Archive for the ‘to enjoy’ Category

The Knickerbocker

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

There are other drinks that appear under this name — Trader Vic’s Knickerbocker Cocktail is just a dry martini with a dash of Italian vermouth — but the Knickerbocker below is a 2:1:1 that proves to be ideal for a mellow summer afternoon. This is, specifically, the Knickerbocker à la Monsieur, from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. Haigh traces its first appearance to Terrington’s Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks of 1869, wherein a version for the fairer sex was also outlined.

1 1/2 oz. light rum
1/2 oz. Jamaican rum
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. orange curaçao
1/2 oz. raspberry syrup

Shake with crushed ice, strain into a glass filled with same.

The Knickerbocker isn’t a drink that shows its alcohol, as the raspberry syrup is more than a match for the light rum. Haigh calls for 2 oz of Virgin Islands rum, but I happen not to have any, and so use a light Barbados with a bit of Jamaican, to instill more rumminess to the affair. I’ve followed Doc’s suggestion of using Smucker’s Natural Red Raspberry Syrup. While not quite up to my own definition of “natural,” it does the trick nicely. Of course, dropping a viscous half-ounce slug of pancake syrup into your mixing glass is likely to set anticipatory teeth on edge, but press on to make a happy discovery: the otherwise cloying syrup will be perfectly countered by that tart ounce of lemon juice. It’s a well-balanced, fruity sweet-and-sour.

Served over crushed ice, the Knickerbocker gets longer with time at no detriment to drinkability. Indeed, a few judiciously-applied squirts of seltzer from the outset can be quite salutary, in that they contribute some effervescence and make a bit of a cooler of it. Regarding methods of preparation, Haigh would have us stir the ingredients directly in a collins glass or goblet, but I’ve found the raspberry syrup resistant to stirring. Shaking will ensure homogeneity, and thus no syrupy surprise at the bottom of the glass.

The Monkey Gland

Sunday, August 14th, 2005

monkey testesI had always assumed the Monkey Gland to be a cocktail of a certain type — you know, the “Long, Slow, Fuzzy, Comfortable Screw Against the Wall,” “Screaming Blue Orgasm” and “Kamanawanalei’a” kind of long drinks, whose raison d’être is to provide flirtatious bar-goers a bit of eyebrow-arching titillation when placing an order. Not really something one wants to drink, but something which circumstances (wisely or otherwise) suggest would be The Right Move. I’m pleased to report that this is not the case.

1 1/2 oz. London dry gin
1 1/2 oz. orange juice
1 tsp. grenadine
1/2 tsp. pastis

Shake with cracked ice and strain.

The Monkey Gland is not the product of a late 70’s fraternal organization’s party manual, but is an honest-to-god pedigreed tipple. Regan cites it as having first appeared in Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930, but its name hearkens to a practice begun a decade earlier, when, in 1920, Dr. Serge Voronoff began implanting slivers of freshly-vivisected monkey testicle into the scrota of elderly Frenchmen. Voronoff, who had studied the physiology of Middle-Eastern eunuchs, was convinced that testosterone was the key to a long and healthy life, and promoted his xenotransplantion procedure as a $5,000 fountain of youth. The public’s interest was piqued, and a drink was born. The Monkey Gland is the spiritual progenitor of today’s Liquid Viagra — wholly different concoctions, but each co-opting the name of a contemporary virility treatment to suggest a stiffening drink.I’ve not had a Liquid Viagra, but I suspect that the chief difference between it and the Monkey Gland is that the latter is actually palatable. Ratios for the Monkey Gland vary widely, but the ingredients remain largely the same (Benedictine in lieu of pastis is a common variant). Haigh calls for full teaspoon of pastis, which I find a bit heavy, so here I have reduced it to 1/2 tsp, but otherwise employ Doc’s ratios. 1/2 tsp. is still enough to make its presence felt, but those who favor licorice may wish to double-up.

The Millionaire

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

This evening we note with interest the Millionaire Cocktail from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. His is a modernized incarnation of The Savoy Cocktail Book‘s “Millionaire #1” and The How and When‘s “Millionaire #4.” It is deep ruby red, tart and pleasing… for better or worse, it’s amazing how the dark rum all but vanishes under cover of the other ingredients. (This Millionaire is unrelated to the previously documented “Millionaire #2.”)

