Atholl Brose

John Birdsall helped me write up the Atholl Brose cocktail I created for The Coachman on Chow.com:

Erik Ellestad’s Atholl Brose Cocktail, chow.com and John Birdsall

(Check the link for photos!)

When Erik Adkins, bar manager for the Slanted Door Group of restaurants in San Francisco, visited Clover Club in Brooklyn a few years ago he had a drink they were calling Atholl Brose: Scotch stirred with honey and topped with lightly whipped cream. In Scotland, Atholl Brose is a traditional beverage typically composed of the liquid from soaking oats—when you make oatmeal from raw steel-cut or stone-ground oats, you soak [the oats] in water so they prehydrate and don’t take as long to cook. To this, Scots would add honey, whisky, and cream.

When we started talking about the drinks for The Coachman, Atholl Brose was on the short list of cocktails Erik Adkins wanted to do, but we didn’t want to just replicate Clover Club’s drink. Plus I wanted to include some form of the traditional oat infusion, which the Clover Club had left out.

I tried a bunch of different combinations of these ingredients in various iterations and was starting to think I wouldn’t find a really good drink. Then one of the Coachman’s cooks, tasting an early test version, told me I needed to find some way to heighten the flavor of the oats. I took the roasted and soaked oats home and made oatmeal from them.

Eating them for breakfast the next day, I realized that the coffee I was drinking was heightening the roasted flavor of the oats without overwhelming them, kind of like bitters behave in a typical cocktail. I bought cold coffee concentrate on my way to work. As soon as I tasted the combination I knew we had a winner.

Atholl Brose (Scottish Breakfast)
Makes 1 cocktail

1 1/2 ounces blended Scotch whisky
1/2 ounce honey syrup (*recipe follows)
1/4 ounce cold-process coffee concentrate
2 ounces oat-infused milk (**recipe follows)
Freshly grated nutmeg

METHOD: Combine Scotch, honey syrup, coffee concentrate, and oat-infused milk in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. (It is also really tasty warm, instead of chilled.)

*Honey Syrup
Add 1 cup honey to 1 cup hot water. Stir until honey is dissolved. Store in the fridge.

**Oat-Infused Milk
Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread 1 cup steel-cut or stone-ground oats onto a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for a half hour, then stir to redistribute and bake another 15 minutes, until they’re evenly tan and smell a bit like popcorn. Set aside to cool. Pour 1 quart whole milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Warm until almost simmering (i.e., scalded). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and the roasted oats. Add the hot milk, cool at room temperature, and refrigerate overnight. Next day, strain the oats, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Save the oats—you can make oatmeal by adding 2 to 3 cups of water and cooking over a low heat for about 45 minutes.

Whisky Fix

The Savoy recipe for the Whisky Fix is pretty basic.

Whisky Fix
1 Large Teaspoonful of Powdered White Sugar, dissolved in a little water.
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1 Wineglass Bourbon or Rye Whisky.
Fill up the glass about 2/3 full of shaved ice, stir well, and ornament the top of the glass with fruit in season.

I felt a need to tart it up a little bit, always remembering the category dictum, “In making fixes be careful to put the lemon skin in the glass.” If you can “Improve” a Cocktail, why can’t you “Improve” a Whiskey Fix?

Improved Whiskey Fix

2 oz Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon
Generous Teaspoon Sugar
Peel 1/2 Small Orange

Splash Soda Water
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
Cocktail Cherry

Place the orange peel in the bottom of a heavy glass. Add a generous teaspoon of sugar. Muddle peel in sugar until it is fragrant. Add a splash of water and continue muddling until sugar is dissolved. Add the juice of 1/2 Lemon (about 3/4 oz) and the Whiskey. Add fine ice and swizzle until the glass is frosted. Float on Yellow Chartreuse. Garnish with a lemon slice and a cherry.

Harry Johnson liked to put Yellow Chartreuse in his Whiskey Daisy, so I figure it’s OK to use in a Fix. Or, as I like to say, everything is better with a little Chartreuse.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Imperial Fizz

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 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, (they also have a great beer selection,) stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Imperial Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1/3 Rum.
2/3 Canadian Club or Scotch Whisky.
1/2 Tablespoonful Sugar.
Shake well, strain into medium size glass and fill with syphon soda water.

Another Fizz from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”, Ensslin gives the recipe as follows:

1/3 St. Croix Rum; 2/3 Whiskey; 4 dashes Lemon Juice; Juice ½ Lime. Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a fizz glass and fill up with carbonated water or any sparkling water desired.

A few Savoy Recipes have called for “St. Croiix Rum.” I’ve never really seen much differential to using Cruzan or any other modern Rum from St. Croix. The Cruzan Single Barrel is a nice Rum, but there isn’t really anything in particular it brings to a drink. Or at least enough to justify calling for “St. Croix Rum” in particular.

