Ginger Beer, Take 2

Everyone liked the last batch of Ginger Beer so much, I felt like I had to make another.

I’m doubling the last batch of yeast carbonated ginger beer, and making a few changes to the method from the last.

Flannestad Ginger Beer.

10 oz well rinsed fresh Ginger Root, preferably organic, roughly sliced.
1 1/2 cup Washed Raw Sugar.
2 quart Water.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast.*

METHOD: Bloom yeast in lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bring 24 oz water and all sugar to simmer. Add ginger to blender bowl with remaining water and puree. (Blender works well for me in these amounts, but if you have a juicer that can juice ginger root, go for it.) Pour through cheesecloth to filter. Press as much liquid out of ginger solids as possible, I use a sturdy potato ricer. Add ginger juice and water to hot sugar solution and cool to lukewarm. Add yeast and bottle in clean sanitized containers, leaving some headroom. Seal tightly and place in a warm dark place for 5-8 hours, depending on temperature and how feisty your yeast is. Move to refrigeration when the bottles are firm to the touch. Yeast (tan) and Ginger starch (white) will fall out of solution. When serving, open carefully over bowl to catch potential over-foam.

Ginger Root.

Ginger Root.

The first change I made this time was just to rinse the ginger root well with warm water, instead of peeling. I need to do a side by side comparison with peeled and unpeeled to find out if peeling makes a difference in flavor. Really, the only thing which slightly concerns me about not peeling is the potential for bacterial contamination from the skins.

This time, the ginger root was quite a bit more mature than the last. The flavor of the juice and ginger beer is hotter and sweeter than the more floral young ginger I used last time.

Ginger Puck.

Ginger Puck.

Nicely formed ginger pucks, after squeezing. You could dry them and use for room fresheners.

Opening Ginger Beer.

Opening Ginger Beer.

I continue to use empty soda water and mineral water for the ginger beer. Easier and safer than glass, at this point. You can gauge the carbonation level easily by simply squeezing the bottle and checking the firmness. Some small risk they’ll pop the caps and make a mess, but little risk they will become ginger grenades. Once I get the ferment times down, I may switch to bottling in glass.

Interestingly enough, it seems like the canada dry soda water bottles form a much better seal than the crystal geyser mineral water bottles. With the same time allowed for fermentation, the ginger beer in the canada dry bottles over-flows copiously, while the ginger beer in the crystal geyser is carbonated but does not overflow. Perhaps there is some CO2 leakage with the crystal geyser bottles above a certain pressure threshold.



A lot of other ginger beer recipes use spices or citrus in them, I actually really like how this is just about how complex and multilayered a flavor pure ginger root has. The complexity you get is amazing, not to mention the length of the flavor. You start by enjoying the great smell of fresh ginger root in the carbonated bubbles with a touch of yeast, enjoy the sweet and floral flavor, are knocked back by the heat, and then enjoy the long evolving flavor as it fades.

I guess we have the temperance movement to thank for the prevalence of pressure carbonated ginger beers and other sodas, but maybe if more people give the real thing a try we can get some of this real flavor back. With yeast nutrients, real sugar, and natural ginger maybe these could gain as much traction as kombucha.

Commercial ginger beers and ales, pumped up with capsaicin for heat and with their flacid ginger flavor from extracts, are poor, poor substitutes, indeed, for real ginger beer.

*Yeast plus sugar and water equals Carbon Dioxide and alcohol. In general, stopping the active fermentation at this early a stage of fermentation, the alcohol levels should be fairly low.

Flannestad Ginger Beer

Well, since I was making Root Beer, I figured I might as well make Beer from other roots…

Ginger Root.

Ginger Root.

Flannestad Ginger Beer.

