Beer-Fashioned #4

One of the classic combinations in certain regions of France is Picon Biere, that is a Pilsener or Wheat beer with a splash of Amer Picon poured in.

Unfortunately, we don’t get Amer Picon here in these United States.

However, even if Diageo refuses to send us Amer Picon, we do get a lot of other Amaros…

With this series of posts we shall explore the possibilities we do have available.


2008 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout & Angostura Bitters

To be honest, I’m not over fond of most examples of beers aged in spirits barrels. They are usually too alcoholic and too sweet. If you want a beer and a shot, pour yourself a beer and a shot.

Brewer’s Notes:
Brewed in honor of the 1000th batch at our original Clybourn brewpub. A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer.

Recipe Information:
Style: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
International Bitterness Units: 60
Color: Midnight
Hops: Willamette
Malt: 2-Row, Munich, Chocolate, Caramel, Roast Barley, Debittered Black

The Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is a well regarded example of the style, but I still find it cloying and over alcoholic.

What do bartenders do when they find things cloying and alcoholic? Why, we add water (ice) and bitters.

Angostura Bitters is one of the two bitters brands which survived both prohibition and the great cocktail drought of the 50s through the 80s, the other being Fee’s. Angostura is made in Trinidad, my famous writer friend Camper English visited and wrote about them in detail on his website Alcademics in the article, “The History and Production of Angostura Bitters.”

An important, and somewhat arbitrary, distinction in bitters, and a relic of prohibition, is the difference between “potable” and “non-potable” bitters. During prohibition, if your bitters were considered “non-potable”, that is, undrinkable, you could continue to sell them, while “potable” bitters fell under the same bans as regular booze. In modern times, the difference comes down to, if your bitters are “non-potable”, you can sell them in grocery stores, and if they are “potable”, they have to be sold in liquor stores. Gary “Gaz” Regan tells the story that the early iterations of his Regan’s Orange Bitters were just too damn tasty and the TTB sent him back to the drawing board to make them less drinkable. Not that I don’t know people who drink Angostura bitters shots, but then, I do sometimes run with a rough crowd. On the other hand, Angostura bitters are a lot more intense than most Amari, so I will slightly reduce the amount I am using in this version of Amaro and Beer.

METHOD: Place a large ice cube into the mason jar or glass of your choosing. Pour in a quarter ounce of Angostura Bitters. Pour over a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. Stir briefly. Garnish optional.

Tasting this, sacrilege though it may be, I don’t think it is a horrible idea to serve the Bourbon County Stout on the rocks. The spice and bitterness from the bitters are kind of interesting, too. I skipped the fruit salad, aka garnish, probably best if you do too.

I still couldn’t finish the whole bottle.

Angostura Fizz

In his book, “The Gentleman’s Companion,” Charles Baker includes a drink called an Angostura Fizz.

THE ANGOSTURA FIZZ, sometimes Called the Trinidad Fizz, Being a Receipt Gleaned from One of Our Friends Piloting the Big Brazilian Clipper from Here to Trinidad & Rio & on South to “B.A.”

This mild fizz is again like the initial olive sampling; either it suits or it doesn’t, and subsequent trials often show sudden shift to appreciation. It is a well-known stomachic along the humid shores of Trinidad, in British Guiana; wherever the climate is hot and the humidity high, and stomachs stage sit-down strikes and view all thought of food–present or future–with entire lack of enthusiasm. Further than this, the cinchona bark elixir in the Angostura, the other herbs and valuable simples, are a definite first line defense against malaria and other amoebic fevers–especially in warding off their after effect in later months when all actual peril is past.

Take 1 pony of Angostura Bitters, add 1 tsp of sugar or grenadine, the juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 lime, the white of 1 egg, and 1 tbsp of thick cream–or slightly less. Shake with cracked ice like a cocktail, turn into a goblet and fill to suit individual taste with club soda, seltzer, vichy, or whatever lures the mind. Vary the sweet also, to suit taste. It is a very original, cooling drink as well as a valuable tonic to those dwelling in hot countries. Garnish with sticks of ripe fresh pineapple, always.

Uh, right, Baker at his verbose best, how about this for some less romantic simplification:

Angostura Fizz

1 pony Angostura Bitters (Baker’s “Pony” is an ounce)
1 tsp sugar or Grenadine (to taste)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon or 1 Lime
1 Egg White
1 tbsp thick Cream

Shake with cracked ice and pour into a goblet. Fill with club soda, seltzer, or vichy (to taste). Garnish with a pieces of pineapple.

