Stone Daisy

Stone Daisy

2 oz Compass Box Great King St Artist’s Blend
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup
Samuel Smith’s Organic Hard Cider
Apple Peel
Fruit, in season for garnish

Peel Apple as for Crusta and line wine glass with peel. Half fill with Cracked ice. Shake drink with ice and strain into glass. Fill with Hard Cider. Garnish with strawberry, sliced apple, and mint sprigs.

Again thinking Apple was sorely under-represented in the Daisy category, I wondered if a Daisy made with Hard Cider was still a Daisy or something else. I was tempted to make this one again with Apple Jack, but then I remembered the Stone Fence. Scotch and Hard Apple Cider, now there’s something to try…

You know how everyone writes the lemon technique in Crusta recipes always, “Peel Lemon in spiral fashion, as you would an Apple”? Being the perverse cuss that I am, I felt strangely compelled to write a recipe where the Apple would be peeled as you would the lemon in the Crusta.

The Great King St Artist’s Blend is a relatively reasonably priced Blended Scotch Whisky intended as a remedy to the slightly moribund territory of Mr. Walker and his friends. Scotch Whisky geeks disagree on whether this new expression from Compass Box quite as good as they were hoping it would be. It is an enjoyable whisky and works pretty well in this cocktail. If I had any criticism, it would be that it is priced only nominally reasonably, and for the price of the Great King St Blended Whiskey, you can get a pretty decent Single Malt Scotch. Though, of course, no one will bust your balls about using the Great King St in a Highball or Daisy.

Regarding the drink… I used an English hard cider from Samuel Smith’s. I don’t really like most English Hard Cider. I find the Samuel Smith’s Hard Cider very nearly enjoyable in the Stone Daisy, as long as you don’t use too much, and it is maybe the best English Hard Cider I’ve tried so far. The drink would be better with a nice, dry hard cider from France.

Highland Cooler

Highland Cooler
1 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (Er, I, uh forgot the sugar.)
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (dash Dr. Elmegirab’s Boker’s Bitters)
1 Glass Scotch Whisky. (2 oz Highland Park 8, The Machphail’s Collection)
1 Lump of Ice.
Use long tumbler and fill with Ginger Ale (Err, Soda).

The first time I made this, I didn’t read the recipe very closely, forgot the sugar, and filled the drink with soda instead of Ginger Ale.

I kind of liked it. I was surprised how much “sweet” character comes from the Highland Park alone. A dash or two more of simple and this was really good.

I also didn’t have any Ginger Ale or Beer in the house at the time, so a redo would have to wait for another day.

Highland Cooler
1 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 tsp Rich Simple Syrup)
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (dash Angostura Bitters)
1 Glass Scotch Whisky. (2 oz The MacAllan Cask Strength)
1 Lump of Ice.
Use long tumbler and fill with Ginger Ale (Bruce Cost’s Ginger Beer).

The second time, a couple days later, I managed to get everything in the drink. Of course, by this time, I had also remembered the Mamie Taylor, which is pretty much exactly the same drink, with lime instead of Lemon.

Both are good, but I kind of enjoyed the soda version a little more, it is a better feature for the Scotch Whisky, if you are using something nice. It also could be just due to the fact that I prefer the Highland Park 8 to the MacAllan Cask Strength.

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.

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.

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.

Karl K. Kitchen Cocktail

Cocktails Suitable for A Prohibition Country.

The following cocktails are especially suited for those countries where they make the best of Prohibition, and where the ingredients for making them are obtainable without much difficulty.

Karl K. Kitchen Cocktail
1/4 White Grape Juice. (1/2 oz Santa Cruz Organic White Grape Juice)
4 Dashes Grenadine or Raspberry Syrup. (1 teaspoon Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
3/4 Scotch Whisky. (1 oz Famous Grouse, 1/2 oz John Mark and Robbo’s Smokey Peaty One)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

You know, there’s this discussion, is someone who mixes up drinks a Bartender or a Mixologist? Generally, we say, someone who makes up drinks and doesn’t work behind a bar can call themselves a Mixologist, if they want to use a made up, vaguely scientific, name for what they do. Well, instead of “Dipsologist”.

