Other Uses for Pistachio Syrup

You might recall, I made a Pistachio Syrup to recreate the Mustachi-ode from Booker & Dax.

While the Mustachi-ode is a fantastic drink, I’ve been experimenting with other uses for the syrup.

The first easiest targets are mostly simple substitutions for Orgeat.

Here are a couple interesting, and so far unnamed, things to try with Pistachio Syrup:

2 oz Tequila Ocho Blanc
Heavy Barspoon Pistachio Syrup
2 dash Miracle Mile Chocolate Chile Bitters

Stir and strain into a small cocktail glass. Grate fresh Cinnamon on top.

Obvious riff on the Japanese Cocktail, really like how this highlights the interesting vegetal characteristics of the Ocho.

1 1/2 oz Barbancourt 8 Rum
1/2 oz Neissen Blanc Rhum Agricole
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pistachio Syrup
1/2 oz Orange Curacao

Shake and strain over cracked ice in a 10 oz glass. Garnish with Mint Sprig and Lime Wheel Cherry Boat.

Fairly literal Mai Tai variation, for me the nut character of the Pistachio syrup really pops in this.

Of course, if you don’t feel like making Pistachio Syrup yourself, you can always stop by Heaven’s Dog!

Tequila Daisy

Tequila Daisy

2 oz Tequila Ocho Blanco*
Juice 1 Lime
1/2 oz Bols Dry Orange Curacao
1/2 oz Rich Simple Syrup
Soda Water

Peel a lime as for an apple, and place in a cocktail glass. Shake other ingredients thoroughly on cracked ice and strain over fresh crushed ice in the glass. Garnish with fresh fruit, in season, Mint Sprig, and fill with soda water.

One of the many theories about the name of the Margarita is that it is the Spanish word for “Daisy”. That the Margarita is exactly that, a Tequila Daisy.

It’s an OK theory, I suppose, holds about as much water as any of the other ones. The main problem being, every Daisy recipe I’ve read calls for Soda Water and I’ve never, ever, seen a Margarita recipe which calls for Soda.

Delicious, though the Tequila Daisy is, if you’re going to go in the drink family direction, I think you’re better off sticking with the Tequila Sidecar.

But, to wrap it up, what exactly is a Daisy?

A Daisy should have a generous pour of a base spirit, citrus, sweetener and fizz. Many examples include elaborate garnishes.

As far as preparation goes, it seems like most of the early recipes for Daisies are shaken and strained into a glass, NOT served on ice. Personally, like Hugo Ensslin, I usually serve them on cracked ice, just to differentiate them from the Fizz category.

After that, the sky’s the limit. Pretty much any sweetener, any citrus, and any spirit seem to be allowed in the category. Heck, I see no reason not to mess with the fizz aspect.

Experiment and tell me what you get.

*I received the Tequila Ocho Blanco from a firm promoting the brand.

Gin, uh, Tequila Sling.

Gin Sling
Dissolve 1 Teaspoonful of Sugar in Water.
1 Glass Dry Gin.
1 Lump of Ice.
Served in long tumbler and fill with water or soda; if served hot a little nutmeg on top.

I just wasn’t feeling this recipe, so I did a little research.

First off, in drinky circles, probably the most famous reference to the Sling comes from one of the first published references to the Cocktail. From the May 13, 1806 edition of The Balance and Columbian Repository:

