Quantcast
Garnish

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dunhill

Dunhill

I usually don't like to drink the same thing every night, preferring to try out new recipes whenever I can. But sometimes I get on little kicks where I'm only craving one specific cocktail. And lately it's been Martinis with Castelvetrano olives. If you like a Martini with an olive garnish, you have to try these - they're bright green, crisp, and perfectly oily. Way better than the usual pimento-stuffed green olives. You can find them in a jar at most supermarkets, although my favorites are the ones from my grocery store olive bar, which tend to be crisper. In a recipe where the garnish has a huge influence on overall flavor, they're a serious upgrade.

Dunhill

My love for these olives got me wondering what other drinks are out there that use an olive garnish. It's not something you see too often. It seems like as soon as you start introducing much sweetness into a cocktail an olive would no longer work. But I promptly found a cocktail that completely refuted that assumption: the Dunhill. It's sort of a cross between a Martini and a Negroni. As it's made with gin, sherry, and dry vermouth, its olive garnish didn't seem too off-base, but it also contains a bit of orange curaçao and an absinthe wash. Absinthe and olives sounded a bit crazy to me. Just crazy enough to work, maybe?

Dunhill

Indeed it is. Somehow the hint of anise isn't the least bit out of place, and the sweetish but oily Lustau East India Solera sherry is an unexpected but perfect pairing for olives. The result is, as Chad Parkhill writes in an article on under-appreciated cocktails, "a wonderful paradox of a drink: one that manages to be simultaneously sweet and savory, rich and lean, nutty and herbaceous." This description is dead on. The Dunhill is a drink unlike any other I've had - in a good way.

Dunhill

History: The Dunhill first appears as the Dunhill's Special in the 1925 book Drinks - Long and Short by Nina Toye and A. H. Adair. This is the first time I've encountered this book. It contains recipes for cocktails served by Adair at Hatchett's Bar in Leicester Square in London. The Dunhill's Special was later included in classic cocktail recipe books like The World's Drinks and How to Mix Them and The Savoy Cocktail Book. I'm not sure when the drink became simply the Dunhill. It's certainly special in my book.

Dunhill

1 oz. gin (I used Conniption Navy Strength)
1 oz. Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1 oz. dry vermouth
1/4 oz. dry curaçao
Absinthe rinse (I used Herbsaint)

Combine gin, sherry, vermouth, and curaçao in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Rinse a rocks glass with absinthe and add one large ice cube. Strain the drink into the prepared glass and garnish with olives or a lemon twist.

Recipe adapted from Punch.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Pink Lady

Pink Lady

It's Valentine's Day again, and you know what that means: it's time for red and pink cocktails. Just about every cocktail site I can find has some sort of round-up of romantic drinks in these hues this week. And luckily for those who will be making and drinking them, it's much easier to make a decent red or pink cocktail than one of any other color (except maybe brown). There are tons of fantastic ingredients that will lend a reddish hue to your drink: Campari, Aperol, Peychaud's bitters, grenadine, blood orange, raspberry... the list goes on. Other holidays - say, St. Patrick's Day, for instance - don't have this advantage. So I'm hopping on board and featuring one of the most classic pink cocktails of all time: the Pink Lady.

The Pink Lady has gotten something of a bad rap over the years, for reasons that I'll explain below. You might look at it and think it's a creamy, saccharine concoction, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It's actually not sweet at all, but quite tart. Egg white gives it a silky mouthfeel and a beautiful layer of foam. Grenadine lightly sweetens it and gives the drink its lovely pink hue. This is respectable classic, held back by its color and its name. But Valentine's Day is clearly the Pink Lady's time to shine.

Pink Lady

About that egg white: I know it might be making you nervous. I used to avoid cocktails made with egg whites like the plague. I thought they gave drinks a bit of an odor that really turned me off. But if you use fresh egg whites and - I think this is key - not too much egg white, it should only impart texture to your drink, not flavor or scent. Most recipes call for a single egg white, but eggs have gotten much larger since pre-Prohibition cocktails like the Pink Lady were created. Half of a modern-day egg white is plenty.

