Yokohama Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Feb 27, 2011, 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.

The countdown to the last “Cocktail” continues.

Say it with me, “EIGHT!”

Yokohama Cocktail
1 Dash Absinthe. (1 dash Duplais Absinthe Verte)
1/6 Grenadine. (1/2 oz Grenadine)
1/6 Vodka. (1/2 oz Awamori)
1/3 Orange Juice. (1 oz Orange Juice)
1/3 Dry Gin. (1 oz Beefeater’s Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Well, it does have a Japanese name, so I figured I should mix this with Japanese “Vodka”.

The Japanese were another culture which, as far as anyone knows, did not discover distillation until it was introduced from abroad.

The Japanese, being a particularly closed society for much of its history, were pretty late to the game, with the earliest written records showing up some time in the mid-1500s.

Distillation was probably introduced via the slightly looser federation of Islands to the South of Japan. These Islands were often in flux between Indonesia and Japan, so developed a more independent spirit and had contact with the various traders plying those waters. Like the Scottish Highlands, each Island would often have a distillery and a specialization.

Among the oldest traditions of Distilled spirits in the Islands near Japan are those of the Islands around Okinawa. Usually made from Rice, the Okinawan Spirits, called Awamori, are often aged for lengthy periods in clay jars.

While mildly flavored, this is really, by no stretch of the imagination anything near a “vodka”. With a good amount of character and flavor, this actually contributes far more than just Ethanol to the drink.

A close relative of the Monkey Gland, also from Harry McElhone’s 1928 “ABC of Cocktails”, the Yokohama is not bad. There is some interesting thing going on between the Grenadine, Orange and Awamori. I can see why people often mix Shochu with fruit 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.

Whizz-Bang 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-Bang Cocktail
2 Dashes Absinthe. (2 Dash Absinthe Duplais Verte)
2 Dashes Grenadine. (1 tsp. Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (2 Dash Angostura Orange)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
2/3 Scotch Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Highland Park 8 Year Old, MacPhail’s Collection)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.
I suspect the source of this cocktail is Robert Vermiere’s 1922 recipe book, “Cocktails: How to Mix Them”. He notes, “Recipe by Tommy Burton, Sports’ Club, London, 1920. This cocktail is named after the high-velocity shells, so called by the “Tommies” during the war, because all you heard was a whiz and the explosion of the shell immediately afterwards.”

From the wikipedia article:

Tommy Atkins – or Thomas Atkins – has been used as a generic name for a common British soldier for many years. The precise origin is a subject of debate, but it is known to have been used as early as 1743. A letter sent from Jamaica about a mutiny amongst the troops says “except for those from N. America (mostly Irish Papists) ye Marines and Tommy Atkins behaved splendidly”. The surname Atkins means “little son of red earth”, a reference to the soldiers in their red tunics. Tommy (a diminutive of Thomas), meaning twin, has been a very popular English male name since Saint Thomas Becket was martyred in the 12th century.

For all the not so subtle menace implied by the name and the quote, this is a fairly easy going and drinkable cocktail. A sort of Rob Roy variation, the dry vermouth allows the Scotch to come more to the fore, even with the few embellishments. I got this Absinthe in a small tasting bottle a while ago, and am finding it pleasant, though a tad less assertive compared to other Absinthes I sometimes use. I suppose that isn’t entirely a bad thing for mixed drinks.

You sometimes get requests for Scotch Cocktails and there are not really all that many options. The Whizz-Bang would be a nice change up from the usual Bobby Burns, Rob Roy, Affinity, Blood and Sand, Laphroig Project, and Penicillin Cocktails.

Breaking News Update!

Between my making this cocktail and the post hitting the schedule, I heard from Craig Lane, of Bar Agricole. He wanted to put the cocktail on the menu there and was looking for source corroboration for the story related to its origin.

I provided the quote from Robert Vermeire and he asked if I was interested in the specifics of the version at their restaurant. Well, of course!

We decided to use the Sutton Cellars Brown Label vermouth, which synced up rather nicely with the palate of Famous Grouse. It was one of those recipes that didn’t require much tweaking after that. 1.5 oz Scotch, .75 oz Sutton Vermouth, 1 barspoon Grenadine, 2 dash Orange Bitters (ours), 2 dash Absinthe (Leopold’s).

Clearly a field trip to check out the Bar Agricole version is in order!

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.

Waterbury Cocktail

Waterbury Cocktail*
2 Dashes Grenadine. (1 tsp Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/2 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1/2 tsp Caster Sugar)
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime. (Juice 1/4 Lemon)
The White of 1 Egg. (1/2 Egg White)
1 Glass Brandy. (2 oz Chateau Pellehaut Armagnac Reserve.)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

*Yes, Sir! A stem-winder.

A “stem-winder”? What on earth is a stem-winder?

