Nine-Pick Cocktail

Nine-Pick Cocktail

Nine-Pick Cocktail

2/3 Absinthe. (1 1/2 oz Sirene Absinthe Verte)
1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (Angostura)
1 Dash Syrup.

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

This name doesn’t really make sense until you scan the page across from it…

Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up Cocktail
2/3 Pernod Absinthe.
1/3 Gin.
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters.
1 Dash Gomme Syrup.
Shake well, strain into medium size wine-glass, and fill balance with soda water.

So the “Nine-Pick” is a shortened version of the “Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up”! I can just imagine some business man saying, “You know I’d like that Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up, but I don’t have time for a long drink. Can you leave out the soda?”  Then some smart aleck bartender handing him the cocktail and telling him that without the soda, it’s only a “Nine-Pick”.

With a generous dash of syrup and a nice long, vigorous shake, this is actually not bad.  Well, if you like Absinthe, obviously.  I chose to use the Hayman’s because it was handy and seemed like it would be interesting, especially since the other 2/3 of the drink was already high test.  Turned out to be a good choice with the citrus flavors of the Sirene and Hayman’s complementing each other nicely.

I am kind of cheating here using actual Absinthe. By 1920 Absinthe was banned in most countries, so it is far more likely that this cocktail would be made with Pernod’s newly available Wormwood free product*.

*From this Coctkailtimes article: Absinthe was banned in 1910 in the Switzerland, 1912 in the US, and 1914 in France. In 1920, France again allowed the production of anise flavored drinks. Pernod’s new Wormwood free formulation was one of the first out of the gate.

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.

Night Cap Cocktail

Night Cap Cocktail

Night Cap Cocktail

The Yolk of 1 Egg.
1/3 Anisette. (3/4 oz Gantous and Abou Rad Arak)
1/3 Curacao. (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1/3 Brandy. (3/4 oz Dudognon Cognac)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I’ve written about “Arak” before in the post “Ar(r)a(c)k Disambiguation“. This is the Anise flavored grape spirit from Lebanon.  Because there are various degrees of sweetness in Anisette and Anise flavored liqueurs and this drink is already 1/3 orange liqueur, I figured it would be fun to pretend it called for a dry style anise liqueur and use Arak instead of Anisette.

The Night Cap is also a fine example of me not being able to follow a recipe even though I try hard to read them and execute. I knew I was running low on Cointreau, so stopped to buy some on the way home.

Then I looked at the recipe. Checked for the Orange Curacao in the kitchen cupboard. Headed down to the basement to find the Arak. Came back upstairs and made the recipe with Cointreau. Why, I do not know.  Sometimes my hands just don’t tell my brain what they are doing.

So, even though I didn’t really quite make the recipe accurately, ooops, this was quite tasty.  Anise and orange are a proven great combination and the brandy brings some sort of other mediation to the party.  Definitely an enjoyable cocktail, so  I can’t see going back and doing it the “right” way.

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.


Godon Can

The Beer of the Week is Gordon from Oskar Blues in Colorado.

Gordon in a Glass

One of the other breweries in America experimenting with putting craft brews in Cans, Oskar Blues makes several beers including their delicious Ten-FIDY Imperial Stout.    They describe Gordon as a hybrid between an Imperial Red and a Double IPA.  To me it ends up closer to the Double IPA.  Delcious, in any case.

In regards the name, I’ll quote from their website, “We brew Gordon in tribute to the late Gordon Knight. In addition to opening some of Colorado’s first microbreweries, Knight was a Vietnam vet, grade-A citizen, and huge promoter of craft beer. He lost his life in 2002 while fighting a wild fire outside of Lyons, Colorado.”

Gordon Crushed

Obligatory crushed can shot.

Miss Clementine

I don’t know how Gordon Knight felt about cats, but Ms. Clementine approves of the beer named after him.

Nicolaski Cocktail


Nicolaski Cocktail

2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Dudognon Cognac)
1 Slice Lemon with a little castor sugar spread over it.

Drink Brandy through the prepared lemon.

I have to admit the method here has puzzled me for a long time.

But during one of the opening parties for Heaven’s Dog one of the waiters came up and asked me if I knew what a Nicol-something Cocktail was. He described it a bit and told me the customer said it was a traditional cocktail. I said, well yes, as a matter of fact I did know the cocktail, but I’d never made one, so I’d do my best. I dredged a lemon in sugar, put it on the plate with a shot of Armagnac and sent it out.

The server came back, the patron wanted instead, a slice of lemon, a pile of sugar, and a shot of brandy.

So there you go.

I’m still unclear on the exact method of imbibing the Nicolaski.

Do you take a sip of brandy and then suck on the lemon, like old school Vodka Lemon Drops? Put the sugar coated lemon in your mouth and then suck the brandy through it? Dredge the lemon in sugar, float it in the brandy and drink it through the lemon?

