Highland Cooler

Highland Cooler
1 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (Er, I, uh forgot the sugar.)
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (dash Dr. Elmegirab’s Boker’s Bitters)
1 Glass Scotch Whisky. (2 oz Highland Park 8, The Machphail’s Collection)
1 Lump of Ice.
Use long tumbler and fill with Ginger Ale (Err, Soda).

The first time I made this, I didn’t read the recipe very closely, forgot the sugar, and filled the drink with soda instead of Ginger Ale.

I kind of liked it. I was surprised how much “sweet” character comes from the Highland Park alone. A dash or two more of simple and this was really good.

I also didn’t have any Ginger Ale or Beer in the house at the time, so a redo would have to wait for another day.

Highland Cooler
1 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 tsp Rich Simple Syrup)
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (dash Angostura Bitters)
1 Glass Scotch Whisky. (2 oz The MacAllan Cask Strength)
1 Lump of Ice.
Use long tumbler and fill with Ginger Ale (Bruce Cost’s Ginger Beer).

The second time, a couple days later, I managed to get everything in the drink. Of course, by this time, I had also remembered the Mamie Taylor, which is pretty much exactly the same drink, with lime instead of Lemon.

Both are good, but I kind of enjoyed the soda version a little more, it is a better feature for the Scotch Whisky, if you are using something nice. It also could be just due to the fact that I prefer the Highland Park 8 to the MacAllan Cask Strength.

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.

Suffering Mixologist

You know what, the Suffering Bastard just isn’t really a very good drink. Bourbon, Gin, Lime, Angostura, and Ginger Beer?

Sounds about as bad as the hangover it was supposed to be curing.

But, as mixologists, I think we can do something about this, but we’ll need to plan ahead a bit.

I think we’re looking at about a year process, from start to finish.

First begin by aging your own Whiskey. Purchase a case of unaged whisky (White Dog) and a charred barrel. Both of these items are now for sale, conveniently, at many of your better liquor stores.

About 6 months in to your whisky aging process, you’ll want to start your gin. You can either go the infusion route, like Jeffrey Morgenthaler, or you can purchase a still and distill it yourself. Instructions for distillation are beyond the scope of this article, but there are many online forums which should be of help. You’ll be able to find all sorts of interesting spices and herbs at witchery stores and upscale groceries.

In either case, infusion or distillation, I suggest you discard the common knowledge about what a gin should be and feel free to improvise with whatever catches your fancy. Elderflower, go! Rangpur Lime, go! Lemon Verbena, why not?

Once your gin is ready, you’re going to want to pull your whiskey from the barrel, blend it with the gin, and return it to the barrel. The additional months, or years, you allow these spirits to marry will produce a truly superior end product.

About a month out from when you want to serve your cocktail, you’ll need to start the infusion for your bitters. Check any number of articles on doing this, from Jamie Boudreau to Robert Heugel. Once you’ve made your bitters, of course using a Buechner Funnel to vacuum filter them, you’ll want to again pull your gin and whisky from the barrel, add the bitters, and return the mixture to the barrel. I suggest erring on the side of generosity. Really, if it isn’t bitter, it isn’t a cocktail.

About this time, you’re going to want to start promoting your genius new version of the Suffering Bastard. I would suggest hiring a full time publicist and hitting the local bars. Maybe even take out a few ads in national papers or magazines. Of course you’ll want to attend the major trade shows, Tales of the Cocktail, Manhattan Cocktail Classic, etc. just to press the flesh and give that personal touch to your presence. You’re not just a brand, after all. Don’t forget to sponsor a few panels at these conferences. That kind of exposure, a bunch of drunk people in a hotel conference room, is worth its weight in gold.

After doing some publicity, you’ll probably have come onto the radar of the original creator of the drink, Trad’r Vick, and his organization. Be sure to ignore any and all communications from them. You are a drinks artist, not a business man, there’s no reason to talk to those suits.

Next you’ll need to make your Ginger Beer. After distilling your own gin, making ginger beer is a snap. Check this recipe from Good Eats: Making Ginger Beer 48 hours? Pah, most of that is just sitting around in your cabinet.

Why do Trad’r Vick and his lawyers keep calling you? Just ignore them.

You’ll want to start the last minute publicity for your drink unveiling. Be sure to rent a space of suitable gravitas and capacity for your needs. Invite everyone you know, sending simultaneous and identical tweets, facebook invitations, and email blasts.

Who is that knocking?

What? Trad’r Vick and a subpoena? Agh, they are trampling on your creativity! Saying they own the Tradermark to the Suffering Bastard! Not only that, but telling you your drink isn’t even a Suffering Bastard, the Suffering Bastard, they claim, properly contains: Trad’r Vick Mai Tai Mix, two kinds of Rum, and a cucumber peel garnish. Pah, don’t they know you are referencing the original Suffering Bastard, created by Joe Scialom during World War II at the Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo, Egypt? Philistines!

