Cowboy Cocktail

Cowboy Cocktail

The Cowboy Cocktail

2/3 Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Plump Jack selected single barrel Eagle Rare 13 year old Bourbon)
1/3 Cream. (3/4 oz Cream)
Cracked Ice.

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Another cocktail ripped from the pages of Judge Jr.’s 1927 “Here’s How”.

I dunno where a Cowboy would get cream, or why he would put it in his Whisk(e)y.

Maybe to cover up really bad “bathtub” whisky?

“Here’s How” was published during the period of prohibition in the US. Perhaps I should have used Canadian Whisky (I am not implying here that Canadian Whisky is “bad”, just that it might be a more appropriate choice for the time period this cocktail was created.)

In any case, another drink that didn’t do much for me, bordering on a waste of perfectly good Bourbon and cream. I didn’t pour it down the sink; but, a dash of liqueur or simple would do a lot to perk this up.

If you’re going to mix Whisky and cream, at least make yourself something nice like the Barbary Coast.

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.

Country Club Cooler

Country Club Cooler

Country Club Cooler
1 glass French Vermouth. (2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1 Teaspoonful Grenadine. (Home made)
2 Lumps of ice.

Pour into tumbler and fill up with soda water.

Just didn’t do much for me.

I suppose the Country Club Cooler is fine and all. Might be a refreshing drink on a hot day. Or one of the fancy vermouths, like the Vya, could perk things up.

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.

Tales 2008 Anecdote #1

This year I participated in Tales of the Cocktail.

One of the other participants on my panel was supposed to be John Deragon, of the fabulous bar PDT in New York City. Aside from his fantastic Boker’s Bitters replica, he also brought samples of PDT’s Baconfat washed Bourbon.

Unfortunately, as the day of the panel approached, John was detained by his responsibilities with the cocktail apprenticeship program. In his stead he sent up Daniel, another bartender at PDT, to talk about the Bourbon and help out making the drinks for our panel.

It was a bit of a last minute thing, so Daniel didn’t really have much of a presentation. Instead, basically, just took questions.

One of my favorite moments from any of the Tales panels I attended was when someone asked Daniel if there wasn’t some more efficient way to flavor the Bourbon without using bacon fat. Use flavorings or smoke it directly. Daniel replied, “Well, maybe, but then you wouldn’t get to eat the bacon.”

We ran into Daniel later that evening, and he went into details a bit more. The first time he was assigned bacon duty, he was kind of bummed. It’s kind of a kitchen chore pantry thing and didn’t seem like much fun. Then a bulb sort of went off and he asked, “What happens with all the bacon you cook to render the baconfat?” When he discovered that no one cared what happened to the bacon after he rendered the fat out, he was totally down with pantry work. I think they use about a pound to flavor the 5 gallon batches of baconfat washed bourbon they make. That’s a good number of BLT sandwiches! And Benton’s is pretty darn tasty bacon.

Details for making Baconfat Washed Bourbon and the Benton’s Old Fashioned on NYC Magazine.

Cota Cocktail

Cota Cocktail
Cota Cocktail

1/4 Hercules. (3/4 oz Cocchi Barolo Chinato)
1/4 Cointreau. (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Bombay Gin)

Shake (stir – eje) well and strain into cocktail glass.

The ingredient Hercules continues to confound.

Cocktaildb’s ingredient database (and the Jones’ Bar Guide) suggest it is an Absinthe substitute. However, making these cocktails with any modern Absinthe substitutes, they turn out to be rather horribly balanced. They are usually OK, if I reduce the Absinthe substitute to a dash.

Sometimes when I visit the Cocktaildb home page (and I do quite often) one of the random pictures that shows up is what appears to be a label or advertisement in dutch for something that appears to be called “Hercules”.

Hercules Advert?

I don’t know Dutch; but, the words like “Versterkende Bloedwijn” and “Kina Wijn” on the advertisement suggest it is for some sort of red wine based Quinquina.

Knowing that 3/4 oz Pastis, 3/4 oz Cointreau, and 1 1/2 oz Gin is going to be pretty undrinkable, I decided to experiment with a couple of the red wine Quinquinas I had around. The first try, with Byrrh Assemblage, was pretty lackluster.

Even though I suspect it is fairly unrelated to the intended Savoy “Cota Cocktail”, the formula above, with the Barolo Chinato, was actually quite delicious. Similar to a slightly sweeter and orangier Negroni. Maybe call it the “Coda 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.

MxMo XXIX–Vieux Carré Cocktail


One of my favorite New Orleans cocktails, after the Sazerac, is the Vieux Carré Cocktail.

According to Stanley Clisby Arthur in his book, “Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em,” the cocktail was invented by, “Walter Bergeron, head bartender of the Hotel Monteleone cocktail lounge,” and especially to honor the Vieux Carré, or old square, section of the city of New Orleans.

