Underhill Punsch, Jan 2009

Underhill Punsch

Amazingly, I’ve been making versions of this recipe for over 2 years now!

Latest version, this one distinguished by presence of actual Sorrento Lemons!

Underhill Punsch, January 2009

2 cups Appleton V/X Rum
1 cup Batavia Arrack
2 cup hot extra strong spiced tea (4 tsp Peet’s Yunnan Fancy Tea, 6 crushed cardamom pods, brewed in 2 cup water)
2 cup raw or natural sugar
2 Sorrento lemons sliced thinly, seeds removed

Put sliced lemons in a resealable non-reactive container large enough to hold 4 cups of liquid. Pour Rum and Batavia Arrack over citrus. Cover and steep for 6 hours.

Dissolve sugar in hot tea and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.

After 6 hours, pour rum off of sliced citrus, without squeezing fruit.

Combine tea syrup and flavored rum. Filter and bottle in a clean sealable container. Rest 24 hours and enjoy where Swedish Punch is called for.

Say a Boomerang, Biffy or even a Diki-Diki, if you are feeling brave.

Anyone got any other favorite uses for Swedish Punsch?

Hesitation Cocktail

Hesitation Cocktail

1 Dash Lemon Juice.
1/4 Canadian Club Whisky. (1/2 oz 40 Creek Barrel Select)
3/4 Swedish Punch. (1 1/2 oz Arrack Punch, homemade)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

As I mentioned when discussing apricot liqueur vs. brandy question with the Havana cocktail, this one is the same proportions. Same amount of liqueur, same amount of spirits, same “1 Dash Lemon Juice”.

As with the Havana with apricot liqueur, this is pretty sweet. If you go a bit long on the Lemon and are using the likely less sweet homemade arrack punch, not undrinkably so.

Still, I think both the Boomerang and Havana are more interesting.

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.

Josey Packard

This is the second 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.

NOTE: Since writing this up, Josey has moved back to the East Coast. When I last talked to her, she was looking for a bartending gig in the Boston area. I will post an update when I know more. I still, however, recommend putting Alembic on your short list of bars to visit in the San Francisco Bay Area.

After about a month of travel, sickness, and scheduling conflicts, I finally was able to get together with Josey Packard at The Alembic Bar to make some Savoy Cocktails. While we were at it, I asked her a couple questions.

Josey’s BIO: I’m a frequent victim of agape: widely varying passions have led me to several different occupations. A vocalist by training, day jobs for me have included that of seamstress, auto mechanic, office manager, carpenter, editor, audio producer, and flooring installer. A keen interest in cocktail history led me to take up work behind the bar, and it is there where I find myself able to marry both vocation and avocation; I’m proud to call myself a bartender. I developed the signature cocktail for the Boston Athenaeum’s 200th anniversary celebration, and have finalized the recipe for two original cocktails, the Wolfhound and the Northern Spy.

Diki-Diki Cocktail

1/6 Grape Fruit Juice.
1/6 Swedish Punch. (Carlshamm’s Flaggpunsch)
2/3 Calvados. (Le Merton Vieux Calvados)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

For comparison, Josey wanted to try this with both white grapefruit and ruby red grapefruit juice.

I think Josey’s first comment was, “Wow, that’s an adult cocktail!” and her second was, “I could drink the hell out of this!” Given the relatively small amount of Grapefruit juice, we were both a bit surprised that the we preferred the touch of sweetness and additional fruitiness that the Ruby Red Grapefruit brought to the cocktail. It was a subtle difference; but, enough to be noticeable. In any case, I agree with Josey about this cocktail. Definitely one of the highlights so far of the letter “D.”

From Google, as far as I can tell, “Diki-Diki” is a Filipino adjective used to convey “very small.” There is also a small African Antelope called a “Dik-Dik.”

Robert Vermeire, in his book, “Cocktails: How to Mix Them,” notes the following regarding this cocktail:

Diki-Diki is the chief monarch of the Island Ubian (Southern Philipines), who is now 37 years old, weighs 23 lb., and his height is 32 in. The author introduced this cocktail at the Embassy Club in London, February 1922.

Q: What ingredient have you been experimenting mixing with lately?

A: I’ve been experimenting with the Luxardo and Maraska Maraschino liqueurs. I was really surprised to discover how differently they work in cocktails and which gins work best with either one.

We had wanted to try the Desert Healer cocktail as well; but discovered the bar was out of ginger beer.

Devonia Cocktail
(6 People)

Pour into the shaker 4 glasses of Sparkling Cider (2 oz Two Rivers Gravenstein Apple Hard Cider) and 2 glasses of Gin (1 oz Gin.) Add some ice and a few drops of Orange Bitters. Shake lightly and serve.

The Devonia was particularly appealing as The Alembic Bar currently has a very nice Hard Cider from Two Rivers on tap. We first tried it with Plymouth Gin; but it was maybe a bit too adult. The Two Rivers Gravenstein cider is a very dry cider, almost like one of the French champagne-style ciders in character. Interesting, however, to compare the cider on its own with the cider, gin, orange bitters mix. Mixing the cider with the gin, really brought out the earthy, apple peel flavors of the cider, especially in the smell.