5 oz Young Ginger, peeled and roughly sliced.
3/4 cup Washed Raw Sugar.
1 quart Water.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast.*

METHOD: Bloom yeast in lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bring water, sugar and half of the ginger to simmer. Add remaining ginger and roughly puree in blender. Pour through cheesecloth to filter. (I use a ricer to press out as much liquid as possible.) Chill to lukewarm. Add to yeast, seal tightly, and place in a warm dark place overnight.

Refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, allowing the yeast to settle.

Wow, is that good! Surprisingly dry, sharp, complex, and floral. Definitely the best ginger beer I’ve ever tried. Upon trying it, Mrs Flannestad immediately asked me to double the batch and make it again.

Ginger Beer.

Ginger Beer.

*Yeast plus sugar and water equals Carbon Dioxide and alcohol. In general, stopping the active fermentation at this early a point, the alcohol levels should be very low.


From the Savoy Cocktail Book:


The cobbler is, like the Julep, a drink of American origin, although it is now an established favourite, particularly in warm climes. It is very easy to make, but it is usual to make it acceptable to the eye, as well as the palate, by decorating the glass after the ingredients are mixed. The usual recipe for preparing Cobblers is given below. To make a Whisky Cobbler substitute Whisky for Gin, For a Brandy Cobbler, substitute Brandy, and so on.

Fill glass half full with cracked ice.
Add 1 Teaspoonful of Powdered Sugar.
Add 1 Small Glass of Gin (or Whisky, or Brandy, as above).
Stir well, and decorate with slices of orange or pineapple.

The above comes mostly verbatim from Jerry Thomas’ “Bartender’s Guide”.

The Cobbler was probably an old fashioned drink by the time Jerry Thomas got around to writing about it in 1862. He includes 7 variations in his 1862 book, basically all identical: Sherry Cobbler, Champagne Cobbler, Catawba Cobbler, Hock Cobbler, Claret Cobbler, Sauterne Cobbler, and Whiskey Cobbler.

98. Sherry Cobbler

(Use large bar glass.)

2 wine-glasses of sherry.
1 table-spoonful of sugar.
2 or 3 slices of orange.
Fill a tumbler with shaved ice, shake well, and ornament with berries in season. Place a straw as represented in the wood-cut.

I wasn’t really feeling the Sherry Cobbler and am unclear about if I could even find Hock or Catawba. Champagne seemed a little hackneyed and the Whiskey Cobbler like Thomas was throwing a bone to modern taste by including a Cobbler based on spirits instead of wine.

I thought about a Port Cobbler, which sounded nice, but my favorite old fashioned wine is Madeira. So, over my lunch hour, I dropped by to pay the lovely women of Cask Store a visit and scored a new bottle of Madeira.

Madeira Cobbler.
4 oz Blandy’s 10 Year Malmsey Madeira
1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup

Half fill a mixing glass with cracked ice. Add Madeira and simple Syrup. Pour back and forth between mixing glass and serving glass a couple times, finishing in serving glass. Ornament with slices of orange and berries, in season. Serve with a straw.

In “Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash…” David Wondrich makes a couple notes regarding Cobblers in Imbibe, and I’ve been re-reading another couple things online. First off, it was one of the couple first American drinks to really make an impact on European and especially English drinkers. There are several references to Cobbler drinking in the works of authors as notable as Charles Dickens. Second, it was THE drink that introduced the straw to the world.

If there is a mistake that modern mixers make with the cobbler, it is that they make it too strong, either by using spirits in the drink, or by making it too concentrated with additional citrus juice or liqueurs and syrups. The Cobbler, like punch, is a sort of “session drink”. The Cobbler, especially, should be a light, refreshing, cold drink that you can enjoy at lunch on a hot day and still go about your business for the rest of the afternoon.

Americans, with our obsession with intense, strong flavors, often have a hard time wrapping our minds around the aesthetics of subtlety or mild flavors in drinks and food. One of the hardest lessons for us to learn is when to stop adding ingredients, flavors, and additional complexity to our beverages or dishes. We tend to say, “If it’s good, it’s better with bacon. If it’s better with bacon, it’s would be really awesome with cheese. If it’s good with bacon and cheese, it really could use some avocado to make it pop… Oh hell, just put some Foie Gras on it.”