Since I got over my aversion to egg white cocktails, another hurdle prevented me from making them: I could never quite get that lovely layer of foam. I'm still not sure how some people seem to do it so effortlessly. For me it took every trick in the book, but eventually I found a technique that seems to work pretty consistently. And you can do it too! See below for my tips.

Pink Lady

History: The origin of the Pink Lady seems to have been truly and entirely forgotten. If you know otherwise, please comment and set me straight. But I can't find any real history on it. It seems clear that it was around before Prohibition, and that it's probably related to the Clover Club, another pink gin drink with egg white that uses raspberry syrup instead of grenadine and omits the Applejack. But that's about it.

The period of the Pink Lady's history that is well known is its post-Prohibition reputation as the first "girly" drink. Even though it's actually fairly strong and not that sweet, its delicate hue and ladylike name made it the stereotypical drink of girls who didn't really drink - they'd order one because it looked or sounded nice. In his 1951 The Bartender Book, Jack Townsend wrote that the woman who drinks a Pink Lady is "that nice little girl who works in files, who's always courteous but always seems so timid. She's the one who sort of reminds you of your aunt, the quiet one." He describes how she only drinks once or twice a year, and selects the Pink Lady because "she has seen the decorative and innocuous-appearing pink-and-white amalgamation passing on a waiter's tray and decided, 'Hmmm, that couldn't do me any harm.'"

Pink Lady

Putting aside the unsurprisingly chauvinistic description of the "nice little girl," I have to say I feel immediate sympathy for the Pink Lady drinkers of the 1950's. Before I knew anything about cocktails, I was pretty intimidated by ordering at a bar. I would definitely select something with an appealing name, or point at the pretty drink the bartender was making for someone else and say I wanted one of those. I imagine we all have. So I say there's no shame in drinking a Pink Lady.

Still, Townsend's description cemented the Pink Lady's reputation as a girly drink for girls who don't drink, and this led to a definite decline in popularity. I imagine that the inclusion of grenadine and egg white, two ingredients that are so easy to get wrong, did not help. These days the Pink Lady can be found on cocktail menus once again, and finally commands a bit of the respect that she deserves.

Pink Lady

Pink Lady

1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. applejack
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 egg white (1/2 - 3/4 oz.)
2 dashes (1/4 tsp.) grenadine

Basic instructions: combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake very well. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with edible flowers or a brandied cherry.

To really master that foam: I've had the best success with the "reverse dry shake" method. A dry shake is when you shake the cocktail without ice first. However, when you do this with a warm cocktail, I often find that the shaker doesn't make a nice seal and tends to leak, and the foam doesn't form as well during that second shake with ice. So for a reverse dry shake, combine all your ingredients in a shaker with ice (I like a Boston shaker rather than a cobbler shaker, as there's more distance for everything to go with each shake) and shake very well until it's chilled. Then strain the cocktail and dump the ice. You'll probably see some foam, but nothing close to the perfect, frothy layer you're aiming for. So return the cocktail to the shaker and do another, longer round of shaking without the ice. For best results, throw in a blender ball or spring to help whip the egg. (I literally use one of these.) Shake it for at least 60 seconds. And I mean count with full Mississippis - 60 seconds is longer than you think, especially when your arms are getting tired. Strain into a coupe glass, open pouring the last bit to get the final, thick drops of foam.

Recipe adapted from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Martinez

Martinez

I've covered a lot of the really classic cocktails on here, but the Martinez has been a glaring omission. It admittedly hasn't maintained the popularity of some other recipes from the same era - and I'll talk about why that might be - but as the likely ancestor of the modern Martini, it remains an essential drink to know. And it's pretty tasty in its own right.

The reason I haven't made a Martinez until now was because I wanted to make it properly, or at least as close to that as I could come. And that meant I needed a bottle of Old Tom gin. Here's a quick refresher of your gin history: the ancestor of modern-day gin is genever, which originated in Holland. This method of making grain alcohol and flavoring it with herbs like juniper became wildly popular in England during the early 18th century, when there was a heavy tax on alcohol imports and people had to make their own spirits, usually from sub-par grains that weren't good enough for making beer. Flavoring the resulting liquor helped mask this. Hanging a sign with a black cat outside of a drinking establishment was a signal that gin was served there, and so it became known as Old Tom. While less sweet and bready than genever, Old Tom is sweeter and maltier than modern dry gins.

