mrs. Flannestad and I again performed the Noilly vs. Sutton Cellars blind experiment and found we preferred the Noilly in the cocktail. Your Mileage may vary.

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.