Morning Glory Fizz

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) 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.

Morning Glory Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon or 1 Lime. (Juice 1/2 Lemon, Juice 1/2 Lime)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 heaping teaspoon caster sugar)
The White of 1 Egg.
2 Dashes Absinthe (2 dash Absinthe Verte)
1 Glass Scotch Whisky (2 oz Highland Park 8, Gordon & MacPhail)
Shake well, strain into long tumbler and fill with syphon soda water.

The Morning Glory Fizz, (unrelated to the Morning Glory Cocktail,) is another Savoy Fizz from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”.
Interestingly, Ensslin gives the recipe as:

Juice of ½ Lime; Juice of ½ Lemon; 1 teasponful Powdered Sugar; White of 1 Egg; 2 dashes Absinthe; 1 drink Scotch Whiskey. Made and served as directed for Plain Gin Fizz.

While Ensslin suggests the juice of half a lemon and half a lime, the Savoy Cocktail Book suggests you choose between them, significantly altering the sweet/sour balance. I chose to follow Hugo Ensslin’s advice and found the results pleasant. Whether you will agree, I guess depends on where you fall on the whole, “not too sweet spectrum”.

As a drink maker, you have complete control over the level of sweetness in the drinks you make and it’s pretty easy to make the drinks you like. It’s more tricky when you have to figure out what someone else means by, “not too sweet”. I mean, almost no one ever asks for a Sweet Cocktail.

I remember one conversation I had that went something like:

Guest: If I asked you to make something with Baileys, what would you make?

Me: Unfortunately, we don’t have Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Guest: So you couldn’t make a White Russian?

Me: (Thinking: What? there’s no Bailey’s in a White Russian.) We do have cream and Coffee Liqueur, I would be happy to make you something similar to a White Russian.

Guest: Never mind, tell me about your cocktails. I don’t like anything too sweet.

Me: (Thinking: Same person who wants a White Russian with Bailey’s doesn’t like her cocktails too sweet? Does Not Compute.) Do you enjoy ginger flavor in a cocktail? I think you will find this cocktail refreshing and enjoyable.

I made her the Biarritz Monk Buck, a Brandy Cocktail with Lemon, Ginger and Yellow Chartreuse. She enjoyed it enough to thank me for my suggestion when her group was leaving the restaurant.

Ninety percent of the time, the challenge isn’t making the drinks, it’s interpreting from the guest what they really want.

I use the word “interpret” because there’s a lot of jargon around mixed drinks and bartending which I am nominally fluent in, such that it’s practically a dialect of its own, but I can’t really expect guests to understand. “Up”, “Rocks”, “Dry”, “Perfect”, “Sweet”, “Dirty”, etc.

But my idea of a “not too sweet” cocktail is often a long distance from what a guest might mean. If anything, all the cocktails I make, that aren’t after dinner stickies, fall into the category of “not too sweet”. Generally a guest isn’t going to want a cocktail any less sweet than the recipes we make at either place I sometimes tend bar.

But sometimes they do, I’ll make them a standard recipe for their first drink and they’ll say, “Could you make something a little less sweet for the next drink?” We even had one person at Alembic Savoy Nights who would always order a Crow Cocktail: 2/3 Bourbon, 1/3 Lemon, but ask for it without even the dash of Grenadine. Now that’s a Whiskey Sour! But more commmonly, I’ll get “That was good but a little too tart for me, could you make something a little sweeter”.

Either way, it’s not hard to tweak recipes a little this way or that, the hard part is making the guest comfortable enough that they feel like they can ask for what they want. While there are undoubtedly bars and establishments in San Francisco which employ a sort of S&M ethic to their customer relations, it’s not my thing. I would prefer that we all make it to the end of the night a little happier than when we started. No whips, no chains, and minimal scarring.

And, well, unless you are a Scotch Whisky Stickler, a Morning Glory Fizz with Highland Park 8, is a fine start. Think of it as a slightly peaty Rattlesnake, don’t worry about the bite. The cocktail doesn’t, and neither do I.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Hoffman Fizz

Dinner Prep

Prep for Fusilli with Summer Vegetables.

