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Stomping Through the "Savoy" (2007–2008)


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#1 eje

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 11:56 AM

Moderator note: This topic became too large for our servers to handle, so we've divided it up; the earlier part of the discussion is here: Stomping Through the "Savoy" (2006–2007)
 
 
 
This is the second 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, but this just seemed to result in a grumpy bartender.

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.

---

After about a month of travel, sickness, and scheduling conflicts, I finally was able to get together with Josey Packard at The Alembic Bar to make some Savoy Cocktails. While we were at it, I asked her a couple questions.

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Josey's BIO: I'm a frequent victim of agape: widely varying passions have led me to several different occupations.  A vocalist by training, day jobs for me have included that of seamstress, auto mechanic, office manager, carpenter, editor, audio producer, and flooring installer.  A keen interest in cocktail history led me to take up work behind the bar, and it is there where I find myself able to marry both vocation and avocation; I'm proud to call myself a bartender.  I developed the signature cocktail for the Boston Athenaeum's 200th anniversary celebration, and have finalized the recipe for two original cocktails, the Wolfhound and the Northern Spy.

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Diki-Diki Cocktail

1/6 Grape Fruit Juice.
1/6 Swedish Punch. (Carlshamm's Flaggpunsch)
2/3 Calvados. (Le Merton Vieux Calvados)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

For comparison, Josey wanted to try this with both white grapefruit and ruby red grapefruit juice.

I think Josey's first comment was, "Wow, that's an adult cocktail!" and her second was, "I could drink the hell out of this!" Given the relatively small amount of Grapefruit juice, we were both a bit surprised that the we preferred the touch of sweetness and additional fruitiness that the Ruby Red Grapefruit brought to the cocktail. It was a subtle difference; but, enough to be noticeable. In any case, I agree with Josey about this cocktail. Definitely one of the highlights so far of the letter "D."

From Google, as far as I can tell, "Diki-Diki" is a Filipino adjective used to convey "very small." There is also a small African Antelope called a "Dik-Dik."

Q: What ingredient have you been experimenting mixing with lately?

A: I've been experimenting with the Luxardo and Maraska Maraschino liqueurs.  I was really surprised to discover how differently they work in cocktails and which gins work best with either one.

We had wanted to try the Desert Healer cocktail as well; but discovered the bar was out of ginger beer.

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Devonia Cocktail (6 People)

Pour into the shaker 4 glasses of Sparkling Cider (2 oz Two Rivers Gravenstein Apple Hard Cider) and 2 glasses of Gin (1 oz Gin.) Add some ice and a few drops of Orange Bitters. Shake lightly and serve.

The Devonia was particularly appealing as The Alembic Bar currently has a very nice Hard Cider from Two Rivers on tap. We first tried it with Plymouth Gin; but it was maybe a bit too adult. The Two Rivers Gravenstein cider is a very dry cider, almost like one of the French champagne-style ciders in character. Interesting, however, to compare the cider on its own with the cider, gin, orange bitters mix. Mixing the cider with the gin, really brought out the earthy, apple peel flavors of the cider, especially in the smell.

For a second try, Josey had the idea to try the Devonia with Anchor Distilling's new Genevieve Genever-style gin. Even though we had no illusions that this cocktail is really a Devonia, we both preferred it. The complexity of the Genevieve worked well with the cider. And, I might add, the Genevieve is a really interesting taste all on its own. The young whisk(e)y character of the distillate comes across loud and clear in the smell, taste, and body of this new gin. Personally, I can't wait to get a bottle myself and start experimenting with it.

Q: As Alembic is a restaurant and bar, have you found any particularly good food and cocktail pairings?

A: The obvious one is a Martini with our Catfish Cakes.  The chef uses Gin in his Catfish cakes and Tonic in his tartar sauce.  With a wet martini, it is a great combination.  Another pairing that works very well is the Opera Cocktail with the Oxtails.

Q: Do you have an original cocktail or an old favorite you feel represents you and your style of mixing?

