Virgin Special Cocktail

Virgin Special Cocktail
(6 People)
Take a glassful of red-currant juice, and a half glass of gooseberry syrup. In another vessel bruise a glassful of fresh raspberries, upon which pour successively a glass of Brandy, 2 glasses of Gin, then the currant juice and gooseberry syrup, and let stand for half an hour. Then add a glass of White Wine, the ice, and shake.
Serve, placing in the glasses either a raspberry or a small sprig of red-currants.

A very pleasant and refreshing summer cocktail.

Right, talk about absurd. Well, the next time I see Red Currants at the supermarket, I shall be sure and buy them so I can rush home, juice them, and use them as a garnish for an authentic version of this cocktail. Unfortunately, I almost never see them.

So, I shall be substituting a combination of Black Currant drink and Pom Wonderful Pomegranate juice for Red Currant juice. I am also fresh out of Gooseberry Syrup, so shall use some Gooseberry Jam I found at Roxie Market, instead.

1 oz Black Currant Ribena
1 oz Pom Pomegranate Juice
1/2 oz Gooseberry Preserves
2 oz Raspberries
2 oz Pellehaut Armagnac Reserve
4 oz Martin Miller’s Gin
Cavas Hill Cava Sparkling Wine

Combine Black Currant Ribena, Pomegranate juice, and Gooseberry Preserves. Add a 2 oz measure of fresh raspberries into another container and muddle, upon which pour successively a 2 oz of Brandy, 4 oz of Gin, then the currant juice and gooseberry syrup, and let stand for half an hour on ice. Add ice and shake briefly and pour into coupes. Top with sparkling Wine. Serve, placing in the glasses with a couple raspberries and a cut strawberry.

I split this between two glasses, one for me and one for my wife. We were both surprised how dry the cocktail was. With its pinkness and fruity garnishes, we were expecting it to be a lot sweeter and more girly than it is.

I generally hate muddled cocktails, just because of the mess they make in the sink and your shaker, but this was one for which I could see making an exception. Very different from a the modern take on this type of drink and quite enjoyable.

Breaking News!

Between the time I made this cocktail, and the publication of this post, I received word from David Wondrich of a new source for Savoy Cocktails.

It appears most of the “party” cocktails, those marked for “6 People” came from a 1925 book by Nina Toye and A.H. Adair called, “Drinks Long & Short”.

While David identified the source, Greg Boehm, of Cocktail Kingdom, was kind enough to scan the cocktail recipes section of the book so I could collate and check for Savoy inaccuracies. It’s good to have friends with deep libraries.

Scanning through, I discovered the “Virgin Special Cocktail” was in the book under another name.

Midsummer Cocktail: A very pretty and refreshing summer cocktail. One glass of the juice of fresh red currants, half a glass of Sirop-de-Groseille. Mash a cupful of fresh raspberries and pour over them a glass of brandy and two glasses of gin, add the currant juice and the Sirop and let stand half an hour. Add a glass of sweet white wine, ice, and shake. Serve with a raspberry or small bunch of currants in each glass.

Well, that’s pretty close to the Savoy Cocktail Book recipe. The only big difference being a common misunderstanding about “Sirop-de-Groseille”. While it seems like Groseille should be Gooseberry Syrup, it is, in fact, Red Currant Syrup. Well, Gooseberries and Currants are very closely related.

More information here, on Jennifer Colliau’s website, Small Hand Bartender: Sirop-de-Groseille

As for a substitution, if I had known the recipe called for Red Currant Syrup, I probably would have used a combination of Pomegranate Juice and Red Currant Jelly, and skipped the Black Currant Kool Aid.

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.

Raspberry Cocktail

Raspberry Cocktail

Raspberry Cocktail.
(6 People)
Slightly bruise a cupful (4 Raspberries) of fresh raspberries and add 2 glasses of Gin (1 oz Plymouth Gin). Soak for two hours and strain. Complete the mixture by adding a liqueur glass of Kirsch (3/4 oz Clear Creek Kirsch) and 2 glasses of any White Wine (1 oz Bex 2007 Riesling) which is not too sweet. Such as Moselle, Graves or Chablis. Ice. Shake. Put a raspberry in each glass, and serve. This is a very refreshing summer cocktail.