Hoffman Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lime, Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 Teaspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Glass Gin. (2 oz Leopold’s Gin)
Shake well strain into medium size glass and fill with sypon soda water. Add teaspoonful of Grenadine (1 Teaspoon Small Hand Foods Grenadine).

Similar to the Albemarle Fizz, but with Grenadine instead of Raspberry Syrup. I have to admit, as much as I like Small Hand Foods Grenadine, there was something just a bit nicer about the Albemarle. Maybe the fragrance of the Raspberries? Grenadine makes a drink that is just a tad leaner than one made with Raspberry Syrup.

The music in the video is from a new CD by The Thing with Jim O’Rourke called, “Shinjuku Growl”.

Fusilli with Kabocha Squash, small tomatoes, Snap Peas, and corn. AKA leftovers pasta. Really tasty, all the same.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Derby Fizz

Derby Fizz
5 Dashes Lemon Juice. (Generous squeeze Lemon Juice)
1 Teaspoonful of Powdered Sugar. (1 teaspoon of Caster Sugar)
1 Egg.
1 Glass Canadian Club or Scotch Whisky. (2 oz Highland Park 8 Year, the MacPhail’s Collection)
3 Dashes Curacao. (1 teaspoon Clement Creole Shrubb)
Shake well, strain into medium size glass and fill with soda water.

Clearly, I am going to catch Scotch whisky nerd hell for making this drink with the 8 year Highland Park Whisky from The MacPhail’s Collection. However, the only blended Scotch whisky I have is the Famous Grouse, and, as far as I can tell, you might as well use vodka as Famous Grouse.

Anyway, this is the youngest Single Malt I have in the house, and not a particularly expensive dram, either. But I do like it. It has a lot of the same character as the Highland Park 12, but with a little less polish and a lot more youthful vigor. I usually drink it with some water, as it is, so a cocktail didn’t seem like much of a stretch.

I have to admit, though, I’m on the fence whether the Highland Park was wasted in the Derby Fizz. Definitely, with a whole egg and soda water, any less assertive Scotch wouldn’t have had much impact at all.

Also, this is not a particularly sour Fizz, basically April’s Egg Sour with a splash of soda, and, as such, I think that serves featuring the whiskey well.

Still, the drink ends up being a little rich for my taste, at least for early evening drinking. Though, it might be a way to get your protein at Breakfast without having to choke down some god awful over-cheesed omelet and mushy hash browns. Cup of coffee on the side and you’ve got a nice peaty, smoky liquid Brunch. Just be glad I didn’t garnish the Derby Fizz with a strip of bacon…

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Wyoming Swing Cocktail

Wyoming Swing Cocktail
The Juice of 1/4 Orange. (Juice 1/2 Clementine)
1/2 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 tsp Homemade Orgeat)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Vya Vermouth)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)
Shake well and strain into medium size glass, and fill with soda water.

One of those nights where I could really use a drink after work. Looking forward to a cocktail called “Wyoming Swing”! Surely it must at least have whiskey!


Crap, it’s a not-tail! Vermouth, Orange Juice, and Soda.

Damn it.

Well, I chose to spice it up a bit with Orgeat, just for varieties’ sake, instead of plain sugar. Why not?

Actually, it surprised me how enjoyable a drink this was.

Didn’t stop me from pouring myself a glass of whiskey afterward.

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

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.

Tom & Jerry Cocktail

Tom and Jerry.*
1 Egg.
1/2 Glass Jamaica Rum. (1/2 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum)
1 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (Heaping Teaspoon Caster Sugar)
1/2 Glass Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Pellahaut Armaganac Reserve)
Beat up yolk and white of egg separately. Then mix the yolk, and white together. Use stem glass or china mug, adding the spirits, then fill with boiling water, grating nutmeg on top.