Well, you’ll show them, change the name of your drink, it bears no resemblance to their crappy “original” Suffering Bastard anyway. In honor of your self, you call it the Poor Long Suffering Mixologist, or P.L.S.M., for short.

Aged Spirits ready, Ginger Beer on tap, you’re ready to go. The last thing you need to do is source the fresh ingredients.

Be sure and spare no expense finding the exact correct variety of mint for this. Thyme Mint, Bergamot Mint, whatever you think will work best.

Not to mention finding the most obscure variety of lime or citrus. I’d suggest thinking about Seville Oranges or perhaps Rangpur Limes.

Nearly ready, all your friends have replied and are showing up. The bar or concert hall is primed for your 100% hand made, self aged, craft cocktail PLSM!

Oh, but we’ve forgotten the ice! Only the best! Be sure and only use the purest virgin spring water, and freeze it in such a way it is perfectly clear! Then hand carve it to order!

Last minute details, last minute details!

Maybe you should try the drink?

Oh, bleah, this really isn’t a very good drink. You know, the Suffering Bastard wasn’t very good to start out with, and it tastes like you’ve actually made it worse. What were you thinking?

Notify your publicist, stop the presses, call off your event. Well, when life hands you lemons, it’s time to, to… Write about it. You’re going to write a book (or blog) about your cocktail adventure, instead of actually serving drinks. That’s where the REAL money is!

I think that qualifies as a post about Niche Spirits, don’t you?

Thanks to Adventures in Cocktails for hosting!

MxMo LVIII: Favorite Niche Spirit

Check out their site for more posts on similar themes.

Sleepy Head Cocktail

023

Sleepy Head Cocktail
1 Glass Brandy. (2 oz Germain-Robin Fine Alambic Brandy)
1 Piece of Orange Peel.
4 Leaves of Fresh Mint.
Fill long (iced) tumbler with Ginger Ale (Sprecher Ginger Ale).

Over the last year or so, we’ve been making a fair number of Sleepy Head Cocktails at our Savoy Cocktail Book nights at Alembic Bar. We’ve developed this slightly elaborate presentation, with the horse’s neck of orange peel and sprigs of mint, just because we’ve got them around. Plus, it makes the cocktail look cool.

In fact, if there is any problem at all with the Sleepy Head, it is that it is far, far too easy to drink quickly. Tasting like a vaguely boozy glass of ginger ale, it is no problem to slurp these down like soda pop.

Next thing you know, your head is tilting sleepily towards your companion’s shoulder, and who knows whatever might happen after they help you to your cab.

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.

Philadelphia Scotsman Cocktail

Philadelphia Scotsman Cocktail

Philadelphia Scotsman Cocktail.

1 Hooker Applejack. (1 1/2 oz Germain-Robin Apple Brandy)
1 Hooker Port. (1 1/2 oz Sandeman 10 Year Tawny Port)
The Juice of 1 Orange. (2 oz Fresh Orange Juice)

Place in tumbler (with ice, stir,) and fill up with ginger ale (Fentiman’s Ginger Beer).

Well, OK, Fentiman’s Ginger Ale is a pretty odd substitution for “Ginger Ale”. However, this is a “Philadelphia Scotsman” cocktail. Presumably, in Philadelphia, they’d be mixing home made ginger beer, not some fancy carbonated “ginger ale”. And tawny port is probably a bit of a stretch, too. Presumably, a ruby port or similar would be more common.

Should you order this cocktail at the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, July 26th?

You know, this is pretty darn tasty, if you ask me. If it’s warm outside, this would make a very good hot weather drink.

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.

OH Henry! Cocktail

Oh Henry! Cocktail

Oh Henry! Cocktail

1/3 Benedictine. (1 oz Benedictine)
1/3 Whisky. (3/4 oz Famous Grouse, 1/4 oz Jon Mark and Robbo Smokey Peaty One)
1/3 Ginger Ale. (1 oz Bundaberg Ginger Beer)

Stir well and serve.

This cocktail comes from Judge Jr.’s Prohibition era tome, “Here’s How.” In that book the recipe is given as: “1 jigger of Benedictine; 1 jigger of Scotch; 2 jiggers of ginger ale,” which seems a bit more sensible. Judge Jr. also notes this cocktail was, “Originated by Henry Oretel and believe us Henry knows his liquids!” I can dig up no information on Mr. Oretel.

While tasty, this is way too sweet for me. I think even with 2 parts ginger beer to 1 part Scotch and Benedictine. If I had to do it over, I would go with: 1/2 oz Benedictine, 1 1/2 oz Scotch. Build over ice and top up with Ginger Beer.

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.

Mamie Taylor Cocktail

Mamie Taylor Cocktail

The Mamie Taylor Cocktail

1 Hooker Whisky. (2 oz Famous Grouse)
The Juice of 2 Limes. (Juice of 1 lime)

Fill tall glass with Ginger Ale (Fever Tree Ginger Ale).