However, once when I was talking to Martin Cate, (of Rum paradise Smuggler’s Cove) about this issue, he suggested he’d had good results using Spiced Rum when St. Croix Rum is called for. Well, if Martin Cate suggests it, I’ll give it a try. Besides, as this drink has no sweetener, it might be nice to use a sweetened product like most Spiced Rums.

Hey, some company promoting Kraken Spiced Rum was even kind enough to send me a bottle…

Damn! I was really hoping for a rubber squid.

Imperial Fizz

1 1/2 oz Macallan Cask Strength Scotch Whiskey
3/4 oz Kraken Spiced Rum
Light squeeze, juice 1/2 Lemon
Juice 1/2 Small Lime

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a fizz glass and fill up with carbonated water or any sparkling water desired.

Yeah, that is not very sweet at all. I believe I over estimated the sweetening power of spiced rum!

And, yes, in the video you can see the problem with using a soda syphon shortly after charging it. The CO2 does not have a chance to dissolve properly, so the first squirt is always too charged.

So this is pretty, “Meh”. A definite waste of perfectly good Scotch. Even stirring a little simple syrup into this, it was pretty blah. The Kraken Spiced Rum and Macallan Scotch aren’t a particularly interesting combination.

But I was thinking about this, and thinking I was just playing it too safe. If you’re going to do something, why not do it all the way? Go Big or Go Home!

Islay Imperial Fizz

1 1/2 oz Laphroaig 10
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
Couple Dashes lemon Juice
Juice 1/2 small lime
dash Rich Simple Syrup

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a fizz glass and fill up with carbonated water or any sparkling water desired.

I may be on crack, but there is some real promise here. It’s kind of like a cross between Erik Adkins’ Rhum Agricole Punch and Sam Ross’ Penicillin. This is not bad, not bad at all. It’s lacking a little in middle flavors, but the combination of Smoky, Peaty Islay Scotch and Allspice Dram is kind of awesome. Definitely worthy of further experimentation!

Music in the first video clip from Efrim Manuel Menuck’s new recording, “Plays High Gospel,” maybe my current favorite CD. Music in the second video clip is from Craig Taborn’s new solo piano CD, “Avenging Angel”.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Tom Collins Whisky

First, just a reminder that Sunday, May 22, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) 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.

Tom Collins Whisky
5 or 6 Dashes of Gomme Syrup. (1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup)
The Juice of 1 Small Lemon. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1 Large Wineglass Whisky. (2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon)
2 or 3 Lumps of Ice.
Use small bar glass.
Shake well and strain into a large bar glass (12 oz Schumann Glass, over a single large cube of ice). Fill up the glass with plain soda water and imbibe while it is lively.

Aside from the “Prepared Punches for Bottling”, The Collins family is another section in the 1887 Jerry Thomas, which was not in the original 1862 edition of the book.

Reproduced below, you can see that the Savoy editors lifted the Tom Collins Whisky directly from that edition, including the charming, “imbibe while it is lively.”

Tom Collins Whiskey.
(Use small bar-glass.)
Take 5 or 6 dashes of gum syrup.
Juice of a small lemon.
1 large wine-glass of whiskey.
2 or 3 lumps of ice.

Shake up well and strain into a large bar-glass. Fill up the glass with plain soda water and imbibe while it is lively.

Tom Collins Brandy.
(Use large bar-glass.)
The same as Tom Collins Whiskey, substituting brandy for whiskey.

Tom Collins Gin.
(Use large bar-glass.)
The same as Tom Collins Whiskey, substituting gin for whiskey.

Normally, modern bartenders will differentiate between the various Collins drinks by giving them different first names. Jose Collins is Tequila, Jack Collins is AppleJack, Michael Collins is Irish Whiskey, and so forth. Apparently at this early date, these names had not yet been codified and everything was just a Tom Collins with the spirit specified after.

Second point, even though these early versions of the Tom Collins were being made with sugar syrup, they were still being shaken.

The two glasses thing in the Savoy recipe is always a bit confusing, but in the Thomas recipe, it is a bit more clear that one is specifying the mixing glass (small) and the other the serving glass (large).

Another interesting point is that normally you’d write out the main recipe and then say, something like “made the same with Gin” for the variations. So in the case of Thomas, it seems like the Tom Collins Whiskey was the dominant drink, not the Tom Collins Gin (which would have been Genever, at that time).

Lastly, it doesn’t appear that Jerry Thomas is specifying that any ice be included in the serving glass of the Tom Collins Whiskey. I took the liberty of adding a big tovolo cube to my drink, as I prefer it that way, but it appears at that early date, even ice was optional. The only difference between a “Whisky Fiz” and a “Tom Collins Whisky” was the size of the serving glass and thus the amount of soda.