Old Tom made its way to the states and was the gin used in the Tom Collins and other early gin drinks. However, a preference for drier cocktails developed and distilling methods improved, paving the way for classic London Dry gin and causing Old Tom to fall out of favor. But in our modern cocktail renaissance, of course there are distillers producing this classic gin once again. The easiest to find is Hayman's. It's also very affordable - I got my bottle for only $20.

The Martinez is in the same family as a Manhattan or Negroni in taste, but it has a distinct flavor and sweetness provided by the Old Tom and the maraschino liqueur. You certainly could make one with a drier gin, but the inclusion of Old Tom definitely affects the flavor and makes it an exciting link to a past era.

Martinez

History: As I mentioned in my post on the Martini, the history of the Martinez is quite murky. It is often attributed to Jerry Thomas, the "father of American mixology." He worked at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, and the story goes that he would mix this cocktail up for commuters catching the ferry to Martinez. But it was not included in the first edition of his Bartender's Guide, and there is no definitive proof that he created the recipe. The first mention of it in print is in O. H. Byron's 1884 Modern Bartender's Guide, three years before the recipe was published in the 1887 edition of Thomas' book. Byron's version is clearly a variation of the Manhattan, which gives us a pretty clear cocktail genealogy of Manhattan > Martinez > Martini.

I should note that there are a half-dozen other versions of the Martinez's origin, from a bartender in the town of Martinez whipping it up to it being a celebratory cocktail for a gold miner who struck it rich. But however the drink came about, it was soon quite popular.

So why didn't this popularity persist? One factor was certainly the decline of Old Tom gin and the preference for drier cocktails, as I mentioned above. It's thought that this turned the Martinez into the Martini. Additionally, a Martinez recipe usually calls for Boker's Bitters, which went out of production in 1906. The recipe was lost for over a century, until a man showed up at the London Bar Show with a small bottle. Dr. Adam Elmegirab studied the tiny sample for 18 months in order to replicate the original recipe. He began selling Boker's Bitters once again in 2009. If you don't have a bottle (like me), a combination of Angostura and orange bitters is a decent substitute.

And finally, there isn't really one definitive recipe for the Martinez. Even Byron's book wasn't clear on exactly how to make one. Byron provides two different recipes for the Manhattan - one with dry vermouth and one with sweet - and then instructs to swap the rye for Old Tom gin to make a Martinez. Both versions persisted, with the drier one experiencing more popularity for a time, but ultimately sweet vermouth won out, perhaps because it was what Jerry Thomas used. Even now, bartenders seem to consider the Martinez a drink that's open to interpretation, with different ratios of gin to vermouth and even additions such as curaçao or absinthe. I found multiple versions of the recipe and tried several to determine what I liked best. The winner is below.

Martinez

2 oz Old Tom gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Boker's bitters
or
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes orange bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a cocktail or coupe glass and garnish with an orange twist and/or a brandied cherry.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn.
Historical information mostly from Imbibe and Gin Foundry.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Jungle Bird

Jungle Bird

I've got one final Tiki cocktail for you before January's #TikiTheSnowAway campaign ends! It's been a fun month - I tried some new recipes and learned a lot about rum and Tiki drinks. It was definitely a welcome contrast to the cold and snow.

While the Jet Pilot, Navy Grog, and Zombie are all essential Tiki cocktails that date back to the early days of the movement, the Jungle Bird is more like a new classic. It's an extremely popular Tiki cocktail, and one that a lot of other Drinkstagrammers made this month at one point or another. The unique thing about it is the inclusion of Campari, a bitter aperitif that is definitely not part of the traditional Tiki repertoire. As a result, this cocktail provides a fresh take on the usual Tiki formula. It's got all the tropical flavors you expect with a wonderfully bitter twist at the end of your sip. If you like it, you might also enjoy the Bitter Mai Tai, another Tiki drink that includes Campari.

History: The Jungle Bird was invented at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton around 1978. The recipe was included in Beachbum Berry Remixed.

