Posts Tagged ‘long’

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.

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.

Lapsang Souchong Vodka

Sunday, June 12th, 2005

Saturday, 4:56 PM: I’ve just dropped a teabag of Lapsang Souchong (from Numi Teas) into in a mason jar with 1 cup of Monopolwa vodka. I’m giving it 24 hours to become delicious. Watch this space.

Saturday, 10:56 PM: 6 hours later, the vodka is darkly colored and smoky smelling. (It’s also rather vodka-smelling, unfortunately … pity the tea doesn’t mask that.) The vodka’s at room temperature, which doesn’t make for easy drinking, but it definitely has a nice, solid Lapsang Souchongy flavor. I’m not sure how much longer I want to leave the tea in … if left much longer the tannins may start coming to the fore.

Saturday, 11:50 PM: Since Lapsang Souchong is often drunk with milk and sugar, this seemed a reasonable test:

1 1/2 oz. Lapsang Souchong infused vodka (~7 hour infusion)
1/2 oz. half and half
1 egg white
1 tsp. powdered sugar

shaken with ice and strained

Rather good, if I do say so myself, though a bit on the creamy side. I didn’t make a fizz of it since I wanted the vodka at full strength, but the briefest shot from a seltzer bottle would probably serve this drink well. Very much like a cup of tea it was, albeit due to ratios it had more the mouthfeel of Bailey’s.

I’ll let the remainder continue to steep overnight, but so far I’m satisfied that a 6 hour infusion is sufficient to make a very nice smoked tea vodka.

Sunday, 1:30 PM: 20 hours, and I’m not sure that there’s been an appreciable change since last night. Mixed the test cocktail above, sans egg white, and it was again just fine. As prepared, with cream and sugar, seemed very like something made with creme de cacao, albeit smokier and more complex. Not that I use creme de cacao very often, but appropriately sweetened (and potentially diluted), the Lapsang Souchong infusion could easily replace it to significant advantage.

The Piña Colada

Sunday, May 15th, 2005

1 cup ice
3/4 cup fresh pineapple
4 oz. Chaokoh coconut milk
1 1/2 oz. dark rum
1 1/2 oz. light rum
1 egg white
2 tsp. bar sugar
8 dashes Angostura bitters
2 pinches cinnamon
2 pinches ground clove

Blend to within an inch of its life. Serves two.

Done. This is about as close as I’m going to come to the Piña Colada I’ve been seeking, and frankly, I’m growing tired of them now. This one is good, though — it strikes the right balance, has the right texture and a much-needed complexity compared to yer standard recipe. The egg… well, it might’ve been too much, depending on how one likes things, but it’s fine by me. I want to add some lime, but there’s no way in hell that’s going to pass as a piña colada. I’ll be throwing in guava next, taking this purportedly Puerto Rican drink through the Panama Canal and deep into the Polynesian Pacific. No, this recipe remains true to its name, with a flavor profile solidly-rooted in the Caribbean. Sailing into temetum incognitum is for another day.

Gleanings? I’ve come to the conclusion that my problems with the Colada have had less to do with proportions than with a consistency of ingredients — the Chaokoh coconut milk is far creamier than the Thai Kitchen, and is probably less creamy than the canonical (yet much processed) Coco López. Short of testing the specific gravity of every can of coconut milk, or making one’s own to an exacting recipe, there’s just going to be inconsistency. There’s probably a fair degree of variation in flavor between one fresh pineapple and the next, too, and at about $12 each I’m not going to be stocking them like I do citrus. I can certainly see why food scientists would feel that there was more than passing utility in a Piña Colada premix, even if it is an abominable transgression against food.

It’s been an instructive experience, I’m glad to say, getting outside of my usual mixing grounds. More of the volume and flavor of a Piña Colada rely on mutable, non-alcoholic ingredients than any other drink I’ve ever made. It’s made me mindful that in addition to their many other merits, traditional cocktails have a certain pure reproducibility about them — a few types of liquor, a bit of fruit and a dash or two of bitters affords one a fairly controlled working environment. Add 1/4 oz. here, subtract a few drops there, substitute or supplant with another liquor that seems right… that’s more my field. I’ll make Piña Coladas again someday — maybe even tomorrow, since there’s an awful lot of pineapple still in the fridge — but I don’t imagine they’ll ever become a standard. With the exception of my Ramos Gin Fizz variant (which I ought to document someday), I’m a largely a 3 – 4 oz. cocktailian myself. The longer concoctions are (rightly) the provenance of Trader Vic, Don the Beachcomber, and their Tiki-worshipping spiritual brethren.