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Stomping Through the "Savoy" (2007–2008)


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#481 eje

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 12:06 PM

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Martini (Sweet) Cocktail

1/3 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
2/3 London Gin. (1 1/2 oz Junipero Gin)
(Dash Angostura Orange Bitters)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Lemon Twist.)

It's funny, when you get to cocktails as iconic as the Martini, it really is kind of hard to think of anything new to say.

David Wondrich has tackled it exhaustively in "Imbibe!" (PS. Hardcover currently on sale at Powell's Books!). There are numerous whole books on the subject from Authors as diverse as Gary Regan and Barnaby Conrad, III.

What else is there to say about drinks this which are this ubiquitous?

We'll probably never know who created it and where. The first version was likely one with Sweet Vermouth and Old-Tom Gin. Personally, I don't think the bitters are optional in a Martini. Without them, it is, apparently, a Lone Tree.

Maybe you've been putting off a Martinez or Martini with Sweet Vermouth?

You know, it was funny, when I was on the Manhattan, I told my Mom about it and her comment was, "Oh, I don't like cocktails which are that sweet." This from a woman who drinks Peppermint Patties!

Really, this isn't that sweet a drink, despite the fact that it contains "Sweet" vermouth. Buy yourself a fresh bottle of Sweet Vermouth, a decent gin, don't skip the bitters, and give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
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Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#482 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 04:24 PM

Agree completely that the "sweet" Martini is a sublime drink, I especially like the Hearst variation from Esquire Drinks, made as above but including a dash of both orange and Angostura bitter. Hard to beat, really.
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#483 eje

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 09:43 AM

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Martini (Special) Cocktail
(6 People)

4 Glasses of Gin. (2 oz Gin)
1 1/2 Glasses Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Italian Vermouth)
1/3 Glass Orange-flower water. (1/6 oz Orange-Flower Water)

Before shaking, add a dash of Absinthe and one or two dashes Angostura Bitters.

Another of those annoying recipes that includes ingredients in the instructions. For one person, I made it so:

Martini (Special) Cocktail, revised

1 1/2 oz Hayman's Old Tom Gin
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
2 drops Orange Flower Water
Bare Dash Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe Verte
Dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Twist Lemon Peel over glass and discard.

First, the Orange Flower Water made me think of the botanical intensity of the Old Tom.

However, the amount of Orange Flower Water seemed awfully generous. Working out in the single serving drink math to 1/6 of an ounce for the single cocktail. 2 drops really was plenty, lending a dry perfumey finish to the drink.

All in all, a pretty interesting Martini/Martinez variation.
---
Erik Ellestad
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#484 eas

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 03:31 PM

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Called my local liquor store a couple weeks ago and asked them if they were going to carry the Hayman's Old Tom Gin.  Usually, they're on top of this sort of thing, so I was a bit surprised when the response was, "Hayman's?  I haven't heard of that."  Fortunately, a quick call to the distributor revealed that the gin was already in Southern California and would be shipped North soon.

Stopped by yesterday to pick up a bottle.

Martinez Cocktail
(6 People)

Pour into the shaker 3 glasses of Gin, 3 of French Vermouth, add a dessertspoonful of Orange Bitters and 2 of Curacao or Maraschino.  Shake and serve with a cherry and a piece of lemon rind.

I suspect Craddock gets the idiotic idea of using French Vermouth in a Martinez from Robert Vermeire, who espouses this formulation in his book, "Cocktails: How to Mix Them".  And I suppose it is perfectly fine drink, though Martinez, it is not.

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Martinez Cocktail
(current Ellestad formulation)

1 1/2 oz Hayman's Old Tom Gin
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
Scant teaspoon Luxardo Maraschino
Dash Angostura Orange Bitters
Dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice to chill and strain into a cocktail glass.  Squeeze lemon peel over glass.  Add a (preferably luxardo to toschi) cherry if you so desire.

If you're using a higher proof gin, you might want to up the amount of vermouth, but I find with Plymouth, or now Hayman's, 2-1 is a good ratio.  I also like to add a dash of angostura, as I find it tames some of the tropical marshmallow candy notes that show up when Carpano Antica is in close proximity to Luxardo Maraschino.  As they say, your mileage may vary.

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Our house version does go with equal portions of the Hayman's and Dolin Rouge (though Noilly Red is ok too), teaspoon Maraska Maraschino and two dashes orange bitters. As much as I adore the Antica, it doesn't balance well for me in this drink.

#485 eje

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 10:38 PM

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The Marvel Cocktail

3/4 Jamaica Rum. (1 1/2 oz Coruba Rum)
1/8 Sirop-de-citron. (1/4 oz Monin Lemon Syrup)
1/8 Grenadine. (1/4 oz Homemade Grenadine)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Previously I have made these sorts of Grenadine and Rum drinks with Appleton V/X.

I have to admit, trying the Marvel with the Coruba Rum it makes a lot more sense.

It's just a lot more funky and flavorful rum for this application than the Appleton.

I'm gonna have to go back and try the Chinese again.

Edited by eje, 06 October 2008 - 10:39 PM.

