Savoy Sunday, Dec 2012

Hercules

I love the smell of Hercules* in the morning!

Stop by Alembic bar tonight, Dec 30, 2012 for the last savoy night of the year.

I promise, my drinks are better than my sketches…

*Hercules #5d

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 tsp. Peppermint Leaf
1/4 Cup Yerba Mate
Zest 2 Tangerine
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
750ml Quady Elektra
1/4 cup Apple-Ation California Apple 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 and then enjoy chilled or where “Hercules” is called for.

Sunday, Savoy Sunday

Savoy Sundays return to Alembic Bar (1725 Haight Street San Francisco, CA 9411), today, June 24th. Be there after 6 PM, it’s a truly Herculean affair.

Hercules #5c

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 tsp. Fennel Seed, crushed
1 package Peppermint Tea
1/4 Cup Yerba Mate
Zest 1 Valencia Orange, 1 Tangerine
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
750ml Quady Elektra
1/4 cup Apple-Ation California Apple 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 and then enjoy chilled or where “Hercules” is called for.

Zed Cocktail

Another month, another Savoy Night. Always great to work with the bar and service staff at Alembic. Over the couple years we’ve been doing them, getting to know these awesome people has been a highlight of this whole project.

In particular, I’ve learned a lot from a staff of bartenders that has been kind of enough to tolerate my awkward presence in their space once a month.

When I mentioned that I was just about done with the “Cocktails” section of the book, all but the “Zed”, Daniel Hyatt said, you have to save that one for us. So, after a medium Savoy Night I settled down on the other side of the bar and asked Danny Louie to whip me up a Zed Cocktail.

Half Calvados and Half “Hercules”, it’s a sort of Manhattan variation, I suppose.

Along with being one of the most technically gifted bartenders I know, Danny is working on getting a food truck together that will specialize in Asian Street Food. Called “TomKat” they are looking towards getting it up and running some time this spring. From what he’s told me, their chef will be tapping into some of his Mom’s recipes for the dishes and Danny plans to handle the front of the house.

Zed Cocktail
1/2 Hercules 5b.*
1/2 Calvados or Apple Brandy. (Chauffe Coeur Calvados VSOP)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze Lemon Peel over glass and drop in.)

Hm, you know this isn’t half bad. Maybe I just like Calvados and my take on “Hercules”, but this is a pretty good feature for both.

*Hercules #5b

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 Seville Oranges
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
750ml Quady Elektra
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 and then enjoy chilled or where “Hercules” is called for.

Well, here it is, the Savoy Cocktail Index, with all entries, Abbey to Zed:

Savoy Cocktail Index

–End of the 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. Hey, wait, this is the Zed. Well, all right, I might as well keep going through the rest.

Wow Cocktail

Wow Cocktail
1/4 Bacardi Rum. (1/2 oz Havana Club 7)
1/4 Hercules. (1/2 oz Hercules 5a)
1/4 Calvados or Apple Brandy. (1/2 oz Calvados Montreuil)
1/4 Brandy. (1/2 oz Osocalis Brandy)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Wow, indeed.

3/4 Booze and 1/4 Aperitif Wine, this is not awful, exactly, but not compelling. Mostly just boozy.

I thought maybe bye choosing Havana Club 7, that I could bring a bit of extra character to the drink, but I think it just distracted from the two brandies. A white rum would have been wiser, I think, in this case.

I guess some of the problem might be that this is not entirely my favorite batch of Hercules. Back to finding Quady Elektra for Hercules, and back to remembering to put the mint tea in.

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.

Volstead Cocktail

Volstead Cocktail
1/4 Lime Juice. (1/2 oz Lime Juice)
3/4 Orange Juice. (1 1/2 oz Orange Juice)
1 Dash of Hercules. (Dash Campari)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Crap! I was out of my home made Hercules when this puppy rolled around.

Anyway, I believe the whole point of this cocktail is that it is non-alcoholic, except for a little bit of potable bitters, so I went with Campari instead. Quite tart!

Interestingly, Harry McElhone’s “ABC of Cocktails”, contains a cocktail with the same name and completely different ingredients: 1/3 Rye Whiskey; 1/3 Swedish Punsch; 1/6 Orange Juice; 1/6 Syrup Framboise; 1 dash of anisette Marie Brizard.