Northern Spy
2 oz. Applejack
1 oz. fresh apple cider (flash-pasteurized ok but no preservatives!)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4-1/2 oz. apricot brandy (amount depending on brand/sweetness)
shake, strain
garnish: cinnamon-sugar rim and a cranberry
Note: this cocktail responds well to "royale" treatment, a.k.a. topping with champagne.

I am impossibly biased towards both The Alembic Bar and Josey Packard, so it is tough for me to even pretend impartiality here. Alembic is a great bar and Josey is a wonderfully engaged and engaging bartender.

If you're in San Francisco and into cocktails, Alembic should be one of the two or three "musts" that goes on your "to do" list. You'll find Josey there, usually earlier in the evening or during the day, 5 days a week.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#2 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 02:33 PM

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Dempsey Cocktail

2 Dashes Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)
2 Dashes Grenadine. (Homemade)
1/2 Gin. (Generous 1 oz Bombay Gin)
1/2 Calvados. (Generous 1 oz Clear Creek Apple Brandy)

Shake, (it would probably be more attractive stirred - eje) well and strain into cocktail glass.

I'm not sure what Steve McCarthy will be more angry about, the crappy photo of his product or the fact that I used his Apple Brandy in this 1930s era "shooter".

Anyway, I dropped my wife's digital camera just before she was off for a trip to New York City.  It seemed like the only civilized thing to do was to buy a new one and give her mine for the trip.  Unfortunately, that means I'm stuck with my semi-working crappy old camera, which I also dropped about 2 years ago.  At least until her new camera arrives.  So you'll have to bear with me for a couple kind of crap looking cocktails while I figure out if I can get this thing to work.

The Dempsey Cocktail is just booze.  I assume it is named after boxer Jack Dempsey, "The Manassa Mauler."  In the general vicinity of the "Earthquake" and "Bunny Hug," compared to those potent concoctions, the Dempsey Cocktail is actually fairly enjoyable.  There's an almost "holiday" spiciness from the combination of flavors that I didn't expect.

However, unless you want to be hugging the canvas later in the evening, I don't recommend over indulging on Dempsey Cocktails.

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What if you added two more dashes of grenadine and served this on the rocks? Looks like it might do a little better, being in the old-fashioned-esque category, though with the interesting twist of splitting the difference in booze.

-Andy

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Decided to put my money where my mouth is today and actually try this, with a slight adjustment; 3 dashes Jade Edouard, scant tsp homemade grenadine, generous oz Tanqueray and the same of Drouin Calvados, on the rocks with a lemon twist.

I really kind of dig this actually. the flavor combination of it is very 'baked apple' which is fun and a little surprising, since I always thought the apple character of the Drouin was sort of musty, verging on unpleasant. Here it really works. Definitely a case of flavors combining into something never-before tasted, with only hints of the original ingredients coming through. The gin definitely contributes something tangible, though the juniper character comes out only in the finish (and this is with Tanqueray!). The Vieux Carre format has proved interesting and versatile, this format, which is similar, could prove to do the same.

-Andy
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#3 eje

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 09:24 PM

[...]
I really kind of dig this actually. the flavor combination of it is very 'baked apple' which is fun and a little surprising, since I always thought the apple character of the Drouin was sort of musty, verging on unpleasant. Here it really works. Definitely a case of flavors combining into something never-before tasted, with only hints of the original ingredients coming through. The gin definitely contributes something tangible, though the juniper character comes out only in the finish (and this is with Tanqueray!). The Vieux Carre format has proved interesting and versatile, this format, which is similar, could prove to do the same.

-Andy

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I have to re-try it the Dempsey with a Calvados, myself; but, yeah, I was surprised at the flavors that showed up. There was definitely a "holiday spice" thing going on, even with the Clear Creek Apple Brandy, that I had no idea where it was coming from. I can only imagine that it would be more interesting with a Calvados.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#4 eje

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 09:32 PM

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Desert Healer Cocktail

The Juice of 1 Orange. (Juice 1 1/2 Honey Tangerine)
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz No. 209 Gin)
1/2 Liqueur Glass Cherry Brandy. (3/4 oz Cherry Heering)

Shake well and strain into long tumbler and fill with Ginger Beer (Bundaberg).