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Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#486 eje

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 03:57 PM

Our house version does go with equal portions of the Hayman's and Dolin Rouge (though Noilly Red is ok too), teaspoon Maraska Maraschino and two dashes orange bitters.  As much as I adore the Antica, it doesn't balance well for me in this drink.

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I suppose I should have noted that Jerry Thomas' Martinez, like his Manhattan, is a "reverse" cocktail. Here it is from Darcy O'Neil's Art of Drink archive of the book:

Martinez Cocktail.
(Use small bar-glass.)
Take 1 dash of Boker's bitters.
2 dashes of Maraschino.
1 pony of Old Tom gin. (1 oz)
1 wine-glass of Vermouth. (2 oz)
2 small lumps of ice.

Shake up thoroughly, and strain into a large cocktail
glass. Put a quarter of a slice of lemon in the glass, and serve. If the guest prefers it very sweet, add two dashes of gum syrup.


---
Erik Ellestad
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#487 David Santucci

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 05:04 PM

... Tanqueray, Beefeaters, Boodles, or Plymouth ... if I were to only have 4 dry gins on hand it would be the 4 mentioned above ...

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Only 4 dry gins, the horror!

Sorry, I've been meaning to follow up on this for a while, but just now got around to it. I was wondering, Andy, if you could elaborate, with respect to Beefeater -- what about it do you find indispensable, especially given the company? What kind of drinks do you prefer it in? I would have put it, with Broker's, in the good-but-not-indispensable category, but I haven't made a serious study of it.

Edited by David Santucci, 07 October 2008 - 05:04 PM.


#488 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 12:15 AM

... Tanqueray, Beefeaters, Boodles, or Plymouth ... if I were to only have 4 dry gins on hand it would be the 4 mentioned above ...

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Only 4 dry gins, the horror!

Sorry, I've been meaning to follow up on this for a while, but just now got around to it. I was wondering, Andy, if you could elaborate, with respect to Beefeater -- what about it do you find indispensable, especially given the company? What kind of drinks do you prefer it in? I would have put it, with Broker's, in the good-but-not-indispensable category, but I haven't made a serious study of it.

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I feel like Beefeater's is the best choice for most cocktails that contain lime and/or absinthe or it's analogues. It has more of an 'all-purpose' balance imo, like Plymouth but with more spine, and is cheaper to boot (Plymouth is getting expensive :sad: ). There are times when Tanqueray and Boodles have too heavy of a juniper character, Tanqueray is too sweet (maybe rich is a better word), Boodles too floral, Plymouth too soft. It's these times when I reach for the Beefeaters. On top of all that I just really dig the profile and have a soft spot for it since it's what my dad used to drink when he wanted to spoil himself a bit (moving up from the Gordons!).

Now of course this is all just my opinion, and I'm more than open to discussion on the matter. I don't know if I would say I find Beefeater's indespensable, I just really dig it and like to use it. For that matter I'm not sure I would go so far as to say that I think even mighty Tanqueray is indespensable.

I once read an article where Dr. Cocktail himself recommended that one keep on hand 3 styles of gin: sweet and heavy of juniper (Tanqueray), dry and heavy of juniper (Boodles), and dry and light of Juniper (here we differ, he said Sapphire and I like Plymouth--less light). I think Beefeater's represents a good compromise between all these styles, and is thus a good one to have around. Now if pressed to go down to only 3 choices, it would get the axe I think (depends on my mood right then) but honestly if I could have only 5, I'm not sure what would be the 5th one. This week probably Junipero but who knows, maybe Hendricks next week.

What would your choice for 4 gins that you must have on hand?

-Andy

Edit: continuity

Edited by thirtyoneknots, 08 October 2008 - 12:19 AM.

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#489 eje

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 03:31 PM

Fantasio Cocktail (No. 1)
[...]
Gin and Brandy isn't one of those things that really pops into my head as a great combination, so I thought about this one for a while, comparing the gins I had in the house.  Eventually, I decided to go with a Jonge Genever.  It seemed like the slight maltiness would complement the brandy well.
[...]
Maybe I'm on crack, but this isn't half bad.  Sort of a more complex Stinger.  The cherry is a nice touch and I like the flavors it brings towards the end of the cocktail after soaking in the booze.
[...]

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Oh, wacky! I just looked through my notes from the copy of Harry McElhone's "Barflies and Cocktails" that I got at Tales this year.

I'm not the only one on crack!

Fantasio Cocktail. 
1/3 Hollands Gin;
1/3 Brandy;
1/6 White Mint;
1/6 Maraschino.


Still too much Mint and Maraschino, but really bizarre that he used Hollands Gin for his version of this cocktail.

Edited by eje, 08 October 2008 - 03:32 PM.

---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#490 eje

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 03:44 PM

[...]
What would your choice for 4 gins that you must have on hand?

-Andy

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I pretty much agree with Andy.

I think Beefeater is an all around very good, high proof, reasonably priced gin. It does especially shine in cocktails with dry vermouth and absinthe.

If I had to choose 4 dry gins to have around, I'd probably pick Junipero, Tanqueray, Beefeater, and Plymouth. Well, plus an Oude-style Genever.
---
Erik Ellestad
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Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#491 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 07:57 PM

...
If I had to choose 4 dry gins to have around, I'd probably pick Junipero, Tanqueray, Beefeater, and Plymouth...

