With the start of the new year, it’s time to resume blogging. Last year was not an epic year for the blog, though we had some good moments. To kick the new year off, I decided (B actually told me) to change the theme. We’ll see if this one has legs. I also realized that probably the very first cocktail I found to make for B hadn’t been blogged about, a Satan’s Whiskers. I first ran across this one on Robert Hess’ DrinkBoy.com site. He subsequently made a video as part of his Cocktail Spirit series for SmallScreenNetwork. At some point (can’t remember exactly where) I ran across a quote of him saying something to the effect that the Satan’s Whiskers is a great cocktail to introduce people to real cocktails who aren’t familiar with them. It’s quite a bit of complexity balanced with a hint of sweetness from the orange juice so that it doesn’t put people off the way other cocktails might. It’s definitely good enough that every once in a while we still get a yen for one.
The Satan’s Whiskers is included in the 1930’s reprint of the Savoy cocktail book that I have, so it’s a least that old. Other than that, I don’t have a lot of backstory on it. Gary Regan did a nice write up on it for the San Francisco Chronicle, though. It’s also interesting in that it requires orange bitters, which now easily obtained, was until recently unavailable.
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 dash orange bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Here’s to an entirely enjoyable new year.
The last post on the blog, Intro to Aperol, by Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club, got me thinking about the name sake of that establishment: the orginal Pegu Club, in Burma.
The 1930 edition of Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book (I have the reprint edition) describes it as “The favorite cocktail of the Pegu Club, Burma, and one that has travelled, and is asked for, round the world.”. Well, who am I to question Harry Craddock.
Pegu Club Cocktail
- 2 oz. Dry Gin
- 1 oz. Curaçao
- 1 tsp. Lime Juice
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- 1 dash Orange Bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
If you have really great friends, use a Martiki glass. Otherwise, go with a regular cocktail glass.
This is another one of B and my favorite cocktails. It really is one of those “tastes of summer”. You can see why it would be popular among the denizens of the Pegu Club in Burma.
The tax man cometh here at CocktailswithM. And by way of balm to solace our ragged nerves, we have today’s post.
After a bit of digging in to the back story on the Income Tax cocktail, I have to confess to be about as stymied as I was on Form 8949 of Schedule D. The recipe we used came from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. In it, he claims he and a friend of his Richard Corsini did quite a bit of research before identifying this cocktail as the Income Tax. Originally they called it a “Bronx with Bitters”. I see where that’s coming from, but the original Bronx Cocktail according the David Wondrich in Esquire Drinks is much more of summer refresher with orange juice and gin and much less of the two vermouths. Actually almost everyone seems to trace it back to the Bronx, even Drink Boy’s Robert Hess. In his version, though, there’s a lot less of each vermouth. I actually found it surprising that no one seems to be commenting it’s also is basically a Satan’s Whiskers without the Grand Marnier and Angostura instead of orange bitters. Anyway, however it got it’s name, it does seem to numb at least some of the pain…
The Income Tax Cocktail
- 1 1/2 oz. gin
- 3/4 oz. dry vermouth
- 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
- 1/2 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass and garnish with an orange wheel or twist.
It may not be one of our favorites, but it’s certainly worth a taste. I doe think a visit to the Bronx this summer, though, wouldn’t go amiss.
I ran across this cocktail back in the September, 2009 issue of Imbibe and decided I really should give it a try. When you have a bottle of crème yvette or a bottle of crème de violette, you don’t pass up opportunities. Astute cocktail drinkers will quickly recognize the similarity between this and the original recipe for the Aviation Cocktail. The key difference is that the Blue Moon, doesn’t contain Maraschino liqueur and contains a lot less lemon juice. In Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (from which Imbibe took it’s recipe), Ted Haigh (a.k.a. Dr. Cocktail) mentions that in its hay day the Aviation didn’t contain crème de violette. According the Haigh, the first mention of the incarnation here was in an obscure tome called Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies’ Companion in 1941. Not having that volume on my shelf, I’ll take his word for it. By 1952, David Embury mentions it in his book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks as either the Blue Moon or the Blue Devil. They both mention that the drink can also be made with the addition of an egg white to give the drink a bit more body as in the classic Ramos Gin Fizz. It was summer and I was thinking lighter, so no egg for us.
