Spring Cocktail

Spring Cocktail
3 glasses Gin. (3/4 oz Junipero, 3/4 oz Genevieve)
1 glass Quinquina. (1/2 oz Bonal)
1 Glass Benedictine. (scant 1/2 oz Benedictine)
Before shaking (I’d stir) add a dash of bitters and serve with an olive (Nicoise Olive).

As usual, to convert this “party cocktail” to a single serving, I am dividing the “glasses” in half and then counting them as ounces.

I never quite know what to use when a recipe calls for “Quinquina”. I don’t know if there was a specific product called “Quinquina” at the beginning of this century or if there was a specific brand of Quinquinas which was used when this appeared in cocktail recipes. To me, Quinquinas are a class of French wine based aperitifs which contain Quinine. Unfortunately, this is a fairly wide variety of products, from Lillet Blanc to Dubbonet Rouge. If you cast your net a bit wider, there are about a million wine and neutral spirit based beverages from around the world which potentially qualify as “Quinquinas”, due to the fact that they contain Quinine as a bittering agent. All have very different results when used in cocktails.

Haus Alpenz has begun importing an interesting wine based Gentian and Quinine aperitif called “Bonal”.

From their website:

Since 1865, this delicious aperitif wine has stood apart for its exceptional complexity, delightful flavors and stimulating palate. Serious to its role as aperitif, it was known as “ouvre l’appétit” – the key to the appetite. Found popular with sportsmen, Bonal became an early sponsor of the Tour de France. It is made by an infusion of gentian, cinchona (quinine) and renown herbs of the Grand Chartreuse mountains in a Mistelle base. Traditionally enjoyed neat or with a twist; also may enhance classic drinks in place of sweet red vermouth.

I would describe the flavor as similar to a more extreme version of dry or blanc/bianco vermouth. The botanicals seem more herbal than spice based. There seems to be little citrus. The middle flavors are similar to savory, culinary herbs with a strong gentian bitterness at the fore and lingering quinine bitterness in the finish. Quite nice.

Well, give a boy some new booze and ya gotta mix with it, especially when it seems appropriate in the recipe.

Scouring the refrigerator, I discovered I was out of Green Olives. Horror! How do things like this happen? In fact the only olives I had were Nicoise olives. Well, ya gotta do what you gotta do.

Thinking about these flavors and with the generic specification of “Gin”, I was reminded a bit of the savory combination of Junipero and Genevieve I had enjoyed in the Some Moth. Let’s try that again.

Huh, actually, the Nicoise Olive is quite tasty in the Spring. The savory brininess working well with the funk of the genevieve and complexity of the Bonal. About all I’d say is even a scant half ounce is a little much Benedictine for me. I think my ideal for this would be about 3/4 oz Junipero, 3/4 oz Genevieve, 3/4 oz Bonal, 1/4 oz Benedictine. Your Mileage May Vary.

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.

Philomel Cocktail

Philomel Cocktail

Philomel Cocktail*
(6 People)
2 1/2 glasses of Sherry. (1 1/4 oz Don Nuno Dry Oloroso Sherry)
1 Glass Rum. (1/2 oz Inner Circle Green Rum)
1 1/2 Glasses Quinquina. (3/4 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
1 1/2 Glasses Orange Juice. (3/4 oz Orange Juice)

Give one grind of the peppermill over this Shake: serve!

*After which they all sing like nightingales. Whence the name.

Whence the name?

Woo, now that’s a story.

From the wikipedia:

Procne’s husband, king Tereus of Thrace (son of Ares), agreed to travel to Athens and escort Philomela to Thrace for a visit. Tereus lusted for Philomela on the voyage. Arriving in Thrace, he forced her to a cabin in the woods and raped her…Philomela then wove a tapestry (or a robe) that told her story and had it sent to Procne. In revenge, Procne killed her son by Tereus, Itys (or Itylos), and served him to Tereus, who unknowingly ate him. When he discovered what had been done, Tereus tried to kill the sisters; they fled and he pursued but, in the end, all three were changed by the Olympic Gods into birds…Early Greek sources have it that Procne was turned into a nightingale, singing a beautiful but sad song in remorse for the death of her son; Philomela turns into a swallow, which has no song.

For some inexplicable reason, Philomel ends up being another name for the nightingale.

