Choker Cocktail

Choker Cocktail

Choker Cocktail* (6 People)

4 Glasses Whisky (1 1/2 oz Binny’s Select Buffalo Trace Bourbon)
2 Glasses Absinthe (3/4 oz Lucid Absinthe)
1 Dash Absinthe Bitters (Angostura Bitters)

This Cocktail is to be very thoroughly shaken and no sweetening in any form should be added.

*Drink this and you can drink anything: new-laid eggs put into it immediately become hard-boiled.

With such a menacing quote, I think I would have trouble finding 6 people willing to share this one with me!

Never did resolve the “Absinthe Bitters” issue. No one I talked to was aware of any commercial bitters which might have been referred to as “Absinthe Bitters”. There have been a number of bitter wormwood based elixirs made through history. Purl(e), Malört, etc. It is possible that the recipe is meant to be made with those or possibly something like “Gin and Wormwood“. Would certainly get it closer to being a real “Choker” of a cocktail.

As in the Bunny Hug, I went with the Binny’s Select Buffalo Trace for this Cocktail, as it seems to have the Cojones to stand up to the Absinthe.

It’s not a cocktail I’ll be making again any time soon; but I think I did prefer the whiskey, bitters and absinthe of the Choker to the whiskey, gin, and absinthe of the Bunny Hug.

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.

Bunny Hug Cocktail

Bunny Hug

1/3 Gin (Almost 3/4 oz Boodles Gin)
1/3 Whisky (Almost 3/4 oz Binny’s Single Barrel Buffalo Trace Bourbon)
1/3 Absinthe (Almost 3/4 oz Absinthe Verte de Fougerolles)

Shake (Stir? What does it matter? I lean towards shake for this MF.) well and strain into cocktail glass.

This cocktail should immediately be poured down the sink before it is too late.

This cocktail has always puzzled me.

First, the cute name made no sense, until someone pointed out that the “Bunny Hug” was some sort of raunchy dance invented at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel. Sort of the early 1900s equivalent of “Freak Dancing.” Also that “Hug” was not really quite as “cute” a term, as it might originally appear. Apparently, the name was supposed to evoke something more like, “doing it like rabbits”.

There’s also what may be an apocryphal story that a dancer named Vernor Castle adapted the Bunny Hug into the slower and more acceptably named Foxtrot.

Then there’s the menacing epigraph. Is it meant as a warning or encouragement?

I really had little hope for the cocktail. Given the lineage of the name, it seemed more likely that it was the turn of the century equivalent of a shooter. A short, high alcohol drink you slammed between dances.

That may be; but, it’s actually not that bad. Absinthe is dominant, of course; but, the gin kind of mediates, and the whiskey is there in the finish. I probably lucked out by picking a feisty whiskey, like the Buffalo Trace. Anything more polite would simply get blown away by the Absinthe.

Still, not something you’re really going to slowly savor in front of a warm fire. Make it small, make it cold, and get on with the dancing.

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.

Brooklyn Cocktail

Brooklyn Cocktail

1 Dash Amer Picon (1/2 barspoon Torani Amer)
1 Dash Maraschino (1/2 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino)
2/3 Canadian Club Whisky (1 1/2 oz 40 Creek Barrel Select)
1/3 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)

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

This seemed a bit flat as written. I’ve read that Torani Amer is closer to Amer Picon with the addition of some Orange Bitters. A couple drops of Regan’s Orange Bitters did perk it up a bit. A squeeze of lemon peel and it really started to sing.

Ahem, of course it might be a bit tastier with, say, Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey or Rittenhouse 100. But, out of deference to the Savoy, I stuck with Canadian.

By the way, tonight’s the night for Alembic Bar‘s monthly Savoy Cocktail Book night. Tonight the bartenders will forgo their usual menu and instead do their best to make any cocktail you desire from the Savoy Cocktail Book. The Brooklyn is a certainly a fine cocktail to ask for!

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.

Blues Cocktail

Blues Cocktail
(6 People)

Take 4 Glasses of Whisky. (4 oz Bernheim Wheat Whiskey)
1 Glass of Curacao. (1 oz Brizard Orange Curacao)
Incorporate 1 Teaspoonful of Syrup of Prunes. (1/2 teaspoon Prune Syrup)

Pour out over plenty of cracked ice and shake (stir, please) for longer and more thoroughly than usual. Serve very cold.

This Cocktail removes the Blues if you have them and gives you the Blue Devils if you haven’t.

Another favorite of mine among Savoy Quotes.

The cocktail is a bit on the sweet side. Stirred in a frozen glass with cracked ice and served very cold, quite tasty. To get the prune syrup, I did buy prunes, so I figured, why not add them as a garnish? Give you a bit of fiber with your cocktail. And, hey, turns out, whiskey soaked prunes are not bad at all.

Thought I’d throw a bit of a changeup with the whiskey. Been getting a bit predictable using the Sazerac 6, when nothing is specified. I think the Bernheim was a good choice. The dry leanness of the wheat whiskey complements the sweetness of the Curacao nicely.

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.

Blue Blazer


Use two large silver-plated mugs, with handles.
1 Wineglass Scotch Whisky. (2 oz Whiskey)
1 Wineglass Boiling Water. (About 1 oz Boiling Water)

Put the Whisky into one mug, and the boiling water into the other, ignite the Whisky with fire, and while blazing mix both ingredients by pouring them four or five times from one mug to the other. If well done, this will have the appearance of a continued stream of liquid fire. Sweeten with one teaspoonful of powdered white sugar (superfine or caster sugar), and serve in a small (tempered!) bar tumbler (Or coffee mug), with a piece of lemon peel.