To the Editor of the Balance.
I observe in your paper of the 6th instant, in the account of a democratic candidate for a seat in the legislature, marked under the head of Loss, 25 do. cock-tail. Will you be so obliging as to inform me what is meant by this species of refreshment? Though a stranger to you, I believe, from your general character, you will not suppose this request to be impertinent.
I have heard of a forum, of phlegm-cutter and fog driver, of wetting the whistle, of moistening the clay, of a fillip, a spur in the head, quenching a spark in the throat, of flip & c, but never in my life, though have lived a good many years, did I hear of cock tail before. Is it peculiar to a part of this country? Or is it a late invention? Is the name expressive of the effect which the drink has on a particular part of the body? Or does it signify that the democrats who take the potion are turned topsycurvy, and have their heads where their tails should be? I should think the latter to be the real solution; but am unwilling to determine finally until I receive all the information in my power.
At the beginning of the revolution, a physician publicly recommended the moss which grew on a tree as a substitute for tea. He found on experiment, that it had more of a stimulating quality then he approved; and therefore, he afterward as publicly denounced it. Whatever cock tail is, it may be properly administered only at certain times and to certain constitutions. A few years ago, when the democrats were bawling for Jefferson and Clinton, one of the polls was held in the city of New York at a place where ice cream was sold. Their temperament then was remarkably adust and bilious. Something was necessary to cool them. Now when they are sunk into rigidity, it might be equally necessary, by cock-tail to warm and rouse them.
I hope you will construe nothing that I have said as disrespectful. I read your paper with great pleasure and wish it the most extensive circulation. Whether you answer my inquiry or not, I shall still remain,

[As I make it a point, never to publish anything (under my editorial head) but which I can explain, I shall not hesitate to gratify the curiosity of my inquisitive correspondent: Cock tail, then is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters it is vulgarly called a bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said also, to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else.
Edit. Bal.]

If a Cocktail, “is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters it is vulgarly called a bittered sling,” then, ipso facto, by rights, a plain, or unbittered, Sling is, “spirits of any kind, sugar, and water.” Same as a Toddy.

Further reading in early sources, Jerry Thomas, “Cocktail” Bill Boothby, and Harry Johnson, seems to indicate that generally, at least in late 19th Century bar parlance, the Sling was differentiated from the Toddy by the presence of a garnish. The is, a Toddy was generally served without a garnish, while a sling generally has nutmeg and/or citrus peel. Of course that is terribly amusing because no one today would serve a hot toddy without a garnish, and if you ordered a “Hot Sling” you’d probably get kicked out of the bar.

Anyway, I wasn’t feeling very Ginny last week, so I decided to spice things up a bit, after all the author does say, “Spirits of any kind,” with a little Tequila.

New World Sling

2 oz Charbay Tequila
1 teaspoon Caster (Or superfine) sugar
Splash of water
Big Ice Cube
Lemon Peel

Muddle Superfine sugar in water until it is dissolved. Add Big Ice Cube and pour in Tequila. Stir well and garnish with freshly grated Cinnamon. Squeeze Lemon Peel over drink and drop in.

Gosh that’s good. I swapped nutmeg out for cinnamon, as I know from the Promissory Note at Alembic Bar that Cinnamon has a good affinity for tequila.

When I wrote up the Toddy, a lot of people asked things like, “is there any reason to leave out the bitters and just make a Toddy?”

I’ll repeat myself, probably if you gave someone from the early 19th Century a Bourbon Old-Fashioned Cocktail, they would ask you, why on earth you are putting bitters in perfectly good booze.

And sure, you could add some bitters to this drink, and it probably wouldn’t hurt. But with a Tequila this good is it really necessary?

Music was from Bill Frisell and Vinicius Cantuaria’s CD “Lagrimas Mexicanas”.

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.

Sonora Cocktail

Sonora Cocktail
1 Dash Lemon Juice.
2 Dashes Apricot Brandy.
1/2 Applejack or Calvados.
1/2 Bacardi Rum.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

So I actually got to making the Sonora Cocktail on May 5th this year, a.k.a. Cinco de Mayo, a holiday we in America tend to celebrate as if it were “Mexican Independence Day”. We eat fajitas with flour tortillas, drink slushy Margaritas, and slug down Corona with lime.  All very authentic.  If you are a tourist in Cancun.

To quote the wikipedia article about Cinqo de Mayo:

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a holiday held on May 5 that commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. It is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla and in the United States. While Cinco de Mayo sees limited significance and celebration nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed nationwide in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.

I am unclear why we Americans always seem to celebrate holidays which are relatively insignificant in their countries of origin (see St. Patrick’s Day), but we do, so there really isn’t much to do about the whole thing. Either embrace the madness or stay away from the mobbed bars on those days.