From Word Detective.com:

It all goes back to the humble watch. Before there were electronic battery-powered wrist watches, before there were manually wound (or self-winding) mechanical watches, before there were even watches worn on one’s wrist, there were pocket watches. And if you go way back, those pocket watches were wound with a separate tiny key. This may sound cute, but it was a major drag, because the process was awkward and the key was easily lost. So in 1842, when the French watchmaker Adrien Philippe (co-founder of Patek-Philippe) invented a “keyless” watch that was wound by turning its “stem” (a knurled knob on the side of its case, today called the “crown”), it was such an improvement that it won Philippe a Gold Medal at the French Industrial World’s Fair.

It’s hard to imagine today, but the new “stemwinder” watch became an instant public sensation of almost delirious intensity, the iPod of its day. It was so popular, in fact, that within a few years the term “stemwinder” entered the lexicon as a synonym for anything excellent and exciting. By the end of the 19th century, “stemwinder” was being used to mean, first, an energetic person, then a rousing public speaker, and finally an especially inspiring speech itself.

Hm, is the Waterbury Cocktail, in fact, so “excellent and exciting”, as to justify the term, “stem-winder”?

Well, it is a nicely spirit forward sour, of the sort which has become largely unfashionable these days. Certainly, it would be more a la minute to make this with the juice of a half lemon (3/4 oz) rather than the juice of a quarter lemon and increase the sugar slightly.

But when you’ve got a nice Brandy, like this Pellehaut Armagnac, why cover it up with extra citrus?

It is interesting to play around with the sweet and sour ratios for a sour, rather than apply the same one to every spirit or drink.

PS. Bummed this is the last of my Pellehaut Armagnac. I think it will be back to the slightly cheaper Osocalis, at least for a little while.

PPS. Jesse informs me, there will be no Notoberfest this year. I am seriously bummed, but he did get married, I hear that takes a lot of time from planning other events, and is working on launching his own beer brand concentrating on barrel aged fruit beers: Old Oak Beer. I suppose I can cut him some slack. However, if you feel the need to get some Jesse learning and beering on, you might want to check out this workshop he is presenting Dec 12 in collaboration with Local:Mission Eatery, Holiday Beers. “At the December gathering, we’ll be focusing on holiday beers, and pouring some of my favorites, including Anchor’s Our Christmas Ale, Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale and He’Brew Jewbelation 14, plus a few more surprises, including bottles pulled from my own cellar…I’ll be working with Chef Jake to pair these beers up with some great treats, including a cheese pairing (the cheese pairing we’re serving is particularly exciting) and hearty winter fare. We’ll also be tasting the ingredients that go into beer, learning about the brewing process, and generally having a good time with beer, food and conversation.”  Sounds tasty!

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.

Ward 8 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.

Ward Eight Cocktail
1 Teaspoonful Grenadine. (1 generous tsp. Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/4 Orange Juice. (3/4 oz Orange Juice)
1/4 Lemon Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/2 Rye Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Michter’s US 1 Straight Rye)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I suspect The Savoy Cocktail Book may have cribbed this from Robert Vermiere’s “Cocktails: How to Mix Them”. Vermeire notes, “This cocktail originates from Boston (U.S.A.), a city divided into eight wards.”

On his writeup of a couple years ago, fellow blogger Paul Clarke, of Cocktail Chronicles, further informs:

The Ward Eight purportedly dates back more than a century, to a time when politics could be truly bare-knuckle. Rumored to have been created at the Locke-Ober (the second oldest restaurant in Boston) to celebrate the victory of Martin Lomasney’s 1898 campaign for a seat representing Boston’s Eighth Ward—a celebration that suitably took place the night before the election—the Ward Eight is a simple twist on a whiskey sour.

For me, it reminds me of the first or second time young Thomas Waugh served me when he was working at Alembic Bar. I asked for the Ward Eight from the Classic side of the menu and he said something like, “I like to make this on the sour side, is that all right?” I replied in the affirmative, as I preferred nicely tart drinks to over sweetened concoctions. What I got, though, was a bit beyond the sour that I was used to making for myself and slightly into uncomfortable territory.

Drinking this now, I think what Thomas was making was probably exactly this recipe, with only a teaspoon of grenadine as sweetener.

The problem we have, though, is that the recipe is proportional, yet the sweetener is called for in an absolute volume.

Fortunately, while Craddock was mostly proportional in his recipe writing, Robert Vermeire was not, calling for his cocktails to be based on a half gill of total volume. A half Gill ends up somewhere a bit more than 2 ounces, so I was being generous here with my 3 oz pour. So sue me, I like Whiskey Sours.

Ultimately, the amount of grenadine you use falls to personal taste, but I think you should try put this one near the edge of your tolerance for tartness. It shouldn’t be a rich drink, it should be a tart tonic.

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.

Victory Cocktail

Victory Cocktail
1/2 Grenadine. (1/2 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/2 Absinthe. (1/2 oz Greenway Distiller’s Absinthe)
(Juice 1/2 small Lemon, or about 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice)
Shake well, strain into medium size glass, and fill with soda water (Cavas Hill Cava, what else?). (Garnish with long lemon twist, horse’s neck or shoestring.)

Right, I’m just not going to make this as written, that’s all there is to it.

