Brandy Cocktail for Bottling

First, just a reminder that Sunday, March 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.

Another batched cocktail for bottling, this one with Brandy.

Brandy Cocktail for Bottling
5 Gallons Strong Brandy.
2 Gallons Water.
1 Quart Bitters.
1 Quart Gomme Syrup.
1 Bottle Curacao.
Mix thoroughly, and filter through Canton flannel.

Mmm, flannel filtered! Even plainer than the previous Bourbon Cocktail, get out your quart bottles of Angostura.

This recipe comes verbatim from the version of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide that Darcy has up over on Art of Drink. This recipe was originally as follows:

Brandy Cocktail for Bottling.
Take 5 gallons of strong brandy.
2 gallons of water.
1 quart of Stoughton’s Bitters.
1 quart of gum syrup.
1 bottle of Curacoa.

Mix thoroughly, and filter through Canton flannel.

Bourbon Cocktail for Bottling

First, just a reminder that Sunday, March 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.

Bourbon Cocktail for Bottling
5 Gallons Bourbon Rye Whisky.
2 Gallons Water.
1 Quart Gomme Syrup.
2 Ounces Tincture of Orange Peel.
1 Ounce Tincture of Lemon Peel.
1 Ounce Tincture Gentian.
1/2 Ounce Tincture of Cardamoms.
Mix these ingredients thoroughly and colour with Solferino and caramel, in equal proportions.

Gotta get me some of that “Bourbon Rye Whiskey”!

All the same, kind of plain, I’d say.

This recipe comes, more or less, verbatim from the version of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide which Darcy has up over on Art of Drink:

Bourbon Cocktail for Bottling.
Take 5 gallons of Bourbon.
2 gallons of water.
1 quart of gum syrup.
2 ounces of tincture of orange peel.
1 ounce of tincture of lemon peel.
1 ounce of tincture of gentian.
½ ounce of tincture of cardamoms.

Mix these ingredients thoroughly, and color with
Solferino and caramel, in equal proportions.

Gin Cocktail For Bottling

First, just a reminder that Sunday, March 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.

Prepared Cocktails for Bottling.

I’m going to skip ahead to the next section, while I finish getting the Zed in order.

Unfortunately, I’m not going to make any of these cocktails, the batches are just too large and the amounts too weird.

If there are any bars or spirits reps who might want to work with me to give these a try, let me know. Until then I will wait for the grant for “Advanced Alcoholic Studies” to roll in.

Gin Cocktail for Bottling
5 Gallons Gin.
2 Gallons Water.
1 Quart Gomme Syrup.
2 Ounces Tincture of Orange Peel.
7 Ounces Tincture of Gentian.
1/2 Ounce Tincture of Cardamoms.
1/2 Ounce Tincture of Lemon Peel.
Mix together, and give the desired colour with Solferino and caramel, in equal proportion.

This recipe comes verbatim from the version of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide which Dary has up over on Art of Drink.

Gin Cocktail for Bottling.
Take 5 gallons of gin.
2 gallons of water.
1 quart of gum syrup.
2 ounces of tincture of orange peeL
7 ounces of tincture of gentian.
½ ounce of tincture of cardamoms.
½ ounce of tincture of lemon peel.

Mix them together, and give the desired color with
Solferino and caramel, in equal proportions.

Cornell Special Cocktail

Cornell Special Cocktail

The Cornell Special Cocktail

1/4 Part Gin. (3/4 oz Tanqueray)
1/4 Part Benedictine. (3/4 oz Benedictine)
1/4 Part Lemon. (3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice)
1/4 Part Lithia Water. (3/4 oz Gerolsteiner Heavy Mineral Content Mineral Water)

Stir well and serve in cocktail glass.

Well, this one gave me a lot of trouble. I found some online sources that purported to sell “Lithia Water” but none of them would return my phone calls or emails. Driving all the way to Ashland, Oregon seemed pretty crazy.

Did some more research, trying to find mineral waters with a high mineral content and taste. Gerolsteiner was one, and according to some web sites, actually contains some Lithium (Not to mention 8% of your daily allowance of Calcium! Now that is heavy mineral content!)

A lot of chasing around for a drink that ends up tasting like slightly herbaceous, sparkling lemonade. Difficult or not, it certainly is easy drinking.

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.

Absinthe Drip Cocktail

There’s so much bullshit, myth, and just plain wrong information surrounding Absinthe, that it is hard to know where to start.

If you’re interested in Absinthe at all, I first must recommend stopping by the Wormwood Society or La Fee Verte Absinthe House for much more information than I can possibly include here.

First off, Absinthe is part of a very old tradition of flavored, fermented beverages. Basically, we’re talking about things like beer and vermouth here. Both hops and wormwood help to preserve the fermented beverages they are added to, giving them a longer shelf life. But, after a while of drinking them, humankind started to have a taste for hops and other bitter flavors.

And by the way, by OLD, I mean, VERY OLD. Before the Roman Empire, very old.

After distillation was invented, originally for use in the perfume and cosmetic industry in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, folks discovered that they could use it to concentrate the essence of alcoholic beverages, giving them an even longer shelf life. Thus, things like Whisk(e)y (distilled beer) and Brandy (distilled wine) started to show up.

What is Absinthe?