Anyway, here we have another drink where a relatively neutral, and inexpensive, spirit is probably being used as an extender for the rather more expensive one, in this case Calvados.  I figured, what the heck, it’s Cinco de Mayo and the cocktail is called “Sonora”, why not use a relatively neutral tequila in this puppy instead of Rum?  Though I was a bit worried about the vegetal notes in the Tequila and the Calvados clashing in an unpleasant manner.

2.5ml Lemon Juice (aka a half barspoon. mine happens to be 2.5ml, yours may not be.)
5ml Brizard Apry (aka a barspoon. mine happens to be 5ml, yours may not be.)
1 oz Groult Reserve Calvados
1 oz Tequila Ocho Plata*

Oof, that was not good.  As I suspected, the vegetal notes of the Calvados and the tequila are too much for this basically all booze concoction.  Let’s try that again.

5ml Lemon (aka a barspoon. mine happens to be 5ml, yours may not be.)
5 ml Brizard Apry
1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Tequila Ocho Plata*

Hm, not bad, but too sour, and still awfully boozy.  Substituting the less vegetal Laird’s Apple Brandy definitely improves this cocktail.  I could see some people enjoying this, *cough*David Embury*cough* but it isn’t my style.

shy 1/4 oz Lemon
long 1/4 oz Brizard Apry
1 oz Laird’s Bonded
1 oz Tequila Ocho Plata*

OK, I think this is a far as I can stretch the original recipe and still call it a Sonora-ish cocktail.  It’s not bad.  Still, at this point, I’m beginning to think the Sonora is a lost cause.  Can I just have a Manhattan, stat?  Even a Tequila Sour (aka Tommy’s Margarita) would make me happy?  Please?

Most importantly, should you order this cocktail during the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, May 23rd, 2010?  Well, it’s probably better with rum than it is with Tequila, still, it will be made to the Savoy Spec at Alembic, that is, pretty much all booze.  Unless you’re looking for a quick buzz, I’d avoid it.

*The Tequila Ocho Plata was sent to me by a marketing firm promoting the brand. Score!

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.

Balthazar Cocktail

I’ve been making this cocktail for a while when cocktail geeky or bartender type people ask me for a Mezcal, Tequila, or Agave “Dealer’s Choice Cocktail”.  It’s just kind of fun to mess with people and not make a shaken citrus or fruit based cocktail.  For obvious reasons, I usually just call it a “Death and Company” or “Phil Ward” style cocktail.  However, checking with one of the bartenders at Death and Co, it turns out it isn’t actually a Death and Company cocktail.  Damn.  That meant I had to think of a name.

A guest the other night quite enjoyed it and suggested calling it the “Balthazar Cocktail”.  Odd.  The Donkey or the Getty?  The Burro or the Ass?  I didn’t ask, so I leave it up to you to make the call.

Balthazar Cocktail
1 1/2 oz El Tesoro platinum tequila
1/4 oz Benesin Mezcal
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse Liqueur
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
dash orange bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Squeeze orange peel over glass and discard.

Erik Adkins

This is the third in an ongoing series of bartender features on the Underhill-Lounge.

Previously, I had experimented by asking the bartender at Montgomery Place to make me a Bombay Cocktail No. 2, but this just seemed to result in a grumpy bartender.

To make it less of a shock, I thought I would contact some local bartenders and give them a choice of the dozen or so Savoy Cocktails that might be coming up in the book.

Surprisingly, some actually were game.

When I was giving Josey Packard my spiel trying to convince her to appear in Savoy topic, it turned out another of the patrons at the bar was a bartender, Mr. Erik Adkins.

Mr. Adkins is the bar manager at The Slanted Door here in San Francisco.

I told him how impressed I was with the bar program at the Slanted Door and he said he reads eGullet. Oh ho!

We exchanged contact info, and I filed him away as someone to contact for participation in the Savoy Topic.

After I finished the last bartender feature, I started mailing around looking for someone to participate next.

