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drago

Brandy Cocktails Paris in the 1920s - what is the recipe?

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I was rereading George Orwell's Down and out in Paris in London, when I found this passage:

Quote

‘You never know when a stroke of luck is coming. Once when I was at the Hotel Royal an American customer sent for me before dinner and ordered twenty-four brandy cocktails. I brought them all together on a tray, in twenty-four glasses. “Now, GUARCON,” said the customer (he was drunk), “I’ll drink twelve and you’ll drink twelve, and if you can walk to the door afterwards you get a hundred francs.” I walked to the door, and he gave me a hundred francs. And every night for six days he did the same thing; twelve brandy cocktails, then a hundred francs. A few months later I heard he had been extradited by the American Government — embezzlement. There is something fine, do you not think, about these Americans?’

What kind of cocktail would this have been? And how much brandy would the waiter have drunk? Any ideas?

The story takes place sometime around the twenties in Paris.

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Harry Craddock was serving a Brandy Cocktail in London at that time--I'd guess that is closer to what Orwell is referring to. In his 1930 recipe book he specs it as 2 dashes curacao in 3/4 wineglass brandy. 

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I am guessing that if the waiter had any sense by the second night he was drinking tea...

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Posted (edited)

The Brandy Cocktail is a true classic which dates back to Jerry Thomas' 1862 bartending guide How To Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant's Companion and beyond. Back then, his recipe included gum syrup and Bogart's bitters as well as the orange liqueur and brandy that Craig E. cited above from Harry Craddock. Here's another recipe quoted from Robert Vermeire's 1922 book Cocktails - How To Mix Them:


 

Quote

 

Brandy Cocktail

 

Fill the bar glass half full of broken ice and add:

 

1 or 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters.
3 dashes of Curacao.
1/2 gill of Brandy. (2 oz)

 

Stir up well, strain into a cocktail-glass, add Olive or cherry, and squeeze lemon peel on top. A little dash of Absinthe improves this cocktail, which is also often made with equal parts of Brandy and French Vermouth. It should be noted that all plain cocktails are made the same way as the Brandy Cocktail. The base liquor can be either Gin, Whisky, Rum, Vermouth, Sherry, etc., and the cocktail is therefore named according to the base liquor.

 

 

 


Edited by BarinaCraft (log)
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Thanks for the replies. So twelve of those would make up a full 7dl bottle of brandy. Impressive :)

 

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