If you are a bartender, or a drink mixer, the Cobbler is a pretty good place to start to teach yourself to appreciate austerity and simplicity, as long as you resist the temptation to add any additional ingredients. Save your creativity for the garnish.

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.



The ‘Smash’ is in effect a Julep on a small plan.

To prepare it the following recipe is usually used:

Use medium sized glass.
Dissolve 1 Lump of Sugar. Add 4 leaves of Green Mint, and crush Mint and sugar very lightly together. Place lump of ice in glass. Then add one small glass of either Bacardi Rum, Brandy, Gin, Irish Whisky or Scotch Whisky as fancy dictates. Decorate with a slice of Orange, and squeeze Lemon peel on top.

This recipe, and the quote regarding the “Julep on a small plan,” come almost verbatim from Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide, going back to the original 1862 version of the book.

As is usual with these 19th Century cocktails, before making the Savoy version of the drink I first consulted David Wondrich’s “Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash…” where he notes:

“Thomas’s cursory assessment of the drink leaves one with insufficient appreciation of its importance. From its first appearance in the mid-1840s until after the Civil War, the Smash was just about the most popular thing going. In the 1850s, at the height of the Smash’s popularity, all the “pert young men,” the Broadway dandies, San Francisco swells, and junior New Orleans grandissimes, seemed to spend the warm months of the year with a smash glued to one hand and a “segar” to the other.”

However, to me what was more interesting was the illustration which accompanies the writeup, a picture of the “Fancy Brandy Smash” from Harry Johnson’s 1888 edition of his “New and Improved Illustrated Bartender’s Manual”.

One of the cool things about many of the illustrations from Mr. Johnson’s book is he gives you two pictures, one of the preparation of the drink and another of the serving glass. Looking at his illustration, though, I realized it looked like he was serving his “Fancy Brandy Smash” as an “up” Cocktail.

Fancy Brandy Smash.
(Use a large bar glass.)
1/2 tabelspoonful of sugar;
1/2 wine glass of water or selters;
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh mint; dissolve well;
1/2 glass of shaved ice;
1 wine glass of brandy (Martell);

Stir up well with a spoon, strain it into a fancy bar glass, and ornament it with a little fruit in season, and serve. (See illustration, plate No. 9.)

And indeed, his instructions here are clear, the “Fancy Brandy Smash” is not served over ice.

However, going through the book a bit further, I discovered he also had a recipe for an “Old Style Whiskey Smash”.

Old Style Whiskey Smash.
(Use an extra large whiskey glass.)
1/4 tablespoonful of sugar;
1/2 wineglass of water;
3 or 4 sprigs of mint, dissolve well, in in order to get the essence of the mint;
Fill the glass with small pieces of ice;
1 wine glass of whiskey;
Put in fruit in season, mix well, place the strainer in the glass and serve.

So the “Fancy” version of the drink gets strained into another glass, while with the “Old Style” version of the drink, the guest is simply served the drink with a julep strainer in the glass!

Well, as a moderist, I will choose to make the “Fancy” version of the drink!

Fancy Brandy Smash.
(Use a large bar glass.)
generous 1/4 oz Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup;
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh mint; dissolve well;
1/2 glass of finely cracked ice;
2 oz brandy (Artez Folle Blanche Armagnac);

Stir up well with a spoon, strain it into a fancy bar glass, and ornament it with a little fruit in season, and serve.

Well, I have to say that does have a certain simple charm! Not only that, but you don’t have to contend with the ice when you swilling the drink. I could understand why this would be a more modern, let’s get down to drinking, kind of version of the drink.