I've been meaning to try the Bundaberg Ginger Beer for a while. The Desert Healer seemed a fine excuse to pick up a 4 pack. Very natural tasting, if a bit sweeter than I expected.

With the Bundaberg, Heering, and Tangerine Juice, this cocktail ends up a bit on the sweet side for me. Quite tasty all the same. One interesting idea I had was, instead of shaking the Heering with the cocktail, to add it after shaking and then top with ginger beer. I bet you could get a nice Tequila Sunrise type effect. Will have to try that next time.

I suppose there is the question of Cherry Eau-de-Vie vs. Cherry Liqueur. I tried it both ways, and didn't really care for the Kirsch version. Almost all the sweetness here comes from the juice and ginger beer. Swapping Heering for Kirsch didn't make that much difference in sweetness and the Trimbach Kirsch I used brought out an unpleasant "Children's Aspirin" flavor in the cocktail.

Anyway, after the not very good Kirsch version of this cocktail, which went down the sink, I still had a half a bottle of Ginger Beer. 2 oz of Rittenhouse Rye, a couple ice cubes, topped with cold Ginger Beer. C'mon. To me, it was tastier than either version of the Desert Healer. Rye and Ginger Beer, what a combination. Sometimes simpler is better.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#5 eje

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 05:35 PM

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Devil’s Cocktail

1/2 Port Wine. (1 1/4 oz Ficklin Old Vine Tinta Port)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 1/4 oz Noilly Prat)
2 Dashes Lemon Juice.

Shake (stir - eje) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Well, this is an appropriately named cocktail for Halloween.

Though, it really doesn't seem particularly satanic to me.

It is refreshing, light, and somewhat wine-like.

Perhaps it is a "Devil's Cocktail" because it doesn't really seem like it has any alcohol?
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#6 eje

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 10:29 AM

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Diabola Cocktail

2/3 Dubonnet. (1 1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz Junipero Gin)
2 Dashes Orgeat Syrup. (Monin)

Shake (stir - eje) well and strain into cocktail glass.

This is a fine and enjoyable cocktail, significantly improved by the addition of a dash of Angostura Bitters. If you choose to make it yourself, I would advise picking a more aggressively flavored Gin, given the ratio of Dubonnet to spirit.

"Diabola" may be Latin for "Evil One." It certainly is used as part of the "Latin" binomial for various menacing looking plants and animals like the "Dracula Lily" (Dracula diabola) and "DEVIL'S RIVER BLACKHEAD SNAKE" (Tantilla rubra diabola). Diabola also appears to be a common name among certain, how shall we say, sub-cultures which frequent some of the more colorful corners of the Internet. Fair warning: in case you are drawn to Google it yourself, these pages are of the sort which you really probably shouldn't dig in to while at work.

Again, like the Devil's Cocktail, I can't say I found this cocktail particularly evil, menacing, or deceptive.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#7 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 12:07 PM

Again, like the Devil's Cocktail, I can't say I found this cocktail particularly evil, menacing, or deceptive.

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The names refer to the color perhaps?
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#8 eje

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 03:47 PM

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Diabolo Cocktail
(6 People)

Pour into the shaker 3 glasses of Brandy (Generous 1 oz Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac) and 3 of French Vermouth (Generous 1 oz Noilly Prat Dry). Add a spoonful of Angostura (2 dashes Angostura) and 2 spoonsful of Orange Bitters (2 dashes Fee's Orange Bitters, 2 Dashes Regan's Orange Bitters). Shake (Stir - eje) and serve with piece of lemon rind and an olive, or, if preferred a cherry.

This is the last of the diabolical cocktails. The generous amount of bitters in this one, I guess, made it seem like the most satanic of the bunch.