So, I guess Karl K. Kitchen was out of Dry Vermouth during prohibition and used White Grape Juice instead.

Right now, I’m going to go on the line and say, “Karl K. Kitchen, that was a very bad idea.”

Pretty sure you qualify as neither a Bartender or a Mixologist.

I mean, I was expecting this to be bad, but it is just really bad.

Well, OK, it isn’t quite as bad as the completely inexplicable Wembley Cocktail (No. 2), with its combination of Scotch, Dry Vermouth, and Pineapple Juice, but still, pretty darn bad.

Karl K. Kitchen, of the New York World, is not a metropolitan but a cosmopolitan newspaper man, who from Petrograd to Paducah is rated as one who is distinctly ‘in the know.'”

Back to the newroom for you, Mr. Kitchen, you know a bit less than you think.

If this cocktail is any indication, I will be longing for “Non-Alcoholic” libations pretty shortly. It’s no wonder people would drink just about anything during Prohibition.

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.

Whizz-Bang Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Jan 30, 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.

Whizz-Bang Cocktail
2 Dashes Absinthe. (2 Dash Absinthe Duplais Verte)
2 Dashes Grenadine. (1 tsp. Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (2 Dash Angostura Orange)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
2/3 Scotch Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Highland Park 8 Year Old, MacPhail’s Collection)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.
I suspect the source of this cocktail is Robert Vermiere’s 1922 recipe book, “Cocktails: How to Mix Them”. He notes, “Recipe by Tommy Burton, Sports’ Club, London, 1920. This cocktail is named after the high-velocity shells, so called by the “Tommies” during the war, because all you heard was a whiz and the explosion of the shell immediately afterwards.”

From the wikipedia article:

Tommy Atkins – or Thomas Atkins – has been used as a generic name for a common British soldier for many years. The precise origin is a subject of debate, but it is known to have been used as early as 1743. A letter sent from Jamaica about a mutiny amongst the troops says “except for those from N. America (mostly Irish Papists) ye Marines and Tommy Atkins behaved splendidly”. The surname Atkins means “little son of red earth”, a reference to the soldiers in their red tunics. Tommy (a diminutive of Thomas), meaning twin, has been a very popular English male name since Saint Thomas Becket was martyred in the 12th century.

For all the not so subtle menace implied by the name and the quote, this is a fairly easy going and drinkable cocktail. A sort of Rob Roy variation, the dry vermouth allows the Scotch to come more to the fore, even with the few embellishments. I got this Absinthe in a small tasting bottle a while ago, and am finding it pleasant, though a tad less assertive compared to other Absinthes I sometimes use. I suppose that isn’t entirely a bad thing for mixed drinks.

You sometimes get requests for Scotch Cocktails and there are not really all that many options. The Whizz-Bang would be a nice change up from the usual Bobby Burns, Rob Roy, Affinity, Blood and Sand, Laphroig Project, and Penicillin Cocktails.

Breaking News Update!

Between my making this cocktail and the post hitting the schedule, I heard from Craig Lane, of Bar Agricole. He wanted to put the cocktail on the menu there and was looking for source corroboration for the story related to its origin.

I provided the quote from Robert Vermeire and he asked if I was interested in the specifics of the version at their restaurant. Well, of course!

We decided to use the Sutton Cellars Brown Label vermouth, which synced up rather nicely with the palate of Famous Grouse. It was one of those recipes that didn’t require much tweaking after that. 1.5 oz Scotch, .75 oz Sutton Vermouth, 1 barspoon Grenadine, 2 dash Orange Bitters (ours), 2 dash Absinthe (Leopold’s).

Clearly a field trip to check out the Bar Agricole version is in order!

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.