A few years ago, an Italian Bartender named Valentino Bolognese won some cocktail competitions with an Angostura heavy Pisco Sour sweetened with Orgeat.

Trinidad Especial
1 oz Angostura Aromatic bitters
1 oz orgeat syrup
2/3 oz lime juice
1/3 oz Pisco Mistral
Shake well with ice and fine strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime zest twist.

Even more recently, Guiseppe Gonzalez came up with a variation on the Trinidad Especial for the New York Bar The Clover Club with, what else, Rye Whiskey instead of Pisco:

Trinidad Sour
1 oz Angostura Aromatic bitters
1 oz orgeat syrup
¾ oz lemon juice
½ oz rye
Shake well with ice and fine strain in to a cocktail glass.

Last night one of our regular guests came in, wanting something to drink but feeling like his previous drinks, and dinner, hadn’t agreed with him. He wanted “Something Fizzy”.

With all those drinks mashed together in my head, I figured I could make him an Angostura Fizz. And indeed, it seemed to fix him right up!

Angostura Fizz
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1 oz White Demerara Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup (or to taste)
1/2 oz Egg White
Soda Water

Shake Bitters, Rum, Lime, Simple Syrup, and Egg White together vigorously without ice. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a Fizz Glass and top with chilled soda water.

Suffering Mixologist

You know what, the Suffering Bastard just isn’t really a very good drink. Bourbon, Gin, Lime, Angostura, and Ginger Beer?

Sounds about as bad as the hangover it was supposed to be curing.

But, as mixologists, I think we can do something about this, but we’ll need to plan ahead a bit.

I think we’re looking at about a year process, from start to finish.

First begin by aging your own Whiskey. Purchase a case of unaged whisky (White Dog) and a charred barrel. Both of these items are now for sale, conveniently, at many of your better liquor stores.

About 6 months in to your whisky aging process, you’ll want to start your gin. You can either go the infusion route, like Jeffrey Morgenthaler, or you can purchase a still and distill it yourself. Instructions for distillation are beyond the scope of this article, but there are many online forums which should be of help. You’ll be able to find all sorts of interesting spices and herbs at witchery stores and upscale groceries.

In either case, infusion or distillation, I suggest you discard the common knowledge about what a gin should be and feel free to improvise with whatever catches your fancy. Elderflower, go! Rangpur Lime, go! Lemon Verbena, why not?

Once your gin is ready, you’re going to want to pull your whiskey from the barrel, blend it with the gin, and return it to the barrel. The additional months, or years, you allow these spirits to marry will produce a truly superior end product.

About a month out from when you want to serve your cocktail, you’ll need to start the infusion for your bitters. Check any number of articles on doing this, from Jamie Boudreau to Robert Heugel. Once you’ve made your bitters, of course using a Buechner Funnel to vacuum filter them, you’ll want to again pull your gin and whisky from the barrel, add the bitters, and return the mixture to the barrel. I suggest erring on the side of generosity. Really, if it isn’t bitter, it isn’t a cocktail.

About this time, you’re going to want to start promoting your genius new version of the Suffering Bastard. I would suggest hiring a full time publicist and hitting the local bars. Maybe even take out a few ads in national papers or magazines. Of course you’ll want to attend the major trade shows, Tales of the Cocktail, Manhattan Cocktail Classic, etc. just to press the flesh and give that personal touch to your presence. You’re not just a brand, after all. Don’t forget to sponsor a few panels at these conferences. That kind of exposure, a bunch of drunk people in a hotel conference room, is worth its weight in gold.

After doing some publicity, you’ll probably have come onto the radar of the original creator of the drink, Trad’r Vick, and his organization. Be sure to ignore any and all communications from them. You are a drinks artist, not a business man, there’s no reason to talk to those suits.

Next you’ll need to make your Ginger Beer. After distilling your own gin, making ginger beer is a snap. Check this recipe from Good Eats: Making Ginger Beer 48 hours? Pah, most of that is just sitting around in your cabinet.

Why do Trad’r Vick and his lawyers keep calling you? Just ignore them.

You’ll want to start the last minute publicity for your drink unveiling. Be sure to rent a space of suitable gravitas and capacity for your needs. Invite everyone you know, sending simultaneous and identical tweets, facebook invitations, and email blasts.

Who is that knocking?

