Fantasio Cocktail (No. 1 and No. 2)

Fantasio Cocktail (No. 1)

1/6 White Crème de Menthe.
1/6 Maraschino.
1/3 Brandy.
1/3 Dry Gin.

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

Fantasio Cocktail. (No. 2.)

1/6 White Crème de Menthe. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Creme de Menthe)
1/6 Maraschino. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Maraschino)
1/3 Brandy. (3/4 oz Brandy)
1/3 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I’ve stared and stared at these two Savoy Cocktail Book recipes for Fantasio No. 1 and No. 2 and can find no difference between them, aside from the shaking detail. In the 1934 edition of Patrick Gavin Duffy’s “Official Mixer’s Manual” they are actually both stirred, but the No. 2 gets a cherry. God knows why there are two versions of this cocktail in either book.

Gin and Brandy isn’t one of those things that really pops into my head as a great combination, so I thought about this one for a while, comparing the gins I had in the house. Eventually, I decided to go with a Jonge Genever. It seemed like the slight maltiness would complement the brandy well.

I also nominally cheated on the recipe ratio. Just couldn’t quite face that much liqueur.

Fantasio, slight variation

1/4 oz Brizard White Crème de Menthe
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
3/4 oz Cerbois VSOP Armagnac
1 oz Boomsma Jonge Genever

Stir, strain, cherry.

Maybe I’m on crack, but this isn’t half bad. Sort of a more complex Stinger. The cherry is a nice touch and I like the flavors it brings towards the end of the cocktail after soaking in the booze.

…Some time later…

Well, this is rather embarrassing.

While the Fantasios in the Savoy Cocktail Book are exactly the same, (excepting the stirring/shaking detail,) I was looking through 1934 Patrick Gavin Duffy for the umpteenth time, and noticed the two Fantasios are slightly different:

Fantasio Cocktail No. 1
1/6 White Creme de Menthe (1/2 of 3/4 oz Brizard Creme de Menthe)
1/6 Maraschino (1/2 of 3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino)
1/3 Brandy (3/4 oz Señor Lustau Solera Reserva Brandy de Jerez)
1/3 French Vermouth (3/4 oz French Vermouth)
Stir well and strain.
Use glass Number 1.

Fantasio Cocktail No. 2
1/6 White Creme de Menthe
1/6 Maraschino
1/3 Brandy
1/3 Italian Vermouth
Stir well in ice and strain. Add a cherry.
Use glass number 1.

Uh, oops! I’ve no explanation for completely missing the fact that he calls for vermouth instead of Gin. I guess sometimes you see what you want to see!?

So that makes it more of a Brandy Manhattan variation, than a, well, whatever the hell the Savoy Brandy and Gin concoction is.

But the big question, is it any better with vermouth?  I tried No 1 exactly as written and unfortunately my answer is, “No, not really.”  Still disgustingly sweet.

However, again, something like this ain’t bad:

2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Señor Lustau Solera Reserva Brandy de Jerez)
1/3 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1 tsp Creme de Menthe
1 tsp Maraschino Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add a cherry (preferably Luxardo or Toschi).

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.

Elk Cocktail

Elk Cocktail

1/2 Prunelle Brandy. (1 1/2 oz mixture 1/2 Trimbach Kirsch, 1/2 Prune Syrup)
2 Dashes French Vermouth. (Dolin French Vermouth)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Garnish with a prune.)

When I first made this I thought that “Prunelle” was a difficult to find liqueur made from Prune Plums.

So I decided I would approximate it by mixing prune syrup with eau-de-vie.

I thought of buying actual Prune brandy to mix with the Prune syrup, but figured might as well use the Kirsch I had instead. The oddest thing happened when I added the Kirsch to the Prune syrup. It gelatinized.

The texture of the cocktail ended up really weird, with cold gin and vermouth floating between gelatinized globules of kirsch flavored prune syrup. The flavors were good, but the whole thing was a little bit of unintentional molecular mixology.

Interestingly, it turns out that if there is enough pectin in a solution it will gelatinize when exposed to alcohol. Prunes, I’ve since discovered are unusually high in pectin.

(For more about pectin and it’s potential mixological uses, check out this recent article by Darcy O’Neil over on Art of Drink: Fruit Pectin)

I’ve also discovered that I had a bit of confusion about “Prunelle”. “Pruneaux” is a preserve made with plums and armagnac. “Prunetta” is an Italian liqueur made from prunes. “Prunelle” on the other hand is the french word for the fruit of the Blackthorn bush, otherwise known as Sloes. Prunelle is a liqueur made from those Sloes, as in “Sloe Gin”. Except instead of Gin, the French use Neutral Spirits or Brandy to make this liqueur. So really a better solution to this Savoy cocktail would be something like 2/3 Sloe Gin, 1/3 Vodka, 1 teaspoon French Vermouth.

