Revived Corpse

Our Sommelier was taking certification courses regarding Spirits & Cocktails.

She’d been attempting to get her head around Spirits and trying various things to be able to identify them blind.

I was chatting with her about it, and she said she would like me to make her a Corpse Reviver No 2, as she had just read about the drink.

As we were chatting, I discovered that her courseware suggested that Cocchi Americano be used in the drink.

I was, like, “Really!? The actual Sommelier course material suggests using Cocchi Americano in the Corpse Reviver No 2 instead of Lillet Blanc?”

She said that was so. “What’s the big deal?” little knowing she was talking to the person who started the whole Cocchi Americano vs. Lillet Blanc mess oh so long ago.

The Quest for Kina Lillet

Life’s little victories.

Turned out the Corpse Reviver No 2 with Cocchi Americano I made was new favorite drink, she even insisted I teach her to make them. Though perhaps she should have heeded The Savoy Cocktail Book’s warning, “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

Harry Craddock: Lillet Brand Ambassador

Perhaps this exchange will amuse you as much as it did me…

Jared,

It seems like you have some insight into Harry Craddock’s recipe books.

First, do you know, as we have inferred, if the Corpse Reviver No 2 is
one of his original cocktails?

Second, do you know if the recipe dates from his time in NY or if it
shows up after his move to the UK?

Lastly, can you think of any instances of Kina Lillet/Lillet showing
up in American cocktail books before prohibition?

Some questions we all have regarding Lillet!

All the best,

Erik Ellestad

Three great questions. I’ll take a look through the files and get back to you.

Cheers,
Jared

Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller
Mixellany Limited

Thanks Jared!

I took a look through Hugo Ensslin this AM and found no Kina Lillet/Lillet.

Plenty of Dubonnet and other more esoteric ingredients & liqueurs, but no Kina Lillet.

Also, interestingly, though I have identified sources for many of the recipes in the Savoy Cocktail Book, (Ensslin, Thomas, McElhone, Judge Jr, etc.) up to now, none of the Savoy Cocktail Book Kina Lillet/Lillet recipes have yet been identified as coming from any other source.

Hmmm, I guess Craddock was not just the world’s largest Hercules and Caperitif fan at the time, but maybe the world’s first Lillet Brand Ambassador.

;-)

Erik E.

Truer than you realize. Craddock appeared in 1930s ads for Lillet in a UK trade magazine.

Cheers,
Jared

Then, as now, it seems, finding brand name ingredients in a cocktail book recipe is generally more of an indication of an advertising or sponsorship deal with the author or publisher, than anything else.

Previous Lillet Posts:

The Quest for Kina Lillet

Kina Quest 2: Necromancing the Stone

Kina Quest 3: Compare and Contrast

Kina Quest IV: Enuff Iz Enuff

Kina Lillet Clone

Kina Lillet, 2012

Lillet Vermouth

Lillet Vermouth

In the previous Lillet Post, Kina Lillet, 2012, we talked a bit about David Embury.

His two quotes which contributed to the discussion were as follows:

“My own favorite French vermouth today is Lillet (pronounced lee’lay) made by Lillet Freres of Podensac, France. Do not confuse it with the Lillet aperitif made by the same company and originally sold under the name of Kina Lillet.”

“In commenting on Lillet vermouth, I warned not to confuse this brand of vermouth with the aperitif wine, originally known as Kina Lillet but now called simply Lillet. If, by accident, you get a bottle of the wine instead of the vermouth, what do you do with it? Well, here are a few of the old-time recipes using Kina Lillet. I definitely do not recommend any of them.”

It now appears that the Lillet company DID produce a vermouth during the middle part of the 20th Century.

Frogprincesse, again, in the eGullet.org forums:

Page 207 it explains that, at some point after 1945, there was indeed another type of Lillet, “Lillet dry type canadien” at 18°. The bottle had a green label similar to Martini extra dry. It was an aperitif based on French vermouths such as Noilly Prat. So clearly David Embury was referring to this French vermouth-style Lillet in the Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948).

