Melba Cocktail

Melba Cocktail

Melba Cocktail

2 Dashes Grenadine. (2/3 teaspoon Homemade Grenadine)
2 Dashes Absinthe. (2/3 teaspoon Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime. (Juice 1/2 lime)
1/2 Glass Bacardi Rum. (1 oz Montecristo Silver)
1/2 Glass Swedish Punch. (1 oz Homemade Swedish Punsch)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (If desired add a cherry, preferably Luxardo or Toschi.)

I had high hopes for the Melba, but I’m not quite sure it lived up to them.

A very good cocktail, that I could imagine being popular, it just doesn’t quite have the magic of the very similar Corpse Reviver No. 2 (with Swedish Punsch).

By pushing the sweet/sour focus out a bit further, it loses the refreshing lightness of the Corpse Reviver. Ends up being a bit heavy.

Still, all in all, a tasty cocktail. One of the few I can think of involving Absinthe and Rum. Definitely some promise there!

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.

Margato Cocktail (Special)

Margato Special

Margato Cocktail (Special)

1/3 Bacardi Rum. (3/4 oz Montecristo White Rum)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1 Dash Kirsch. (1/3 tsp. Trimbach Kirsch)
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
The Juice of 1/3 Lime.
A little sugar (scant teaspoon caster sugar) dissolved in soda-water.

Shake well and serve in cocktail glass.

Uh right. If this recipe makes sense to anyone, feel free to let me know. Who measures “The Juice of 1/3 Lime”?

It’s pretty OK. Tasting mostly like a slightly vermouth-ey glass of tart lemonade. Certainly, the alcohol is well disguised. Maybe that is the point?

There is a Cuban rum cocktail with dry vermouth and lime. Not El Presidente, I can’t think of what it is called. I suppose this is sort of a “perfect” version of that cocktail.

Oh right, to answer my own question, it is the “Presidente Vincent” 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.

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.

Gimblet Cocktail


Gimblet Cocktail

1/4 Lime Juice. (3/4 oz Lime Juice)
3/4 Dry Gin. (2 1/4 oz Gin)
(Dash Maraschino Liqueur)
(Drop 1/2 lime shell into shaker)

Shake well and strain into medium size glass, (letting some ice go into the glass as you strain); fill up with soda water.

OK, I admit the tartness of this scared me a bit. So I added a bare dash of Maraschino. It would probably be perfectly fine without. The hint of added complexity was nice, though.

I could definitely see enjoying this bracing refresher on a hot, lazy summer afternoon.

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.

Erik Adkins

This is the third 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.

When I was giving Josey Packard my spiel trying to convince her to appear in Savoy topic, it turned out another of the patrons at the bar was a bartender, Mr. Erik Adkins.

Mr. Adkins is the bar manager at The Slanted Door here in San Francisco.

I told him how impressed I was with the bar program at the Slanted Door and he said he reads eGullet. Oh ho!

We exchanged contact info, and I filed him away as someone to contact for participation in the Savoy Topic.

After I finished the last bartender feature, I started mailing around looking for someone to participate next.

Of the people I mailed, Mr. Adkins responded and said he was opening a new bar in Oakland with a classic cocktail menu. Let’s meet there!

Flora is a new restaurant in a beautiful deco building a block away from the 19th Street BART station in Oakland. When Mr. Adkins and I met up early Friday evening, it had been open for exactly 6 days! The cocktail menu is composed of about a dozen pre-prohibition classics and a few original cocktails.

Erik is the bar manager at the Slanted Door in San Francisco. He is also working as a bar consultant for Flora, a cocktail bar in a vintage deco building in downtown Oakland.

Doctor Cocktail

1/3 Lemon Juice or Lime Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
2/3 Swedish Punch. (1 1/2 oz Carlshamm’s Flagg Punsch)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I continue my Swedish Punsch evangelizing, toting the Carlshamm’s Flagg Punsch a friend smuggled back from Sweden from bar to bar.

This is a pretty rich cocktail, modernizing would probably be a matter of slightly drying it out with a decent white rum, say 1 oz Flagg Punsch, 1/2 oz rum.

Erik Adkins’ comments:

dr. cocktail was good. not subtle or complex but that exotic arrack flavor came through without too much of the ‘agricole rhum’ harshness that the 100 proof arrack delivers.

Dolly O’Dare Cocktail

6 Dashes Apricot Brandy. (1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz)

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

For this one, we tried two variables. Tanqueray 10 Gin, Plymouth Gin, Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot, and Haus Alpenz Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie.

For my money, the Tanqueray 10 and Orchard Apricot was the most enjoyable. Others preferred the drier, more martini-esque nature, of the Plymouth and the Eau-de-Vie. Interestingly, the other two, the Plymouth/liqueur and Tanqueray/Eau-de-Vie fared the worst. An interesting illustration of how relatively minor tweaks such as the brand and character of gin can have a big impact.

Erik Adkins’ Comments:

the dolly o dare! great name and a good drink. i made one for gus, an alembic regular and one of the soms at the slanted door, and he loved it. i agree with you that the tanq 10 with the apricot liquor worked the best. although the 10 with the eau-de-vie wasn’t bad either. the liquor gave the drink some needed body and the orange peel lent a lot too. the alpine complexity of the gin , with a hint of richness from the apricot, with the dry vermouth finish worked for me. a nice light aperitif style cocktail.