- 2 oz. dry gin
- 1/2 oz. Crème Yvette or crème de violette
- 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Though definitely similar to the Aviation, the lower amount of lemon juice and the lack of Maraschino liqueur, make this drink quite a bit dryer and allows the floral taste of the crème de violette to come through a bit more. While this may not be one of history’s great cocktails its certainly a pleasant enough way to idle away a frivolous summer afternoon.
B forwarded me a post from Michael Rhuhulman’s blog about a Berkshire Martinez from last April, which was his take on the classic Martinez cocktail. Apparently this post was inspired by a robust (such as 140 characters will allow) Twitter discussion of his previous post on The Perfect Martini started by Gerry Jobe, bartender at RauDZ. I was preparing to give the Martinez a whirls when I caught passing comment by Jobe that a “Punt e Mes for its bitter quality works extremely well with Aperol (substituted for Campari) as a Negroni variation”. Well, I’m always game for cocktails that use either Punt e Mes or Aperol. So I did a little digging around to see if someone had come up with a reasonable name for such a drink and ran across the Aperoni at TwinFountain, which is fortuitous as it’s a great blog with an ethos I appreciate—”I like my cocktails simple. Usually brown and stirred. Often bitter. … Made with affordable ingredients.” My thoughts exactly.
- 1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeaters)
- 1 oz Aperol
- 1 oz Punt e Mes
- Orange twist
Stir all of the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a a healthy orange twist.
I am not one who is normally taken by “a modern take on a classic”, but I actually think I like this cocktail slightly better than the original Negroni. The Punt e Mes and Aperol just harmonize exceptionally well. It’s still a serious, bitter cocktail, but there’s just some little extra bit of alchemy there. This is definitely one that’s going into our regular rotation.
Last Friday, the lab decided it needed a “spontaneous act of happy hour” at Briana’s house. She had the comestible well in hand, which left the libation in our hands. Knowing gin was a popular favorite with all of the revelers, my mind wandered the the Negroni. Tasty, portable and gin based. No problem.
The backstory on the Negroni’s a little dubious, but still worth repeating. According to Eric Felten’s How’s your Drink?, A book by bartender and author Luca Picchi called Sulle Tracce de Conte give credit for the invention of the cocktail to Count Cammillo Negroni, who asked the bartender Fosco Scarselli at his regular drinking establishment Caffee Casoni in Florence to beef up the Americano with some gin. I bring this all up because Esquire’s David Wondrinch is a little dubious of the story. It seems a little questionable the remarkable amount of details about names and places that survive for a relatively obscure cocktail that was suppose to have been invented in 1920. Well however it came into being, it’s still a tasty one (if a bit summery for January drinking). Most recipes call for equal parts gin, Campari and Italian sweet vermouth. I actually think the Esquire version is a little better:
- 2 oz. London dry gin,
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 oz. Italian vermouth
Stir in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a cocktail glass with a twist of orange. (Alternatively, serve in on the rock).
Anyway you serve it, it makes for a festive happy hour.
B & I were just settling in to enjoy a cocktail in front of the newly erected Christmas tree discuss hors d’oeuvres for our impending Christmas party. I was in the mood for something new with Rye and turned to the good Doctor’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. In doing so, we got a bit of a Christmas surprise. First, the cocktail that popped out, didn’t have rye. Secondly, it really is a great cocktail.
The Lucien Gaudin Cocktail is a prohibition era cocktail named after the famous four time gold medal winning French fencer (He won two in Paris in 1924 and two in Amsterdam in 1928).
Lucien Gaudin Cocktail
- 1 oz. gin
- 1/2 oz. Cointreau
- 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
- 1/2 oz. Campari
Stir well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of organge.
B and I both agreed that this surprising little tipple definitely needs to be part of our regular repertoire.