However, if you order a “Whiskey Smash” today, the one you are most likely to be served has lemon in addition to the mint. This version of the drink was popularized by Dale DeGroff at the bars he ran in NY and in his book, “The Craft of the Cocktail”. According to Mr. DeGroff, he never really understood the appeal of the Julep, so he started adding muddled lemon slices in with the mint in the Smash, sort of crossing the Smash with the Fix.

DeGroff Whiskey Smash

2 lemon pieces
2 to 3 mint leaves
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 1/2 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
1 oz of water
Sprig of fresh mint

Muddle the lemon, mint leaves, water, and Simple Syrup in the bottle of a mixing glass. Add the bourbon and shake. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with the mint sprig.

Personally, I hate muddling fruit. Especially, since I’ve already got lemon juice, muddling fruit is just messy. Gets your sink full of cloggy fruit pulp. The mint is bad enough.

So how about this little solution?

Fixed Modern Brandy Smash

Peel 1/2 Lemon;
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar;
Splash Water;
2 oz Spirit of Choice, I used the Artez Folle Blanch Armagnac above.
Juice 1/2 Lemon;
1/2 teaspoon Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup;
3 or 4 leaves mint;
Mint Sprigs for garnish;

Muddle lemon peel and granulated sugar in a heavy glass until fragrant. Splash in some water and continue muddling until sugar is dissolved. Fill with finely cracked ice. In a mixing tin, combine lemon juice, brandy, mint leaves, and gum syrup. Shake with ice and strain into iced glass. Stir to combine, garnish with mint sprig and serve.

You get the aromatics from the peel in the drink without the bitterness of the pith. Not bad at all!

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.

Southern Mint Julep

Southern Mint Julep
4 Sprigs Fresh Mint.
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar.
1 Glass of Bourbon, Rye, or Canadian Club Whisky.

Use long tumbler and crush the Mint leaves and dissolved sugar lightly together, add Spirits and fill glass with cracked ice; stir gently until glass is frosted. Decorate on top with 3 Sprigs of Mint.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the proper way to make a Mint Julep. From mint flavored simple syrup to mint infused Bourbon, there are 1001 ways to skin this cat.

Even among the more basic recipes, as with the Mojito, there is disagreement about how crushed, or muddled, the mint leaves should be. Some people muddle the mint up into a paste, others leave the leaves more intact.

Interestingly, Issue 3 of McSweeney’s Lucky Peach magazine has an article by food science guru Harold McGee called, “On Handling Herbs”, in which he talks about how to get the best flavor out of herbs when using them in cooking.

One of the first things he notes is, “Ripe fruits are delicious as is, because the parent plant has evolved to encourage animals to eat them and spread their seeds far and wide. Herbs and spices can make foods delicious, but they’re usually not delicious in themselves, because plants don’t want animals to chew up their leaves and seeds and roots…most herb and spice flavors are actually chemical weapons.”

He goes on to say, “How you handle herbs can also affect their flavor. The defensive chemicals responsible for plant flavors are usually concentrated in fine, hairlike glands on leaf surfaces (the mint family, including basil, oregano, sage, shiso, and thyme) or in special canals within the leaves (most other herbs). If you leave the herbs pretty much intact, what you get is mainly the characteristic flavor of that herb. But if you crush the herb, or cut it very finely, you damage a lot of cells and cause the release of the green, grassy, vegetal defensive chemicals.”

I’ve known this anecdotally, but never had it explained quite so clearly. If you muddle the mint in your Mojito or Julep, it tastes grassy and bitter. If you handle the mint gently, you get light, clear, mint flavor and scent.

To me, this argues against truly “crushing”, “pulverizing”, or “muddling” the mint (or other herbs) in any drink.