Jungle Bird

Jungle Bird

1 1/2 oz. black blended rum
3/4 oz. Campari
2 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. SC Demerara syrup*

Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin with crushed ice and a few large agitator cubes. Shake well or flash blend and open pour into a Collins or highball glass. Garnish with pineapple leaves.

*For Smuggler's Cove's Demerara syrup, bring 2 parts water to a boil and whisk in 1 part Demerara sugar. Then add 3 parts granulated sugar and stir until dissolved. Let cool before using.

Recipe adapted from Smuggler's Cove.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Zombie

Zombie

Today's #TikiTheSnowAway cocktail is another classic, perhaps second only to the Mai Tai in popularity: the Zombie. I have to say, this cocktail had somewhat negative connotations in my head before I saw the recipe. The name immediately conjured images of sugary cocktails laced with blue curaçao. And for decades, if you ordered a Zombie at a bar, this is probably what you'd get. As I mentioned in my brief history of Tiki, Donn Beach kept his recipes carefully secret, to the point of using unmarked bottles and mysterious numbered mixtures simply labeled "Spices" or "Dashes." This, combined with the ubiquity of cheap, artificial mixtures in the second half of the 20th century, meant that any Zombie you would order at a Tiki bar would likely be a far cry from Donn's original.

Thankfully, Jeff "Beachbum" Berry is here to save the day again. He managed to find the original recipe, eventually piecing together that "Spices #4" referred to cinnamon syrup. The true Zombie was brought back from the dead, as it were.

Zombie

If you look at the recipe below, you'll see that it contains quite a lot of rum. If you thought the Navy Grog was strong, you should not go anywhere near a  Zombie. I swear I'm not trying to pick the most alcoholic Tiki recipes - these are the classics! But the Zombie is so strong that the menu at Don the Beachcomber informed patrons that there was a two-per-person limit, "for your own safety." As you can imagine, this just made the drink even more popular.

And its popularity is well-deserved. It's surprisingly good considering it's mostly rum. Or maybe that shouldn't be a surprise. The little bit of grapefruit juice does quite a lot, and the two dashes of Herbstura (Don's 1:1 mixture of Herbsaint and Angostura bitters) really adds some nice spice and herbal notes and brings it all together. It's a shockingly sophisticated cocktail.

But you probably should limit yourself to two, just in case.

History: Donn Beach invented the Zombie at Don the Beachcomber in 1934. The popular story is that a hungover businessman asked Donn to make him something to get him through a meeting, and Donn hastily mixed something up. Afterwards, the fellow told Donn that the drink made him feel like a zombie. However, the menu at Don the Beachcomber claimed, much to the contrary, that the cocktail was the result of months of careful experimentation on Donn's part.

Zombie

Zombie

1 1/2 oz. blended aged rum*
1 1/2 oz. column still aged rum*
1 oz. black blended overproof rum*
1/2 oz. Velvet Falernum
3/4 oz. lime juice
1/4 oz. grapefruit juice
1/4 oz. cinnamon syrup**
1 tsp. grenadine
1 dash Herbsaint
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin with 12 oz. of crushed ice and a few large "agitator" cubes. Shake well or flash blend and open pour into a Zombie or Collins glass. Garnish with a mint sprig; I added a cinnamon stick and some appropriate sineage.

*I recommend checking out Smuggler's Cove for more info on how these rums differ and what brands to buy. I personally don't have a column still aged rum or a black blended overproof rum; I used Appleton Estate Signature Blend (actually a blended column still/pot still rum) and Gosling's Black Seal (which is not overproof). Plantation 5-Year was my blended aged rum. If you don't have a giant rum collection, use what you have - I think you'll still enjoy the cocktail quite a bit!

**For cinnamon syrup, combine 1/2 cup water and 2 cinnamon sticks in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add 1 cup sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and let sit for 12 hours. Then strain out the cinnamon sticks.

Recipe from Don the Beachcomber, adapted by Smuggler's Cove.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Banana Stand

Banana Stand

Now that we've covered a couple of well known Tiki drinks for #TikiTheSnowAway, I thought it was high time that I tried my hand at inventing my own. It can be intimidating to put together a good Tiki cocktail, because there are so many moving parts - different rums, multiple kinds of juice, and long lists of ingredients. But at the same time, a lot of the components of classic Tiki drinks are mixed and matched in different recipes, and they all play pretty well together. Sometimes it seems like it's hard to go wrong.

