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eje

Stomping Through the "Savoy" (2007–2008)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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 (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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!"

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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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.

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 (log)

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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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[...]

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

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.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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 (log)

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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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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.

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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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.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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.

Just speculating as I've never tried this drink, but would a white wine with pronounced citrus flavours (for example a Reisling) be the perfect wine for this drink?

Odd drink though, must be said. :smile:


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Modder River Cocktail

1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)

1/4 Caperitif. (1/2 oz St. Raphael Gold)

1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz North Shore Distiller's No. 11)

(dash Angostura Orange Bitters)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze orange peel over glass and discard.)

An enjoyable, if a bit odd combination.

Still no real idea what sort of "Aperitif" Caperitif was, so continuing to experiment with various aperitif wines.

St. Raphael Gold is growing on me. It does really remind me of Sherry, so it is a good contrast here to the Dry Vermouth.

With Daylight savings time ending today, this may be the last natural light photo for a while. Or maybe tonight, if I get a chance to make a few cocktails.

edit- Forgot the orange bitters I put in the drink.


Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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By the way, the Modder River is a river in South Africa that forms part of the border between the Northern Cape and the Free State provinces.

It was, apparently, also the site of one of the rather famous battles during the Boer war.

Battle of Modder River

British tactics, little changed from the Crimea, used at Modder River, Magersfontein, Colenso and Spion Kop were incapable of winning battles against entrenched troops armed with modern magazine rifles. Every British commander made the same mistake; Buller; Methuen, Roberts and Kitchener. When General Kelly-Kenny attempted to winkle Cronje’s commandoes out of their riverside entrenchments at Paardeburg using his artillery, Kitchener intervened and insisted on a battle of infantry assaults; with the same disastrous consequences as Colenso, Modder River, Magersfontein and Spion Kop.

Not a great day for the British...


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Moll Cocktail

(6 People)

2 Glasses Gin. (3/4 oz Plymouth Gin)

2 Glasses Sloe Gin. (3/4 oz Lindesfarne Sloe Gin)

2 Glasses French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)

Add a few drops of Orange Bitters (1 drop Angostura Orange Bitters) and sugar (dash Depaz Cane Syrup) to taste.

Shake (stir?) and serve in cocktail glasses.

Vermouth, strangely, seemed to be the dominant element in the Moll cocktail.

A perfectly fine, if a bit dull, cocktail.


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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Monkey Gland Cocktail

3 Dashes Absinthe. (1 teaspoon Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)

3 Dashes Grenadine. (2 teaspoons Homemade Grenadine)

1/3 Orange Juice. (1 1/2 oz Orange Juice)

2/3 Dry Gin. (3 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

According to Robert Vermeire, "This cocktail is very popular in Deauville and London. Harry McElhone, the well-known bartender of Ciro’s Club, invented it."

Here is Mr. McElhone's version from "Barflies and Cocktails": 1 dash of Absinthe; 1 teaspoonful of Grenadine; ½ Orange Juice; ½ Gordon Gin.

He also notes, "Invented by the Author, and deriving its name from Voronoff’s experiments in rejuvenation."

Voronoff's's "experiments in rejuvenation" allegedly refers to therapeutically implanting monkey, uh, parts.

Some details from the wikpedia article:

In his book Rejuvenation by Grafting (1925), Voronoff describes what he believes are some of the potential effects of his surgery. While "not an aphrodisiac", he admits the sex drive may be improved. Other possible effects include better memory, the ability to work longer hours, the potential for no longer needing glasses (due to improvement of muscles around the eye), and the prolonging of life. Voronoff also speculates that the grafting surgery might be beneficial to sufferers of "dementia praecox", the mental illness known today as schizophrenia.

In the 1930s, thousands of people took this treatment, but by the 1940s it had fallen out of favor as scientific studies failed to show any benefit, beyond the placebo effect, to Voronoff's treatments.

Anyway, made a double batch of Monkey Glands thinking Mrs. eje or the house guests would enjoy them. However, aside from me, no one seemed particularly taken with the cocktail.


Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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However, aside from me, no one seemed particularly taken with the cocktail.

Really?! It's one of Mrs. slkinsey's all-time favorites (although we follow the McElhone formulation). Fresh-squeezed OJ is a must.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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However, aside from me, no one seemed particularly taken with the cocktail.

Really?! It's one of Mrs. slkinsey's all-time favorites (although we follow the McElhone formulation). Fresh-squeezed OJ is a must.

I've always made this with blood oranges, and find that their flavor works particularly well, in addition to the lovely color.

This also one of the few pre-Prohibition cocktails that like just as much, and sometimes prefer, with Pernod instead of Absinthe. Or, if going with Absinthe, for my palate the sweeter, more anise forward Kubler works better than the Verte de Fougerolles.

Blood oranges should be coming into season soon. Give this another try, perhaps, so all those poor monkeys need not have died in vain?