What? Trad’r Vick and a subpoena? Agh, they are trampling on your creativity! Saying they own the Tradermark to the Suffering Bastard! Not only that, but telling you your drink isn’t even a Suffering Bastard, the Suffering Bastard, they claim, properly contains: Trad’r Vick Mai Tai Mix, two kinds of Rum, and a cucumber peel garnish. Pah, don’t they know you are referencing the original Suffering Bastard, created by Joe Scialom during World War II at the Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo, Egypt? Philistines!

Well, you’ll show them, change the name of your drink, it bears no resemblance to their crappy “original” Suffering Bastard anyway. In honor of your self, you call it the Poor Long Suffering Mixologist, or P.L.S.M., for short.

Aged Spirits ready, Ginger Beer on tap, you’re ready to go. The last thing you need to do is source the fresh ingredients.

Be sure and spare no expense finding the exact correct variety of mint for this. Thyme Mint, Bergamot Mint, whatever you think will work best.

Not to mention finding the most obscure variety of lime or citrus. I’d suggest thinking about Seville Oranges or perhaps Rangpur Limes.

Nearly ready, all your friends have replied and are showing up. The bar or concert hall is primed for your 100% hand made, self aged, craft cocktail PLSM!

Oh, but we’ve forgotten the ice! Only the best! Be sure and only use the purest virgin spring water, and freeze it in such a way it is perfectly clear! Then hand carve it to order!

Last minute details, last minute details!

Maybe you should try the drink?

Oh, bleah, this really isn’t a very good drink. You know, the Suffering Bastard wasn’t very good to start out with, and it tastes like you’ve actually made it worse. What were you thinking?

Notify your publicist, stop the presses, call off your event. Well, when life hands you lemons, it’s time to, to… Write about it. You’re going to write a book (or blog) about your cocktail adventure, instead of actually serving drinks. That’s where the REAL money is!

I think that qualifies as a post about Niche Spirits, don’t you?

Thanks to Adventures in Cocktails for hosting!

MxMo LVIII: Favorite Niche Spirit

Check out their site for more posts on similar themes.

Straits Sling

Can I just say, I have zero idea what the Raffles, Singapore, or Straits Sling have to do with the earlier beverage of the same name, aka the garnished toddy.

And as far as I can tell, no one else has much idea, either, even when they were popping up, seemingly around the early portion of the 20th Century.

In fact, I’d argue for a separate name for these tall, tropical-ish, pink beverages. How about “Colonial Slings”?

Straits Sling
(for 6)
Place in a shaker 4 glasses of Gin, 1 glass of Benedictine, 1 glass of Cherry Brandy, the Juice of 2 Lemons, a teaspoonful of Angostura Bitters, and one of Orange Bitters.
Shake sufficiently and serve in large glasses, filling up with Soda water.

So, I thought it would be interesting to look at a couple recipes for these “Colonial Slings”.

Trader Vic, in the 1948 edition of his “Bartender’s Guide” includes Slings in a section with Sangarees. About the grouping, he says:

Sangarees are tall drinks, made like Old-Fashioneds but without bitters, and are usually topped with a dash of nutmeg. Slings, on the other hand, in their simpler versions, are pointed up with bitters or a similar type of flavoring and resemble elongated Old-Fashioneds with the addition of a little lemon. With the exception of the Singapore Slings, this entire group of drinks has little merit.

Among these beverages of, “little merit,” he includes several recipes which follow the mold in his description including the Applejack Sling, the Brandy Sling, the Fancy Sling (with Brandy, benedictine, Lemon, Pernod, and Maraschino!) and finally one exotically named the Jungle Fire Sling:

Jungle Fire Sling.
1 oz Cherry Brandy
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Parfait Amour
1 oz Brandy
Stir in a 12 oz glass; fill with shaved ice, fill glass with ginger beer.

Wow, great name, but If you try that one, you might want to pre-book an appointment with the Dentist.

Of Trader Vic’s Singapore and/or Raffles Slings, there are three.

Raffles Sling
1 oz dry gin
1 oz cherry brandy
1 oz benedictine
Shake with cracked ice; strain into 12 oz glass containing several lumps of ice; fill with chilled club soda and garnish with the spiral peel of 1 green lime.

Another far too sweet one, there!

Singapore Sling–1
1 1/2 oz dry gin
1/2 oz Cherry Brandy
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 lime
1 tsp grenadine
1/4 oz sloe gin
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis
Squeeze lime and drop into 12 oz glass with cracked ice; add rest of ingredients and stir well; fill rest of glass with selzer.

7 Ingredients? Thank goodness I never worked for Trader Vic!

Singapore Sling–2
Juice 1/2 lemon
1 dash benedictine
3/4 oz cherry brandy
2 oz dry gin
Stir in a 12oz glass with cracked ice; decorate with slice of orange and sprig of mint; fill with selzer and serve with straws.