"Diabolo" is the name of a couple things. First off, as far as I can tell, it is one of the Greek names for the Devil. It is also the name for those bobbin shaped Chinese tops that you manipulate using two sticks attached by a string.

It is my understanding the Chinese top type Diabolos were quite the trendy item in America and England of the 1800s and early 1900s, so I'm guessing it may have been named after the them, rather than the devil.

The cocktail amounts to a Dry Brandy Manhattan (or Martini) with a goodly amount of bitters. Tried with a stuffed green olive and found I preferred the cocktail without. An enjoyable, if not outstanding, aperitif cocktail.

I have to admit as I near the bottom of the Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac I am getting a bit tired of it. It's perfectly fine, just a bit lightweight for cocktails, and, I dunno, lacking in complexity. Of the 4 bottles of Brandy/Cognac I've gone through since starting the Savoy topic, I think the only one which has really held my interest was the Pierre Ferrand Ambre. Maybe an Armagnac next?
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#9 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 05:27 PM

I also like the Pierre Ferrand Ambre, which we use at work. At home lately I've been enjoying the Hardy's VS 'Red Corner', which I got on sale for $20. I like it better than Hennessey VS, which it is roughly in the same style as, and about as much as the Martell VS, which is a slightly different style, both of which are $6-8 more. On the sipping front, I recently acquired a bottle of Kelt VSOP, which I am enjoying very much, liking it more even than the Kelt XO we have at work (which I find too hot). Drinkboy has recommended the Kelt VS, which I can't seem to locate, but I did make one Sidecar with the VSOP, as per Mr. Wondrich, and it absolutely spoiled me. Anyways, just my 2 cents on brandy.

-Andy
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#10 bostonapothecary

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 10:52 AM

i always thought the diabolo was a parisian syrup flavored lemonaide...
that cocktail doesn't resemble lemonaide... but i'd still drink it.
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#11 Danne

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 04:56 PM

Absinthe Drip Cocktail

1 liqueur glass absinthe

Dissolve 1 lump of sugar, using the French Drip spoon and fill glass with cold water.

What is and "French Drip spoon"?
The same as an "Absinthe spoon"?
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#12 eje

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 05:10 PM

Absinthe Drip Cocktail

1 liqueur glass absinthe

Dissolve 1 lump of sugar, using the French Drip spoon and fill glass with cold water.

What is and "French Drip spoon"?
The same as an "Absinthe spoon"?
[...]

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Indeed!

Lovely specimens there.

You can also use a tea strainer or brouilleur.

With nice Abisinthe, the sugar is optional, so all you may need is a fountain, carafe or water bottle filled with ice water.

If you are using Pastis, (or other pre-sweetened Absinthe substitutes,) you'll definitely want to try it simply louched before deciding to add more sugar.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#13 eje

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 07:19 PM

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Diana Cocktail

Use Port Wine Glass.
Fill with shaved ice.

Fill Glass 3/4 full with White Crème de Menthe (Brizard) and top with Brandy(Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac).

Ya know, I expected to hate this.

A glass 3/4 full of Crème de Menthe topped with Brandy.

An inverse stinger! How could that be good?

It's actually kind of nice, in a peppermint life-saver kind of way. Cooling. Not to mention quite attractive visually.

I can only imagine it would be significantly spiffier with the legendary dry French Crème de Menthe, Get.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#14 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:28 AM

I can only imagine it would be significantly spiffier with the legendary dry French Crème de Menthe, Get.

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Since you brought it up, does anyone know if this stuff is imported?

-Andy
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#15 eje

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:56 AM

No, I don't think Get is imported.

I have some friends with French connections and am trying to find out if they know anyone who'd be willing to send me some Noyau de Poissy (or Noyau de Vernon). Maybe I should ask about Get, as well.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#16 eje

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:58 AM

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Dinah Cocktail

First put 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh mint (1 sprig) in the shaker and bruise them lightly against the sides of the shaker by stirring with a silver spoon. Pour into the shaker 3 glasses of Whisky (2 oz W.L. Weller 12 Year) and let it stand for some minutes. Add 3 glasses of sweetened Lemon Juice (Juice 1/2 Lemon, 1 teaspoon Caster Sugar) and some (cracked) ice. Shake very carefully and for longer than usual. Serve with a mint leaf standing in each glass.