View Post


I'm with you there; I only excluded Junipero based on the price, which is a tad high when you consider that all the others mentioned can be had for under $25/750 and all but the Plymouth can be had for under $20/750. Around here Junipero pushes $30 for the same amount. Not that I'm going to stop buying it or anything... :cool:

-Andy
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#492 eje

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 09:02 PM

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Mary Pickford Cocktail

1/2 Bacardi Rum. (1 oz Montecristo White Rum)
1/2 Pineapple Juice. (1 oz Knudsen Pineapple)
1 Teaspoonful Grenadine. (1 barspoon Homemade Grenadine)
6 Drops Maraschino. (6 drops Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)

Oddly another Savoy Cocktail which lacks direction. I'm gonna say shake, because it is so much more fun to get that nice little head you get with shaking pineapple juice.

Way back when we talked about the Fairbanks cocktail we talked about the tension in the Fairbanks/Pickford house. Mary Pickford, "America's Sweetheart", enjoyed the odd drink. Douglas Fairbanks did not and did not approve of her drinking.

I don't know who could argue with a fine, light, and enjoyable drink like this. I doubt even Fairbanks would notice it was alcoholic!
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Erik Ellestad
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#493 rluczak

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:38 AM

...
If I had to choose 4 dry gins to have around, I'd probably pick Junipero, Tanqueray, Beefeater, and Plymouth...

View Post


I'm with you there; I only excluded Junipero based on the price, which is a tad high when you consider that all the others mentioned can be had for under $25/750 and all but the Plymouth can be had for under $20/750. Around here Junipero pushes $30 for the same amount. Not that I'm going to stop buying it or anything... :cool:

-Andy

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No Hendricks?

#494 eje

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:48 AM

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Maurice Cocktail
1 Dash Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)
The Juice of 1/4 Orange. (1/4 smallish valencia orange squeezed into tin)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Carpano Antica)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Martini & Rossi Bianco)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Aviation Gin)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

An interesting relative of the Monkey Gland and Bronx.

I'd finished off the last of my current bottle of Dry Vermouth and had an open bottle of the M&R Bianco. Thought it might lend some interest to this cocktail. Indeed, it does! Also thought the Aviation Gin, with it's lavender, might mix well with the sort of culinary herb flavors I get from the M&R Bianco. Not traditional, but tasty with nice clean flavors.

Edited by eje, 10 October 2008 - 02:25 PM.

---
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If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#495 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 11:04 AM

...
If I had to choose 4 dry gins to have around, I'd probably pick Junipero, Tanqueray, Beefeater, and Plymouth...

View Post


I'm with you there; I only excluded Junipero based on the price, which is a tad high when you consider that all the others mentioned can be had for under $25/750 and all but the Plymouth can be had for under $20/750. Around here Junipero pushes $30 for the same amount. Not that I'm going to stop buying it or anything... :cool:

-Andy

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No Hendricks?

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I like Hendricks, and I use it a lot at work because it's so approachable for the vodka drinking crowd, but when I'm drinking at home I want a more traditional profile. Also, it's freaking pricey...if I have to pick just one $30 gin, and I sort of do, it's definitely Junipero over Hendricks. There's nothing wrong with it at all though, aside perhaps from the price (and the extremely bartender-unfriendly bottle shape).
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#496 bostonapothecary

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 11:13 AM

I'd finished off my last bottle of Dry Vermouth and had an open bottle of the M&R Bianco.  Thought it might lend some interest to this cocktail.  Indeed, it does!  Also thought the Aviation Gin, with it's lavender, might mix well with the sort of culinary herb flavors I get from the M&R Bianco.  Not traditional, but tasty with nice clean flavors.

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culinary herb flavors is a perfect description of that vermouth! i haven't heard of any one using that stuff in quite a while... do you think it can taste good contrasted with genever?
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#497 db_campbell

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 11:39 AM

...
If I had to choose 4 dry gins to have around, I'd probably pick Junipero, Tanqueray, Beefeater, and Plymouth...

View Post


I'm with you there; I only excluded Junipero based on the price, which is a tad high when you consider that all the others mentioned can be had for under $25/750 and all but the Plymouth can be had for under $20/750. Around here Junipero pushes $30 for the same amount. Not that I'm going to stop buying it or anything... :cool:

-Andy

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No Hendricks?

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I like Hendricks, and I use it a lot at work because it's so approachable for the vodka drinking crowd, but when I'm drinking at home I want a more traditional profile. Also, it's freaking pricey...if I have to pick just one $30 gin, and I sort of do, it's definitely Junipero over Hendricks. There's nothing wrong with it at all though, aside perhaps from the price (and the extremely bartender-unfriendly bottle shape).

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I tend to feel that the Hendricks / Citadelles / Magellans / Millers / Quintessentials of the world are so far afield of what a traditional London Dry is, that for cocktailian purposes when using one of these or another floral-oriented gin, one almost has to design a drink around the specific flavour profile of the gin he/she happens to be using. I simply don't find much use for them in classic cocktails; sure, sometimes they'll work well, but just as often they'll clash. I think this must be why Andy identifies the Junipero as the singular $30+ bottling that he likes to stock, seeing as it's essentially a big-boned, spice-laden London Dry.