Well, all I can say is, thank goodness by 1972 Trader Vic only included 1 Sling in his revised edition of the “Bartender’s Guide”. Pretty much the same as the above Singapore Sling–1, with a little tweaking of the amounts of the different ingredients. Apparently the heyday of the Sling had passed.

Singapore Sling

1 lime
1 dash grenadine
1/4 oz creme de cassis
1/2 oz sloe gin
1/2 oz cherry liqueur
1 oz gin
Club soda
Cut lime, squeeze juice over ice cubes in a 12-ounce chimney glass, and save 1 lime shell. Add remaining ingredients except soda. Fill glass with soda. Stir. Decorate with spent lime shell, orange slice, and a cherry.

Down to 6 ingredients and a not too elaborate garnish. Whew, I guess by the 1970s things had calmed down a touch. Though I still question the cluster of cherry-berry flavors. Are Sloe Gin, Cherry Liqueur, Grenadine, and Creme de Cassis all really necessary in the same drink? I also want to note that in 1972 Trader Vic has opted for the less confusing, “Cherry Liqueur,” over the somewhat ambiguous “Cherry Brandy”.

Regarding Slings and Toddies, perpetual crank David A. Embury says the following in his 1948 book, “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks”.

The dictionaries define both Slings and Toddies as “mixtures of sweetened spirits and water.” While Slings have always been served both hot and cold, the toddy was originally a hot drink only. Today, however, Toddies, as well as Slings are served both hot and cold. Slings are usually made with lemon and either sugar or some sweet liqueur. Toddies usually contain a thin slice of lemon or a piece of lemon peel but no lemon juice. Also, they usually contain one or more spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg. These differences, however, are merely incidental and, when served hot, it is difficult, if not impossible, to distiguish between a Sling and a Toddy. One distinction between the cold drinks is that a Toddy is usually made with plain water, Slings with charged water or Ginger Ale.

SINGAPORE SLING Of alll the recipes published for this drink, I have never seen any two that were alike. Essentially it is a Gin Sling with the addition of cherry brandy. The following is typical of the various recipes.

1 teaspoonful Sugar Syrup
Juice of 1/4 large Lemon or 1/2 large Lime
1 pony Cherry Brandy (Kirsch)
1 1/2 jiggers Gin
1 dash Angostura

Shake and strain into 8 oz Highball glass or use 10 oz glass and leave 1 large ice cube in the glass. Fill glass with charged water. Some recipes call for the addition of Benedictine. Also, some call for ginger ale in place of the charged water. A slice of lemon peel should be twisted over and dropped in the drink.

Some good points, there, especially the comment, “Of alll the recipes published for this drink, I have never seen any two that were alike.” Also interesting that Embury is the only one I’ve seen, up until some modern authors, to specify “Kirsch”. Well, he did like his cocktails on the dry side. Though, you will see, as is typical of recipes which forgo Cherry Liqueur for Cherry Eau-de-Vie, that the authors find themselves adding sugar syrup to a recipe which usually doesn’t contain any.

Anyway, unless I’m working at Heaven’s Dog, where we make the Slanted Door Singapore Sling as our house recipe, I always make the following Charles Baker, Jr. recipe when I have a request for Straits or Singapore Slings.

The Paramaribo Park Club Gin Sling from the Dutch Guiana Capital City of Suriname

Actually this sling was something of an improvement over the sweetish Raffles job, to your Pastor’s present-day taste. It was a trifle dryer, had a bit more lime juice than average here in the United States; and, finally the inclusion of the crushed–seeded–lime hulls in the finished drink lent added aroma and flavor as they do in Gin Rickeys.

2 oz Best Dry Gin
1 Pony Cherry Brandy (1 oz Cherry Heering)
Juice & Hulls 2 small limes (1 oz Lime Juice)
1 tsp each Cognac & Benedictine

Shake with fine ice till quite cold, strain into short highball glass, letting some of the ice go in also. Cap with chilled club soda; garnish with ripe pineapple stick &/or cherry. Personally we float-on the Benedictine-Cognac after finished drink’s poured.

A lot of times Baker gets flack for drinks that need to be significantly massaged before they are palatable. Heh, well, if there was anyone who understood the appeal of the dying embers of Colonialism, it was Charles Baker, Jr. To me this version of the “Colonial Sling” just works. Give it a try and let me know if you think so too.

