Baladin Cedrata

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Baladin – CEDRATA SODA A journey for the tastes of times gone by. A taste that our memory has registered but has been hiding for a very long time. This is what Cedrata Baladin represents. Its ingredients are simply water, natural brown sugar, lemon juice, carbon dioxide, and the infusion of Calabria citron from Diamante, which gives it its distinctive aroma and flavor. Cedrata Baladin is produced with simple and selected ingredients and contains no colorings or preservatives. A unique drink with an unmistakable taste.

Baladin Cedrata is Lemon soda. It has a nice natural tasting honeyed sweetness, but no bitterness. It’s OK, but I’d prefer something along the lines of bitter lemon. This is Kid stuff.

Nicolaski Cocktail

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Nicolaski Cocktail

2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Dudognon Cognac)
1 Slice Lemon with a little castor sugar spread over it.

Drink Brandy through the prepared lemon.

I have to admit the method here has puzzled me for a long time.

But during one of the opening parties for Heaven’s Dog one of the waiters came up and asked me if I knew what a Nicol-something Cocktail was. He described it a bit and told me the customer said it was a traditional cocktail. I said, well yes, as a matter of fact I did know the cocktail, but I’d never made one, so I’d do my best. I dredged a lemon in sugar, put it on the plate with a shot of Armagnac and sent it out.

The server came back, the patron wanted instead, a slice of lemon, a pile of sugar, and a shot of brandy.

So there you go.

I’m still unclear on the exact method of imbibing the Nicolaski.

Do you take a sip of brandy and then suck on the lemon, like old school Vodka Lemon Drops? Put the sugar coated lemon in your mouth and then suck the brandy through it? Dredge the lemon in sugar, float it in the brandy and drink it through the lemon?

I tried all three and the first seemed the most sensible to 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.

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.

Gazette Cocktail

Gazette Cocktail

1 Teaspoonful Syrup. (1 tsp. Depaz Cane Syrup)
1 Teaspoonful Lemon Juice
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Martini & Rossi Rosso)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Cerbois VSOP Armangac)

Shake (stir?) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Could go either way, shaking or stirring with this one.

A bit odd and pretty OK as cocktails go. Don’t know of too many cocktails that combine sweet vermouth and citrus, aside from the Bronx. As with the Bronx, I found it significantly improved with a drop or two of Aromatic Bitters (Bitter Truth in this case).

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.

Josey Packard

This is the second in an ongoing series of bartender features on the Underhill-Lounge.

Previously, I had experimented by asking the bartender at Montgomery Place to make me a Bombay Cocktail No. 2, but this just seemed to result in a grumpy bartender.

To make it less of a shock, I thought I would contact some local bartenders and give them a choice of the dozen or so Savoy Cocktails that might be coming up in the book.

Surprisingly, some actually were game.

NOTE: Since writing this up, Josey has moved back to the East Coast. When I last talked to her, she was looking for a bartending gig in the Boston area. I will post an update when I know more. I still, however, recommend putting Alembic on your short list of bars to visit in the San Francisco Bay Area.

After about a month of travel, sickness, and scheduling conflicts, I finally was able to get together with Josey Packard at The Alembic Bar to make some Savoy Cocktails. While we were at it, I asked her a couple questions.

Josey’s BIO: I’m a frequent victim of agape: widely varying passions have led me to several different occupations. A vocalist by training, day jobs for me have included that of seamstress, auto mechanic, office manager, carpenter, editor, audio producer, and flooring installer. A keen interest in cocktail history led me to take up work behind the bar, and it is there where I find myself able to marry both vocation and avocation; I’m proud to call myself a bartender. I developed the signature cocktail for the Boston Athenaeum’s 200th anniversary celebration, and have finalized the recipe for two original cocktails, the Wolfhound and the Northern Spy.

Diki-Diki Cocktail

1/6 Grape Fruit Juice.
1/6 Swedish Punch. (Carlshamm’s Flaggpunsch)
2/3 Calvados. (Le Merton Vieux Calvados)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

For comparison, Josey wanted to try this with both white grapefruit and ruby red grapefruit juice.