Is "sweetened Lemon Juice" sour mix? Or lemonade?

I decided to make this basically as a whisk(e)y sour with mint.

Really, how can you go wrong?

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

#17 eje

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 11:13 AM

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Diplomat Cocktail

1 Dash Maraschino. (Luxardo)
2/3 French Vermouth. (Noilly Prat)
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (Punt e Mes)
(Splash Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Build over ice, stir to chill - eje) Add cherry and squeeze lemon peel on top (and drop in - eje).

As usual, going with the build over cracked ice method for these vermouth heavy cocktails.

I guess, diplomats would have to keep their cool. Not drink too much strong "likker".

Fortunately, I do not have the weight of the world weighing down upon my shoulders, and can feel free to add a splash of Rye Whiskey to this. Significantly improved my diplomatic relations with the world and the cocktail, I must say.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#18 eje

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 09:44 PM

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Dixie Cocktail

1/2 Dry Gin. (Generous 1 oz Beefeater's Gin)
1/4 French Vermouth. (Generous 1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/4 Absinthe. (Generous 1/2 oz Marteau Verte Classique)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

As someone who is fast approaching "Middle Age" I am fascinated by people who manage to re-invent themselves and their careers "later" in life.

Instead of accepting the status quo and "keep on, keepin' on", they find a new enthusiasm, or one that has been with them all along, and turn what was a passion into a business plan.

"Foodie" and eGullet member Steve Sando turned a passion for good ingredients into Racho Gordo. Eric Seed (though, he's a bit younger than the rest of us!) left a career in banking and business to launch Haus Alpenz.

Gwydion Stone is another.

A long time proponent of Absinthe, and founder of The Wormwood Society, has turned his passion for well made Absinthe into a business venture, Gnostalgic Spirits.

This year he launched his first commercial product, Marteau Verte Classique, an Absinthe based on tradition recipes and made in accordance with recipes from the 19th Century. It is currently distilled in Switzerland by the Matter-Luginbühl Distillery who also manufacture the Duplais Absinthes among others.

The interesting thing about the Verte Classique, is that has been specifically designed to be cocktail friendly.

Which brings us back to the "Dixie Cocktail."

Because they can use some of the same botanicals, the combination of Absinthe and Gin is always interesting. Depending on the Gin, sometimes interesting is good and sometimes interesting is bad.

I tried the Marteau on its own, diluted with water, as is traditional. It is a very well balanced Absinthe, with the wormwood flavors in harmony with the other botanicals and the anise more reserved than many other modern style Absinthes.

In the Dixie Cocktail, it was interesting, in that it seemed like the Wormwood was out front in the scent of the cocktail and the other botanicals more expressed in the flavor or later taste sensations. The licorice of the Beefeaters, (a proven Absinthe friendly Gin,) is particularly prominent the flavor. This isn't a cocktail for those who aren't sure if they like Absinthe or Anise.

Sources indicate this cocktail, like the Aviation, came from Hugo Ensslin's 1916 book, "Recipes for Mixed Drinks". I also note a striking similarity to the "Obituary Cocktail" as served at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans.

But, if you enjoy Anise and her friends, raise a Dixie Cocktail in honor of second chances rather than Obituaries.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#19 mbanu

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 06:44 PM

Is "sweetened Lemon Juice" sour mix?  Or lemonade?

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When I hear "sweetened lemon juice" I see a lemon counterpart to Rose's lime. :) Could swing either way, though, depending on how concentrated a person likes their drinks.