Atholl Brose

When I was telling some public transport acquaintances, (riding the same bus, at the same time for several years, eventually even a taciturn curmudgeon like myself meets some people,) about my recent adventures in Milk Punch, they mentioned that it sounded similar to a traditional drink they sometimes make called Atholl Brose.

Given my long term interest in Grain Based Beverages and Food Stuffs, Atholl Brose had always tweaked my interest, but never really enough to research and undertake production. I mean, Honey, Scotch, Oats and Cream, how could it be bad?

But to back track a bit…

Almost every civilized human culture on the planet has some form of grain based beverage. After all, soaking grain in water is the easiest way to derive some small portion of nutrition from it.

The New World has its corn based beverages, which vary in substance and sweetness all the way from liquidy beverages to puddings and eventually forming the basis for tortillas.

Likewise, in Asia, rice and soybeans get this treatment, creating a spectrum of nutrient rich foodstuffs from beverages and porridges to noodles and cakes.

Europe was no different, basing many of its grain beverages on Barley. To this day, you can buy Barley Water beverages at UK import stores and someone might think to make a batch for their senile old uncle who lives somewhere in the attic. Easier to digest than bread.

(At this point, I shall skip a long digression regarding the evolution of Barley Water to the Almond based Syrup which eventually came to be known as Orgeat. I instead refer you to the writeup of the talk I gave at Tales of the Cocktail in 2008: Homemade Ingredients. Most of that information is covered there.)

In Scotland, Oats and Barley were grains of choice, but much of the culinary energy was spent making the Oat palatable. Oats and Oatmeal are used nearly across the board as porridge, cake, and in a few cases beverages.

One of the most famous of these beverages is Atholl Brose, a drink composed of Oats, Honey, Cream, and, nicely, Scotch Whisky.

The name is a two part word. The Brose part of the name refers to the Oatmeal Water leftover from soaking oats. A nominally nutritious beverage, which only becomes palatable if you roast the oats and sweeten it with honey or sugar. Atholl refers to one of the original Pictish kingdoms of Scotland. It was a mountainous region, and calling the beverage “Atholl Brose” was sort of like calling it “Back Country Brose” or “Mountain Brose”, in other words, where the Whisky Stills were.

In any case, a little liquor and honey will put that annoying dyspeptic Uncle to sleep a bit faster than plain old Oat Water!

Scanning the Internet, I didn’t find much commonality among the various recipes for Atholl Brose.

Some were trifle-like puddings, others beverages, some just spiked porridge.

I figured I might as well try my own hand at a variation, using ingredients I like.

1 Cup Goat’s Milk
2 TBSP SF Beekeeper’s Honey
2 TBSP Toasted Steel Cut Oats*

Scald Milk. Stir in Honey and Oats. Allow to stand over night. Strain oats out of liquid and discard. Warm and combine 2-1 with not too expensive Scotch.

*To toast steel cut oats, either put them in a dry pan over low heat and toss frequently until they smell toasty or pre-heat an oven to 325F, spread the oats on a sheet pan, and put in the oven, tossing occasionally, until they smell toasted.

Huh, that’s actually tasty! I started adding it to my coffee in the morning and to whatever other Alcoholic Spirits were handy at night. For the record: Scotch=Awesome. Bourbon=Awesome. Rum=OK. Irish Whiskey=Meh. Rye=Meh. It is even good warm or hot with no booze at all.

But I was soon out of that small batch of Brose and felt a twang of guilt about discarding the Oats. It nagged at my conscience as it just seemed out of the spirit of the Scots people and their famous thriftiness to discard the partially used oats.

So I made a larger batch.


Atholl Brose

1 quart Goat Milk
1 Cup Toasted Steel Cut Oats
1 Cup Decent Local Honey (It should be sweet on par with a liqueur.)

Scald Milk. Stir in Honey and Oats. Allow to stand over night. Strain oats out of liquid and reserve.

Use Brose to sweeten your coffee, drink, whatever.

The Oats can then be cooked for porridge:

Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine Drained Oats with 3 Cups Water. Bring to a simmer in oven proof pan. Cover and place in oven. Cook for an hour or so. Spoon into bowls. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers and microwave for quick oatmeal during the week.

