Whisky Cocktail

Whisky Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 dash Boker’s Bitters)
4 Dashes Syrup. (1 tsp Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
1 Glass Canadian Club Whiskey. (2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon)

Stir well and strain in cocktail glass. Add a cherry (Ooops, my cherries are in questionable shape, so I couldn’t face putting one in. Instead I Squeezed a Lemon Peel over the glass and dropped it in.)

Boy, this Buffalo Trace Bourbon isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. I guess I’m used to Bourbon with a bit more finesse, like the Eagle Rare or Evan Williams Single Barrel, but the Buffalo Trace had a harshness I wasn’t used to in this simple preparation.

I also thought it would be kind of fun to whip out Adam Elmegirab‘s reproduction of Boker’s Bitters, (Available online from Cocktail Kingdom,) for this old school cocktail.

I went a little light, I guess, with the Boker’s. Found them pretty mildly flavored, at least compared to Angostura. Could have gone with at least 2 dashes to stand up to the flavor of the Bourbon. Nicely old fashioned flavor, though, and good in this cocktail.

Anyway, this is a “Cocktail” all right, nothing complicated, but delicious all the same.

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.

Washington Cocktail

Washington Cocktail
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (2 dash Angostura Bitters)
2 Dashes Syrup. (1 teaspoon Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
2/3 French Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/3 Brandy. (3/4 oz Chateau Pellehaut Armagnac Reserve)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

A Vermouth Cocktail with a stick, there is nothing wrong with this cocktail, in fact rather enjoyable. The combination of French Vermouth and Brandy makes more sense to me than the combination of French Vermouth and Whiskey.

In fact, it kind of reminds me of a light version of of my coworker’s drinks at Heaven’s Dog, Dion Jardine’s, amusingly named variation on the Brooklyn, Brandy Does Brooklyn:

Brandy Does Brooklyn
1.5 armagnac
.75 dry vermouth
Shy .5 maraska
Shy .5 picon or amaro nonino
Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.

Now, if only Dion would get his act together and launch the blog he has been threatening, “Drinking with Bartenders”.

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.

Vanderbilt Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, October 31st, 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.

Vanderbilt Cocktail
3 Dashes Syrup. (1 scant teaspoon Small Hand Food Gum Syrup)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (2 dash Angostura Bitters)
1/4 Cherry Brandy. (1/2 oz Cherry Heering)
3/4 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Congnac Grande Champagne Dudognon Reserve)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

The source for this Savoy Cocktail was likely Robert Vermiere’s 1922 “Cocktails: How to Mix Them”. He notes, “This drink was first made at the Kursaal in Ostend during a visit of Colonel Cornelius Vanderbilt, the American Millionaire, who was drowned on the Lusitania during the war.”

I have to admit I was Very tempted to use Kirsch, this cocktail includes both syrup and “Cherry Brandy”. I resisted and instead used this rather nice Cognac, in recognition that it is, after all, a cocktail named after one of the most well known and wealthy families of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

However, it wasn’t one of the Cornelius Vanderbilts which perished on the Lusitania, but Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt.

From the Wikipedia article about his life:

“Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt I (October 20, 1877–May 7, 1915) was a wealthy sportsman and a member of the famous Vanderbilt family of philanthropists. He died on the RMS Lusitania.”

“Kursaal in Ostend” (or Oostend) probably refers to the rather well known Belgian Casino in that city.

Kursaal Casino

Before World War II, Ostend was a highly frequented gambling resort for the upper-class British citizens, especially since Queen Victoria prohibited gambling in the ´20s. The gambling law was applied throughout the entire Kingdom, making it impossible for the British people to enjoy gambling in England or in any colonial territory serving under Union Jack. However, the Queen’s law never applied to Belgium, something that made the Kursaal Casino a very popular destination for the U.K. gamblers during the roaring twenties.

Sounds like just the sort of place you would find a wealthy sportsman like Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt!

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.

Snicker Cocktail

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Snicker Cocktail
The White of 1 Egg
2 Dashes Maraschino. (5ml Luxardo Maraschino)
1 Teaspoonful Syrup. (5ml Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well and strain into medium size glass.

As always, lemon-free drinks with egg whites puzzle me.

The Snicker is basically a Martini, or dry Martinez, with egg white.  We’ve made this the odd time during Savoy Cocktail Book nights at Alembic. I guess on the strength of the name?