Addenda: while I was chatting via email with Erik Adkins about Slings, he suggested I also send a note to exotic drink expert Martin Cate, of Smuggler’s Cove, who he said had expended a fair amount of energy researching the recipe he uses for this drink.

I did a ton of digging before putting it on my menu, and I just couldn’t find anything resembling consensus on the issue. Between Dale, Difford, Regan, etc. etc. there were a lot of opinions. I’m reasonably confident in the role of Heering & Benedictine, I’m not confident in the role of pineapple juice. Below is what I went with, though I ended up calling it a Straits Sling on my menu, but still maintain that the Sing Sling was probably pretty close.

.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.25 oz simple syrup (or to taste)
.25 oz Benedictine
.5 oz Heering
1.5 oz Plymouth
dash orange bitters
dash Angostura bitters
2 oz seltzer.

I think the double bitters was something that B&B or Rickhouse was doing that I liked.

Which brings us back to something very close to a single serving version of the Straits Sling at the beginning of this post! Sounds delicious, I believe a field trip to Smuggler’s Cove shall be in order!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Zazarac Cocktail

Wow, this cocktail, and one more and a major portion of this project completed.

Oh, wait, I will have to change the footer, if I am going to continue on after the Zed…

Zazarac Cocktail
1/6 Bacardi Rum. (1/2 oz 3/4 oz Barbancourt 8 Year)
1/6 Anisette. (1/2 oz 3/4 oz Anis del Mono dulce)
1/6 Gomme Syrup. (1/2 oz 3/4 oz Mesquite Bean Syrup)
1/3 Canadian Club Whisky. (1/3 oz Rittenhouse Bonded)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 dash Angostura Bitters)
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters)
3 Dashes Absinthe. (3 dash Absinthe)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

Out of Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup, so instead substituting Mesquite Bean Syrup, which is made by extracting the juice from the mesquite bean pods that grow abundantly in the deserts of the southwestern United States.

As usual, in cocktails sourced from Harry McElhone’s 1928 “ABC of Cocktails”, that Harry Calls for Rye Whiskey instead of the Savoy Cocktail Book’s Canadian Club.

Such a long ingredient list, you just sort of wonder what was going on in the head of the person who threw all this together. Had they had a Sazerac many years ago and were attempting to recreate the flavor with ingredients they had at hand?

There is an interesting and somewhat unexpected spiciness, reminiscent of fruitcake. Still, there is no way this is anything other than way too sweet, even well stirred.

Spatchcock that chicken.

Really, I just like to say, “Spatchcock”. It’s probably a character flaw.

But it really is an awesome way to flatten out a chicken and roast it evenly. Works for Turkeys too!

The Roast Chicken with bread salad from Zuni Cafe, no matter how literally you take Judy Rodgers’ crazily detailed instructions, is a truly awesome presentation. One of the best dishes from that generation of chefs. Roast a chicken. Then deglaze your pan with wine and a little vinegar. Adjust seasonings. Fill a bowl with bitter greens, like Arugula, add some freshly toasted croutons. Pour the warm dressing over the greens and croutons and toss to combine. Serve your roast chicken pieces on top. So tasty!

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.

Young Man Cocktail

The countdown to the last “Cocktail” continues.

Say it with me, “FIVE!”

Young Man Cocktail
1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 dash Angostura Bitters)
2 Dashes Curacao. (1/2 teaspoon Clement Liqueur Creole Shrubb)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica Italian Vermouth)
3/4 Brandy. (2 1/4 oz Osocalis Brandy)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Add olive or cherry (Olive!).

I have these great Agrinion Olives from Greece, so it wasn’t entirely perversity that led me to choose to garnish with an olive rather than a cherry. All the same, I suppose a cherry would be the more 20th-21st Century garnish.

Maybe I can start something new for the future? Random Cherries or Olives in cocktails.

Nah, probably not.

If I hadn’t been out of decent cherries, I would probably have preferred it.

Other than that, the Young Man is a perfectly enjoyable Brandy Manhattan, nothing wrong with that. I feel younger already.

…But maybe that’s just the burden of making more Savoy Cocktails being lifted from my back…

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.

Yale Cocktail

Yale Cocktail
3 Dashes Orange Bitters. (3 Dashes Bitter Truth Orange Bitters)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 Dash Angostura)
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into small glass. Add a little syphon and squeeze lemon peel on top.

I guess this isn’t one of those cocktails that’s probably going to get a whole lot of new fans from me writing it up.