Clisby Arthur gives the recipe as follows:

1/2 teaspoon Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
1/3 jigger Rye whiskey
1/3 jigger Cognac Brandy
1/3 jigger Italian Vermouth

The Benedictine is used as a base and also for sweetening the cocktail. Dash on the bitters, then add the rye, brandy, and vermouth. Put several lumps of ice in the barglass. Stir. Twist a slice of lemon peel over the mixture. Drop in a slice of pineapple and a cherry if you wish and serve in mixing glass.

Personally, I tend to like the cocktail “up” instead of over ice, but follow his instructions as closely or as loosely as you prefer.

Now the fun thing about this cocktail is it is an example where two spirits work together beautifully.

It can be fun to experiment with your own variations, the only real rules being to include benedictine, bitters, and equal parts of two spirits and vermouth.

Here are a couple I’ve been pleased with:

Vieux Carré Variation 1

1 oz St. James Ambre Martinique Rhum
1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Punt e Mes
Dash Benedictine
Dash Peychaud’s

Stir, Strain into cocktail glass.

The scent of the apple brandy and earthiness of the rhum agricole are quite interesting. Very complex libation. I’m omitting the Angostura, as I’m using the more bitter Punt e Mes vermouth.

Vieux Carré Variation 2

1 oz Highland Park 12 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
1 oz Calvados Roger Groult, Réserve 3 years old
1 oz M&R Bianco Vermouth
Dash Benedictine
Dash Angostura
Dash Peychaud’s

Stir, strain, grapefruit peel twist.

And here’s a double taboo for you. Not only does this cocktail contain two spirits, one of them is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky! Horrors!

Vieux Carré Variation 3 was something of a disaster. Gin and Wheat Whiskey. I still swear it is salvageable, maybe with Oude Genever. One of these days I’ll get back to it.

Vieux Carré Variation 4, I present for your amusement.

Vieux Carré Variation 4

1 tsp Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
3/4 oz Batavia Arrack von Osten
3/4 oz Tequila Corralejo Reposado
3/4 oz Cocchi Aperitivo Americano

Stir, strain, dust with freshly grated nutmeg.

I’ve been thinking about some way to combine Tequila and Batavia Arrack for a while now without much success. This cocktail is the closest I’ve come to a success so far. Maybe a bit single noted. Definitely a work in progress, but I find the interaction between the spice, tequila, and arrack promising.

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 2)

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 2)

Corpse Reviver (No. 2)

1/4 Wine Glass Lemon Juice (3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice)
1/4 Wine Glass Kina Lillet. (3/4 oz Cocchi Aperitivo Americano)
1/4 Wine Glass Cointreau. (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1/4 Wine Glass Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Bombay Gin)
1 Dash Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Note: Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.

Ahem, well, going by the rules of a “Wine Glass” equaling 2 oz, I should have used 1/2 oz portions. However, the previous evening’s celebrations had left this corpse badly in need of Revivifaction.

The Cocchi Aperitivo Americano is actually quite nice here, lending a bit more complexity than Lillet Blanc. So far I have yet to find a Savoy cocktail where I prefer using the modern Lillet to the Americano. On the other hand, the Cocchi Americano was downright horrible in The Pegu Club’s White Negroni, a cocktail obviously created with the character of the modern Lillet in mind.

Bombay Gin is another new player. I’ve been wanting to give the regular Bombay a try for a while now, and now that I finished off the Boodles, I picked up a bottle. A bit mild, but not bad at all.

Patrick Gavin Duffy has a slight variation on the Corpse Reviver No. 2 in his “Official Mixer’s Manual”, which is sometimes reproduced in modern cocktail collections. In it he substitutes Swedish Punsch for the Lillet.

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 2)

1/4 Dry Gin (3/4 oz Bombay Dry Gin)
1/4 Cointreau (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1/4 Swedish Punch (3/4 oz Carlshamm’s Flaggpunsch)
1/4 Lemon Juice (3/4 oz fresh lemon juice)
1 Dash Pernod (Dash Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)

Shake well with ice and strain into glass

This is tad bit sweeter than the Lillet based affair. The flavor of the Swedish Punsch really dominates the cocktail.

Both are really quite nice, mild cocktails. If I had to give either the nod, I’d say the Savoy no. 2 made with Cocchi Americano is slightly more well balanced. Though, recently a friend told me they had really been enjoying the Swedish Punsch version with the bottled Underhill Punch I made for Tales. Maybe I need to revisit this with the homemade.

Gotta give a shout out to friend Trott. When he mentioned last summer that he was going to visit family in Sweden, he did not balk when I said, “Your mission, should you choose to accept: Bring back Swedish Punsch.” And he did! Well, it turned out not to be that hard, as his family there made a habit of consuming it as an after dinner drink. Still, very cool.

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.

BOTW–Hell or High Watermelon

In an interesting turn of events, some craft brewers in the United States are revisiting the aluminum can.  They say new technology in cans allows them to avoid the aluminum taste, and that opaque packaging is best for the beer inside.