I tried all three and the first seemed the most sensible to me.

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.

Nick’s Own Cocktail

Nick's Own

Nick’s Own Cocktail.

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Absinthe.  (Verte de Fougerolles)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Dolin Rouge)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Cognac Dudognon)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass Add cherry and squeeze lemon peel on top.

Robert Vermeire, in his “Cocktails: How to Mix them” tells us this is a, “Recipe by A. Nicholls, London, 1922.”

A very enjoyable cocktail, and the first cocktail I’ve found where Dolin Rouge is a clear winner as a sweet vermouth.

Also the one of the first uses of the Dudognon Cognac in the Savoy Stomp. There’s a bit of a story there.

I was called for my annual Jury Service last fall. Fortunately after about 2 days of dithering they released the lucky few unselected jurors and let us go home. It was about 3 in the afternoon and I was downtown. A beautiful and unusually hot San Francisco day. I thought to myself, “Self, I could use a Pimm’s Cup after all that!”

So I headed down to the source for the best Pimm’s Cups in the world, The Slanted Door. No, I’m not biased at all. Anyway, after availing myself of a Pimm’s Cup and maybe another drink or two, a gentleman came in to the bar with a couple bottles of wine, Armagnac, and Calvados for the bar manager to try. Luckily he sat right next to me.

Turned out, it was Charles Neal, of Charles Neal Selections, an importer of some wonderful French products.  We got to talking.  I mentioned my eternal Brandy dilemma asking, “Is there a good brandy at a reasonable price?”  About all I could get out of him was, “You get what you pay for.”

Not willing to let it rest there, I brought up the Cognacs and Armagnacs of a relatively well known commercial firm, saying I didn’t think they were so bad.  I won’t mention the name of the firm or his exact words, but the brand did incite some excited comments from Mr. Neal.  Suffice it to say, he did not think much of the firm’s products and did not hesitate to express himself explicitly.

As the discussion and drinking continued, the bartender ordered us some food saying, “I’m not going to let either of you go home to your families, having drunk so much on an empty stomach.”  The food was, as usual, quite tasty.  If the spot prawns are still on the menu, order them!

As I was heading out, the bartender handed me a worn copy of Mr. Neal’s book, “Armagnac: The definitive Guide to France’s Premier Brandy,”  perhaps, so I would be better prepared the next time we met.  Mr. Neal and I exchanged good byes, parted in good spirits, and went home to make dinner for our families.

Reading Mr. Neal’s Book, I really started to understand more of his perspective.  How so many of the small distillers and growers of Cognac and Armagnac have fallen out of fashion, out of style, or been squeezed out of business.  Not to mention how important it is to support the people who make or import a product you can truly respect.

After my interrogation, I figured I at least owed it to Mr. Neal to try one of his Cognacs, especially since he struck me as someone whose point of view I could respect.

So here we are, making a cocktail with the Dudognon Cognac he imports.  It certainly is not cheap, but neither is it much more expensive than most other decent Cognacs.

To get back to the Dolin Rouge, I find it is a lighter not so sweet vermouth, so it doesn’t do much to obscure the spirit in the cocktail.  One of the distributors recently went so far as to say, “A Manhattan with Carpano Antica is a Vermouth Cocktail.  A Manhattan with Dolin Sweet is a Whiskey Cocktail.”  That sounds a bit too much like they had been drinking the Haus Alpenz “Kool-Aid”, but it is a fair point.

In this case, the Dolin Rouge does just provides just some small accent, allowing the Dudognon Cognac to be the star of the drink.

Which is a very good thing.

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.

New York Cocktail

New York Cocktail

New York Cocktail.

1 Lump Sugar. (1 Demerara sugar cube)
The Juice of 1/2 Lime or ¼ Lemon. (1/4 lemon squeezed into tin)
2 Dashes Grenadine. (1 tsp homemade)
1 Piece Orange Peel.
1 Glass Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded)

(Muddle sugar cube in lemon juice and grenadine. Squeeze orange peel over drink and drop in. Add Whiskey and…) Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.  (If you feel inspired, add a cherry.)

Similar method and ingredients to the Mr. Manhattan Cocktail.  Even though sources indicate this cocktail is from Hugo Ensslin, it makes me wonder if they might originally have come from the same source.

A perfectly delightful and “old-fashioned” preparation of a Whiskey sour.

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.

Newton’s Special Cocktail

Newton's Special Cocktail

Newton’s Special Cocktail.

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1/4 Cointreau. (1/2 oz Cointreau)
3/4 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Cognac Dudognon)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.  (Orange Peel).

Oddly despite the fact that this possesses no chocolate, one of the stronger implied notes was that of chocolate. I fought the urge to remake it with a splash of Creme de Cacao and allowed myself the luxury to enjoy the negative space implied by its absence.