"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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I like this drink, although I wouldn't put it on my list of favorites and I can understand why it divides people...large quantities of oj mixed with gin can sometimes highlight the peculiar qualities that non gin lovers find objectionable. OJ and anise is also, I think, something that is going to taste odd to a novice palate. Odd flavors are a funny thing, people either really like them or really don't care for them. I think the Monkey Gland is a good example of this.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Well, I was more or less following the Savoy recipe, so perhaps over did it a bit on the Absinthe. McElhone's 1 dash per cocktail may be more sensible than the 3 dashes the Savoy Cocktail Book calls for.

Verte de Fougerolles is a pretty intense flavorant. More than once I've discovered I've added too much to a cocktail when I thought I was being conservative. I don't usually mind the flavor, but those less fond of Absinthe may.

Just to be a stickler, I'm not sure that the Monkey Gland was exactly a "Pre-Prohibition" cocktail. Voronoff's experiments were in vogue during the 1920s and 1930s. According to wikipedia, his first transplant of a Monkey Gland into a human took place in 1920.

McElhone was at Ciro's in London prior to taking over Harry's American Bar in Paris in 1923. So, probably, this cocktail was invented, or at least named, some time between 1920 and 1923.

Given that timing, odds are this cocktail was probably made with the newly available* Wormwood free Pernod.

*From this Coctkailtimes article: Absinthe was banned in 1910 in the Switzerland, 1912 in the US, and 1914 in France. In 1920, France again allowed the production of anise flavored drinks. Pernod's new Wormwood free formulation was one of the first out of the gate.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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However, aside from me, no one seemed particularly taken with the cocktail.

Really?! It's one of Mrs. slkinsey's all-time favorites (although we follow the McElhone formulation). Fresh-squeezed OJ is a must.

I'm with slkinsey, but I hated this one the first time I made it. It really depends what recipe you use. I believe it is Dr. Cocktail's that won me over. Pretty similar to McElhone: 1.5, 1.5, 1 tsp, 1 tsp.

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Well, I was more or less following the Savoy recipe, so perhaps over did it a bit on the Absinthe.  McElhone's 1 dash per cocktail may be more sensible than the 3 dashes the Savoy Cocktail Book calls for.

Or it could be that 1 tsp is far too large a quantity for 3 dashes. I know we've had the dash discussion before, but I think that at the very least Absinthe, with it's powerful flavor and lingering presence, should be measured like bitters, preferably in an emptied bitters bottle, dashed in the same way (for me this means 8 dashes = 1 tsp, more or less). So maybe a scant 1/2 tsp would have been better.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Or it could be that 1 tsp is far too large a quantity for 3 dashes. I know we've had the dash discussion before, but I think that at the very least Absinthe, with it's powerful flavor and lingering presence, should be measured like bitters, preferably in an emptied bitters bottle, dashed in the same way (for me this means 8 dashes = 1 tsp, more or less). So maybe a scant 1/2 tsp would have been better.

Well, I was making two drinks, so it would have been about a half teaspoon for 3 dashes per drink.

I do take your point, however about Absinthe in bitters bottles. Keep meaning to fill one with Absinthe the next time I finish a bottle of bitters.

I do also really Verte de Fougerolles is a bit more touchy to mix with than Kubler or Lucid.

Still, I found the cocktail perfectly acceptable and enjoyable.

It was just the Mrs. and the house guests who weren't so fond of it.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Or it could be that 1 tsp is far too large a quantity for 3 dashes. I know we've had the dash discussion before, but I think that at the very least Absinthe, with it's powerful flavor and lingering presence, should be measured like bitters, preferably in an emptied bitters bottle, dashed in the same way (for me this means 8 dashes = 1 tsp, more or less). So maybe a scant 1/2 tsp would have been better.

Well, I was making two drinks, so it would have been about a half teaspoon for 3 dashes per drink.

I do take your point, however about Absinthe in bitters bottles. Keep meaning to fill one with Absinthe the next time I finish a bottle of bitters.

I do also really Verte de Fougerolles is a bit more touchy to mix with than Kubler or Lucid.

Still, I found the cocktail perfectly acceptable and enjoyable.

It was just the Mrs. and the house guests who weren't so fond of it.

I haven't had the VdF or Kubler, but I do my at-home mixing with Jade Edouard, which people say is fairly potent, flavor-wise. I like Absinthe, so adding too much doesn't bother me but yeah I'm kind of glad that the Lucid we have at work is more mild/forgiving.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Eje,

Have you figured out what it cost you to accumulate the ingredients to make all the drinks in the book? That's got to be some rack of bottles (some more esoteric than others--I imagine a fair number weren't that easy to find)!


Carlo A. Balistrieri

The Gardens at Turtle Point

Tuxedo Park, NY

BotanicalGardening.com and its BG Blog

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