To make a mint Julep these are my usual instructions:

Mint Julep

4 fresh and lively sprigs mint (there is nothing sadder than a julep made with wilted mint)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup (generous 1/4 oz Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
2 oz Bourbon and a little extra for garnish (2+ oz Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, bottled 2003)
Fine Ice

METHOD: Strip the leaves from the lower stems of the mint and place in julep cup. Reserve upper sprigs for garnish. Pour in your simple syrup and use a spoon or muddler to gently rub the mint and syrup up and down the sides of the cup. Add Bourbon and ice to fill half way up the cup. Vigorously mix together mint leaves, syrup, bourbon, and ice. Top up with more fine ice and sprinkle a little extra bourbon over ice. Slap the reserved sprigs against your palm, form into a bunch, and insert into ice. Poke straws in ice near the mint sprigs, serve, and inhale.

Also, if you aren’t reading Lucky Peach, you really should be. For my money, it’s the best writing about food, cooking, and working in restaurants that you can currently find. If you have to, cancel your cable subscription to the Food Network, and subscribe to Lucky Peach instead.

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.

Champange Julep

First, just a reminder that Sunday, February 26, 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.

Champagne Julep
Use long tumbler.
1 Lump Sugar. (1/2 oz Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
2 Sprigs Mint.
Fill glass with Champagne (Delmas Blanquette de Limoux). Stir gently and decorate with slices of fruit in season.

I guess the odd thing about the Champagne Julep is that the recipe omits the inclusion of any ice in the glass. I’m chalking that up to carelessness, as it wouldn’t really seem like a julep to me without the fine ice.

Regarding various Sparkling Wines, in my opinion, most Champagne is a little low on the value per dollar scale. Others often recommend using Prosecco or Cava instead of Champagne. While there are good examples of these wines, a lot of the more common ones are only OK. Decent examples of American Sparkling Wines tend to be nearly as expensive as their French counterparts.

My favorite value per dollar Sparkling wines are French sparkling wines from other regions than Champagne. Just about every region of France makes a sparkling wine, but, as with American Sparkling Wine, they can’t call it Champagne. There the wines go by names like “Crémant d’Alsace”, “Crémant de Bourgogne”, “Crémant de Jura”, “Crémant de Luxembourg”, or “Blanquette de Limoux”.

As far as the Champagne Julep goes, well, it is refreshing, cold, and light.

Maybe the sort of drink for those times when an Old Cuban might be a little too much.

What? You don’t know what an Old Cuban is?

Well, let’s rectify that situation right now!

Old Cuban

3/4 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
6 leaves mint
muddle and add ice
1 1/2 oz Cruzan Estate Dark Rum
2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with champagne.

Recipe cribbed (Old Cuban) from Robert Hess, over at The Cocktail Spirit.

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.

Mint Julep


Mint Julep
The Julep is a delightful potion that originally came out of the Southern States of America, and many great men have sung its praises through the years. It was the famous Capt. Marryatt, skipper and novelist, who introduced the beverage into the British Isles and below we quote his recipe in his own words : — “ I must descant a little upon the mint julep, as it is, with the thermometer at 100 degrees, one of the most delightful and insinuating potations that ever was in- vented, and may be drunk- with equal satisfaction when the thermometer is as low as 70 degrees. There are many varieties such as those composed of Claret, Madeira. etc., but the ingredients of the real mint julep are as follows. I learned how to make them, and succeeded pretty well. Put into a tumbler almost a dozen sprigs of the tender shoots of mint. upon them put a spoonful of white sugar, and equal proportions of Peach and common Brandy so as to fill it up one-third, or perhaps a little less. Then take rasped or pounded ice, and fill up the tumbler.
“Epicures rub the lips of the tumbler with a piece of fresh pineapple, and the tumbler itself is very often encrusted outside with stalactites of ice. As the ice melts, you drink. I once overheard two ladies talking in the next loom to me, and one of them said, ‘Well, if I have a weakness for any one thing, it is for a mint julep!’ a very amiable weakness, and proving her good sense and good taste. They are, in fact, like the American ladies, irresistible.”

Most of the above comes, verbatim, from Jerry Thomas, however Mr. Thomas’ exact recipe for the Mint Julep is a bit more advanced:

88. Mint Julep

1 table-spoonful of white pulverized sugar.
2 1/2 table-spoonful of water, mix well with a spoon.