I think Josey’s first comment was, “Wow, that’s an adult cocktail!” and her second was, “I could drink the hell out of this!” Given the relatively small amount of Grapefruit juice, we were both a bit surprised that the we preferred the touch of sweetness and additional fruitiness that the Ruby Red Grapefruit brought to the cocktail. It was a subtle difference; but, enough to be noticeable. In any case, I agree with Josey about this cocktail. Definitely one of the highlights so far of the letter “D.”

From Google, as far as I can tell, “Diki-Diki” is a Filipino adjective used to convey “very small.” There is also a small African Antelope called a “Dik-Dik.”

Robert Vermeire, in his book, “Cocktails: How to Mix Them,” notes the following regarding this cocktail:

Diki-Diki is the chief monarch of the Island Ubian (Southern Philipines), who is now 37 years old, weighs 23 lb., and his height is 32 in. The author introduced this cocktail at the Embassy Club in London, February 1922.

Q: What ingredient have you been experimenting mixing with lately?

A: I’ve been experimenting with the Luxardo and Maraska Maraschino liqueurs. I was really surprised to discover how differently they work in cocktails and which gins work best with either one.

We had wanted to try the Desert Healer cocktail as well; but discovered the bar was out of ginger beer.

Devonia Cocktail
(6 People)

Pour into the shaker 4 glasses of Sparkling Cider (2 oz Two Rivers Gravenstein Apple Hard Cider) and 2 glasses of Gin (1 oz Gin.) Add some ice and a few drops of Orange Bitters. Shake lightly and serve.

The Devonia was particularly appealing as The Alembic Bar currently has a very nice Hard Cider from Two Rivers on tap. We first tried it with Plymouth Gin; but it was maybe a bit too adult. The Two Rivers Gravenstein cider is a very dry cider, almost like one of the French champagne-style ciders in character. Interesting, however, to compare the cider on its own with the cider, gin, orange bitters mix. Mixing the cider with the gin, really brought out the earthy, apple peel flavors of the cider, especially in the smell.

For a second try, Josey had the idea to try the Devonia with Anchor Distilling’s new Genevieve Genever-style gin. Even though we had no illusions that this cocktail is really a Devonia, we both preferred it. The complexity of the Genevieve worked well with the cider. And, I might add, the Genevieve is a really interesting taste all on its own. The young whisk(e)y character of the distillate comes across loud and clear in the smell, taste, and body of this new gin. Personally, I can’t wait to get a bottle myself and start experimenting with it.


Q: As Alembic is a restaurant and bar, have you found any particularly good food and cocktail pairings?

A: The obvious one is a Martini with our Catfish Cakes. The chef uses Gin in his Catfish cakes and Tonic in his tartar sauce. With a wet martini, it is a great combination. Another pairing that works very well is the Opera Cocktail with the Oxtails.

Q: Do you have an original cocktail or an old favorite you feel represents you and your style of mixing?

Northern Spy
2 oz. Applejack
1 oz. fresh apple cider (flash-pasteurized ok but no preservatives!)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4-1/2 oz. apricot brandy (amount depending on brand/sweetness)
Rim glass with cinnamon-sugar. Shake and strain into rimmed glass. Add a cranberry as garnish.
Note: this cocktail responds well to “royale” treatment, a.k.a. topping with champagne.

I am impossibly biased towards both The Alembic Bar and Josey Packard, so it is tough for me to even pretend impartiality here. Alembic is a great bar and Josey is a wonderfully engaged and engaging bartender.

If you’re in San Francisco and into cocktails, Alembic should be one of the two or three “musts” that goes on your “to do” list. You’ll find Josey there, usually earlier in the evening or during the day, 5 days a week.

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.

Devil’s Cocktail

Devil’s Cocktail

1/2 Port Wine. (1 1/4 oz Ficklin Old Vine Tinta Port)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 1/4 oz Noilly Prat)
2 Dashes Lemon Juice.

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Well, this is an appropriately named cocktail for Halloween.

Though, it really doesn’t seem particularly satanic to me.

It is refreshing, light, and somewhat wine-like.

Aside from the color, perhaps it is a “Devil’s Cocktail” because it doesn’t really seem like it has any alcohol?