#20 eje

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 10:01 AM

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Dixie Whisky Cocktail
(6 People)

To 2 lumps of sugar (Dash Depaz Cane Syrup) add a small teaspoon of Angostura Bitters (Nice Dash of Angostura), another of Lemon Juice (Dash Lemon Juice), 4 glasses of Whisky (2 1/4 oz Weller 12 Year old Bourbon), a small teaspoonful of Curacao (barely a dash of Dash Brizard Orange Curacao) and 2 teaspoonsful of Crème de Menthe (Dash Brizard Crème de Menthe). Add plenty of ice and shake carefully. Serve.

First interesting point of this cocktail is that the portions of the Dixie Whisky are a bit on the larger size. Usually, these 6 person cocktails are a little more than 12 oz of spirits and mixers. This one is over 16 oz.

Ultimately, it is a sort of Whisky Crusta without the sugar rims. Or a "Dinah Cocktail" for those without fresh mint.

Unfortunately, it's not really very good. To me, the main problem with the Dixie Whisky is a clash between the Angostura and the Crème de Menthe. It would be a much tastier cocktail if you left either one of those out.

I also wonder about the Curacao. In such a small amount, it really doesn't add much here, especially up against the intense flavors of the Whisky, Crème de Menthe, lemon, and bitters. Was the pre-prohibition Curacao much more intensely flavored?
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#21 eje

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 09:51 AM

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The Dodge Special Cocktail

1/2 Gin. (generous 1 oz Beefeaters)
1/2 Cointreau or Mint. (Generous 1 oz Cointreau)
1 Dash Grape Juice. (Dash Twin Hill Ranch Grape Juice)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

This is another prohibition era libation from Judge Jr.'s "Here's How".

With Cointreau, this is so awful as to be puzzling. I would describe the flavor as, "orangey and slightly grapey aftershave". The harshness of the Cointreau really stands out. I don't know that mint would be much of an improvement. Maybe. It is an attractive color.

Grape and orange isn't a bad combo, though, so I poured the above down the sink and tried again. 3/4 oz Gin; 3/4 oz Cointreau; 3/4 oz Grape Juice; shake & strain. With a complex and slightly tannic grape juice, like the Twin Hill, this isn't bad at all.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#22 eje

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 01:58 PM

When I was giving Josey Packard my spiel trying to convince her to appear in Savoy topic, it turned out another of the patrons at the bar was a bartender, Mr. Erik Adkins.

Mr. Adkins is the bar manager at The Slanted Door here in San Francisco.

I told him how impressed I was with the bar program at the Slanted Door and he said he reads eGullet. Oh ho!

We exchanged contact info, and I filed him away as someone to contact for participation in the Savoy Topic.

After I finished the last bartender feature, I started mailing around looking for someone to participate next.

Of the people I mailed, Mr. Adkins responded and said he was opening a new bar in Oakland with a classic cocktail menu. Let's meet there!

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Flora is a new restaurant in a beautiful deco building a block away from the 19th Street BART station in Oakland. When Mr. Adkins and I met up early Friday evening, it had been open for exactly 6 days! The cocktail menu is composed of about a dozen pre-prohibition classics and a few original cocktails.

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ERIK ADKINS BIO:

Erik is the bar manager at the Slanted Door in San Francisco.  He is also working as a bar consultant for Flora, a cocktail bar in a vintage deco building in downtown Oakland.


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Doctor Cocktail

1/3 Lemon Juice or Lime Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
2/3 Swedish Punch. (1 1/2 oz Carlshamm's Flagg Punsch)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I continue my Swedish Punsch evangelizing, toting the Carlshamm's Flagg Punsch a friend smuggled back from Sweden from bar to bar.

This is a pretty rich cocktail, modernizing would probably be a matter of slightly drying it out with a decent white rum, say 1 oz Flagg Punsch, 1/2 oz rum.

Erik Adkins' comments:

dr. cocktail was good.  not subtle or complex but that exotic arrack flavor came through without too much of the 'agricole rhum' harshness that the 100 proof arrack delivers.


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Dolly O’Dare Cocktail

6 Dashes Apricot Brandy. (1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

For this one, we tried two variables. Tanqueray 10 Gin, Plymouth Gin, Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot, and Haus Alpenz Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie.

