Barney Barnato Cocktail

Barney Barnato Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Curacao. (1 barspoon Marie Brizard Curacao)
1/2 Caperitif. (1 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc)
1/2 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Germain-Robin Fine Alembic Brandy)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

Sometimes you get nothing when researching cocktails, and sometimes it feels like you’ve stepped into the deep end.

Barney Barnato was born Barnett Isaacs in the Whitechapel neighborhood of London in 1852. His father was a shop keeper on Petticoat Lane. He was a comedian, boxer, and probably a huckster. After hearing how well some of his relatives had done in South African “Diamond Rush”, he followed them there, with naught but a box of cigars. Somehow he was able to prosper, and went on to found one of the two largest diamond mining firms in the history of that country. Due to some faulty business decisions, after a long struggle, in 1888 he was forced to allow his main competitor to buy him out. The check written to him at that time, for some £5,338,650, was the single largest check written up to that time in human history. The company, part of which he founded, went on to become De Beers. He operated in politics, for a while; but, events got ahead of him, and he left the country in 1897, shortly before the start of the Anglo-Boer war. He died as a result of falling from, being thrown from, or throwing himself from, the ship on the way back to England. Opinions differ.

The problem with this cocktail is “Caperitif”. The coctaildb ingredient database describes Caperitif as, “Defunct proprietary South African sweet deep golden quinquina from Capetown – along the lines of Lillet blanc.” Fortunately, the recent resurgence of the Vesper should make Lillet blanc an easy commodity to come by in most bars. Many cocktail receipts suggest Dubonnet for this. I guess, unlike most recipes, in this case, they probably mean Dubonnet blanc.

The Barney Barnato cocktail, itself, is a fairly subtle and sophisticated affair. A bit sweet, a little bitter, a little orange. None of the elements really dominate. Very nice.

One last point, the Tiffany Diamond was likely discovered in a mine owned by Barnato in 1877 or 1878. I think there is a striking resemblance between the color of this drink and the color of that most impressive gem.

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.

One thought on “Barney Barnato Cocktail

  1. i’m quite enjoying this one, finding it quite refreshing.

    of course, if you replace a major ingredient, you should take naming rights on the “new” cocktail! although the history of the existing name was fun to learn.

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