Posts Tagged ‘cognac’

Fish House Punch

Friday, October 7th, 2005

A riparian sceneI’ve just sloshed together a batch of Fish House Punch in preparation for a friend’s party tomorrow evening — it’s the first recipe I’ve made that has occasioned the use of a 3-gallon carboy as a shaker. This most venerable of American flowing bowls is held to have been first concocted in 1732 at Philadelphia’s fishing club, The Colony in Schuylkill* … there are variations to the recipe depending on what source you consult, but they’re mostly pretty minor. In the main, it seems that Fish House Punch is so revered that most know better than to tinker with its sacred formula. Sadly, in using a peach schnapps I depart from the norm — strictly speaking, peach brandy is called for — but unfortunately the State of Oregon doesn’t see fit to sell any peach brandies that aren’t wholly artificially flavored. I hope the founding grandfathers will forgive a transgression in the interest of verity over verisimilitude.

25 oz. Jamaican rum
25 oz. gold rum
25 oz. cognac
24 oz. lemon juice
8 oz. peach schnapps
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 1/2 pints water

mix sugar, water and lemon juice until dissolved, add liquor, stir well and allow to stand for several hours before serving, poured over a large block of ice.

Though the requisite several hours of flavor-blending has yet to pass, I couldn’t resist a sample or two. It’s good. It’s strong. It’s the kind of punch that can get you into trouble. It’s terribly, deceptively delicious. Several apocryphal stories attribute gaps in George Washington’s journals to overindulgence in Fish House Punch… I wonder if there are places claiming that “Washington Slepte It Offe Here.”

*In 1732 the club was known as “The Colony in Schuylkill,” but it changed its name to “The State in Schuylkill” in 1783, in keeping with events of the day. Also known as The Schuylkill Fishing Company, it was a quirky sporting gentleman’s affair, claiming sovereignty unto itself. Each of its 25 members had a faux governmental title and whatnot… I believe the club continues to this day, though so far I can only find evidence up through 1981.

Between the Sheets

Monday, August 15th, 2005

Having found unexpected pleasure in the Monkey Gland, it seems wise to reserve judgment about other winkingly-named vintage drinks, in the hopes that some rise above mere novelty. And how better to honor the stimulating promise of the Monkey Gland than to move directly to third base with another salacious standard of the 30’s, the Between the Sheets?

1 1/2 oz. Cognac
1 1/2 oz. white or gold rum
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. lemon juice

Shake, strain, and garnish with a twist.

I can’t put a date to the drink, but Charles Baker’s 1939 Gentleman’s Companion — after a circuitous tale involving riots, stonings, tommy guns and girls being crushed to death by falling masonry — attributes the Between the Sheets’ origins to a certain Mr. Weber, keeping bar at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. It is, Baker declares, “totally sound, and already quite famous throughout the Near East.” His recipe, incidentally, calls for equal parts of everything.

The recipe above is from Wondrich’s Esquire Drinks, which in turn derives it from David Embury’s in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Embury suggests using lime as an alternative to the lemon, and calls for a gold rum. I’ve mixed the Between the Sheets with lemon and lime, Bacardi and Mount Gay Eclipse, but no variation manages to please. All are too tart by half, with nothing to really back up the citrus.

Embury may be a looming legend of mixology, but I confess that his recommended expression of the Between the Sheets was the one I committed to the sink. In this, I am in accord with Patrick Gavin Duffy, whom Wondrich notes flagged the BTS as being one he “personally [did] not recommend.” I deem it a cocktail to avoid.

Note: Other variations may yet prove palatable. Old Mr. Boston’s recipe calls for a scant 1/4 lemon’s juice, which addresses my concern about the tartness. Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts (1949), on the other hand, presents a “Between-Sheets” comprised of 1/3 cognac, 1/3 crème de cacao, 1/3 cream, a dash of bitters, a teaspoon of sugar and a bit of lemon peel — just cognac and the garnish in common.

Champagne Cup

Wednesday, December 31st, 1969

(2-Gallon Mixture)

For mixing use a large Punch bowl or other suitable vessel of glass or porcelain lined.
4 Oranges, sliced.
4 Lemons, sliced.
½ Pineapple, sliced.
½ pint Chartreuse.
½ pint Abricontine.
1 pint Curacoa.
1 pint Cognac Brandy.
1 pint Tokay Wine.

Stir well and allow mixture to stand three hours. Strain into another bowl and add:
3 quarts Champagne.
3 pints Apollinaris Water.
1 large piece of Ice.

Stir well; decorate with Fruit; float slices of Grape Fruit on top and serve in Champagne glasses.

Burnt Brandy

Wednesday, December 31st, 1969

Place two lumps of Cut Loaf Sugar in a small, shallow dish or saucer and pour over the Sugar 1½ jiggers of Cognac Brandy. Ignite the Sugar and Brandy and let them burn for about two minutes. Then cover the dish or saucer with a plate, and when the fire is extinguished pour the liquid into a small Bar glass and serve.

Fish Club Punch

Wednesday, December 31st, 1969

(For a Party of Eight)

Into a Punch bowl pour:
2½ jiggers Lemon Juice.
4 jiggers Peach Brandy.
2 jiggers Cognac Brandy.
2 jiggers Jamaica Rum.
3 pints Ice Water.

Stir well; ladle into Punch glass and serve.