Whisky Daisy

Here’s the Savoy Cocktail Book’s Whiskey Daisy:

Whisky Daisy.
Use small bar glass.
3 Dashes Gomme Syrup.
The Juice of 1/2 Small Lemon.
1 Wineglass Bourbon or Rye Whisky.
Fill glass 1/3 full of shaved ice.
Shake thoroughly, strain into a large cocktail glass, and fill up with Apollinaris or Seltzer Water.

Well, OK, but here’s my adaption:

Flannestad Whiskey Daisy.

1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup;
Juice 1/2 Lemon;
2 oz Hudson Four Grain Bourbon;

Peel half a lemon as for an apple, and place in a cocktail glass. Shake thoroughly on cracked ice and strain over fresh ice in the glass. Garnish with fresh fruit, in season, and fill with soda water.

One of the biggish questions about the Daisy family of drinks is whether or not the ice should be included in the final drink. In the Savoy recipes for the Gin and Santa Cruz Rum Daisies, it seemed like the drinks should either be built over crushed ice or shaken and strained over new crushed ice.

As you’ll recall, in his 1914 book, Hugo Ensslin described the Daisy as follows:

All…Daisies are made as follows: Juice of ½ Lime and ¼ Lemon; 1 teaspoonful of Powdered Sugar; 2 dashes of Grenadine; 1 drink of liquor desired; 2 dashes Carbonated water. Use silver mug, put in the above ingredients, fill up with fine ice, stir until mug is frosted, decorate with fruit and sprays of fresh mint and serve with straws.

Which sounds, more or less, like a Julep with some Citrus in it.

However, when we get to the “Whisky Daisy” we find this is not the case, picture above to the contrary.

So I thought I would check some other early cocktail books and see how they advised the construction of the Daisy.

First off, I will note, that there are no recipes for Daisies in the original 1862 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide.

However, in the 1900 edition of Harry Johnson’s “New and Improved (Illustrated) Bartenders’ Manual and a Guide for Hotels and Restaurants”, he includes the following recipe for a Whiskey Daisy:

Whiskey Daisy.
(Use a large bar glass.)
1/2 table-spoonful of sugar;
2 or 3 dashes of lemon juice;
1 dash of lime juice;
1 squirt of syphon, vichy, or selters; dissolve with the lemon and lime juice;
3/4 of the glass filled with fine shaved ice;
1 wine-glass of good whiskey;
Fill the glass with shaved ice;
1/2 pony-glass chartreuse (yellow).

Stir up well with a spoon; then take a fancy glass, have it dressed with fruits in season, and strain the mixture into it and serve.
This drink is very palatable and will taste good to almost anybody (see illustration, plate No. 10).

Unfortunately, here we see Mr. Johnson is fairly clear that the Whiskey Daisy’s ingredients are stirred and then strained into another glass.

He even goes so far as to present an illustration with the drink on ice ready to be strained and the glass prepared for the drink to be strained into:

The 1908 edition of Cocktail Bill Boothby’s “The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them” also agrees with Mr. Johnson, his drink is shaken and strained into another glass.

Brandy Daisy.

Half fill a medium-sized mixing-glass with cracked ice, add the juice of one lemon, three dashes of orange cordial and a jigger of brandy. Shake, strain into a punch-glass, fill up with siphon seltzer and serve.

One of the questions I’ve always had, though, is where the 19th Century drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book come from. They don’t appear to be Johnson, nor do they appear to be Boothby. And there are drinks in it, which aren’t in the original edition of Jerry Thomas.

However, around 1928, Herbert Ashbury edited and published an expanded version of Jerry Thomas’ guide, complete with many of the stories and legends about Mr. Thomas, which we would also later come to think of as fact.

I personally suspect that this rather high profile reprint of the book, perhaps half remembered, is the basis for the 19th Century-ish drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book.

The recipes are still not exactly the same as the Savoy Cocktail Book, but it does include a Santa Cruz Rum Daisy, a (Holland!) Gin Daisy, and a Whiskey Daisy.

Whiskey Daisy
Use small bar glass.
Three dashes gum syrup.
Two dashes orgeat syrup.
The juice of half a small lemon.
One wineglass of Bourbon or rye whiskey.

Fill glass one-third full of shaved ice.

Shake thoroughly, strain into a large cocktail glass, and fill up with Apollinaris or selzer water.

Well, using orgeat, instead of the more typical Maraschino is a bit odd, but it does underscore the odd seemingly random nature of the sweeteners used in the Daisy family. I think it’s best not to get too strict about the sweeteners in a Daisy. Feel like using Orgeat to sweeten your Daisy? Why not? Jerry Thomas did.

But anyway, other than the addition of the Orgeat in the 1928 Thomas, the Savoy recipe is verbatim from Thomas, down to the usage, ingredients, and measures.

But what about the ice? Unfortunately, for me, since I sort of prefer these drinks on cracked ice, it appears that almost all of the early recipes I can find for Daisies are shaken, or stirred, on ice and then strained into another glass.

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.