That said, I still own all the aforementioned bottles -- I find their iconoclastic nature as enjoyable sipped neat as I find it maddening in cocktails.

#498 eje

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 02:27 PM

culinary herb flavors is a perfect description of that vermouth! i haven't heard of any one using that stuff in quite a while... do you think it can taste good contrasted with genever?

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Huh, wouldn't have thought of it, but only one way to find out!

Had an interesting experimental drink last night at NOPA with the Bols Genever and a stone fruit shrub. Quite tasty and nicely refreshing.
---
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If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#499 eje

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 08:47 PM

So the Savoy cocktail book gives the Mayfair Cocktail as:

Mayfair Cocktail

1 Dash Clove Syrup.
1/4 Apricot Brandy.
1/4 Orange Juice.
1/2 Dry Gin.

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

About the Mayfair, Robert Vermeire sez:

Mayfair Cocktail

¼ gill of Dry Gin;
¼ gill of Orange Juice;
3 or 4 dashes of Apricot Syrup flavored with a little Cloves Syrup.

This cocktail possesses a delicious flavor. I invented it at the Embassy Club in London, 1921. Mayfair is the aristocratic quarter of London, called so because under the reign of Charles II (seventeenth century) they used to hold a yearly fair there during the month of May.

Interesting evolution of the recipe between the source, Vermeire and the Savoy Cocktail Book.

To make both versions, being the incredibly lazy cuss that I am, I added a drop of clove oil to 2 oz of Aviation Gin (trying to finish a bottle) and proceeded as follows.

Posted Image

1 oz Clove infused Aviation Gin
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot
1/2 oz fresh squeezed orange juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel over glass and drop in.

Posted Image

1 oz Clove infused Aviation Gin
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp. apricot syrup*

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel over glass and drop in.

Huh, they both have their good points.

The first is a bit better balanced, while the pectin of the apricot syrup in the second makes it a bit more interestingly textured drink. Oddly, the second seems far sweeter than the first.

Kind of digging the apricot syrup, though. Seems like a really interesting sweetener with a texture similar to gomme.

*1/2 Cup water
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup sliced dried apricot

Dissolve Sugar and water and add apricot. Cool and strain out apricot pieces.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#500 eje

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 09:12 PM

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Melba Cocktail

2 Dashes Grenadine. (2/3 teaspoon Homemade Grenadine)
2 Dashes Absinthe. (2/3 teaspoon Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime. (Juice 1/2 lime)
1/2 Glass Bacardi Rum. (1 oz Montecristo Silver)
1/2 Glass Swedish Punch. (1 oz Homemade Swedish Punsch)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (If desired add a cherry, preferably Luxardo or Toschi.)

I had high hopes for the Melba, but I'm not quite sure it lived up to them.

A very good cocktail, that I could imagine being popular, it just doesn't quite have the magic of the very similar Corpse Reviver No. 2 (with Swedish Punsch).

By pushing the sweet/sour focus out a bit further, it loses the refreshing lightness of the Corpse Reviver. Ends up being a bit heavy.

Still, all in all, a tasty cocktail. One of the few I can think of involving Absinthe and Rum. Definitely some promise there!
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#501 eje

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 10:13 PM

This is the Eighth in an ongoing series of bartender features in the Savoy Topic.

Previously, I had experimented by asking the bartender at Montgomery Place to make me a Bombay Cocktail No. 2. While it was more or less successful, it seemed like it would be better to give future bartenders some fair warning, as the recipes and ingredients in the Savoy can be obscure.

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 folks ask me which bars to go to in San Francisco, there are several restaurants which I routinely list along with bars. Among them is NOPA in the Western Addition neighborhood near the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park.

Posted Image

When my wife and I lived in another part of San Francisco, one of our favorite restaurants was Chow. We were regulars there from the time it opened until we moved out of the neighborhood. Great, affordable food presented with heart. One of the astounding things to me was how long the staff stick around at Chow. We can still go back in, nearly 6 years later, and still recognize some of the same staff who waited on us.

Posted Image

A couple years ago, one of the guys who opened Chow split off to open NOPA. Slightly more expensive food, a bigger space, and a full bar. They were also one of the first restaurants in San Francisco to include a large table off the bar for communal dining.

Posted Image

One of the nifty things about Chow is that it is open fairly late. They have carried that even a bit further at NOPA, serving until 1:00 AM. Combine that with a bar, and you know it is going to be popular with the industry crowd.

As far as I can tell, like Chow, NOPA has been an incredibly successful restaurant and bar.

To get back to the bar, I'd run into Neyah White, the bar manager at NOPA, a few times around town. We'd talked. I'd insulted his taste in Absinthe. We talked some more. Eventually we got around to the idea of getting together to make some Savoy Cocktails. Finally, on a Saturday in October our schedules aligned and I met up with him on a Saturday afternoon to get together, chat, and try some Savoy Cocktails.