It seems the Savoy gets this “2 limes” craziness from Judge Jr.’s prohibition book, “Here’s How”. Unless they are unusually small limes, 1 is plenty. In fact most recipes call only for the juice of half a lime. The Savoy also fails to note that the proper whisky for the drink is Scotch. Oh, and it is usually made over ice.

Extremely popular in the early part of the 20th Century, the Mamie Taylor fell out of favor during prohibition and never really recovered.

Which is too bad, as it is really quite an enjoyable and refreshing drink.

I know I recently read an article or write up about the drink. I thought it was in David Wondrich’s “Imbibe!”. However, paging through, I don’t see it. I suspect it may have been one of Ted Haigh’s columns for the magazine Imbibe.

There’s much information on the webtender wiki page: Mamie Taylor

This seems the most pertinent regarding the drinks creation…

The Post Standard”, 7th March 1902

“It was while Miss Taylor was the prima donna of an opera company playing at Ontario Beach, near Rochester, in 1899,” he said, “that she was asked with a number of other members of the company to go out sailing on the lake. As the day was hot and the breeze rather strong, the party returned after a few hours longing for some cooling refreshments. When Miss Taylor was asked what she would have she expressed the wish for a long but not strong drink–in fact, a claret lemonade. When the drink was served it was very evident that it wasn’t a claret lemonade, for it looked like a delicious long drink of sparkling champagne. On tasting it Miss Taylor found it much to her liking, but asked to have the flavor softened with a piece of lemon peel. When this was done the new combination drink was declared a complete success. Bystanders had been watching the proceedings and noticing the evident enjoyment with which Miss Taylor and a few of her friends relished in new drink they finally asked the hotel keeper what drink it was that was being served to them and without hesitation the hotel man replied “a Mamie Taylor” and the name seemed to meet with instantaneous favour and has become famous all over the country.”

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.

London Buck Cocktail

London Buck

London Buck Cocktail

1 Lump of Ice.
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz No. 209 Gin)
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1 Split of Ginger Ale. (Fever Tree)

Use long tumbler.

As far as I can tell, the term “buck” refers to a drink made with spirits, Lemon, and, generally, ginger ale.

The London Buck is not a mind blowing beverage, but it is perfectly tasty and refreshing.

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.

Leap Frog Cocktail

Leap Frog Cocktail

Leap-Frog Cocktail

1 Lump of Ice. (few lumps fridge ice)
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1 Glass Gin. (2 oz No. 209 Gin)
1 Split of Ginger Ale. (Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew)

Serve in long tumbler.

I was hoping to garnish this with some delicious smelling Holy Basil I got from a couple weeks ago, but it didn’t make it. So I stuck in a couple Tarragon sprigs I had in the fridge. The tarragon added nearly nothing to the cocktail aside from visual interest.

It’s really hard to argue with this combo, especially on a hot day. Even if the rest of California is on fire.

If I were to quibble, I’d say, this is my first time trying Reed’s “Extra Ginger Brew” and I was hoping for it to be a bit zestier. I dunno, maybe I’ve burned out all my taste buds, but I didn’t find it particularly pungent.

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.

Cablegram Cocktail

Cablegram Cocktail

Cablegram Cocktail

Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/2 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar (1/2 teaspoon caster sugar)
1 Glass Canadian Club Whisky (2 oz Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey)

Shake well, strain into long tumbler (1/3 filled with ice) and fill with Ginger Ale (Reed’s Ginger Brew).

Along with the Bull-Dog, another very good long drink featuring ginger ale. This one is a whisk(e)y sour plus ginger ale.

I felt like the ginger and lemon would need a whisk(e)y with a bit more spirit than Canadian, so I went with the younger Sazerac. Worked quite well.

The recipe in the Savoy doesn’t mention ice in the serving glass at all. However, every other recipe I read suggested building it over ice or straining it over fresh ice.

I dunno if the ginger ale in England was less sweet or if they just liked sweeter drinks; but, I’m not entirely convinced this needed any extra sugar at all. With the Reed’s, I think you could just build it in the glass with ice and leave out the extra sugar.

Googling this recently, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they have re-vived the Cablegram at Vessel in Seattle. It was even referenced in some reviews of the venue as one of their more outstanding cocktails. Of course it involves house made ginger ale and such. Still, nice to see a bar bringing back obscure classic cocktails!

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.

Bull-dog Cocktail

Bull-Dog Cocktail

Put 2 or 3 lumps of ice into a large tumbler, add the juice of 1 Orange, 1 glass (2oz Boodles) Gin. Fill Balance with Ginger Ale (Reed’s Ginger Brew).

Stir, and serve with a straw.

Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on gin and juice,
Laid back, (with my mind on my money and my money on my mind),

The Bull-Dog is a perfectly tasty drink, great for the warm weather we’ve had in San Francisco lately*. Gin, fresh orange juice, and ginger ale. How could that be bad?

*Of course the morning I post this, the fog and mist return, after a week or two of beautiful sunny, warm weather. Well, that’s summer in San Francisco for you. Still a good cocktail even in the fog.

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.