As far as the drink itself, as much as I like Whiskey, I didn’t find it as enjoyable as the Gin Tom Collins I had at Bar Agricole. Aged spirits and Lemon, especially Bourbon, I just don’t find as appealing in Citrus based drinks. Highballs, I don’t mind at all, but once you add that lemon, you usually lose me. Guess I should try it with some unaged Whisk(e)y!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Whisky Toddy

First, just a reminder that Sunday, April 24, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) 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.

Toddies.



Whisky Toddy

1 Teaspoonful of Sugar. (1 teaspoon caster sugar)
1/2 Wineglass of water. (Well, that should be 1 oz of water, I might have used a little less)
1 Wineglass of Whisky. (2 oz Four Roses K&L Single Barrel OBSO Cask Strength Kentucky Bourbon)
1 Small Lump of Ice.
(Muddle sugar into water until dissolved, add ice and…) Stir with a spoon (until chilled), (garnish with freshly grated nutmeg) and serve.

Such is the primacy of the “Hot Toddy” these days, that the idea of making one cold often perplexes my fellow Savoy bartenders when we get an order at Alembic Bar. However, when reading David Wondrich’s awesome book, “Imbibe!From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar.” he notes that the toddy and the sling were essentially the same drink: Spirits, sugar, water, maybe ice, and maybe a garnish. Over time, the name “Toddy” became primarily associated with the hot version of the drink, while the name “Sling” went on to pepper pink, cherry flavored, gin based abominations in the areas near Indonesia. But more about Slings later. What we primarily concern ourselves with today is the “Toddy”.

If a “Cock-tail” is a “Bittered Sling” a “Toddy” (or “Sling”) is, essentially, an Old-Fashioned without Bitters.

Dissolve some sugar in water, add ice cube(s), pour over a tasty measure of spirit, stir until chilled, and garnish as fancy takes you.

It’s not rocket science, and if you, as I have instructed, use a particularly Tasty Spirit, you may find yourself omitting the sugar altogether, though I am not sure if that is still a Toddy.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Whisper Cocktail

Whisper Cocktail
(6 People)
2 Glasses Whisky (3/4 oz Thomas Handy Rye)
2 Glasses French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2 Glasses Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
Pour into a shaker half full of cracked ice. Shake (I stirred) well and serve.

This cocktail is very simple to make and is a great favourite in the West Indies.

Since this drink seems to have been sourced from a British book, “Drinks Long & Short” by Nina Toye and A.H. Adair, I guess it refers to the British West Indies, which historically were comprised of, “Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bay Islands, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Croix (briefly), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago (from 1797) and the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

Interesting, that they were drinking Gin (West Indies Cocktail) and Whisky in the British West Indies, and not so much Rum. I guess the habits of the home land die hard.

I do wonder, however, if it shouldn’t have been Scotch, if it was the British, rather than American Whiskey. Well, so it goes.

Since this is 2/3 Vermouth, I figured I might as well deploy some sort of Cask Strength Spirit, in this case the Thomas Handy Straight Rye Whiskey of a few years ago (2006, I believe). I mean, it is just a “Perfect Manhattan”, having both French and Italian Vermouth, but I guess it is pretty rare that that a Manhattan would be made an equal parts cocktail. More along the lines of the Affinity Cocktail, especially if made with Scotch.

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.

Whiskey Special Cocktail

Whisky Special Cocktail
(6 People)
3 Glasses Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon)
2 Glasses French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/2 Glass Orange Juice. (1/4 oz Orange Juice)
Pour into the shaker and shake, adding a little nutmeg serve with an olive.

This is a very dry cocktail.

Sorry about the picture there, exposure problem due to pushing the film and forgetting to turn on the meter.

So, not only is this a “very dry” cocktail, but it is also a very weird cocktail.

Dry Manhattan with a bit of orange juice, nutmeg, and an OLIVE?

Really?

All right, there we go, we’ll do it.

Shudder!

Well, if you like Dry Manhattans, I guess this might be an interesting, uh, change of pace for you. If not, you can probably give this not very Special cocktail a skip.

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.

Westbrook Cocktail

Westbrook Cocktail
(6 People)
3 1/2 Glasses Gin. (1 1/4 oz Bols Genever)
1 1/2 Glasses Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1 Glass whisky. (1/2 oz Famous Grouse)
Before shaking (I stirred), add a little castor sugar. (Dash Rich Simple Syrup.)

Not sure where this oddity came from, it doesn’t seem to be among the party cocktails in “Drinks–Long and Short”, but anyway, Gin, Whisky, and Italian Vermouth. Hm.

Well, if I have to make this cocktail, and it doesn’t specify “Dry Gin”, I’m making it with Genever, instead.