This is, in fact, a very refreshing and quite tasty summer cocktail, arriving just in time for our usual fall Indian Summer. Unfortunately, with a very unimaginative name.

Personally, I struggled with not putting any sugar at all in this. If I were to make it again, I might add just a dash or so of simple.

If you don’t have time for the long steep of the raspberries, I can say from personal experience, muddling them in the gin works almost as well for an a la minute preparation.

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.

Moonlight Cocktail

Moonlight Cocktail

Moonlight Cocktail
(6 People)

1 1/2 Glasses Grape-fruit Juice. (3/4 oz fresh Grapefruit Juice)
2 Glasses Gin. (1 oz Broker’s Gin)
1/2 Glass Kirsch. (1/4 oz Clear Creek Kirsch)
2 Glasses White Wine. (1 oz Les Domains Tatins, 2007, Quincy/Domaine du Tremblay)

Add ice and shake thoroughly. Serve by placing in each glass a thin shaving of lemon peel.

A very dry cocktail.

I mentioned the ingredients to this cocktail to some drinky friends and they said, “That’s a Boudreauing Wine-tini!” Ahem. Well, as we all know by now, there truly is very little new under the sun, whether it is the use of fresh herbs and spices in cocktails or wine.

It is actually a pleasant cocktail, more along the lines of a punch, almost, than what I usually think of as the typical cocktail flavor palette. And, yes, it is a very dry 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.

Mint Cocktail

Mint Cocktail

Mint Cocktail
(6 People)
Soak a few sprigs of fresh mint for two hours in a glass and a half of White Wine (3/4 oz Les Domains Tatins, 2007, Quincy/Domaine du Tremblay). Add half a glass of Crème de Menthe (1/4 oz Brizard Creme de Menthe), 2 Glasses of Gin (1 oz Broker’s Gin) and 1 1/2 glasses of White Wine (3/4 oz Les Domains Tatins, 2007, Quincy/Domaine du Tremblay). Ice and shake (or stir if you prefer) thoroughly. Serve with a sprig of mint tastefully arranged in each glass.

Not sure how tastefully arranged that mint sprig is, but what can you do?

We skipped this one at NOPA, as we hadn’t planned ahead with the mint soaking.

Not exactly sure why I picked this wine, but it does really work in this cocktail. And plus, afterwards, you’re left with most of a delicious (and reasonable) bottle of Loire white. I don’t know about you, but I certainly won’t complain about that.

Initially my tastes sort of rebelled at this cocktail. Tastes like wine… Something…Not…Right… But after a while I settled in to the light minty taste. After I finished the cocktail, I poured some plain wine in my glass, figuring it would be more enjoyable. Nice, sure. And if I had a dozen oysters around, maybe sublime. But I missed the flavor of the 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.

Almond Cocktail

Almond Cocktail

(6 People)

Slightly warm 2 Glasses of Gin (2 oz Beefeaters Gin). Add a teaspoonful of powdered sugar (1/2 tsp. Caster Sugar). Soak in this six peeled almonds (4 halved and lightly roasted almonds) and if possible a crushed peach kernel (crushed plum kernel), and allow to cool. When the mixture is cold add a dessertspoonful of Kirsch (1 tablespoon Trimbach Kirsch), one of Peach Brandy (1 tablespoon Massenez creme de peche), a glass of French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Pratt) and 2 glasses of any sweet White Wine (2 oz Bonny Doon Riesling). Shake thoroughly with plenty of ice.

Patrick Gavin Duffy gives this the lascivious sounding alternate name, “A Young Girl’s Fancy,” in his “Mixer’s Manual”. For all the work, my wife and I both thought this an odd tasting cocktail. Nutty, peachy and slightly but not overly sweet. Not bad, just kind of odd.

I also had some pyro fun, lighting the gin and pouring a long burning stream over the almonds. Mrs. Underhill did not approve. Something about burning down the house.

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.