Take three or four sprigs of fresh mint, and press them well in the sugar and water, until the flavor of the mint is extracted; add one and a half wine=glass of Cognac brandy, and fill the glass with fine shaved ice, then draw out the sprigs of mint and insert them in the ice with the stems downward, so that the leaves will be above, in the shape of a bouquet; arrange berries, and small pieces of sliced orange on top in a tasty manner, dash with Jamaica rum, and sprinkle white sugar on top. Place a straw as represented in the cut, and you have a julep that is fit for an emperor.

Well, I’ll give it a shot, combining both.

First off, a couple points. First, as related by many authors including Mr. David Wondrich, the “Peach Brandy” in the Southern Mint Julep, is NOT a liqueur, it was an actual Brandy made from peaches and aged in wood. Unfortunately, this is a hard commodity to come by in the modern age, and when you do find it, often costly.

A while ago, a friend made up a batch of Pear Brandy and aged it in Oak, of which I purchased a small bottle. So I will use this instead.

Second, regarding Mr Thomas’ elaborate mint ritual, as I’m stripping leaves from the mint, I usually just use those pieces in the bottom of the julep cup, and leave them there.

Lastly, the julep should technically be made with “shaved” ice, which is hard to do at home, unless you have a ice shaving machine. I don’t, so I just beat the crap out of some ice cubes. It’s not quite shaved, but close enough.

Mint Julep

1 1/2 oz Artez Folle Blanche Armagnac
1 1/2 oz Aged Pear Brandy
generous 1/4 oz Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup

Strip the lower leaves from several sprigs of mint. Place the leaves the bottom of a julep cup and add the gum syrup. Press gently into the gum syrup to extract flavor. Add Brandies and fill with fine ice. Stir until the sides of the cup frost and garnish with fresh sprigs of mint and slices of orange.

So, the Julep is a funny drink. Often, people see the mint and think the Julep is similar to a Mojito. Then they’ll order one and discover it is a big, cold, glass of slightly sweetened and minty Brandy (or Whiskey). A great Julep is a fantastic drink, but without the citrus and soda, it can be a bit of a shock to the system of someone expecting a mild drink like the Mojito.

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.

Whisky Fix

The Savoy recipe for the Whisky Fix is pretty basic.

Whisky Fix
1 Large Teaspoonful of Powdered White Sugar, dissolved in a little water.
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1 Wineglass Bourbon or Rye Whisky.
Fill up the glass about 2/3 full of shaved ice, stir well, and ornament the top of the glass with fruit in season.

I felt a need to tart it up a little bit, always remembering the category dictum, “In making fixes be careful to put the lemon skin in the glass.” If you can “Improve” a Cocktail, why can’t you “Improve” a Whiskey Fix?

Improved Whiskey Fix

2 oz Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon
Generous Teaspoon Sugar
Peel 1/2 Small Orange

Splash Soda Water
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
Cocktail Cherry

Place the orange peel in the bottom of a heavy glass. Add a generous teaspoon of sugar. Muddle peel in sugar until it is fragrant. Add a splash of water and continue muddling until sugar is dissolved. Add the juice of 1/2 Lemon (about 3/4 oz) and the Whiskey. Add fine ice and swizzle until the glass is frosted. Float on Yellow Chartreuse. Garnish with a lemon slice and a cherry.

Harry Johnson liked to put Yellow Chartreuse in his Whiskey Daisy, so I figure it’s OK to use in a Fix. Or, as I like to say, everything is better with a little Chartreuse.

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.

Santa Cruz Rum Fix

Santa Cruz Fix
The Santa Cruz fix is made by substituting Santa Cruz Rum for Brandy in the Brandy Fix.

As I still have no real idea what is meant by “Santa Cruz Rum”, I’m going to use a strong, full flavored rum in this cocktail. I’m also going to add a little bit of Allspice Dram, just for variety.