Posted Image

Neyah White BIO:
Neyah finds himself lucky enough to be a part of the burgeoning cocktail scene in San Francisco. A transplant from the East Coast, he has been serving drinks for 15 years in some of the busiest and most well respected venues on both sides of the Country. In an effort to better understand the tools of his craft, he has spent time visiting distilleries all over the world as well as completing the Whisky Academy at Bruichladdich under the legendary Jim McEwan. This time in Scotland inspired him to use the bounty of ex-wine barrels available to him in Northern California to start enhancing his own Whiskey and Rum. Look for his independently bottled spirits to start showing up in the years to come, they are still sleeping now.
Neyah is currently the bar manager at Nopa in San Francisco where his program is well respected for its array of house produced bitters, tinctures and liqueurs. He is a believer in a passive approach to menu setting where the local farms and orchards determine what is used by season rather than forcing ingredients into drinks. These two aspects combine to produce many one-of-a-kind cocktails that cannot exist anywhere other than the bar at Nopa and that have been featured in the publications like the San Francisco Chronicle, Food and Wine, USAToday, Wine and Spirits, 7x7, Imbibe and Cheers.


When I asked Neyah what cocktails of the dozen I had sent he wanted to make he said, "Let's make all of them. I'm painting my apartment and am really sore. I could use a break."

Well, OK then... He even brought along some of his stash of vintage glassware to make the pictures more interesting.

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Melon Cocktail

1/8 Lemon Juice. (1/4 oz Lemon Juice)
3/8 Maraschino. (3/4 oz Maraska Maraschino)
1/2 Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake (stir?) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Like the Allen, another Aviation-esque cocktail. Perfectly fine, but not particularly outstanding.

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Merry Widow Cocktail

2 Dashes Absinthe. (St. George)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters.
2 Dashes Benedictine. (1 teaspoon Benedictine)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz French Vermouth)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel on top.

When we initially tasted this, it was just too dry. Neyah remarked,"That Widow is just not very merry!" A bit more benedictine seemed to bring it into somewhat more tasty territory, but to my tastes there was still something conflicting in this combination. Maybe the bitters and the Absinthe?

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Mikado Cocktail

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters.
2 Dashes Crème de Noyau. (1/2 teaspoon Luxardo Amaretto)
2 Dashes Orgeat Syrup. (1/2 teaspoon Underhill Homemade Orgeat)
2 Dashes Curacao. (1/2 teaspoon Senior Orange Curacao
1/2 Glass Brandy. (1 oz Lustau Brandy)

Shake (stir!) well and strain into cocktail glass.

A Japanese Cocktail, more or less, and who can argue with that?

Q: It seems the question on everybody's mind is, have you seen any change in people's drinking habits due to the recent financial news?

A: We're still doing good numbers, with busy dinners and the late night industry crowd still coming in (Note: NOPA, like Beretta serves dinner from open until close at 1:00 AM).

It isn't so much what people are drinking where we've noticed a change, as when and who are drinking.

Up until now the bar had been banging from open until close.  We've seen a real drop off in happy hour drinkers.  The sort of business crowd who were coming in at 5:30 right after work.  They're either staying at work longer or just not drinking out as much.


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Millionaire Cocktail (No. 1)

The Juice of 1 Lime.
1 Dash Grenadine. (NOPA House Made)
1/3 Sloe Gin. (3/4 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin)
1/3 Apricot Brandy. (3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
1/3 Jamaica Rum. (3/4 oz Ron Barcelo Rum)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

The Millionaire, to my mind, is a neglected classic. Unfortunately, we didn't have any Jamaica Rum and subbed in the Puerto Rican Ron Barcelo. It's definitely a lighter flavored rum then the Appleton V/X I usually make this with. This allowed the Apricot Brandy to really come to the fore.

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Millionaire Cocktail (No. 2)

1 Dash Anisette. (dash or two Sambuca)
The White of 1 Egg.
1/3 Absinthe. (3/4 oz Obsello Absinthe)
2/3 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Leopold's Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Whatever you do, don't leave out the sweetener if you are making this with traditional Absinthe. If you do so, it will likely end up fairly dry. With a healthy dash of Sambuca, we found this an interesting eye-opener type cocktail.

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Million Dollar Cocktail

Tablespoonful Pineapple Juice. (Knudsen)
Teaspoonful Grenadine. (NOPA House Made)
The White of 1 Egg.
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Martini & Rossi Rosso Vermouth)
2/3 Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake well and strain into medium size glass.

Egg white and Italian Vermouth cocktails always look like dishwater to me, so we were pleased to note combining the textures of Egg White and Pineapple presented a very interesting textural element. You almost can't taste the pineapple, more feeling it. A somewhat tasty and bizarre drink, if not particularly visually appealing.

Q: Spirits and cocktail programs are currently being marketed as what I'd call luxury goods.  To me this is a self limiting strategy.  (Ooops, that wasn't a question.)

A: A lot of this comes down to the money poured into and the money made by the vodka industry.  It's not a new thing, I recently wrote a post on a similar theme on the blog ("I declare that I now own the word 'cool'").  To me, the Absolut ads from the 1980s are where it started.  It's just more and more we're seeing it seep into other spirits and even now bar programs.  I don't envy young bartenders who are being asked by management to create serious drink programs without experience in the industry.  A lot of these really big corporations will just give you product, if they think it will get them on the back bar.