About his nominally more appealing version of the Volstead, McElhone opines:

This cocktail was invented at the Harry’s New York Bar, Paris, in honor of Mr. Andrew J. Volstead, who brought out the Dry Act in U.S.A. and was the means of sending to Europe such large numbers of Americans to quench their thirst.

Not just to Europe, but Mexico, Canada, and Cuba all had their tourism industries jump started by Prohibition and American’s thirst for the hard stuff.

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.

Hercules Redux

Received the following question in a comment:

“I’m curious about the ‘evidence’ for Hercules being a wine-and-herbal yerba-mate drink. Some years ago I thought I found ‘evidence’ that it was a very strong Welsh beer, ie: there was a brand with that name. Since then I have concluded that Hercules was a British version of absinthe, or possibly Czech absinthe bottled here. Vantogrio was certainly Czech. My guess is that it was a non-alcoholic anise-flavoured syrup. But Hercules just has to be strong…”

While there have undoubtedly been numerous products named Hercules over the years, I believe the evidence is fairly conclusive that the “Hercules” called for in Savoy Cocktails was neither an Absinthe Substitute nor a strong Belgian Beer.

Please refer to the topic on eGullet for the full rundown of the timeline of events and theories.

Hercules

Here are some of the ads which friends have turned up and scanned from various London publications, contemporaneous with the publication of the Savoy Cocktail Book.

From the Times, 1927:

From vol. 74 of the Strand Magazine, Jul-Dec. 1927:

From Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, ca. 1928:

From the Times, dated April 21, 1928:

Hercules No. 5

Making a batch of Hercules for tonight’s Savoy Night at Alembic.

Stop by for a warming beverage on this cold, dreary San Francisco Fall night.

Hercules #5

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
1 bag peppermint tea
Rind 2 Seville Oranges
Rind 1/2 Valencia Orange
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
750ml Quady Elektra Orange Muscat
1/4 cup Osocalis Brandy

METHOD: Combine spices, peel, yerba mate and wine. Heat to 160 degrees. Add mint and allow to steep for 15 minutes. 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.

Ramon Newton Cocktail

Ramon Newton Cocktail

Ramon Newton Cocktail.

1/4 Hercules. (1/2 oz “Hercules No. 4*”)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Original Dry)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

Well, there’s nothing wrong with this cocktail. A sort of Bitter Spicy Martini. Still, it’s not going to surpass the Personality A La Roy as my favorite Hercules Test Cocktail.

Doubling the Gentian in Hercules No. 4 was probably a mistake. I kind of like it. But I am a bitter, bitter man. Most likely others will prefer Hercules No. 3.

*Hercules #4

1 Stick Cassia Cinnamon, crushed
2 tsp. Coriander Seed, crushed
8 Whole Cloves, crushed
1 tsp. Quinine Powder
2 tsp Gentian Root
1/4 Cup Yerba Mate
Rind 1 Valencia Orange
1 bag peppermint tea
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
750ml Quady Elektra Orange Muscat
1/4 cup Osocalis Brandy

METHOD: Combine spices, peel, yerba mate and wine. Heat to 140 degrees. Add mint and allow to steep for 15 minutes. 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.

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.

Personality a La Roy Cocktail

Personality a la Roy

Personality a La Roy Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1/4 Hercules. (1/2 oz Underhill Hercules version 3)
1/4 Applejack or Calvados. (1/2 oz Calvados Groult Reserve)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz North Shore Distiller’s No. 6)

Shake (I stirred) well as strain into cocktail glass.

Actually gotten pretty good response both to Underhill Hercules Version 3 and to this cocktail made with it. Not sure where to go from here. Expand the spice component? I think I could slightly enhance the bitter elements as long as I continue to skip Wormwood.

The name is a bit odd, but I have no idea who Roy might have been and what about his personality might have attracted the name of this cocktail?

Perhaps South African poet Roy Campbell? The time is about right for whatever fame he might have generated for himself in South Africa and England.

Here’s an amusing section from his wikipedia entry, circa 1930 or so:

Roy Campbell (poet)

“…moving in literary circles, he was initially on friendly terms with the Bloomsbury Group but then became very hostile to them; he declared that they were sexually promiscuous, snobbish, and anti-Christian. His wife’s lesbian affair with Vita Sackville-West, the lover of Virginia Woolf, was a contributing cause to his changed attitude.”

Oh Vita, with her long legs, wolfhounds, and gardens. Who could resist?

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.