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.

New 1920 Cocktail

New 1920 Cocktail

New 1920 Cocktail.

1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash Angostura Orange)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Martini and Rossi Sweet Vermouth)
1/2 Canadian Club Whisky. (1 oz Alberta Premium Canadian Rye Whisky)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

Alberta Premium

A while ago Darcy O’Neil, of The Art of Drink, and I did a trade, resulting in me being in possession of Alberta Premium Canadian Rye Whisky. It’s really tasty stuff.  It’s a 100% Rye Whiskey, but made in the Canadian style.  That is to say, much of the Rye is distilled to a very high proof, nearly vodka, and then blended with a more flavorful “character spirit” and aged.  In its smooth rye flavor, the Alberta Premium reminds me more of Irish Whiskey than other Canadian Whiskies or American Ryes.

So this is basically a perfect Canadian Whisky Manhattan with a dash of orange bitters. Who can complain about that?

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.

New Life Cocktail

Hercules remains, more or less, a mystery.

To summarize, for many years because of a description in Stan Jones’ Barguide which called it an Absinthe substitute, it was thought to be exactly that.  Something like Ricard or Pernod.

However, when I started making these Savoy recipes, none of them made taste sense when made with Pernod or Ricard.  They were just awful.

About this time, I saw an advertisement that popped up from time to time on the front page of the cocktaildb. It was for a Dutch product called Hercules which was a aromatized and fortified red wine. I made a couple cocktails which call for Hercules with Cocchi’s Barolo Chinato and they made a lot more sense.

I started doing more digging and turned up some advertisements in Google Books for a product called Hercules available at about the same time the Savoy Cocktail Book was published.

HERCULES “HEALTH – COCKTAILS ARE SERVED AT LEADING BARS. “Hercules” can be had plain, when so preferred, or as the chief and most fascinating ingredient…that Create Appetite and Stimulate Digestion “Hercules” Wine Aperitif contains the phenomenal properties of Yerba-Mate, which has won the high opinion…TO TEST “HERCULES” WINE APERITIF send fi/6 for a full-sired bottle, carriage paid.
We will despatch by return. Later supplies must be obtained of Wine…

Instead of being an Absinthe substitute, Hercules turned out to be a wine based aperitif one of whose ingredients was Yerba Mate!

In addition, a London friend, Jeff Masson asked around about it.  Turned out that a friend of his was acquainted with some of the ex-Savoy bartenders.  While the most recent bartender didn’t recall Hercules, his predecessor at the bar did!

From Jeff:

Did a little more research into this mystery ingredient but found nothing amazing.
I spoke to a friend who knows Peter Dorelli, the former head bartender of the Savoy, very well. I asked him to find out what he could.
Peter had never tasted the ingredient but called his former head bartender, Joe Gilmore, who is now around 85!
He remembered Hercules quite well and described it as a cross between an aperetif and a bitters. It was light pink in colour and bore no resemblance to Absinthe. He didn’t have any real suggestions for a substitute but mentioned Dubonnet would not be appropriate.
Not conclusive but quite interesting.

OK, a bitter wine based aperitif flavored with Yerba Mate.

Current try at reproduction:

1 bottle Navarro White Table Wine
1/4 cup Yerba Mate
1 tablespoon Gentian
1 clove
Dried Peel from 1 Seville Orange
1/2 stick Ceylon Cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Havana Club 8 Year Rum

Method: Combine all ingredients other than rum, bring to 140 degrees for 10 minutes. Strain off solids, cool, and add rum. Refrigerate.

I purposely kept this simple, to try and get more of a feel for appropriate taste combinations with the Yerba Mate. Initial thoughts are that it has too much gentian to be drunk on it’s own for pleasure. But it’s close. Tasting other vermouth I have around, I find many seem to have more culinary herbs in the middle flavors than this. Might have to experiment with including some thyme, mint, or oregano next time. I’m also not sure if the color came from the wine or if it was colored, so skipped that for the time being. Since most vermouth is made on a white wine base, I would guess it was colored, perhaps with cochineal or similar.

New Life Cocktail

New Life Cocktail

1/4 Hercules. (1/2 oz “Hercules”)
1/4 Bacardi Rum. (1/2 oz Montecristo Rum)
1/2 Cointreau. (1 oz Cointreau)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

That’s a lot of Cointreau, but every other recipe for the New Life I can find uses the same proportions, so I guess it isn’t a typo.

While it is sweet, it is kind of tasty. However, drinking it, I was reminded of the unique flavors of Armazem Viera’s Esmeralda Cachaca. Remaking it with Cachaca instead of the Montecristo rum did make for a much more interesting cocktail.  Interesting that these two South American flavors would compliment each other.

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.