Like Gin, Absinthe is a spirit that is distilled with additional flavorings.

For both, one takes some distilled high proof neutral spirits (basically unaged whisk(e)y or brandy), macerates some herbs and/or spices in them, and then re-distills.

In the case of Absinthe, the primary flavoring herbs are: Grand Wormwood (Artemesia absinthum), Florence Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum), and Green Anise (Pimpinella anisum).

If you were to go to your local natural food store, buy these herbs, infuse some high proof vodka with them, and then distill it again, you would have a very basic Absinthe.

Note the very important “distillation” step after infusion. You cannot make Absinthe simply by soaking herbs in Vodka or everclear. Many of the flavors of Grand Wormwood are very unpleasant. Distillation leaves most of these flavors behind, and captures the fragrance of the plant, instead of the taste.

For the same reason, you cannot make Absinthe by adding wormwood extract to Absente or other liquors and liqueurs that purport to taste like Absinthe. Wormwood extract is made by maceration of wormwood in high proof alcohol. Simply adding the extract to any drink will simply make it taste vile. And by vile, I mean vomitrociously vile.

So now that we have those few things cleared up, what is a citizen of the US to do, if they want to sample Absinthe?

Your first choice is purchasing one of any number of the Absinthe-a-likes on the market. Pernod, Herbsaint, Ricard, Absente, La Muse Verte Pastis, etc. The big problem with most of these liquors, is that, well, they are really liqueurs. To a greater or lesser extent almost all of them are sweetened. Also, compared to real Absinthe, most have a simplistic Anise heavy flavor profile. I’ve tried a bunch of them, and really the only one I can wholeheartedly recommend is Henri Bardouin Pastis.

Your second choice is to spring for having real Absinthe shipped from England or elsewhere in Europe. Unfortunately, this is a rather costly option. Decent Absinthes, like those made by T.A. Breaux for Jade in France, will run you well over $100 US a bottle plus shipping.

Fortunately, a new company called Viridian has decided to enter the US spirits market. They contracted Mr. Breaux and asked him to make an authentic Absinthe that they would be able sell in the US. Early reviews are quite positive, and if we’re lucky, we should see Lucid Absinthe on the shelves some time this year. It’s not going to be cheap; but, it will be much cheaper than buying Jade Absinthes from England.

OK, so you’ve got your Absinthe, or Absinthe-a-like. What should you do with it?

The most traditional way to serve Absinthe is as follows:

Absinthe Drip Cocktail

1 Liqueur Glass Absinthe

Dissolve 1 lump of sugar, (leave this out if you are using a sweetened Absinthe-a-like,) using the French drip spoon, and fill glass with cold water.

A couple questions come up right away. First off, how much is a liqueur glass?

Traditional Absinthe is bottled at around 140 Proof, (or 72 Percent Alcohol,) so you’re going to want to start with a little less than a shot. An ounce or an ounce and a quarter of Absinthe should be plenty. At least to start out with.

Second what is this “French drip spoon” they speak of? The French Drip spoon is a perforated spoon. I use a tea strainer, not having yet invested in the more advanced paraphernalia of Absinthe.

So what do you actually do?

Have some ice water ready in a pitcher which you can easily drip water slowly from. Some people use water bottles with those nipple things on them. Other just poke small holes in the bottoms of clean yoghurt containers.

Pour an ounce of Absinthe in a double old-fashioned glass or small water glass. Put your tea strainer or Absinthe spoon on top of your glass. Put a sugar cube in your tea strainer.

Slowly drip water onto your sugar cube, allowing the water to drip over, and down into the Absinthe.

At some time while you are dripping, you will start to see the Absinthe cloud. What is happening is, as the alcohol percentage of the solution drops, less oils are able to stay dissolved and they precipitate out forming what is called a “louche”.

When your Absinthe appears milky, give it a taste. Too strong? Add a few more drops of water.

The traditional dilution is 5 parts water to 1 part Absinthe. If you’re using an Absinthe-a-like, which are usually bottled at 80-90 proof instead of Absinthe’s 140, you may not want to use that much water.

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.

Absinthe Cocktail

Absinthe Cocktails.

Absinthe Cocktails.


Absinthe Cocktail

1/2 Absinthe (1 1/2 oz Absinthe Verte de Fougerolles)
1/2 Water (1 1/2 oz Water)
1 dash Syrup (Rich Simple Syrup)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Absinthe (Special) Cocktail

2/3 Absinthe (1 oz Absinthe Verte de Fougerolles)
1/6 Gin (1/4 oz Beefeater Gin)
1/6 Syrup of Anisette or Gomme Syrup (barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 dash Orange Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Instructions for both are, “Shake Well and Strain into a Cocktail Glass”.

The Special is on the left.

I put off buying actual Absinthe for the longest time. But, once I tried making these cocktails with Pastis or Herbsaint, I realized it just wasn’t going to cut it. Fortunately, at the time I received a bonus at work for my, “exceptional commitment to customer service,” so I didn’t feel completely ridiculous spending the money on getting it shipped from England. Highly recommend Liqueurs de France if you are in the market for Absinthe. Great customer service and fast shipping.

For whatever reason, I preferred the plain Absinthe Cocktail. The Absinthe (Special) was a little rich for me.

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.