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Minnehaha Cocktail

The Juice of 1/4 Orange. (3/4 oz Fresh Orange Juice)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Martini & Rossi Rosso Vermouth)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Martin Miller Gin)
1 dash Absinthe. (St. George)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Aside from the fact that I just made this exact cocktail less than a week ago as the Maurice, it is fascinating how different this version is! I know I cheated last time and used the M&R Bianco Vermouth, but damn is this different. For me, it is the cucumber in the Martin Miller Gin, which really rises to the fore.

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Mickie Walker Cocktail.

1 Dash Grenadine. (House Made)
1 Dash Lemon Juice.
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Martini and Rossi Rosso)
3/4 Scotch Whisky. (John, Mark, and Robbo Smooth, Sweeter One)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Blind, we doubted we could tell this from a Rob Rob, but we both thought we would rather be drinking a Rob Roy.

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Mississippi Mule Cocktail

2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Broker's Gin)
1/6 Lemon Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/6 Crème de Cassis. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Trenel Creme de Cassis)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

No idea why this is named "Mississippi Mule". Don't really see a connection to Mississippi nor does it contain ginger ale. It does appear to come from Harry McElhone's book, but he is no more forthcoming than the Savoy authors. A fine, if somewhat plain cocktail. To be honest, I think it would be quite a bit better if you built it over ice and topped it up with ginger ale. But that's just me...

Q: As we were talking, it came up that Neyah had worked for a period for a large corporate chain which shall remain nameless.  It seemed apropos to ask if this background served him well when running a bar program which does as much volume as NOPA does.

A: Absolutely.  Working for them was like a boot camp.  Not only that, but these big corporate programs understand how much of the business is about process rather than simply making drinks.  When I was working for them, I had three shifts behind the bar and then three days for other tasks.  Inventory, ordering, developing processes.


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Mr. Manhattan Cocktail

Crush one lump of sugar in a little water.
Then crush four leaves of fresh green mint. and add –
1 Dash Lemon Juice. (1/2 teaspoon)
4 Dashes Orange Juice. (1/4 oz or so fresh Orange Juice)
1 Glass Gin. (2 oz Bols Genever)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

When we were thinking about this, it occurred to Neyah to try with Bols Genever. To me that totally made sense, given the 19th Century style recipe. Delicious! The winner of the afternoon. Neyah's comment was, "I wish this had a better name, because I want to put it on the list!"

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Modern Cocktail (No. 1)

1 Dash Orange Bitters. (NOPA House Made)
2 Dashes Jamaica Rum. (Gosling's Black Seal)
1 Dash Absinthe. (St. George)
2 Dashes Lemon Juice. (1/2 teaspoon or so)
1 Glass Scotch Whisky. (2 oz John, Mark, and Robbo, Rich and Spicy One)
(Dash Simple Syrup)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

We tasted this and it just wasn't doing it for us. A touch of simple brought out both the richness of the scotch and the flavor of the rum.

Q: Talking about their ingredients at NOPA, I realized how much of what they make in house.  Grenadine, liqueurs, bitters, etc.  I asked how important house made ingredients were to his ideas for the bar at NOPA.

A: Originally it was my conception to have almost all the drink modifiers made in house.  While we make many bitters, syrups and liqueurs in house, I found I couldn't keep up with the amounts needed for vermouth and some of the others.  I'm especially excited about an orange infusion which I started last year and is about ready.  It was an all season long infusion, where I added seasonal citrus to the batch as we progressed through the citrus season.  Starting with kumquats and clementines and then moving to navels, seville, etc.  I'm hoping to use it both for our house orange bitters and an orange liqueur.


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Modern Cocktail (No. 2)

1 Dash Orange Bitters. (NOPA House Made)
1 Dash Absinthe. (St. George)
1 Dash Grenadine. (NOPA House Made)
1/3 Scotch Whisky. (3/4 oz John, Mark, and Robbo, Rich and Spicy One)
2/3 Sloe Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

We both thought this a fine, tasty cocktail. Definitely worth the try, if you have Sloe Gin and Scotch in the house.

Original Cocktail:
Dented Bently:
1 oz. Calvados
1 oz. Dubonnet
1/4 oz. Nocino

Stir gently with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Like the Slanted Door, NOPA is an incredibly busy restaurant. On a busy night the restaurant will do over 500 covers. One of the amazing things to me, when I go in, is how many mixed drinks I see out at tables. Their version of the Old Cuban seems to be at nearly every other table in the restaurant. Yet they hold the bar and service staff to an incredibly high standard. All fresh squeezed juice. Many homemade ingredients, High quality spirits, Jigger pouring, etc. Like the Slanted Door, NOPA is proof that, if the commitment is there from the staff and management, a high volume restaurant can successfully run a drink program without sacrificing quality.

For me, I can think of no higher praise for Mr. White, and the the drink program at NOPA, than to say, while there are many restaurants and bars in San Francisco, there are few I will as unreservedly recommend for cocktails as NOPA.

Also, the Pork Chop is one of the best I've ever had.

Edited by eje, 21 October 2008 - 10:43 PM.