For my money, the Tanqueray 10 and Orchard Apricot was the most enjoyable. Others preferred the drier, more martini-esque nature, of the Plymouth and the Eau-de-Vie. Interestingly, the other two, the Plymouth/liqueur and Tanqueray/Eau-de-Vie fared the worst. An interesting illustration of how relatively minor tweaks such as the brand and character of gin can have a big impact.

Erik Adkins' Comments:

the dolly o dare!  great name and a good drink.  i made one for gus, an alembic regular and one of the soms at the slanted door, and he loved it.  i agree with you that the tanq 10 with the apricot liquor worked the best.  although the 10 with the eau-de-vie wasn't bad either.  the liquor gave the drink some needed body and the orange peel lent a lot too.  the alpine complexity of the gin , with a hint of richness from the apricot, with the dry vermouth finish worked for me.  a nice light aperitif style cocktail.


Q: What are the biggest challenges to presenting classic cocktails to modern audiences?

one of the big challenges with selling classic cocktails is getting people to take the first sip of something new.  most people have only had gin in tepid overly large martinis and maybe a gin and tonic from a syrupy soda gun.  and almost no one knows that vermouth is delicious.  if they have ever had more than a few drops in a drink it has almost surely been oxidized.  sadly the more drinks that i put on the list at the slanted door with gin, cognac, whiskey or rum the more people order  the 'safe drinks'.  as bartenders we are being forced to be subversive to sell good drinks.  i've been quietly pouring 4 to 1 martinis and gin drinkers love them.  there's nothing greater than watching a group of young ladies drinking clover clubs because you don't carry midori.


Finally, Mr. Adkins was kind enough to send along one of the drinks he created for Flora:

carter beats the devil

2 oz el tesoro reposado
1 oz lime
1/2 oz organic agave nectar (rainbow bulk)
1/2 oz del maguey minero mescal
20 drops (eye dropper) of chile tincture

served up

chile tincture:  fill a jar with de-stemmed intact thai chilles and cover with wray & nephew overproof for two weeks.

carter was a 1920s era magician from oakland.  his biography is entitled carter beats the devil.


The magician aspect seems particularly apt.

Flora had been open only 6 days before I was in to meet up with Mr. Adkins and had only received their liquor license the day before. I was there early in the evening, and was fascinated to watch as experienced bartenders tried to transform the awkwardness of unfamiliarity into the graceful dance of professional bar service. I don't know if they quite succeeded that night, but, I have no doubt that, within the month, patrons will be startled as magically re-animated suits of armor crash up to the bar to enjoy one of Flora's well made Martinis and bartenders offer them bunches of flowers pulled from their sleeves.

Edited by eje, 22 November 2007 - 12:19 AM.

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

#23 eje

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 01:09 PM

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Douglas Cocktail.

1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2/3 Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake (stir - eje) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange and lemon peel on top.

Finally tracked down some tovolo silicon ice cube molds and experimented with them. I think 1 1/2 inch or so cubes. I can see how these would be of benefit for shaken cocktails, as they don't shatter like regular automatic freezer ice. I think the IKEA ones are even larger, aren't they?

In any case, they are much harder to break than the regular cubes because of their size. So for cracked ice, I guess I'll stick with regular automatic ice for the time being.

The Douglas Cocktail is a perfectly fine dry Martini variation. I have to admit I miss the orange bitters, Absinthe, Italian Vermouth, etc. of the many other Martini variations, so dunno if it would go on the short list.

Also, boy, martinis without garnishes are tough to make exciting looking or even get the camera to focus on. Guess I should have left the twists in the drink!
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Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#24 eje

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 10:21 PM

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Dream Cocktail

1/3 Curacao. (3/4 oz Cointreau)
2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac)
1 Dash Absinthe. (Dash Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)

Shake (Stir - eje) well and strain into cocktail glass.