Q: What are the biggest challenges to presenting classic cocktails to modern audiences?

one of the big challenges with selling classic cocktails is getting people to take the first sip of something new. most people have only had gin in tepid overly large martinis and maybe a gin and tonic from a syrupy soda gun. and almost no one knows that vermouth is delicious. if they have ever had more than a few drops in a drink it has almost surely been oxidized. sadly the more drinks that i put on the list at the slanted door with gin, cognac, whiskey or rum the more people order the ‘safe drinks’. as bartenders we are being forced to be subversive to sell good drinks. i’ve been quietly pouring 4 to 1 martinis and gin drinkers love them. there’s nothing greater than watching a group of young ladies drinking clover clubs because you don’t carry midori.

Finally, Mr. Adkins was kind enough to send along one of the drinks he created for Flora:

carter beats the devil

2 oz el tesoro reposado
1 oz lime
1/2 oz organic agave nectar (rainbow bulk)
1/2 oz del maguey minero mescal
20 drops (eye dropper) of chile tincture

served up

chile tincture: fill a jar with de-stemmed intact thai chilles and cover with wray & nephew overproof for two weeks.

carter was a 1920s era magician from oakland. his biography is entitled carter beats the devil.

The magician aspect seems particularly apt.

Flora had been open only 6 days before I was in to meet up with Mr. Adkins and had only received their liquor license the day before. I was there early in the evening, and was fascinated to watch as experienced bartenders tried to transform the awkwardness of unfamiliarity into the graceful dance of professional bar service. I don’t know if they quite succeeded that night, but, I have no doubt that, within the month, patrons will be startled as magically re-animated suits of armor crash up to the bar to enjoy one of Flora’s well made Martinis and bartenders offer them bunches of flowers pulled from their sleeves.

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.

Daiquiris, A Cautionary Tale

“The moment, now, had arrived for a Daiquiri: seated near the cool drip of the fountain, where a slight stir of air seemed to ruffle the fringed mantone of a bronze dancing Andalusian girl, I lingered over the frigid mixture of Ron Bacardi, sugar, and a fresh vivid green lime.

“It was a delicate compound, not so good as I was to discover later at the Telegrafo, but still a revelation, and I was devoutly thankful to be sitting, at that hour in the Inglaterra, with such a drink. It elevated my contentment to an even higher pitch ; and, with a detached amusement, I recalled the fact that farther north prohibition was formally in effect. Unquestionably the cocktail on my table was a dangerous agent, for it held, in its shallow glass bowl slightly encrusted with undissolved sugar, the power of a contemptuous indiffernce to fate ; it set the mind free of responsibility; obliterating both memory and tomorrow, it gave the heart an adventitious feeling of superiority and momentarily vanquished all the celebrated, the eternal, fears.

“Yes, that was the danger of skilfully prepared, intoxicating drinks. . . . The word intoxicating adequately expressed their power, their menace to orderly monotonous resignation. A word, I thought further, debased by moralists from its primary ecstatic content. Intoxication with Ron Bacardi, with May, with passion, was a state threatening to privilege, abhorrent to authority. And, since the dull were so fatally in the majority, they had succeeded in attaching a heavy penalty to whatever lay outside their lymphatic understanding. They had, as well, made the term gay an accusation before their Lord, confounding it with loose, so that now a gay girl certainly the only girl worth a ribbon or the last devotion was one bearing upon her graceful figure, for she was apt to be reprehensibly graceful, the censure of a society open to any charge other than that of gaiety in either of its meanings. A ridiculous, a tragic, conclusion, I told myself indifferently: but then, with a fresh Daiquiri and a sprig of orange blossoms in my buttonhole, it meant less than nothing.”

A short extract from Joseph Hergesheimer’s 1920 book, “San Cristobal de la Habana.”

For me, it is tough to improve on that, other than just giving a recipe for a Daiquiri.

The traditional Daiquiri recipe is as follows:

The Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Teaspoonful of castor or superfine sugar
2 oz Bacardi Rum (Ideally Havana Club Añejo Blanco. However, given the current US embargo of Cuban products, another Cuban-Style Rum like Flor de Cana Extra Dry, Appleton White, or Matusalem Platino, will likely have to do.)

Juice lime into mixing glass. Drop spent lime shell into mixing glass. Measure sugar and rum. Add ice, cap your shaker and shake until the outside of the shaker frosts. Strain into cocktail glass.

According to Wayne Curtis, in his informative and entertaining book, “And A Bottle of Rum,” Ernest Hemingway visited “El Floridita” in Cuba. When he saw Constantino Ribalaigua Vert making Daiquris he asked to taste one. He then said, “That’s good, but I prefer it without sugar and double rum.” This version became known as the “Papa Double.” Later in life, it is said Hemingway became fond of another version with a splash of grapefruit juice and a dash of Maraschino Liqueur. This is sometimes called the “Hemingway Special.”

We’ll try that.

Hemingway Special

2 oz Flor de Cana Extra Dry Rum
Juice 1/2 Lime
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

A portion of a track from David Torn’s excellent new ECM recording “Prezens” accompanies the cocktail making today.

This ended up a tad on the tart side for me. However, I think it has plenty of Maraschino, so perhaps, if you don’t like tart cocktails, add a half teaspoon of simple syrup or Caster Sugar.

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.