Banana Stand

I knew that I definitely wanted to include coconut cream in this recipe. It's a key ingredient in one of my favorite tropical cocktails, the Piña Colada, and I love the flavor and texture that it lends to a cocktail. There are a few well-known Tiki recipes out there that are made with coconut cream - the Tradewinds is probably one of the better-known ones - but it's not a super common ingredient. I thought the coconut would go really well with another current favorite of mine, Giffard Banane du Bresil, a banana liqueur that I'll be featuring in a Bottle Swap post next month. And so the Banana Stand was born. A bit of Allspice Dram gives it a bit of a coconut banana bread flavor, but lime and rum keep this smooth cocktail tasting tart and tropical. It's pretty heavenly.

Banana Stand

Banana Stand

1 oz. black rum (Gosling's Black Seal)
1 oz. aged rum (Plantation 5-Year)
1 oz. Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/2 oz. Allspice Dram
1 1/2 oz. coconut cream
3/4 oz. lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake very well to combine the coconut cream. Strain into a Collins or Zombie glass over crushed ice and garnish with a banana slice, a sprig of mint, and anything else you like!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Navy Grog

Navy Grog

Tiki the Snow Away continues! So far we're getting mixed results - the foot of snow that fell last week melted away this weekend as temperatures neared the 50's in Boston, but unfortunately it did not last and we had another snowfall this morning. We are clearly not Tiki-ing hard enough.

While all that snow was falling last week, I was inside with my nose tucked in Smuggler's Cove, reading about the history of Tiki drinks and the techniques used to make them. I was pretty intrigued when I got to the section about making ice shells and cones. The book indicated that you needed something called "snow ice" for this, and thanks to the blizzard I had plenty of that. I scooped up some freshly-fallen snow and packed it into a champagne flute to make an ice cone. As I learned, this is the traditional garnish for a Navy Grog, and that sounded like a pretty great Tiki drink to try next.

Navy Grog is notoriously strong, containing 1 oz. apiece of three different rums. In fact, its potency is a matter of legal record, as one of the bartenders at Trader Vics in Hollywood testified as to how strong of a drink it was in the trial of Phil Spector, who was accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson after downing two of them at the bar. So maybe sip yours slowly. Even if the lime, grapefruit, and Allspice Dram make it deceptively drinkable.

Navy Grog

History: Navy Grog was invented by Donn Beach, the father of all things Tiki. Containing a pretty hefty amount of rum, it was the "manly" drink on a menu otherwise populated by fruity cocktails with whimsical names. It was made with honey syrup and seltzer, but Trader Vic altered the recipe and replaced these with Allspice Dram and Demerara syrup. Since that sounded a bit tastier to me, I made Vic's version here. It was Donn, however, who traditionally served his over an ice cone.

Navy Grog was supposedly one of Richard Nixon's favorite drinks, and he would frequently sneak away to the Trader Vic's in DC to have a few.

Navy Grog


Navy Grog

1 oz. pot still lightly aged overproof rum (Smith & Cross)
1 oz. blended lightly aged rum (Appleton Estate Signature Blend)
1 oz. column still aged rum (lacking this, I used Plantation Dark)
1/4 oz. Allspice Dram
3/4 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
1/4 oz. SC Demerara syrup*

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and an ice cone** or a stick of rock candy.

*For Smuggler's Cove's Demerara syrup, bring 2 parts water to a boil and whisk in 1 part Demerara sugar. Then add 3 parts granulated sugar and stir until dissolved. Let cool before using.

**To make an ice cone, pack finely crushed ice into a champagne flute or pilsner glass. Use a chopstick to make a hole through the center of the cone. Let it freeze for at least 24 hours. Set it out at room temperature for a few minutes before removing it from the glass. You can run the glass under hot water if necessary. Alternatively, you can buy a mold for just this purpose!

Recipe adapted from Smuggler's Cove, which is adapted from Trader Vic's.