I'd read this recipe yesterday, and made it from memory. Ended up Accidentally subbing Cointreau in for Curacao. It is already plenty sweet, so I'm not sure I entirely regret the accident.

I've made so many Gin cocktails with Absinthe, it's very interesting to see how it reacts to the Brandy. With Gin the synergy is almost always around the anise flavors of the Absinthe and Gin. With Brandy, different flavors come out. I'd call this a a very flowery cocktail. It reminds me of orange blossoms.

However, in the absence of any other mitigating elements, the combination of Brandy and Cointreau is a little harsh. I would guess Grand Marnier or Curacao with the Brandy would be a bit smoother.
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Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#25 Chris Amirault

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 10:35 PM

Yeah, the brandy and absinthe combo is interesting, I think. Substitute lemon for half of that brandy and you've got a Nicky Finn, doing similar things with that combo but a heck of a lot less sweet than this sweet Dream.
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#26 eje

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 10:59 AM

Well, sweetness is always relative.

I think my tastes are being permanently skewed by Savoy Cocktails.

In any case, as with many Savoy Cocktails of this sort, small and very cold are the keys to enjoying it.

If you made this cocktail at 3 oz or larger, with the chance to significantly warm in the glass it would get cloying.

However, at around 2 1/4 ounces, stirred well with very cold cracked ice, it isn't bad at all.

But, you know, it's probably less sweet than most soft drinks or many modern cocktails (Margarita, Daiquiri, vodka and red bull, Jaeger bomb, Irish Car Bomb, etc.) as served in mainstream American bars and significantly more sophisticated.
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Erik Ellestad
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Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#27 eje

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:54 AM

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Dry Martini Cocktail

1/2 French Vermouth. (Generous 1 oz Dolin French Vermouth)
1/2 Gin. (Generous 1 oz Junipero Gin)
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash Fee's Orange Bitters, 1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters)

Shake (Stir - eje) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze lemon peel over glass.)


As always, it's fun to give a classic a spin with a new ingredient.

I've wanted to try Dolin Vermouth since hearing about it at a cocktail seminar at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar a couple years ago. Finally found some at a local liquor store. It's quite tasty in a different way from the Vya Vermouth. It seems to use a dry white wine base closer to the Noilly Prat Dry in body and flavor, but is pumped up in the herbs and bitterness department. Further experimentation is assuredly required!

This is definitely one of the better "Fifty-Fifty" Dry Martini type combinations I've tried in recent memory. Quite possibly in the top 5 all time, at least to my current taste.
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Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#28 eje

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 10:18 AM

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Du Barry Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
2 Dashes Absinthe. (Marteau Verte Classic)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2/3 Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Add slice of orange.

Close, but no cigar?

If I hadn't made my version of the Fourth Degree Cocktail recently, I would probably enjoy this more. It's OK. But, splitting the vermouth between sweet and dry is waaaaaay better, at least to my taste. Though, I should try it with my spiffy new Dolin Vermouth. It's possible, my Noilly Dry was getting a bit tired.

Googling DuBarry, one of the first things that comes up is Marie-Jeanne, Comtesse du Barry, professional courtesan and royal mistress to Louis XV.

Executed during the French Revolution, her last words to the executioner were reported to be, "Encore un moment, monsieur le bourreau, un petit moment," ("Just a moment, executioner, just a brief moment").

Even though I enjoyed the Fourth Degree a bit more, there are certainly worse ways to pass the time while waiting for the executioner, than the Du Barry Cocktail.
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Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#29 Chris Amirault

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 11:01 AM

Seems like you need to invent The Perfect, Albeit Brief, Moment Cocktail, Erik.
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#30 eje

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 11:52 AM

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Dubonnet Cocktail

1/2 Dubonnet. (Generous 1 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
1/2 Dry Gin. (Generous 1 oz Tanqueray)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

A fine, if somewhat plain, cocktail.

I can't really think of anything to say about it other than that.

I've read the Dubonnet they have in Canada and Europe is different from the Dubonnet we get here, so perhaps this is a more interesting cocktail elsewhere.
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Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA