Tom Collins

First, just a reminder that Sunday, May 22, 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.

Tom Collins
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar.
1 Glass Dry Gin.
Shake well and strain into long tumbler. Add 1 lump ice and split of soda water.

The Tom Collins above was prepared by Rosa at the excellent bar and restaurant Bar Agricole, using Leopold’s Gin. I didn’t get the exact measurements, but she said something like, “Leopold’s Gin, 2-1, with dashes of house made stonefruit bitters.” They were very busy and I didn’t want to hassle her too much. Anyway, it was a delightful and refreshing quaff, I highly recommend stopping Bar Agricole for their Tom Collins, (or their great food.)

I’ve covered the history of the Tom Collins before, in the post about the Conduit Street Punch, so I won’t repeat that information. Short version, the Collins probably started a long time ago as a proper Gin Punch based on Dutch Gin (aka Genever), by the late 19th Century it was a long drink madeĀ  Old-Tom Gin, lemon, sugar and soda. By the 1930s, Old Tom was largely extinct and Tom Collins were being made with plain old London Dry Gin.

Sometimes we’ll get asked about the difference between this drink and that during our Savoy Night events. What’s the difference between a Daisy and the Fix or what exactly is the difference between a Collins and a Gin Fizz? I mean aside from the fact that a Tom Collins is served in a Collins glass and a Gin fizz in Gin Fizz Glass?

As we’ll see in a couple weeks, this is the recipe for a Gin Fizz:

Gin Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar.
1 Glass Gin.
Shake well, strain into medium size glass and fill with syphon soda water.

That’s, yes, pretty much exactly the same ingredients, the same amounts, and nearly the same instructions as for the Tom Collins.

Many modern bartenders will differentiate that the Collins is built in the glass, while the Fizz is shaken and strained. However, it appears that this was not the case at the time the Savoy Cocktail Book was written (or before). Though the Savoy bartenders were apparently using teaspoons of dry sugar, so they really had no choice but to shake.

No, the big difference, as far as I can tell, is that the Collins is usually served over ice, while the fizz is served without ice.

But the other elephant in the room is how much soda is needed to “fill” either the Tom Collins Glass or the Gin Fizz Glass?

While the Savoy Cocktail Book was not particularly detail oriented regarding glassware (or garnishes, or much of anything,) fortunately another book published at around the same time, Patrick Gavin Duffy’s “The Official Mixer’s Manual,” was. He goes so far as to give the reader an illustrated guide to glassware and then indicate with every drink recipe which glass it should be served in. And, even better, he gives some volumes for the glassware.

In the figure above, glass number 10 is the Tom Collins glass, while glass number 12 is what Duffy calls the “Eight Oz. Highball”. This is the glass he directs you to use for fizzes. So if the illustration is to scale, and the “Highball” holds Eight Ounces, it looks like the Tom Collins Glass holds about 12-14 Ounces.

With “One Lump of Ice”, you are getting a lot more soda, almost an entire 10 oz split probably, in your Tom Collins, making it a much milder drink than a Gin Fizz. So that’s the difference, not the Gin, not the lemon, not the sugar, but the size of the glass, the ice, and the amount of soda.

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.

Another Manhattan-ish Cocktail

I was thinking about what made the flavors of the Low Gap White Whiskey work so well with the flavors in that Manhattan-ish Cocktail, when I got to thinking about combining the floral hop flavors of the Charbay Doubled and Twisted with the floral-anise character of the Meletti Amaro.

1 oz Charbay Doubled and Twisted Unaged California Whiskey
2 oz Chilled Perucchi Red Vermouth
1/2 oz Meletti Amaro
Chilled Soda Water

Build in medium size glass, top with soda.

It’s not as totally awesome and enjoyable for me as the Low Gap and Carpano Antica “Manhattan” but something about the flavors strike me as more in tune with modern Cocktails. I’ll have to try giving it the stirred cocktail treatment one of these days.

Yodel Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Feb 27, 2011, 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.

The countdown to the last “Cocktail” continues.

Say it with me, “NINE!”

Yodel Cocktail
1/2 Orange Juice. (Juice 1/2 orange.)
1/2 Fernet Branca. (Same amount of Fernet Branca.)
Use medium size glass, and fill with soda water.

I like Fernet so I had some idle hope that this would be appealing.

It is not.

As my friend Blair remarked, “kind of like drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth.”

Yeah, that’s about right. Yodel all you want, but I just say, “Ugh.”

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.

Yale Cocktail

Yale Cocktail
3 Dashes Orange Bitters. (3 Dashes Bitter Truth Orange Bitters)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 Dash Angostura)
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into small glass. Add a little syphon and squeeze lemon peel on top.

I guess this isn’t one of those cocktails that’s probably going to get a whole lot of new fans from me writing it up.

All booze with dashes of Orange and Angostura Bitters, this is not for the faint of heart. Even the “little syphon” doesn’t do much to soften the blow.

On the other hand, using a pleasant Gin, like the Hayman’s Old Tom, there is nothing wrong with this formulation, even if it is a little plain.

Odd that, who was it, Dashiell Hammett chose to give one of his characters a fondness for a drink as girly as the Gimlet. You’d think Gin and not much else would be closer to the hard boiled ethos, even if it is named after an Ivy League School.

I guess those jokers in the Skull and Bones Club know a thing or two about the proper way to drink.

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.

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!

Wait!?

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.

Victory Cocktail

Victory Cocktail
1/2 Grenadine. (1/2 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/2 Absinthe. (1/2 oz Greenway Distiller’s Absinthe)
(Juice 1/2 small Lemon, or about 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice)
Shake well, strain into medium size glass, and fill with soda water (Cavas Hill Cava, what else?). (Garnish with long lemon twist, horse’s neck or shoestring.)

Right, I’m just not going to make this as written, that’s all there is to it.

1 oz Absinthe and 1 oz Grenadine diluted with soda?

Bleah.

So I decreased the amounts and added some lemon juice. Filled with Sparkling Wine and added a lemon twist.

Damn. That’s tasty. So tasty, I immediately sent the recipe to Jennifer Colliau, of Small Hand Foods, saying, “Is this a cocktail you know? If it isn’t it should be.”

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.

Vermouth and Curacao Cocktail

Vermouth and Curacao Cocktail
1 Glass French Vermouth. (2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/2 Liqueur Glass Curacao. (3/4 oz Clement Liqueur Creole Shrubb)
Use medium size glass and fill with soda water (Err, Cavas Hill Cava. What?).

Like this Vermouth and Cassis Cocktail, this is another from Harry McElhone’s 1928 “ABC of Cocktails”, and like the Vermouth and Cassis, there really isn’t too much to get excited about.

Using Champagne ups the ante slightly, but I dunno, there just isn’t that much to the combo of Vermouth and Curacao. Nothing wrong with it exactly, just not that exciting.

If you make it, I’d at least spice it up with some Orange Bitters.

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.

Upstairs Cocktail

Upstairs Cocktail
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon. (Still out of lemons, so I used the juice 1/2 Lime)
1 glass Dubonnet. (2 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
Use medium size glass and fill with soda water.

This is actually a fairly refreshing cocktail, the added zest of the lime gives some interest. Nice for hot weather, I would say.

As I approach the “Fizz” section of the Savoy Cocktail Book, the “Soda Water” question is starting to eat away at me.

For most of the last several years, I’ve used an iSi Soda Siphon for my soda water. It works OK and is cheaper than buying bottles of Soda Water. Besides, the filtered Hetch Hetchy water I use tastes better than a lot of the rather salty stuff you get in commercial Selzer or Soda.

Some others of my friends have recommended the Soda Stream system as superior to the iSi Soda Siphon.

Maybe it is based on a youth mis-spent watching Three Stooges movies in bank basements, but I just think a Siphon is more fun to use than pouring Selzer out of a bottle with a screw on top.

What do you use for soda water in your mixed drinks?

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.

South Side Cocktail

South Side Cocktail
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1/2 Tablespoonful of Powdered Sugar. (Heaping teaspoon Caster Sugar)
2 Sprigs Fresh Mint.
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz Tanqueray Gin)
Shake well and strain into medium size glass. Add dash of siphon soda water.

These days, the South Side is almost always made as an up cocktail, with no soda. A mint Gimlet.

However, the Savoy version of the drink includes, “a dash of siphon soda water,” which is more or less how I made it.

Looking at Harry McElhone’s recipe for the South Side makes the drink’s origins as a minty Fizz even clearer:

“Juice of 1 Lemon, 1 teaspoon of Sugar, 2 or 3 sprigs of Fresh Mint, 1 glass of Gin (Gordon). Shake well and strain into a medium-size tumbler, and add Syphon.”

Double the lemon, decrease the sugar, and serve it in a “medium-size” tumbler. Basically a fizzy, ginny, minty, lemonade.

Depending on the weather, I can see the merits of either version. A hot day, you’re sitting on the porch in the country. Sipping the long version sounds awfully appealing. Dark day in a metropolitan city, sitting at the bar, who has time for that sort of thing? All we need is the flavored booze, thank you very much, and we will be on our way to our next engagement.

Guess it depends on your mood.

Are you just passing through or here to stay?

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.

Sharky Punch Cocktail

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Sharky Punch Cocktail
1 teaspoonful Syrup (1 Teaspoon Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
1/4 Canadian Club Whisky. (1 1/2 oz 40 Creek 3 Grain Whisky)
3/4 Calvados or Apple Brandy. (Calvados Roger Groult Reserve)
Shake well and strain in into medium size glass… (Garnished with thin ginger slice and thick slice lemon peel.) …and fill with (well chilled!) soda water.

Whiskey, Apple Brandy, and Gum with soda seemed a tad plain, so I juiced it up a bit with the garnish. Sorry if that upsets you, but I’m the one who has to drink these things.

Shakey Punch reminds me of a lovely Laurie Anderson song narrated by the late William S. Burroughs, “Sharkey’s Night”.

Well, in the case above, Laurie is narrating with a pitch changer on her voice, not quite the same as the album track. Still pretty cool.
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Sharky Punch is not bad, either. I mean, it isn’t anything fancy, just a Calvados high ball stretched out a bit with Canadian Whisky. Enjoyable enough. Definitely seems prohibition era, though, with the combination of spirits. No idea on the name. Maybe a bar or person?

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.