---
Erik Ellestad
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#502 eje

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 10:44 AM

In regards the Mr. Manhattan Cocktail I made with Neyah at Nopa, it appears that "Mr. Manhattan" was the name of a musical drama by one Howard Talbot (aka Richard Lansdale Munkittrick).

"Mr. Manhattan" had its premiere in 1916 at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London. It was considered one of Talbot's late minor works, as his style of musical theater had fallen out of fashion by that time.

It was very much in the way of the American Bar at the Savoy to create drinks to commemorate events or theater openings.

However, the musical might very well be a red herring, as the recipe, at least to me, totally sez 19th century America rather than early 20th Century England.

Edited by eje, 22 October 2008 - 10:44 AM.

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If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#503 bostonapothecary

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 11:14 AM

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Mr. Manhattan Cocktail

Crush one lump of sugar in a little water.
Then crush four leaves of fresh green mint. and add –
1 Dash Lemon Juice. (1/2 teaspoon)
4 Dashes Orange Juice. (1/4 oz or so fresh Orange Juice)
1 Glass Gin. (2 oz Bols Genever)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

When we were thinking about this, it occurred to Neyah to try with Bols Genever.  To me that totally made sense, given the 19th Century style recipe.  Delicious!  The winner of the afternoon.  Neyah's comment was, "I wish this had a better name, because I want to put it on the list!"

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genever and mint strikes again... and i have yet to try it...
back in the day what kind of bottle did they keep their OJ in to get four dashes out of it...? wouldn't you just squeeze a small fresh cut wedge? citrus and all i'd give that drink the patient stirred julep treatment.
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#504 slobhan

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 12:30 PM

For me, I can think of no higher praise for Mr. White, and the the drink program at NOPA, than to say, while there are many restaurants and bars in San Francisco, there are few I will as unreservedly recommend for cocktails as NOPA.

Also, the Pork Chop is one of the best I've ever had.

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I'm jealous that NOPA got the Ms. The ingredients are much more my style than the wild Js I witnessed at the lovely Teardrop Lounge in Portland. Neyah is a bar maestro and I was lucky enough to enjoy some cocktails after the San Francisco Cocktail Week finale party in May 2008. And what gorgeous glassware he has!!

Their fried smelts are also a tasty snack, thanks to Tim Stookey for the recommendation.

*edited to add love for the glassware.

Edited by slobhan, 23 October 2008 - 12:31 PM.

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#505 bostonapothecary

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 12:14 PM

so i've been reading about some very rural and very ethnic distilling traditions and i keep coming across freeze distillation which i didn't think anyone really practiced. apparently applejack was originally a freeze distilled spirit but when did it stop? and after the transition to conventionally distilled, would they have cut it down to proof with water or any of the fermented cider like they do in some eastern european traditions which would give it color and make it slightly sweet...

was all this peach brandy just freeze distilled fruit wine? which might create something with 35% alcohol and some residual sugar.
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#506 eje

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 12:25 PM

[...]
was all this peach brandy just freeze distilled fruit wine? which might create something with 35% alcohol and some residual sugar.

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Matt Rowley would be the one to ask about that, but I don't think so.

Ripe Peaches & freezing weather are not near each other temporally, geographically, or climatically.

Apples, on the other hand, sure. And that wacky fermented Milk spirit from Eastern Europe/Western Asia.
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If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#507 slkinsey

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 12:36 PM

This technique is probably better described as "fractional freezing" than "freeze distilling." Distilling required boiling as a matter of definition. I don't think it has ever been particularly significant once people were able to get a proper still knocked together. One reason for this is that fractional freezing does not offer any way to get rid of the impurities, congeners, fusel oils, etc. that are removed or controlled through careful distillation.

A lot of this is discussed over in the applejack thread where Doc had this to offer:

Applejack was called applejack all the way by in colonial times and did not really differentiate between distillation methods. As a matter of fact, even back then, steam distillation was highly preferred. Cold distilling makes a gut-wrenchingly awful product and was only used at times of dire necessity.

I later offered this quote from a NYT article:

By the 1670's, according to the Laird archives, almost every prosperous farm had an apple orchard whose yield went almost entirely into the making of cider. Hard cider - simple fermented apple juice - was the most abundant drink in the colonies. Much of it was made by leaving apple cider outside in winter until its water content froze and was discarded. About 20 years later, farmers began to distill the hard cider into 120-proof "cyder spirits," which soon became known as applejack.

So, to sum up: distillation (separation of substances based on differences in boiling points) is preferable to fractional freezing, and was practiced in the rural US extensively by the late 1600s.

Edited by slkinsey, 28 October 2008 - 12:37 PM.

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#508 haresfur

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 07:22 PM

Assuming there is some truth to their marketing, Fris vodka uses a combination of distillation and freezing.

Fris vodka

I could see that a combination of methods might have advantages but that would have to be borne out by testing.

I bought a bottle for my ginger infusion and it did seem to have a decent mouth-feel, not that I'm any sort of vodka expert. Actually some of the infusion recipes on their website look interesting.