All booze with dashes of Orange and Angostura Bitters, this is not for the faint of heart. Even the “little syphon” doesn’t do much to soften the blow.

On the other hand, using a pleasant Gin, like the Hayman’s Old Tom, there is nothing wrong with this formulation, even if it is a little plain.

Odd that, who was it, Dashiell Hammett chose to give one of his characters a fondness for a drink as girly as the Gimlet. You’d think Gin and not much else would be closer to the hard boiled ethos, even if it is named after an Ivy League School.

I guess those jokers in the Skull and Bones Club know a thing or two about the proper way to drink.

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.

Widow’s Kiss Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Jan 30, 2010, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders (and me) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Widow’s Kiss Cocktail
1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 dash Angostura)
1/2 Liqueur glass Chartreuse. (1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse)
1/2 Liqueur Glass Benedictine. (1/2 oz Benedictine)
1 Liqueur Glass Calvados or Apple Brandy. (1 oz Calvados Montreuil)
Shake well (I stirred) and strain into cocktail glass.

“And if you close the door, the night could last forever.”

For some reason, the Widow’s Kiss Cocktail reminds me of the song, “After Hours” by the Velvet Underground.

As written, half Calvados and half liqueurs, it is rather sickly sweet. I have re-jiggered the ratios somewhat, a common tactic, and still find it too sweet for me. You could take them down to a quarter oz each, and I would be much happier.

Another tactic, sometimes taken, is to add some citrus to the drink, to balance out the intense sweetness of the Benedictine and Chartreuse liqueurs. That gets a bit far from the origins of the drink for me, but it also works and is tasty.

By the way, this is a drink, in my opinion, which should be made with Calvados. American Apple Brandies just don’t have the weight or interest to carry the drink. (Well, unless you choose to add some citrus, in which case American Apple Brandy will probably be fine. But then you’re just making an Herbal Jack Rose.)

I’m ambivalent about the Widow’s Kiss. It is a really good drink, and one of the best cocktail names of all times, but it is also far too sweet.

I suppose, properly, it is an after dinner, (Or After Hours?) digestive type cocktail, and enjoying it with coffee might be one way of coping with its extreme sweetness.

Otherwise, drying out the proportions works, though then it heads towards boozy-landia, basically being just a cold glass of Calvados.

Another treatment might be to take a Stinger type strategy, and serve it over crushed ice.

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.

West Indian Cocktail

West Indian Cocktail
1 Teaspoonful Sugar in medium-sized Tumbler. (1 teaspoon Small Hand Foods Gum)
4 Dashes Angostura. (4 dashes angostura bitters)
1 Teaspoonful Lemon Juice. (1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice)
1 Glass Burrough’s Beefeater Gin. (2 oz Beefeater Gin)
1 Lump of ice.
Stir and serve in same glass.

Oddly, we run into a spate of “West Indian” attributed cocktails in the Double Youse. This one appears to originate in Harry McElhone’s 1928 “ABC of Cocktails”.

Like the original Pegu Club or the Crustas, this is an actual Cock-Tail with only a minor amount of citrus, not a sour. Heck, they even tell you to stir this one!

I also like the rather large proportion of bitters given for this recipe. 4 Dashes! Woo!

Gives lie to those that say, “If you can taste the bitters, it is a bad cocktail.”

In the West Indian Cocktail, the bitters are a major flavor element of the cocktail.

Others might disagree, but I rather enjoyed it, not at all dissimilar to something along the lines of the ‘Ti Punch. Like that drink, I could see how this would be pleasant on a hot day in the West Indies, preferably with the trade winds blowing up, and a bit of salt sea spray in the air.

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.

Washington Cocktail

Washington Cocktail
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (2 dash Angostura Bitters)
2 Dashes Syrup. (1 teaspoon Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
2/3 French Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/3 Brandy. (3/4 oz Chateau Pellehaut Armagnac Reserve)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

A Vermouth Cocktail with a stick, there is nothing wrong with this cocktail, in fact rather enjoyable. The combination of French Vermouth and Brandy makes more sense to me than the combination of French Vermouth and Whiskey.

In fact, it kind of reminds me of a light version of of my coworker’s drinks at Heaven’s Dog, Dion Jardine’s, amusingly named variation on the Brooklyn, Brandy Does Brooklyn:

Brandy Does Brooklyn
1.5 armagnac
.75 dry vermouth
Shy .5 maraska
Shy .5 picon or amaro nonino
Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.

Now, if only Dion would get his act together and launch the blog he has been threatening, “Drinking with Bartenders”.

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.