So, what does that mean?

Well, first, and most practical, if there are any recipes where Embury calls for Lillet other than in those “old-time recipes”, you should instead use Noilly Prat vermouth.

On the other hand, it means those comments from Embury are of no consequence regarding any inferences about the nature of Kina Lillet, Lillet Blanc, or Lillet in the US before prohibition, the UK during prohibition, or the US after prohibition.

However, the main question remains:

What version of Lillet would have been available in America before prohibition and in England during prohibition? And, ultimately, does the current product reflect the Lillet that might have been available at either of those times?

Previous Lillet Posts:

The Quest for Kina Lillet

Kina Quest 2: Necromancing the Stone

Kina Quest 3: Compare and Contrast

Kina Quest IV: Enuff Iz Enuff

Kina Lillet Clone

Kina Lillet, 2012

White Negroni

From Suze

Tried three white negroni variations last night using the ratios from the PDT Cocktail Book ratio as a starting point.

2 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Suze

2 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc
1/2 oz Salers

2 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Tempus Fugit Kina l’Avion d’Or
1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Grand Classico Bitter

The first is the original White Negroni created by Wayne Collins when a friend gave him some Suze to play with. I am gradually coming to the conclusion that either my Suze is tired, or I just don’t like it. The original was my least favorite of the bunch. I kind of kept thinking, it would have been a perfectly fine cocktail, if it didn’t have the Suze in it.

According to some friends, a recipe for a ‘white negroni’ is being made at Dutch Kills in New York using Dolin Blanc instead of Lillet Blanc. This was a nice feature for the Saler’s, and a tasty cocktail, though it really didn’t evoke the aesthetic of a Negroni.

The third was the most ‘negroni’ of the three, adding the herbal accents of the Gran Classico. Guests were split about 50-50 between it and a classic negroni.

Barney Barnato Cocktail

Barney Barnato Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Curacao. (1 barspoon Marie Brizard Curacao)
1/2 Caperitif. (1 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc)
1/2 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Germain-Robin Fine Alembic Brandy)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

Sometimes you get nothing when researching cocktails, and sometimes it feels like you’ve stepped into the deep end.

Barney Barnato was born Barnett Isaacs in the Whitechapel neighborhood of London in 1852. His father was a shop keeper on Petticoat Lane. He was a comedian, boxer, and probably a huckster. After hearing how well some of his relatives had done in South African “Diamond Rush”, he followed them there, with naught but a box of cigars. Somehow he was able to prosper, and went on to found one of the two largest diamond mining firms in the history of that country. Due to some faulty business decisions, after a long struggle, in 1888 he was forced to allow his main competitor to buy him out. The check written to him at that time, for some £5,338,650, was the single largest check written up to that time in human history. The company, part of which he founded, went on to become De Beers. He operated in politics, for a while; but, events got ahead of him, and he left the country in 1897, shortly before the start of the Anglo-Boer war. He died as a result of falling from, being thrown from, or throwing himself from, the ship on the way back to England. Opinions differ.

The problem with this cocktail is “Caperitif”. The coctaildb ingredient database describes Caperitif as, “Defunct proprietary South African sweet deep golden quinquina from Capetown – along the lines of Lillet blanc.” Fortunately, the recent resurgence of the Vesper should make Lillet blanc an easy commodity to come by in most bars. Many cocktail receipts suggest Dubonnet for this. I guess, unlike most recipes, in this case, they probably mean Dubonnet blanc.

The Barney Barnato cocktail, itself, is a fairly subtle and sophisticated affair. A bit sweet, a little bitter, a little orange. None of the elements really dominate. Very nice.

One last point, the Tiffany Diamond was likely discovered in a mine owned by Barnato in 1877 or 1878. I think there is a striking resemblance between the color of this drink and the color of that most impressive gem.

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.