Of the people I mailed, Mr. Adkins responded and said he was opening a new bar in Oakland with a classic cocktail menu. Let’s meet there!

Flora is a new restaurant in a beautiful deco building a block away from the 19th Street BART station in Oakland. When Mr. Adkins and I met up early Friday evening, it had been open for exactly 6 days! The cocktail menu is composed of about a dozen pre-prohibition classics and a few original cocktails.

Erik is the bar manager at the Slanted Door in San Francisco. He is also working as a bar consultant for Flora, a cocktail bar in a vintage deco building in downtown Oakland.

Doctor Cocktail

1/3 Lemon Juice or Lime Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
2/3 Swedish Punch. (1 1/2 oz Carlshamm’s Flagg Punsch)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I continue my Swedish Punsch evangelizing, toting the Carlshamm’s Flagg Punsch a friend smuggled back from Sweden from bar to bar.

This is a pretty rich cocktail, modernizing would probably be a matter of slightly drying it out with a decent white rum, say 1 oz Flagg Punsch, 1/2 oz rum.

Erik Adkins’ comments:

dr. cocktail was good. not subtle or complex but that exotic arrack flavor came through without too much of the ‘agricole rhum’ harshness that the 100 proof arrack delivers.

Dolly O’Dare Cocktail

6 Dashes Apricot Brandy. (1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

For this one, we tried two variables. Tanqueray 10 Gin, Plymouth Gin, Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot, and Haus Alpenz Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie.

For my money, the Tanqueray 10 and Orchard Apricot was the most enjoyable. Others preferred the drier, more martini-esque nature, of the Plymouth and the Eau-de-Vie. Interestingly, the other two, the Plymouth/liqueur and Tanqueray/Eau-de-Vie fared the worst. An interesting illustration of how relatively minor tweaks such as the brand and character of gin can have a big impact.

Erik Adkins’ Comments:

the dolly o dare! great name and a good drink. i made one for gus, an alembic regular and one of the soms at the slanted door, and he loved it. i agree with you that the tanq 10 with the apricot liquor worked the best. although the 10 with the eau-de-vie wasn’t bad either. the liquor gave the drink some needed body and the orange peel lent a lot too. the alpine complexity of the gin , with a hint of richness from the apricot, with the dry vermouth finish worked for me. a nice light aperitif style cocktail.

Q: What are the biggest challenges to presenting classic cocktails to modern audiences?

one of the big challenges with selling classic cocktails is getting people to take the first sip of something new. most people have only had gin in tepid overly large martinis and maybe a gin and tonic from a syrupy soda gun. and almost no one knows that vermouth is delicious. if they have ever had more than a few drops in a drink it has almost surely been oxidized. sadly the more drinks that i put on the list at the slanted door with gin, cognac, whiskey or rum the more people order the ‘safe drinks’. as bartenders we are being forced to be subversive to sell good drinks. i’ve been quietly pouring 4 to 1 martinis and gin drinkers love them. there’s nothing greater than watching a group of young ladies drinking clover clubs because you don’t carry midori.

Finally, Mr. Adkins was kind enough to send along one of the drinks he created for Flora:

carter beats the devil

2 oz el tesoro reposado
1 oz lime
1/2 oz organic agave nectar (rainbow bulk)
1/2 oz del maguey minero mescal
20 drops (eye dropper) of chile tincture

served up

chile tincture: fill a jar with de-stemmed intact thai chilles and cover with wray & nephew overproof for two weeks.

carter was a 1920s era magician from oakland. his biography is entitled carter beats the devil.

The magician aspect seems particularly apt.

Flora had been open only 6 days before I was in to meet up with Mr. Adkins and had only received their liquor license the day before. I was there early in the evening, and was fascinated to watch as experienced bartenders tried to transform the awkwardness of unfamiliarity into the graceful dance of professional bar service. I don’t know if they quite succeeded that night, but, I have no doubt that, within the month, patrons will be startled as magically re-animated suits of armor crash up to the bar to enjoy one of Flora’s well made Martinis and bartenders offer them bunches of flowers pulled from their sleeves.

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.