1 1/2 oz. Myers’s Original Dark Rum
3/4 oz. sloe gin
3/4 oz. apricot brandy
Juice of 1 lime

Shaken and strained.

The “juice of 1 lime” business is a bit squishy. Haigh declares the ballpark to lie between 1 and 1 1/2 ounces, and while Ms. Thirsty found the full juice of one of our limes to be too tart, it was just right for me. The appropriate volume will need to be individually quantified.

Other issues, uniquely Oregonian, derive from a state-wide paucity of decent apricot brandies and sloe gins: I am reduced to using Mr. Boston products. The result is satisfactory enough that it deserves documentation, but Millionaires mixed in less restricted states will benefit from better ingredients. Mr. Boston’s artificially-flavored, caramel-colored apricot brandy is particularly foul, and should be avoided whenever possible.

Planter’s Punch

Monday, July 18th, 2005

It’s been hot on the grounds of the Slakethirst estate — conditions which turn the palate towards that old devil rum. Adam Thornton recently suggested Planter’s Punch, and while I happened to have neither pineapple juice nor a copy of DeGroff (required to make one a la Thornton), there are other ways and means, and it seemed a very good idea, as it’s been a while.

3 oz. dark rum
3/4 oz. grenadine
juice of a small lime
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 dashes Fee’s Aromatic bitters

Stir with crushed ice and strain into a collins glass 2/3 full of same

The recipe above is Vic Bergeron’s, from his 1947 Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. It has been slightly modified for convenience (more grenadine, no bar sugar) and personal preference (no bitters in Vic’s), but I don’t think it loses much in translation. Mix it right and you’ll know it, because you will have been transported. Portland lost its Trader Vic’s years ago, but Vic’s Planter’s Punch recipe brings it back in all its dimly-lit, scorpion bowl slurping splendor. This isn’t mere literary license, either: I really did experience something on the order of a multisensory flashback. It’s a damn fine drink!

A wide variety of juices and ratios may appear under this name — and perhaps validly so … I’ll pick up some pineapple to see what Thornton’s on about — but there’s something very special about this one. Maybe it’s the menehunes.

The Police Gazette

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

Police GazetteFirst off, a big tip of the hat to The Cocktail Chronicles for introducing me to this one. Paul’s much more informative exploration of the Police Gazette can be found here. I reproduce the recipe (as I make it) because if I thought it would help, I’d put up billboards, run off flyers, and write a song or two. It’s really that good. Spicy, herbal, bitter, sweet … complex but perfectly unified, strong but soft-edged. An ideal cocktail, and yet not in the CocktailDB. I may have to start a petition.

3 oz. rye
2 dashes dry vermouth
2 dashes curaçao (orange or white)
2 dashes maraschino
3 dashes simple syrup
2-4 dashes Fee Bros. aromatic bitters, to taste

Fill your mixing tin with crushed ice, add the above, stir and strain.

I’m using Old Overholt rye and Maraska maraschino, Cinzano vermouth and Bols orange curacao. I’ve made it with both Angostura and Fee’s, and while they each have their charms, I’m partial to the latter. I’ll also confess to a bit of sloppiness in the “dash” department — my dashes are unmeasured micro-glugs — but some day I should get around to precisely quantifying exactly how I like it. Technically, a dash is 1/8 tsp, so measure/eyeball accordingly. I’m almost certainly mixing mine a bit wetter than I should, but then again Paul’s gone so far as to cut the rye back to 2 oz, so there must be a fairly forgiving range of ratios.

It’s worth noting that while the Police Gazette is unlikely to appear on your local’s featured drinks list, maraschino is the only uncommon constituent element. Find a bar with maraschino, convince the noble behind the mahogany to produce one, and the dominos may start to fall.

Update : More precise delivery of the dashes — 1/4 oz maraschino, 1/4 oz curaçao, 1/4 oz vermouth, 3/8 oz syrup — reveals that the recipe I cite above is either too heavy on the rye or a bit light on the other ingredients for my taste. It’s a terrible shame, but I’m forced to continue investigating this matter.