And, uh, well, like the Golden Slipper, that’s an odd myth to want to evoke with a cocktail!

That said, this isn’t an awful cocktail.  Odd, it must be admitted, but rum, dubonnet, and sherry is an interesting flavor combination.  I used the overproof, funk filled, and sadly no longer distributed in the US, Inner Circle Green, as it needed to stand up to all the rest of the ingredients in as a relatively small fraction of the cocktail.  It worked quite well.  Another interesting choice might be a spiced rum, if there were actually any of those worth drinking.

Maybe the New Orleans Cajun Spiced rum?  Would fit right in with the grind of black pepper!

Should you order this cocktail at the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, July 26th?

Signs point to a definite, “Hmmm.  Let’s think about that before ordering.”

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.

Pat’s Special Cocktail

Pat's Special Cocktail

Pat’s Special Cocktail.
(6 People)
Put 2 Glasses of Gin (1 oz Sarticious Gin) , 2 of Sherry (1 oz Don Nuno Dry Oloroso Sherry) and 2 of Quinquina (1 oz Dubonnet Rouge) in the shaker; add 2 dashes of Crème de Cassis (dash Brizard Creme de Cassis) and 2 of Abricotine (dash Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot). Shake well and serve with a (Luxardo) cherry and a piece of orange peel.

I’m still unsure about “Quinquina” used generically as an ingredient. Dubonnet Rouge is definitely a Quinquina. Just not sure if it is what is called for in cocktails that use the actual word.

I’ve been playing, off and on, with the Sarticious Gin, and enjoy it. I can’t find much information about the company that makes it. I guess it is in Santa Cruz and the owner also runs the Alexander Cellars Winery. Beyond that, their use of non-traditional botanicals like Cilantro has gained them some attention.

Anyway, for some reason, I thought of it for this cocktail.

Kind of a kitchen sink recipe, as far as ingredients go, but fairly enjoyable. The Cassis and Apricot liqueur end up being more hinted at than actually present in the flavor profile of the cocktail. Mostly I get slightly exotic tasting Sherry and Gin. Enjoyable enough to make again.

Gotta say thanks to the Shabbanigans for sending out this lovely cocktail shaker. I promise to use it in good faith and hope to see you soon!

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.

Moonraker Cocktail

Moonraker Cocktail

Moonraker Cocktail
(6 People)

Pour into the shaker 2 glasses of Brandy (3/4 oz Lustau Reserve Brandy), 2 of Quinquina (3/4 oz Lillet Rouge) and 2 of Peach Brandy (3/4 oz Massenez Creme de Peche). Add 3 dashes of Absinthe (drop or two of North Shore Sirene Absinthe), shake (I stirred) vigorously and serve.

Moonraker seems like such an evocative name, I have always wondered a bit what it referred to. The two main possibilities seem to be a certain type of sail or a reference to a British folk tale.

The Legend of the Moonrakers (link to swindonweb site)

A pair of Wiltshiremen, engaged in smuggling brandy, hide a barrel of the contraband from the excisemen in a nearby pond and when they return at some later time, in the dark, they are caught in the act of raking the barrel back to land. They immediately claim that they are trying to rake cheese – the reflection of the moon – from the pond and the excisemen, amused by the apparently simple-minded rustics, leave them to it.

Why on earth Ian Fleming would name a book about a plot to use a nuclear weapon to destroy London after this legend, I have no idea.

I was also puzzled by the use of the generic term “Quinquina” for an ingredient. Notes to friendly cocktail experts unfortunately yielded no results, leaving me to rely on my own google-rific conclusions. When examining the results of an image search for “Quinquina” almost all the products which come up seem to be dark or red colored. Dubonnet Rouge comes up quite frequently, but it seems there were a number of other Quinquinas available.

Some friends were cleaning their liquor cabinet and gave me a barely used bottle of Lillet Rouge. Thought it would be appropriate, given the results of my searches.

Used Peach Liqueur, as I don’t really have anything else peachy in the house. Hard to say if this should be peach eau-de-vie, aged peach brandy, or peach liqueur.

With the peach liqueur, this is a pretty sweet cocktail. It is, however, pretty tasty. If you were casting about for after dinner options, you could certainly do a lot worse.

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.