Going from the Genever, Scotch seemed like an easy choice, Malt based Gin with Malt based whiskey. At the moment, my “mixing” Scotch is usually Famous Grouse, well, unless I feel like splurging.

I dunno, the Westbrook isn’t really awful, slightly tarted up Genever Manhattan, with Scotch instead of bitters. Makes sense in a twisted kind of way.

Gosh darn it, I would like to try it with Brucchladdich‘s new Gin and their Scotch! (Hint! Hint! Hello, in case you liquor companies hadn’t noticed, I like Scotch. Send Whisk(e)y, not mediocre Cachaca, I already have more of that than I will likely use in this lifetime.)

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.

Thunderclap Cocktail

First, just a reminder that tonight, Sunday, August 29, 2010, we are holding 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.

Thunderclap Cocktail

Thoroughly shake up 2 Glasses of Brandy (3/4 oz Marolo Grappa Moscato), 2 of Gin (3/4 oz Bols Genever), and 2 of Whisky (3/4 oz DD White Whiskey). –Serve!

To the six people. Then run for your life.

Well, another fun one from Judge Jr’s prohibition era recipe book, “Here’s How”. Equal parts Brandy, Gin, and Whisky… I set myself the challenge of somehow making the damn thing tasty.

The following facebook exchange was helpful:

Erik Ellestad: Wondering if the Thunderclap Cocktail, equal parts Gin, Whiskey, and Brandy, can be salvaged. Thinking not.
July 30 at 9:54am
Genie Gratto: Whoa. That’s a fairly frightening combination.
July 30 at 9:55am
Brian Mac Gregor: I think it could. Use an extremely mild gin, a bourbon or rye that is over 10 years old, and a really rich brandy such as armagnac… I will be working on this at the Jardiniere tonight.
July 30 at 10:02am
Erik Ellestad: I was thinking unaged whiskey, unaged grape spirit, and geneve. And maybe a dash of gum syrup. Might be cheating.
July 30 at 10:05am
Louis Anderman: Doubtful. But at least it sounds better than the Earthquake.
July 30 at 10:06am
Erik Ellestad: Brian, I do have to stop by HD on my way home… Hm, not too far from Jardiniere!
July 30 at 10:19am
Jenny Adams: shudder ….
July 30 at 10:36am
Neyah White: add 1/2 oz of a honey liqueur or benedictine, it will smooth right out for ya.
July 30 at 10:46am
Brian Mac Gregor: would love to have ya sitting at my bar tonight…
July 30 at 11:13am
Erik Ellestad: Damn, change of plans, won’t be downtown tonight after all. We shall have to work separately and compare notes later. I look forward to hearing what you come up with!
July 30 at 12:44pm
Jason Randell: sounds wasteful
July 30 at 2:01pm
Erik Ellestad: 3/4 oz DD White, 3/4 oz Bols Genever, 3/4 oz Grappa Marolo Moscato… If you like super dry martinis you can stop there, however I found it significantly improved with a half teaspoon small hand foods gum and a dash of some old fashioned cardamom heavy bitters.
July 30 at 5:50pm

Going from the Previous “New Car” Cocktail, I knew there was some hope with a bit of re-imagining. First, I pretty much decided on Unaged Whiskey and Genever, which left only one variable, the Grape Spirit.

Having used Pisco in the New Car, I knew that was an option which would work OK, but wasn’t over sold. Casting about a bit for other grape based spirits, I came across a box I had received from a firm promoting various Marolo Grappas. I sniffed through them and found the floral nature of the Moscato Grappa the most appealing.

I mixed it without sweetener and gave it a try. Tasty, but whew, that certainly is a Thunderclap of booze. Tossed it back in with the ice and a barspoon of Small Hand Foods Gum. Better. A dash of Bitter Truth Repeal Day Bitters, and we were cooking with gas. Actually, quite nice.

Nice to get some input, and even better to be able to salvage this very unpromising 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.

Strawberry Cocktail

Strawberry Cocktail
Pass 1 lb. of strawberries through a hair-sieve, and pour the juice into the shaker, together with the juice of an orange and a dash of Whiskey. Add a few pieces of ice. Shake carefully and serve.

Luckily it is Strawberry season!

I juiced 1 pint of Strawberries with my cast aluminum Universal Juicer and poured it into a cocktail shaker. Added the juice of 1/2 large Valencia Orange. Added a splash of W.L. Weller 12. Shook briefly and double strained into cocktail glasses.

Is it tasty? Yes. Is it a cocktail? Not really, it’s fruit juice with a dash of whisky. Surprised this isn’t in the “Cocktails Suitable for a Prohibition Country” or “Non-Alcoholic Cocktails” section of the book.

Kind of a fun fruit tonic for Spring Strawberry season, I suppose.

I think I would prefer it, and it would be much more economical, if you made it as a long drink, over ice, with soda or ginger ale.

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.