Take back the can!

A local brew pub, 21st Amendment Brewery, has recently started canning two of its beers, Hell or Highwatermelon Wheat and Brew Free or Die IPA. I thought it would be fun to feature the Hell or Highwatermelon Wheat as this week’s Beer of the Week.

Fizzy Lifting Drink

The Hell or Highwatermelon is a fine and tasty American style Wheat Beer, completely appropriate for hot summer days. Plus, it is kind of fun that it is available in cans.  Certainly has a novelty aspect. Though, I have to admit, given my druthers, I’d pick the Brew Free or Die IPA.  In regards the aluminum smell, Mrs. Underhill and I still thought we detected a bit of it with the Watermelon Wheat, especially when it was poured in a glass.  Ultimately, a blind taste test is probably in order.

Crupled Can

How long since you’ve done that?

Corpse Reviver (No. 1)

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 1)

Corpse Reviver (No. 1)

1/4 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1/4 Apple Brandy or Calvados. (3/4 oz Germain-Robin Apple Brandy)
1/2 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac)

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

To be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed.

Apparently “Corpse Revivers” were a class of pre-prohibition drinks meant to be taken as “hair of the dog”.

By the time we get to the 30s only about 3 or 4 recipes survived.

In the Savoy Cocktail Book we have Corpse Revivers No. 1 and No. 2.

In Duffy we have Corpse Revivers 1-3, with a slight variation in No. 2 which we’ll cover in the next entry.

In European cocktail collections you will find another cocktail called the Corpse Reviver No. 2 (or sometimes No. 3). This drink is credited to Frank Meier of the Ritz, Paris and is identical to Hemingway’s “Death in the Afternoon”. A shot of Absinthe topped up with champagne. I’ve tried that cocktail, and it definitely is a way to build up a head of steam. Not sure about it as a brunch cocktail, unless you do plan to die in the afternoon.

The Corpse Reviver No. 1 is a perfectly fine and enjoyable cocktail. I did find it significantly improved with the addition of a drop or two of Angostura Bitters.

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.

Apricot Kernels

Since someone asked me about this, I thought I should write it up.

You may have noted I used Apricot Kernels in my Orgeat.

A friend asked, “so the cyanide from the apricot kernels isn’t a problem in the orgeat?”

First, let me say I’m not a scientist or a doctor. Please take anything I say here as simply conclusions and choices I have drawn for myself. Make your own choices and draw your own conclusions.

I will note that the seeds (and other parts) of all members of the rose family (Rosacea) contain cyanogenic glycosides. This plant family includes apricots, almonds, cherries, plums, peaches, apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, and about 2,900 other plant species, On ingestion cyanogenic glycosides release hydrogen cyanide into your system. The amounts of these chemicals vary from plant to plant and species to species. Bitter almonds generally contain the most. Eating 50-70 bitter almonds in one sitting is enough to be potentially fatal for an adult human.

Fortunately, in most people, these chemicals are rapidly broken down by your liver, and do not build up over time. Small doses are apt to do no damage.

Just to be clear, we take in many potentially deadly chemicals every day. Caffeine and Alcohol are prime examples. For the most part, if we partake in relative moderation, our body cleans these potential poisons out with little consequence.

Apricot kernels have a flavor similar to the one we associate with the almond extract made from bitter almonds. Making Orgeat without almond extract or apricot kernels results in a taste that is mostly nutty and a bit meaty. None of that nice cherry-ish top note.

In my batch I used about 2 ounces of apricot kernels to make what amounted to a gallon of syrup. This was probably 20 apricot kernels. If you sat down and ate all 20 to 30 apricot kernels at once, you might be in trouble. However, dissolved in what amounts to over a gallon of syrup, I’m not worried.

However, if you’re prone to worry or a bit paranoid about your health, feel free to skip the apricot kernels and just use almond extract.

Myself, I’m kind of interested in bumping the percentage of apricot kernels used, in the hopes of being able to skip the almond extract altogether.

Additional Reading:

Are Apricot Seeds Poisonous? (The Straight Dope)
Yes, Apple Seeds and Cherry Pits are Poisonous(Anne Marie’s Chemistry Blog)

Coronation Cocktail (No. 2)

Coronation Cocktail (No. 2)

Coronation Cocktail (No. 2)

1 Dash Peppermint. (Brizard Creme de Menthe)
1 Dash Peach Bitters. (Fee’s)
3 Dashes Curacao (teaspoon Brizard Orange Curacao)
2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Germain-Robin Fine Alembic Brandy)

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

Well, here’s another one that doesn’t add up to 1, again lending weight to the idea that the fractions in the Savoy may be a proportion of some standard measure.

This is actually quite enjoyable. Nice feature for the peach bitters, not too sweet.

Wasn’t sure about “Peppermint”. If that meant something like Peppermint extract or a liqueur. Such a small amount, it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of difference, whether extract or liqueur.

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.