*The Tom and Jerry was invented by Professor Jerry Thomas — rise please — over seventy years ago, in the days when New York was the scene of the soundest drinking on earth. The Tom and Jerry and the Blue Blazer — the latter a powerful concoction of burning whisky and boiling water– were the greatest cold weather beverages of that era.

Well, from reading David Wondrich’s fine book, “Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar,” we know that Jerry Thomas probably did not invent this drink. It really isn’t anything more than a hot flip, a pretty darn common drink, though flips were more likely made with Ale or Fortified Wine in the early days of our country.

For some reason this cocktail is one which, like Egg Nog, provokes a pretty strong response when you mention it to people. I’m not really exactly sure why, as it is nothing more than boozy custard in a glass, something I am totally down with. Heck, the eggs are even cooked. I guess, like Egg Nog, it probably has to do with people’s bad experiences with Tom & Jerry made from pre-packaged, over sweet, “batters”.

I got some flack from friends, when I mentioned I was making a Tom and Jerry in August. Suffering through horrible hot summers on the East Coast or in the Midwest, they were like, “Are you crazy?” Let me assure you, Tom & Jerrys are perfectly appropriate drinks for the fog shrouded, misty, cold nights that pass for “summer” here in San Francisco. It wasn’t for naught that Mark Twain was (incorrectly) attributed with the following quote, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

As far as method goes, this worked pretty well for a bar friendly method the other night: Add the egg, booze, and sugar to a mixing tin with the spring from a hawthorne strainer. “Dry Shake” vigorously for 10 seconds. Break the seal. Remove the spring.  Into the tin without the eggs, add about an ounce of hot water from the hot water tower. Pour the hot water into the whipped eggs, then quickly back and forth between the tins several times. Pour into a glass, and top with freshly grated nutmeg.

Instant Tom & Jerry, and boy, the Smith & Cross and Armagnac combination is freaking delicious.

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.

Royal Cocktail (No. 1)

Royal (No. 1)-3

Royal Cocktail (No. 1).
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (Generous Bar Spoon Caster Sugar)
1 Egg.
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz Aviation Gin)
Shake well and strain into medium size glass.
Haven’t had Aviation Gin in the house for a while, but the generous folks at House Spirits in Portland, Oregon were kind enough to send this bottle along.

I don’t like it for everything, but it was tasty enough in this simple Gin Sour with an egg.

Like a lot of modern (or New Western) style gins, they include some non-traditional botanicals in their flavorings.  In Aviation’s case, the big departure is Lavender.  Nice, but it just doesn’t work in some drinks.  Actually, IMHO, its namesake the Aviation, is one of those drinks where it really doesn’t work all that well.  But that is neither here nor there.

I enjoyed it in this drink, the Royal Cocktail (No. 1), and also think it makes a fine ATTY.  Other than that, you’re on your own.  Let me know what you find out.

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.

Almond Cocktail

Almond Cocktail

(6 People)

Slightly warm 2 Glasses of Gin (2 oz Beefeaters Gin). Add a teaspoonful of powdered sugar (1/2 tsp. Caster Sugar). Soak in this six peeled almonds (4 halved and lightly roasted almonds) and if possible a crushed peach kernel (crushed plum kernel), and allow to cool. When the mixture is cold add a dessertspoonful of Kirsch (1 tablespoon Trimbach Kirsch), one of Peach Brandy (1 tablespoon Massenez creme de peche), a glass of French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Pratt) and 2 glasses of any sweet White Wine (2 oz Bonny Doon Riesling). Shake thoroughly with plenty of ice.

Patrick Gavin Duffy gives this the lascivious sounding alternate name, “A Young Girl’s Fancy,” in his “Mixer’s Manual”. For all the work, my wife and I both thought this an odd tasting cocktail. Nutty, peachy and slightly but not overly sweet. Not bad, just kind of odd.

I also had some pyro fun, lighting the gin and pouring a long burning stream over the almonds. Mrs. Underhill did not approve. Something about burning down the house.

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.