This technique is probably better described as "fractional freezing" than "freeze distilling."  Distilling required boiling as a matter of definition.  I don't think it has ever been particularly significant once people were able to get a proper still knocked together.  One reason for this is that fractional freezing does not offer any way to get rid of the impurities, congeners, fusel oils, etc. that are removed or controlled through careful distillation.

A lot of this is discussed over in the applejack thread where Doc had this to offer:

Applejack was called applejack all the way by in colonial times and did not really differentiate between distillation methods. As a matter of fact, even back then, steam distillation was highly preferred. Cold distilling makes a gut-wrenchingly awful product and was only used at times of dire necessity.

I later offered this quote from a NYT article:

By the 1670's, according to the Laird archives, almost every prosperous farm had an apple orchard whose yield went almost entirely into the making of cider. Hard cider - simple fermented apple juice - was the most abundant drink in the colonies. Much of it was made by leaving apple cider outside in winter until its water content froze and was discarded. About 20 years later, farmers began to distill the hard cider into 120-proof "cyder spirits," which soon became known as applejack.

So, to sum up: distillation (separation of substances based on differences in boiling points) is preferable to fractional freezing, and was practiced in the rural US extensively by the late 1600s.

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#509 bostonapothecary

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 09:43 PM

This technique is probably better described as "fractional freezing" than "freeze distilling."  Distilling required boiling as a matter of definition.  I don't think it has ever been particularly significant once people were able to get a proper still knocked together.  One reason for this is that fractional freezing does not offer any way to get rid of the impurities, congeners, fusel oils, etc. that are removed or controlled through careful distillation.

A lot of this is discussed over in the applejack thread where Doc had this to offer:

Applejack was called applejack all the way by in colonial times and did not really differentiate between distillation methods. As a matter of fact, even back then, steam distillation was highly preferred. Cold distilling makes a gut-wrenchingly awful product and was only used at times of dire necessity.

I later offered this quote from a NYT article:

By the 1670's, according to the Laird archives, almost every prosperous farm had an apple orchard whose yield went almost entirely into the making of cider. Hard cider - simple fermented apple juice - was the most abundant drink in the colonies. Much of it was made by leaving apple cider outside in winter until its water content froze and was discarded. About 20 years later, farmers began to distill the hard cider into 120-proof "cyder spirits," which soon became known as applejack.

So, to sum up: distillation (separation of substances based on differences in boiling points) is preferable to fractional freezing, and was practiced in the rural US extensively by the late 1600s.

View Post


i'm not exactly convinced that fractional freeze separation is the most probable explanation for "peach brandy" etc. but as operating stills came under closer scrutiny and possibly did not scale down to really small levels, the freeze method looks more practical than it did before. upon searching a little more on the web, the distilling laws currently are so stifling that many people are playing with freeze separation in their kitchens to concentrate home brewed cider. it may have been fairly practical at some small point in time a century ago. and products baring the same name eventually approximated freeze separated fermented peaches by merely infusing them in distilled spirits and adding sugar to mimic what would have been concentrated by the obsolete method... (which i'm sure someone's grandmother still practiced when she processed the single tree she owned after baking too many pies)

i also have a feeling that what some people would call "gut-wrenchingly awful" i'd be happy to drink and enjoy. i've distilled lots of fermentations i've made and been able to enjoy the uncut results (except the methanol). i can only imagine something being "rot-gut" and unenjoyable if the resulting distillate was tampered with like during prohibition or if it was an uncut bland sugar distillate.

supposedly so much can be lost during distillation especially if you have to distill something a couple times in a pot still to bring the alcohol to the proof you want. its a school of thought of some fruit distillers who add sugar or honey to increase the alcohol of there fermentation so they have to put it through the pot still less times and lose less delicate fruit character. every now and then distillation can over engineer things. certain things are delicate and therefore you don't want to apply heat to them...

i think i may try it next peach season. its kind of impressive that buried in egullet years ago is a conversation about this obscure subject.
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#510 eje

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 10:30 PM

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Mint Cocktail
(6 People)
Soak a few sprigs of fresh mint for two hours in a glass and a half of White Wine (3/4 oz Les Domains Tatins, 2007, Quincy/Domaine du Tremblay). Add half a glass of Crème de Menthe (1/4 oz Brizard Creme de Menthe), 2 Glasses of Gin (1 oz Broker's Gin) and 1 1/2 glasses of White Wine (3/4 oz Les Domains Tatins, 2007, Quincy/Domaine du Tremblay). Ice and shake (or stir if you prefer) thoroughly. Serve with a sprig of mint tastefully arranged in each glass.

Not sure how tastefully arranged that mint sprig is, but what can you do?

We skipped this one at NOPA, as we hadn't planned ahead with the mint soaking.

Not exactly sure why I picked this wine, but it does really work in this cocktail. And plus, afterwards, you're left with most of a delicious (and reasonable) bottle of Loire white. I don't know about you, but I certainly won't complain about that.

Initially my tastes sort of rebelled at this cocktail. Tastes like wine...Something...Not...Right... But after a while I settled in to the light minty taste. After I finished the cocktail, I poured some plain wine in my glass, figuring it would be more enjoyable. Nice, sure. And if I had a dozen oysters around, maybe sublime. But I missed the flavor of the cocktail.
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