1 oz Absinthe and 1 oz Grenadine diluted with soda?

Bleah.

So I decreased the amounts and added some lemon juice. Filled with Sparkling Wine and added a lemon twist.

Damn. That’s tasty. So tasty, I immediately sent the recipe to Jennifer Colliau, of Small Hand Foods, saying, “Is this a cocktail you know? If it isn’t it should be.”

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.

Union Jack Cocktail

Union Jack
1/3 Grenadine. (1/4 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/3 Maraschino. (1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino)
1/2 Green Chartreuse. (1/4 oz Green Chartreuse)
Use liqueur glass and pour ingredients carefully so that they do not mix.

Stupid battery still being a bit flaky. I’ve ordered some more, but will be taking the odd post with digital for the time being. If I can remember how.

I guess you should try to feel a bit patriotic about this one, but it’s not even blue, white and red. I guess there were no blue liqueurs at the time, as the book often calls for blue vegetable coloring.

Anyway, there’s nothing special here, as far as taste goes. As much as I enjoy Small Hand Foods Grenadine, I just can’t quite bring myself to drink it straight as more than a taste. I sucked the green chartreuse off the top of this one and tossed the rest down the drain after taking the photo.

Can anyone spot the brand on Mrs. Flannestad’s commemorative shot glass? I was hoping it would be more obvious.

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.

Twin Six Cocktail

Twin Six Cocktail
1 Dash Grenadine. (2.5ml or 1/2 tsp Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
4 Dashes Orange Juice. (10ml or 2 tsp Orange Juice)
The White of 1 Egg. (1/2 oz Egg White)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Carpano Antica)
3/4 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin)
Shake well and strain into medium size glass.
I can think of no reason, other than sheer perversity, and a burning question about how the Ransom Old Tom would work in an egg white drink, that I decided to mix up the Twin Six with that gin. There is no way this recipe, originally from Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 book, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks” could possibly be interpreted to include Old Tom.

The name, it appears, referred to a 12 Cylinder engine which the American Auto manufacturer Packard introduced in 1916.

From an article on Driving Today, Packard Twin Six:

The American public went wild over the Twin Six, which they saw as further proof that the United States was the best car-building nation on Earth. When the car was first put on display, some dealers had to call in the police to handle the curious throngs wanting to see the wondrous V-12 engine.

If the Twin Six Engine was noted for it’s, “smooth acceleration in high gear and sufficient power to propel some of the models to 70 mph,” the Twin Six Cocktail could be considered similar in many ways. A relatively strong cocktail, for a sour, it is mostly just the egg white and touch of Italian Vermouth which are smoothing over the power of the gin. I would definitely call this a “deceptively drinkable” cocktail.

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.

Trocadero Cocktail

Trocadero Cocktail
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (Angostura Orange)
1 Dash Grenadine. (Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Dolin Dry)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Carpano Antica)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Add cherry (Amarena Toschi Cherries) and squeeze lemon peel (or orange peel, if you’re out of lemons) on top.

Puzzlingly, Robert Vermeire notes the Trocadero is a, “Recipe of the Bremen Trocadero, 1910.”

I can’t find much information, there is a Trocadero Square in Bremen, Germany. Perhaps there was a club?

A pleasant, slightly sweet, mixture of Italian and French Vermouth, this is a nice, light diversion. Not earth shaking, but then, sometimes a drink doesn’t need to be.

As someone who has self medicated with alcohol for all of my adult life, I often wonder if I can teach myself new tricks.

I mean, sure, I haven’t been a truly bad dog for a number of years, but at some point in middle age isn’t a path towards more moderation a good idea?

My father-in-law recently mentioned, perhaps concerned about my recent dabbling in bartending, that as people he knew grew older, they either slowed down their drinking or tended to fall off the deep end.

But as someone who hasn’t believed in the existence of a higher power beyond the awestruck beauty of the random universe since high school, there won’t be any church basement meetings in my near future. I did my time in churches when I was growing up. I won’t be taking those 12 easy steps back into the chapel.

I mean, oddly, I do often see the groups of whatever Anonymous on their path from one meeting to another during my morning commute. Clutching their booklets filled with meeting schedules and locations. Glancing about nervously, concerned for the well being of their fellow man, and whether they will make it to the next meeting on time.

I do sometimes think they are better people, more caring, than the rest of us jaded commuters. They are certainly more willing to help a homeless person in need.

Maybe I have just been too lucky. I haven’t (so far) lost a house, a job, or a marriage because of my drinking.

Some time in our 30s, Michele and I decided having a few “alcohol-free days” a week would be a good idea.

Since then, we generally try to have at least 3 dry days a week, used to be Sunday through Tuesday.

This had been working pretty well until I started bartending on Sunday nights. Let’s just say, some bartenders drink more than others while they’re working, and they don’t like to drink alone.

And while it is easy to resist, say, the challenge to chug bottles of Pabst, when someone asks me if I would like to have a taste of some very tasty rum or whiskey with them, I do have a hard time saying, “no”. Weakness or character flaw on my part, I know.

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.