Actually, the Millionaire No. 2, is another lemon free egg white drink, along with some of the Savoy “Pink” drinks.

In addition, some of the oldest Clover Club recipes have no lemon, only Dry Vermouth.  Most people interpret those Clover Club recipes’ lack of lemon as a typo, but given the number of other drinks with dry vermouth and egg white, I’m not so sure.

Alas, the Snicker has never made any sense to me when I tasted them it Alembic, and doesn’t make any sense to me now.

Did Dry Vermouth used to have a stronger acid component, to the point where this drink made taste sense to someone?

Or is the Egg White used simply as a textural element?

I have no answers to these questions.

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.

Rye Whiskey Cocktail

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Rye Whiskey Cocktail.
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
4 Dashes Syrup. (1 barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Thomas Handy Rye)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Add 1 cherry.

If the ocean was whisky,
And I was a duck,
I’d dive to the bottom
To get one sweet suck.

Well, gosh darn it, I forgot the cherry and used an orange peel instead. And I call myself a cocktail enthusiast. Well, I never said I was detail oriented.

I believe this is the 2006 edition of Buffalo Trace’s Thomas Handy Rye Whiskey.  Pretty hot, so give it a nice long stir.

Rye whisky, rye whisky,
Rye whisky, l cry,
If you don’t give me rye whisky,
I surely will die.

So many of these simple cocktails are so perfectly enjoyable. It’s fun to use obscure ingredients, lots of juices, etc. But a lot of the time, even Sugar, Bitters, and water, seems a bit excessive.

But the ocean ain’t whisky
And l ain’t a duck,
So we’ll round up the cattle
And then we’ll get drunk.

With a perfectly delicious whiskey, do you really need anything else?

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.

Russell House Cocktail

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Russell House Cocktail.
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (Angostura Orange Bitters)
2 Dashes Syrup. (1/2 bar spoon Rich Simple Syrup)
3 Dashes Blackberry Brandy. (1 bar spoon Leopold Bros. Mountain Blackberry Liqueur)
1 glass Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Wiser’s Very Old)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

About a million years ago, someone told me that they thought Wiser’s Very Old was a pretty good substitution for pre-prohibition or prohibition era Canadian Whiskey.

Well, I don’t know, not having tasted vintage Canadian Whiskey, but this is a pretty unappealing cocktail and Wiser’s Very Old is a not very appealing Whiskey. And for gosh sakes, it’s just a Whiskey cocktail with a dash of Raspberry Liqueur! Like the Palmer Cocktail before it, this has no business being as bad as it is.

A bunch of people gave me a hard time about using 40 Creek Barrel Select and the Alberta Springs Whiskies, but boy, I just don’t know. Those two are just about the only Canadian Whiskies I’ve tried and can even remotely enjoy on their own or in cocktails.

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.

Planter’s Cocktail (No. 2)

Planter's Cocktail No. 2

Planter’s Cocktail (No. 2)
1/4 Lemon Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/4 Syrup. (3/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup)
1/2 Jamaica Rum. (3/4 oz Mount Gay XO, 3/4 oz Wray & Nephew White Overproof)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Planter’s Cocktail
Note: This drink is greatly favoured by Planters, particularly in Jamaica where Rum is good and cheap.

Well, figured I should use a “good and cheap” Jamaica Rum for this one. Wray & Nephew Overproof seemed like the trick, but couldn’t quite face using it alone so cut it with a an equal part of Mount Gay XO I’d gotten through my association with the CSOWG.

The Mount Gay XO, by the way, is pretty enjoyable for an industrial rum.  Nice sipper and makes a fantastic rum old-fashioned.

In general, we liked Planter’s Cocktail No. 2 better than No. 1, though it was a tad sweet. A half ounce of the rich simple would have been plenty.

It’s funny, one of my first drink quests was for the Planter’s Punch.  I had a good one early on, but then realized soon after that no two bartenders seemed to make the same drink when asked to make a Planter’s Punch.  About all they seemed to have in common was Myer’s Jamaican Rum.

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.

Olivette Cocktail

Olivette Cocktail

Olivette Cocktail

2 Dashes Syrup. (Scant barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (Angostura Orange Bitters)
3 Dashes Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)
2/3 Glass Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass with olive and squeeze lemon peel on top.

More or less just an Improved or Fancy Plymouth Gin Cocktail, this is some pretty serious business. Lesser men need not apply.