1 1/2 oz Lindesfarne Sloe Gin
3/4 oz Stillwater Vodka
1 teaspoon French Vermouth

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.

Ooof, that isn’t quite there. Without any sweetening the Lidesfarne Sloe Gin is quite bitter and tart.

Maybe reverse the proportions?

1 1/2 oz Stillwater Vodka
3/4 oz Lindesfarne Sloe Gin
1 teaspoon French Vermouth

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.

Oof, that isn’t very good at all. No Gin taste.

Ok, last chance:

3/4 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Stillwater Vodka
3/4 oz Lindesfarne Sloe Gin
1 teaspoon French Vermouth

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.

Well OK, that is drinkable. I think it would probably be even better with the slightly sweeter Plymouth Sloe Gin.  Or maybe a less funky vodka than the Stillwater.  Not bad, though.

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.

Du Barry Cocktail

Du Barry Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
2 Dashes Absinthe. (Marteau Verte Classic)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2/3 Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Add slice of orange.

Close, but no cigar?

If I hadn’t made my version of the Fourth Degree Cocktail recently, I would probably enjoy this more. It’s OK. But, splitting the vermouth between sweet and dry is waaaaaay better, at least to my taste. Though, I should try it with my spiffy new Dolin Vermouth. It’s possible, my Noilly Dry was getting a bit tired.

Googling DuBarry, one of the first things that comes up is Marie-Jeanne, Comtesse du Barry, professional courtesan and royal mistress to Louis XV.

Executed during the French Revolution, her last words to the executioner were reported to be, “Encore un moment, monsieur le bourreau, un petit moment,” (“Just a moment, executioner, just a brief moment”).

Even though I enjoyed the Fourth Degree a bit more, there are certainly worse ways to pass the time while waiting for the executioner, than the Du Barry Cocktail.

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.

Dry Martini Cocktail

Dry Martini Cocktail

1/2 French Vermouth. (Generous 1 oz Dolin French Vermouth)
1/2 Gin. (Generous 1 oz Junipero Gin)
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash Fee’s Orange Bitters, 1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters)

Shake (Stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze lemon peel over glass.)

As always, it’s fun to give a classic a spin with a new ingredient.

I’ve wanted to try Dolin Vermouth since hearing about it at a cocktail seminar at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar a couple years ago. Finally found some at a local liquor store. It’s quite tasty in a different way from the Vya Vermouth. It seems to use a dry white wine base closer to the Noilly Prat Dry in body and flavor, but is pumped up in the herbs and bitterness department. Further experimentation is assuredly required!

This is definitely one of the better “Fifty-Fifty” Dry Martini type combinations I’ve tried in recent memory. Quite possibly in the top 5 all time, at least to my current taste.

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.

Douglas Cocktail

Douglas Cocktail.

1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2/3 Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange and lemon peel on top.

Finally tracked down some tovolo silicon ice cube molds and experimented with them. I think 1 1/2 inch or so cubes. I can see how these would be of benefit for shaken cocktails, as they don’t shatter like regular automatic freezer ice. I think the IKEA ones are even larger, aren’t they?

In any case, they are much harder to break than the regular cubes because of their size. So for cracked ice, I guess I’ll stick with regular automatic ice for the time being.

The Douglas Cocktail is a perfectly fine dry Martini variation. I have to admit I miss the orange bitters, Absinthe, Italian Vermouth, etc. of the many other Martini variations, so dunno if it would go on the short list.

Also, boy, martinis without garnishes are tough to make exciting looking or even get the camera to focus on. Guess I should have left the twists in the 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.

Dixie Cocktail

Dixie Cocktail

1/2 Dry Gin. (Generous 1 oz Beefeater’s Gin)
1/4 French Vermouth. (Generous 1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/4 Absinthe. (Generous 1/2 oz Marteau Verte Classique)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

As someone who is, well, “Middle Aged,” I am fascinated by people who re-invent themselves and their careers “later” in life.

Instead of accepting the status quo and “keep on, keepin’ on”, they find a new enthusiasm, or one that has been with them all along, and turn what was a passion into a business plan.

“Foodie” Steve Sando turned a passion for good ingredients into Racho Gordo. Eric Seed (though, he’s a bit younger than the rest of us!) left a career in banking and business to launch Haus Alpenz.

Gwydion Stone is another.

A long time proponent of Absinthe, and founder of The Wormwood Society, he has turned his passion for well made Absinthe into a business venture, Gnostalgic Spirits.

Last year he launched his first commercial product, Marteau Verte Classique, an Absinthe based on tradition recipes and made in accordance with recipes from the 19th Century. It is currently distilled in Switzerland by the Matter-Luginbühl Distillery who also manufacture the Duplais Absinthes among others. Some time this year, he is hoping to launch an Absinthe produced in the US.

The interesting thing about the Verte Classique, is that has been specifically designed to be cocktail friendly.