I think I’ll start this post off with a disclosure and a disclosure on the disclosure in the form of a confession. Confused? It all started a couple of weeks ago when, much to my surprise, I received a bottle of gin from a public relations firm representing New Amsterdam gin. So there’s the disclosure, they’re bribing me with liquor (I don’t know where they got the idea that such practices might work with cocktail bloggers). Now the confession/followup disclosure. New Amsterdam gin has been my standard gin for the last couple of years. My good friend Robert Ullrey turned me onto it a while back. B and I tried New Amsterdam side by side with a couple of London dry gins (a cocktail glass, one ice cube and gin). New Amsterdam has a slight citrus flavor and more subdued juniper notes, resulting in a gin that is less dry than the other. It’s still has enough juniper flavor and complexity to qualify as a gin, but it really seems to work well in cocktails with citrus juice. Also if you are a new to the whole gin thing, this is a good one to start with, as it is a little less brash that some other examples. The PR firm also sent me a sheet of cocktail recipes that I might want to try. The Park Avenue looked intriguing, and we’ll probably give it a whirl in the coming weeks. In the end though, we decided to go with a cocktail that fit a little more with this blog’s vintage cocktail feel and showcased the gin to nice effect. It’s also one that we have been wanting to do for a couple of years… the Twentieth Century Cocktail.
According to the good Dr. Cocktail’s Vintage Spirit’s and Forgotten Cocktails, the Twentieth century was born in the 30’s after our nation’s great drought and likely named after New York Central’s 20th Century Limited train. According to Haigh, the first publication of the cocktail was in the Café Royal Cocktail Book published in 1937, the year the new “streamlined” design for the train was announced.
The Twentieth Century Cocktail
- 1 1/2 oz. gin (New Amsterdam, in this case)
- 3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
- 1/2 oz. light créme de cocao
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon. Note: If the cocktail is too pronounced, back off the créme de cocao a bit.
This drink really does have that cocktail magic. It starts out with a refreshing lemon flavor and then as this starts to fade, you get (and I quote here) “an ethereal sense of chocolate”. This cocktail is definitely one of our favorites. I think it also showcases the New Amsterdam gin to nice advantage as well.
The French 75 has bcome something of a New Year’s Day tradition for B & me. Sadly, it is something of a leftover drink for us. As it requires sparkling wine, I just don’t seem to ever open up a bottle just to make this cocktail, which is a shame since it is such an enjoyable drink.
The French 75 dates from the big war. It was a favorite amount the denizens of the officers club. It takes its name from the French 75-millimeter M1897 canon, a.k.a the French 75, which was the mainstay of the French field artillery during the first World War. Famously in Casablanca, German officers order French 75’s at Rick’s Café Americain shortly before the establishment was shut down on the startling discovery of gambling on the premises.
- 1 1/2 oz. gin
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- Sparkling wine
Stir gin, lemon juice and simple syrup with ice in a tall glass. Top up with sparkling wine. Garnish with a twist of lemon and a cherry as desired.
We really should make this more of a deliberate drink. I think one of the next dinner parties we have, we’ll have to serve them.
Recipe and history from Eric Felten’s How’s Your Drink?: Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well.
B likes grapefruit juice, so I am always on the lookout for a good grapefruit juice based cocktail (see our last post on The Blinker). So when I got a Twitter feed to a Facebook link for a cocktail called the Sapphire Savoy, I decided I would give it a whirl. Now at this point two things are probably coming to mind. 1) Twitter? Facebook? Are you sure you have a wife and don’t live in your mother’s basement? and 2) Where did they come up with that name? In answer to 1) Yes. I’m sure. In answer to 2) I have no idea. The cocktail resembles either a Communique, which is equal parts gin, orange curacao and grapefruit juice or a White Lady Variation. The White Lady is normally 2 parts gin and 1 part each Cointreau and Lemon Juice; the variation substitutes grapefruit juice. What this cocktail is not is a Savoy cocktail, which is a gin based cocktail with vermouth and Dubonnet. I thought a better name since the variation substitutes grapefruit juice for the lemon juice in a White Lady, might be a Pink Lady, but then I remembered there already was one that had nothing to do with this and that we already talked about it. So all this discussion brings up a question. At what point does a change in proportions constitute a new drink with a different name? I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t be a case where you would give it a different name, and I am definitely sure it isn’t a case where you would give it the name of an entirely different cocktail that already exists. It isn’t a bad cocktail, though both B and I thought that it needed something. I remembered that I had picked up some grapefruit bitters a while back without much idea of what to do with them, so we gave those a whirl. It really perked up the drink considerably. So, what would I call it?
Bombay’s take on a Communique
Shake one ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon or grapefruit twist.
Hope the holidays were good for you and that 2010 good to you.