For a second try, Josey had the idea to try the Devonia with Anchor Distilling’s new Genevieve Genever-style gin. Even though we had no illusions that this cocktail is really a Devonia, we both preferred it. The complexity of the Genevieve worked well with the cider. And, I might add, the Genevieve is a really interesting taste all on its own. The young whisk(e)y character of the distillate comes across loud and clear in the smell, taste, and body of this new gin. Personally, I can’t wait to get a bottle myself and start experimenting with it.


Q: As Alembic is a restaurant and bar, have you found any particularly good food and cocktail pairings?

A: The obvious one is a Martini with our Catfish Cakes. The chef uses Gin in his Catfish cakes and Tonic in his tartar sauce. With a wet martini, it is a great combination. Another pairing that works very well is the Opera Cocktail with the Oxtails.

Q: Do you have an original cocktail or an old favorite you feel represents you and your style of mixing?

Northern Spy
2 oz. Applejack
1 oz. fresh apple cider (flash-pasteurized ok but no preservatives!)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4-1/2 oz. apricot brandy (amount depending on brand/sweetness)
Rim glass with cinnamon-sugar. Shake and strain into rimmed glass. Add a cranberry as garnish.
Note: this cocktail responds well to “royale” treatment, a.k.a. topping with champagne.

I am impossibly biased towards both The Alembic Bar and Josey Packard, so it is tough for me to even pretend impartiality here. Alembic is a great bar and Josey is a wonderfully engaged and engaging bartender.

If you’re in San Francisco and into cocktails, Alembic should be one of the two or three “musts” that goes on your “to do” list. You’ll find Josey there, usually earlier in the evening or during the day, 5 days a week.

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.

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 2)

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 2)

Corpse Reviver (No. 2)

1/4 Wine Glass Lemon Juice (3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice)
1/4 Wine Glass Kina Lillet. (3/4 oz Cocchi Aperitivo Americano)
1/4 Wine Glass Cointreau. (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1/4 Wine Glass Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Bombay Gin)
1 Dash Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Note: Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.

Ahem, well, going by the rules of a “Wine Glass” equaling 2 oz, I should have used 1/2 oz portions. However, the previous evening’s celebrations had left this corpse badly in need of Revivifaction.

The Cocchi Aperitivo Americano is actually quite nice here, lending a bit more complexity than Lillet Blanc. So far I have yet to find a Savoy cocktail where I prefer using the modern Lillet to the Americano. On the other hand, the Cocchi Americano was downright horrible in The Pegu Club’s White Negroni, a cocktail obviously created with the character of the modern Lillet in mind.

Bombay Gin is another new player. I’ve been wanting to give the regular Bombay a try for a while now, and now that I finished off the Boodles, I picked up a bottle. A bit mild, but not bad at all.

Patrick Gavin Duffy has a slight variation on the Corpse Reviver No. 2 in his “Official Mixer’s Manual”, which is sometimes reproduced in modern cocktail collections. In it he substitutes Swedish Punsch for the Lillet.

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 2)

1/4 Dry Gin (3/4 oz Bombay Dry Gin)
1/4 Cointreau (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1/4 Swedish Punch (3/4 oz Carlshamm’s Flaggpunsch)
1/4 Lemon Juice (3/4 oz fresh lemon juice)
1 Dash Pernod (Dash Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)

Shake well with ice and strain into glass

This is tad bit sweeter than the Lillet based affair. The flavor of the Swedish Punsch really dominates the cocktail.

Both are really quite nice, mild cocktails. If I had to give either the nod, I’d say the Savoy no. 2 made with Cocchi Americano is slightly more well balanced. Though, recently a friend told me they had really been enjoying the Swedish Punsch version with the bottled Underhill Punch I made for Tales. Maybe I need to revisit this with the homemade.

Gotta give a shout out to friend Trott. When he mentioned last summer that he was going to visit family in Sweden, he did not balk when I said, “Your mission, should you choose to accept: Bring back Swedish Punsch.” And he did! Well, it turned out not to be that hard, as his family there made a habit of consuming it as an after dinner drink. Still, very cool.

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.

Boomerang Cocktail

Boomerang Cocktail

1 Dash Lemon Juice
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1/3 French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/3 Canadian Club Whisky (1 oz Forty Creek Barrel Select)
1/3 Swedish Punch (1 oz homemade Sri Langkan Arrack Punch)

Shake (stir – eje) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze lemon peel over glass.)

Tasty; but, the Canadian Whisky didn’t seem to stand much of a chance. It’s all about the punch and the lemon.

Apparently, a version of a cocktail with this name is still made. I’m told, though, it is usually made with Gin, Bitters, Dry Vermouth, and Maraschino Liqueur. Beyond the name, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the version here.

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.