Which brings us back to the “Dixie Cocktail.”

Because they can use some of the same botanicals, the combination of Absinthe and Gin is always interesting. Depending on the Gin, sometimes interesting is good and sometimes interesting is bad.

I tried the Marteau on its own, diluted with water, as is traditional. It is a very well balanced Absinthe, with the wormwood flavors in harmony with the other botanicals and the anise more reserved than many other modern style Absinthes.

In the Dixie Cocktail, it was interesting, in that it seemed like the Wormwood was out front in the scent of the cocktail and the other botanicals more expressed in the flavor or later taste sensations. The licorice of the Beefeaters, (a proven Absinthe friendly Gin,) is particularly prominent the flavor. This isn’t a cocktail for those who aren’t sure if they like Absinthe or Anise.

Sources indicate this cocktail, like the Aviation, came from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 book, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”. I also note a striking similarity to the “Obituary Cocktail” as served at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans.

But, if you enjoy Anise and her friends, raise a Dixie Cocktail in honor of second chances rather than Obituaries.

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.

Diabolo Cocktail

Diabolo Cocktail
(6 People)

Pour into the shaker 3 glasses of Brandy (Generous 1 oz Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac) and 3 of French Vermouth (Generous 1 oz Noilly Prat Dry). Add a spoonful of Angostura (2 dashes Angostura) and 2 spoonsful of Orange Bitters (2 dashes Fee’s Orange Bitters, 2 Dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters). Shake (stir, please) and serve with piece of lemon rind and an olive, or, if preferred a cherry.

This is the last of the diabolical cocktails. The generous amount of bitters in this one, I guess, made it seem like the most satanic of the bunch.

“Diabolo” is the name of a couple things. First off, as far as I can tell, it is one of the Greek names for the Devil. It is also the name for those bobbin shaped Chinese tops that you manipulate using two sticks attached by a string.

It is my understanding the Chinese top type Diabolos were quite the trendy item in America and England of the 1800s and early 1900s, so I’m guessing it may have been named after the them, rather than the devil.

The cocktail amounts to a Dry Brandy Manhattan (or Martini) with a goodly amount of bitters. Tried with a stuffed green olive and found I preferred the cocktail without. An enjoyable, if not outstanding, aperitif cocktail.

I have to admit as I near the bottom of the Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac I am getting a bit tired of it. It’s perfectly fine, just a bit lightweight for cocktails, and, I dunno, lacking in complexity. Of the 4 bottles of Brandy/Cognac I’ve gone through since starting the Savoy topic, I think the only one which has really held my interest was the Pierre Ferrand Ambre. Maybe an Armagnac next?

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.

Devil’s Cocktail

Devil’s Cocktail

1/2 Port Wine. (1 1/4 oz Ficklin Old Vine Tinta Port)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 1/4 oz Noilly Prat)
2 Dashes Lemon Juice.

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Well, this is an appropriately named cocktail for Halloween.

Though, it really doesn’t seem particularly satanic to me.

It is refreshing, light, and somewhat wine-like.

Aside from the color, perhaps it is a “Devil’s Cocktail” because it doesn’t really seem like it has any alcohol?

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.

Davis Brandy Cocktail

Davis Brandy Cocktail

Davis Brandy Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
4 Dashes Grenadine. (1 tsp. homemade grenadine)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac)

Shake (Stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass.

A thoroughly enjoyable cocktail.

All about the brandy with just a little sweetness and fruitiness from the grenadine.

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.

Davis Cocktail

Davis Cocktail

Davis Cocktail
1/4 Jamaica Rum. (generous 1/2 oz Inner Circle Green)
1/2 French Vermouth. (generous 1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2 Dashes Grenadine. (1 tsp. homemade)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon or 1 Lime. (1 lime)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

This is a confusing one, not least because the ingredient fractions fail to add up to the usual “one”.

My version of Duffy gives it as:

Davis
1/2 Jamaica Rum.
1/2 French Vermouth.
2 Dashes Raspberry Syrup.
Juice of 1 Lime.
Shake well with ice and strain into glass.

And the Cocktaildb, Jones’ Complete Barguide one assumes, gives it as:

Davis Cocktail
3/4 oz fresh lime juice (2 cl, 3/16 gills)
1 1/2 oz Jamaica rum (4.5 cl, 3/8 gills)
1/2 oz raspberry syrup (or grenadine) (1.5 cl, 1/8 gills)
3/4 oz dry vermouth (2 cl, 3/16 gills)

I tried the cocktaildb version on Saturday night using Appleton V/X and my wife said it tasted like candy. Pretty disgusting. Way too much grenadine.

Went back to the original, and decided the sensible thing would be an overproof and rather flavorful rum. Not bad at all. With the Inner Circle overproof rum and a reasonable amount of sweetener, it really is all about the rum and the lime. A refreshing tonic.

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.