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.

Deuville Cocktail

Deuville Cocktail

Deauville Cocktail

1/4 Brandy. (Generous 1/2 oz Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac)
1/4 Calvados. (Generous 1/2 oz Germain-Robin Apple Brandy)
1/4 Cointreau. (Generous 1/2 oz Cointreau)
1/4 Lemon Juice. (Generous 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Quite nice! The equivalent of a 2-1-1 Sidecar.

The use of Brandy and Apple Brandy gives it a bit more interest.

According to wikipedia:

Deauville is a commune of the Calvados département, in the Basse-Normandie région, in France. With its racecourse, harbour, marinas, conference center, villas, Grand Casino and sumptuous hotels, Deauville is regarded as the queen of the Norman beaches.

So the use of Calvados in this cocktail, certainly makes sense.

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.

Darb Cocktail

Darb Cocktail

Darb Cocktail

1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1/3 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Bombay Dry Gin)
1/3 Apricot Brandy. (3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
4 Dashes Lemon Juice. (Juice 1/8 Lemon)

Shake (Stir?) well and strain into cocktail glass.

I also tried this with Zwack Barack Palinka in place of the apricot liqueur. While that combination is, uh, interesting, and sort of like a vaguely apricot flavored Casino Cocktail, I really understood why some friends have said said, “as it started to warm it became somewhat harsh,” about the Culross Cocktail when made with Zwack’s Apricot Eau-de-Vie. I think any cocktail with more than a little Zwack Barack Palinka, and you’re going to want it plenty cold.

Anyway, I stirred this, and double strained to get any stray lemon pulp out. I thought it was a quite attractive. A shimmery translucent peach in color.

According to Bartleby.com, quoting “The Columbia Guide to Standard American English”, “Darb is an Americanism probably nearly obsolete today, a slang word from the 1920s meaning ‘something or someone very handsome, valuable, attractive, or otherwise excellent.’”

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.

Dandy Cocktail

Dandy Cocktail

Dandy Cocktail

1/2 Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (1 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye Whiskey)
1/2 Dubonnet. (1 oz Vergano Americano)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
3 Dashes Cointreau. (1 tsp. Cointreau)
1 Piece Lemon Peel.
1 Piece Orange Peel.

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass.

First, I find Dubonnet, at least as we have it here, made in the good old USA, to be a pretty boring ingredient. I’ve heard rumors that the stuff they have in France and other countries is superior, but I haven’t ever had it in France to know.

Anyway, since I’m out of Dubonnet Rouge and don’t have any Lillet Rouge, I thought I’d sub in the Vergano Americano. Not traditional, I suppose.

I interpreted the rest of the instructions literally, cutting two wide swaths of peel, squeezing them into the ingredients in the mixing tin and dropping them in. Then stirring them with everything else.

The use of peels as an ingredient makes me think of 19th century drinks like Cobblers, though the use of Cointreau and Dubonnet, seems to place the cocktail more squarely in the 20th Century. Perhaps a 20th Century adaptation of a 19th Century recipe?

One interesting note I found in the 1900 edition of “Cocktail Bill Boothby’s American Bartender”:

Some of my recipes for the manufacture of cocktails order the dispenser to twist a piece of lemon peel into the glass in which the drink is to be served; but in some establishments this is forbidden, the bartender being ordered to twist and drop the peel into the mixing glass and strain the peel with the ice when putting the drink into the serving glass. This is merely a matter of form, however, as the flavor is the same in both cases.

So, I guess, this recipe came from one of those establishments!

Anyway, this re-imagined Dandy is pretty fantastic. I’ve made it before with Dubonnet Rouge and thought it kind of “meh”. A slightly tweaked Manhattan. With the Americano, it ends up more similar to a Creole Cocktail, but is quite spicily distinct. With the Americano’s bitter Quinine bite giving more structure, at least to my taste, than the combination of sweet vermouth and Amer Picon in the Creole. The milder flavor of the Rittenhouse seemed more appropriate rather than the Sazerac Straight or Wild Turkey Rye, but I’m sure they would also be quite tasty.

Definitely something I’ll make again.

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.