I might add, this is definitely the most successful preparation of Steel Cut Oats I have yet made. Good texture and body with very little crunchiness. Definitely a way forward with an ingredient I have found stubborn in the past.

And to finish, I will quote Father Jack Crilly, a dyspeptic, alcoholic invalid if there ever was one. “DRINK! FECK! ARSE! GIRLS! CAKE!”

Wembley Cocktail (No. 2)

Wembley Cocktail (No. 2)
1/3 Scotch Whisky. (3/4 oz Famous Grouse Scotch)
1/3 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/3 Pineapple Juice. (3/4 oz Pineapple Juice)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Harry McElhone notes in his 1928 “ABC of Cocktails” that this is a “Recipe by Charlie Forrester, Grafton Club, London.”

To be honest, this is just weird.

Being 2/3 mixers, it’s kind of watery, and with the not particularly assertive mixing Scotch, like this famous grouse, it tastes mostly like vermouth and pineapple.

Right, well, Wembley, then, from the wikipedia article:

Wembley is an area of northwest London, England, and part of the London Borough of Brent. It is home to the famous Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena.

Wembley is derived from the Old English proper name “Wemba” and the Old English “Lea” for meadow or clearing. The name was first mentioned in the charter of 825 of King Beornwulf.

Well, I seriously doubt they were juicing pineapples back in 825 AD, but I was just thinking of the arena, amazing that the history of this area goes back that far.

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.

Trilby Cocktail (No 2)

First, just a reminder that this Sunday, September 26, 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.

Trilby Cocktail (No. 2)
2 Dashes Absinthe. (2 dash Lucid Absinthe)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (2 dash Angostura Orange)
1/3 Parfait Amour Liqueur. (3/4 oz Pages Parfait Amour)
1/3 Scotch Whisky. (3/4 oz Famous Grouse Scotch)
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Wow, this is possibly THE least appealing cocktail I’ve made so far from the Savoy Cocktail Book. Not only does it taste and smell like Grandma Squeezins’, but it is also a most unappealing inky black color, as if you had spilled squid ink into a glass. Who knew Grandma had such a black heart? I can’t really think of anything to recommend it.

You know those folks who tell you to make a Martini by just looking at the vermouth bottle? They’re wrong. But believe me, you’ll be better off if you make a Trilby Cocktail (No. 2) by pouring yourself a glass of nice Scotch. Say, something like this Murray McDavid bottling from Clynelish suggested to me by Amy at Cask Store.  Then just look at a roll of Violet Candies. Preferably from across the room. Actually, I think the candies are a little dangerously close to the Scotch in this picture, chance of violet contamination. Get them this close, at your own risk.  If you’re really feeling daring, maybe make yourself a Rob Roy, just leave the violets out of it.

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.

Thistle Cocktail

Thistle Cocktail
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (2 dashes Angostura Bitters)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)
1/2 Scotch Whisky. (1 oz MacAllan Cask Strength)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze Lemon Peel over glass and drop in.)

Robert Vermeire changes the ratio slightly and also makes a note regarding the name:

2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters; 1/6 gill of Italian Vermouth; 2/6 gill of Scotch Whisky. Stir up well, strain into a cocktail glass and squeeze lemon-peel on top. This cocktail is also called “York Cocktail”.

The big question being, what’s the difference between the Rob Roy, Thistle, and York.

As far  as I can tell, nothing.  I guess, if you prefer one of the names, go for it.  I am sort of partial to Thistle, but then I’m an obscurist.  Obviously, the way to go about ordering it in a bar, would be to stick with the common denominator Rob Roy.

As with most Fifty-Fifty type cocktails, I think it is best to go with strongly flavored and high proof spirits for the “base”.  In this case, the Macallan Cask Strength is quite delicious and isn’t going to roll over for the Carpano.  A really enjoyable cocktail, among my current top 10.

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.