The Blue Blazer dies not have a very euphonious or classic name, but. it tastes better to the palate than it sounds to the ear A beholder gazing for the first time upon an experienced artist compounding this beverage, would naturally come to the conclusion that it was a nectar for Pluto rather than Bacchus. The novice in mixing this beverage should be careful not to scald himself. To become proficient in throwing the liquid from one mug to the other, it will be necessary to practise for some time with cold water.


1) Have a fire extinguisher handy and remove all flammable objects from the area.

2) You will note I had to put the whiskey in a pan and warm it a bit to get it to light. In a change from the above instructions, I suggest you add the boiling water to the whisk(e)y before trying to light it. The combination of hot water and whiskey will raise the temperature enough to create alcohol vapor and allow you to easily ignite it with a match. Using cask strength spirits also helps to get the fire going.

3) While preparing this, one guest remarked, “Oh, that is a Blue Flame, it’s not as hot as regular fire.” I am afraid that the temperature of an alcohol flame is just as damn hot as that of pretty much any other flame. Those mixing tins get very, very hot. Do not touch them directly until they have had a chance to cool down.

4) Burning alcohol makes a fine finish remover for tile floors. Other wise men have suggested, in the future, that I place damp towels underneath the area where I am mixing Blue Blazers.

I don’t have any barrel proof Scotch, so I decided to use the Buffalo Trace Antique collection barrel proof George T. Stagg Whiskey instead. It’s 140.6 Proof, so I figured I wouldn’t have much trouble lighting it.

Unfortunately, this cocktail is very difficult to capture this with the lights on. Also, you really need smell-o-vision to properly appreciate how the hot whiskey aroma fills the room. Aromatherapy be damned, just make a Blue Blazer.

It’s hard to beat a flaming whisk(e)y toddy!

Comments from the evening’s guests were, “Oooo, that’s really good!” and, “It warms you all the way down to your toes!”

So, yeah, I’d say the Blue Blazer was quite a hit.

Some of the guests suggested I could make good money preparing Blue Blazers at parties.

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.

Forest Fire

I have wasted so much cocktail time this week avoiding the obvious with this cocktail.

I had an idea to create a cocktail that featured the Death’s Door Gin. When I was thinking about it, the interesting fact that the Bernheim Wheat Whiskey was also made on a Wheat base piqued my interest so I wanted to use both spirits.

One of the most common two spirit cocktails is the Vieux Carre Formula.

The proportions are:

1/3 One Spirit
1/3 Other Spirit
1/3 Sweet Vermouth
Dash liqueur
Dash Peychaud Bitters

However, I really wanted to do something that would feature the Death’s Door itself so was shifting the balance towards the gin. And it kept not working.

Finally, I gave in tonight and went with the usual equal proportions. And finally, I think it is pretty good.

Forest Fire (aka Vieux Carre Variation No. 3)

3/4 oz Death’s Door Gin
3/4 oz Bernheim Wheat Whiskey
3/4 oz M&R Sweet Vermouth (Do not use Punt e Mes. I’ve tried it and it sucks in this cocktail.)
1/4 oz Averna Limoni Lemon Liqueur*
1/4 oz Qi Black Tea Liqueur
Dash Peychaud’s Bitters
Orange Twist

Stir with ice, strain into cocktail glass, and flame an orange twist over the glass.

If you try it, let me know what you think.

Oh, and Robert, some of us Californians do have a sense of humor.

*Edit – The folks promoting Averna‘s new product expansion sent me a sample of this liqueur. It is a distilled lemon liqueur. I guess I would describe it more as a lemon version of Cointreau than as something similar to Limoncello. I cannot do it half the justice that my friend Lance Mayhew did on his blog: Truth and Beauty- Product Review Averna Limoni. “My mind was flooded with memories as I savored the Limoni. The heady smell of lemons in the markets of Italy, summers spent flirting with a sweet girl named Silence, sucking the nectar out of honeysuckle flowers when I was 10, all warm and powerful memories.” Fer cripes sake, how am I supposed to top that? Anyway, it is a very nice liqueur. I wanted a warm lemon flavor to represent the “fire” in the Forest Fire, and it works well. If you don’t have it around, use homemade limoncello. Or you could go another way, and use Cointreau in the drink, and then flame a lemon zest over the top at the end instead of orange.

Alice, Mine Cocktail

Alice, Mine Cocktail

1/2 Italian Vermouth. (Generous 1 oz Italian Vermouth)
1/2 Russians Kummel. (Generous 1 oz Norwegian Aquavit, Dash Simple Syrup)
2 Dashes Scotch Whisky. (teaspoon Scotch Whisky)

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

Not having Kummel, a caraway liqueur, I cheated here and substituted Aquavit, a caraway flavored spirit.

It is all a bit confusing, in that there are about 3 cocktails with this same name and different ingredients. Sometimes the recipe is the exact same thing as the preceding Alfonso Special and sometimes it is just a Scotch Manhattan.

This version of the Alice, Mine Cocktail is actually surprisingly tasty.

There aren’t many Scotch cocktails, and it’s a shame this one isn’t known more.

The comma in the name of the cocktail puzzles me, otherwise I would say it might be named after the famous “Alice Mine” near Butte Montana and the part it played in the Silver rush of the 1870s.

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.