If you have an appreciation for slightly adulterated straight spirits, on the other hand, this is not bad at all. Do give it a nice long stir, however, make it small, and drink it while it is very cold.

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.

Nineteen Cocktail

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Nineteen Cocktail

1 Dash Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)
1/6 Dry Gin. (1/2 oz North Shore Distiller’s No. 11)
1/6 Kirsch. (1/2 oz Clear Creek Kirsch)
2/3 French Vermouth. (2 oz Noilly Original Dry*)
4 Dashes Syrup. (1 tsp. Rich Simple Syrup)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.  (Lemon Peel.)

New Noilly Bottle

Noilly Prat recently redesigned the bottles for their Sweet and Dry Vermouths.  Along with the redesign of the bottles, they discontinued a formula of their Dry Vermouth which they had only been selling in America, standardizing on the “Original French Dry” which has been sold in the rest of the world for all this time.

To explain, some time in the 1960s, as Martinis were getting drier and drier, Noilly Prat launched a new forumula of their Dry Vermouth exclusively for the US.

This is the text of an ad from 1964, turned up by Mr. David Wondrich:

VERY VERY PALE
So pale that new Noilly Prat French Vermouth is virtually invisible in your gin or vodka. Extra pale and extra dry for today’s correct Martini. DON’T STIR WITHOUT NOILLY PRAT.

Well, as you can see from the picture of the drink above, Noilly Dry is invisible no longer! Most Martinis with more than a splash of vermouth, will now take on a distinct amber hue from the darker color of the Noilly Dry Vermouth.

The difference in the two versions that were sold was primarily a larger percentage of aged wine in the “Original French Dry”.

As far as taste goes, doing a side by side of the two Noilly, there is a stronger sherry like character in the “new” formula and slightly more pronounced herbal/floral flavor.

A lot of people have gotten up in arms about this, Feeling Noilly has ruined their Martinis forever.

From my perspective, however, we’re probably getting something closer to what Noilly Prat Vermouth would have tasted like in the early part of the 20th Century.  In addition we’re getting extra vermouth flavor.

How could that be a bad thing?

For example, I tried making this cocktail with the lighter American Noilly and again with Dolin Dry.  I found that I preferred the Original French Dry in this cocktail to either of the other two Dry Vermouths.

While there are other cocktails where I prefer the Dolin Dry, Dry Martinis for example, in more complex or vermouth forward cocktails, the Noilly Prat can bring a bit more interest to the drink.

In regards, the Nineteen Cocktail, it is a light cocktail along the lines of the Chrysanthemum.  A good before dinner drink which might even complement an appetizer without getting you totally blitzed on an empty stomach.  Or a nice civilized drink to get you back on an even keel after a few more potent potables.

*Noilly Original Dry was received from a marketing firm promoting its launch.

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.

Nine-Pick Cocktail

Nine-Pick Cocktail

Nine-Pick Cocktail

2/3 Absinthe. (1 1/2 oz Sirene Absinthe Verte)
1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (Angostura)
1 Dash Syrup.

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

This name doesn’t really make sense until you scan the page across from it…

Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up Cocktail
2/3 Pernod Absinthe.
1/3 Gin.
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters.
1 Dash Gomme Syrup.
Shake well, strain into medium size wine-glass, and fill balance with soda water.

So the “Nine-Pick” is a shortened version of the “Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up”! I can just imagine some business man saying, “You know I’d like that Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up, but I don’t have time for a long drink. Can you leave out the soda?”  Then some smart aleck bartender handing him the cocktail and telling him that without the soda, it’s only a “Nine-Pick”.

With a generous dash of syrup and a nice long, vigorous shake, this is actually not bad.  Well, if you like Absinthe, obviously.  I chose to use the Hayman’s because it was handy and seemed like it would be interesting, especially since the other 2/3 of the drink was already high test.  Turned out to be a good choice with the citrus flavors of the Sirene and Hayman’s complementing each other nicely.

I am kind of cheating here using actual Absinthe. By 1920 Absinthe was banned in most countries, so it is far more likely that this cocktail would be made with Pernod’s newly available Wormwood free product*.

*From this Coctkailtimes article: Absinthe was banned in 1910 in the Switzerland, 1912 in the US, and 1914 in France. In 1920, France again allowed the production of anise flavored drinks. Pernod’s new Wormwood free formulation was one of the first out of the gate.

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.