Scarlet Ibis Fix

Peel of 1 Lemon
Generous Teaspoon Sugar
Splash of Water
Juice 1/2 Lemon

1 1/2 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum
1/4 oz St Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
Fine Crushed Ice

Place the lemon peel in the bottom of a heavy glass. Add a generous teaspoon of sugar. Muddle peel in sugar until it is fragrant. Add a splash of water and continue muddling until sugar is dissolved. Add the juice of 1/2 Lemon (about 3/4 oz), the Rum, and the Allspice dram. Add fine ice and swizzle until the glass is frosted. Garnish with a lemon slice.

My, that is quite a tasty mini-punch. A little bit of elbow grease is required, but definitely worth it!

Interestingly, I ran across a story called “The Scarlet Ibis” when I was looking for the rum one day. It is by James Hurst and was originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1960.

From the wikpedia article about the Scarlet Ibis:

James Hurst was born January 1, 1922, near Jacksonville, North Carolina. He attended Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia and studied chemical engineering at North Carolina State College. However, following military service in World War II, he decided to be an opera singer and studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and in Italy. In 1951, Hurst abandoned his musical career and became a banker in New York for the next thirty-four years. He wrote plays and short stories in his spare time. “The Scarlet Ibis” was his only piece that gained widespread recognition.

Now that is interesting, as a certain Mr. Eric Seed abandoned his banking career for a career in the spirits industry.

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.

Gin Fix

Gin Fix
Use small bar glass.
1 Tablespoonful Sugar.
1/4 Lemon.
1/2 Wineglass Water.
1 Wineglass Gin.
Fill 2/3 full of shaved ice. Stir with a spoon and ornament the top with fruits in season.

OK, so those instructions are kind of hopelessly munged. First, this is an old recipe, so we’re definitely using Genever, not Dry Gin. Second, remembering the caveat from the Brandy Fix, “In making fixes be careful to put the lemon skin in the glass,” but let’s punch-i-fy further (oleo sacharum baby!) and muddle the peel of the lemon in the sugar.

How about the following:

Genever Fix

1 Generous teaspoonful sugar.
Rind and juice of 1/2 lemon.
2 oz Bols Aged Genever.
Fruit, in season, to garnish.

In heavy double old fashioned glass (or similar), muddle lemon rind in sugar until fragrant. Add water, and muddle until sugar is dissolved. Pour in Genever and lemon juice. Stir to mix. Fill with fine ice and swizzle until well frosted. Garnish with fruits, in season.

Ah, yes, delicious! And Kiwis are in season here in California, so there!

Mr. Angus Winchester, man about town and global ambassador for Tanqueray Gin, was kind enough to come out to one of our recent Savoy Nights at Alembic Bar.

When I was chatting with him, I quizzed him about what he thought was notable about the category of drinks called “Fix”.

Interestingly, he said his theory was the name “Fix” referred to the fact that the drink was “Fixed in the glass”. And went on to say that he considered one of the more important Dick Bradsell drinks,the Bramble, an elaborate “Fix”.

Hrm, well, Mr. Bradsell doesn’t exactly see it that way, he considers it a Singapore Sling variation, nor does he mix his bramble in the glass, but in a way, it works. Let’s “Fix” a Bramble.

Fixed Bramble

Rind and Juice 1/2 Lemon.
1 generous teaspoon Sugar.
2 oz Dry Gin.
1/2 oz Blackberry Liqueur.
Blackberries or other seasonal fruit, for garnish.

In a heavy old fashioned glass muddle the peel of a lemon in sugar. Add water, and muddle to dissolve. Add Gin and Lemon juice. Mix to combine and add ice. Swizzle until glass well frosted. Drizzle on Blackberry liqueur and garnish with fresh fruit and lemon slice.

Swizzle Stick courtesy Samurai Bartender, Chris “Rookie” Stanley.

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.