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eje

Stomping Through the "Savoy" (2006–2007)

610 posts in this topic

In the Savoy era, there are a lot of cocktails that are fairly similar but have different names. Back then, there was no calling something a "Perfect Scotch Manhattan" or a "Perfect Rob Roy" or a "Calvados Sidecar" or whatever. These would (and did) all have different and unique names. Calvados, Cointreau and lemon at 2:1:1 was called the Royal Jubilee, for example.

If the proportions changed enough to fundamentally change the taste of the cocktail, it would often have a different name. Thus, in Savoy we have the Allen (Special) Cocktail, consisting of 2/3 Plymouth gin, 1/3 maraschino and 1 dash of lemon juice, and the Aviation Cocktail, consisting of 2/3 dry gin, 1/3 lemon juice and 2 dashes maraschino.

Sometimes just the addition of bitters created a change of name. For example, the Astoria Cocktail is 2/3 gin, 1/3 French vermouth and 1 dash of orange bitters, while the Martini (Dry) Cocktail is 2/3 dry gin and 1/3 French vermouth. And the Hoffman House Cocktail is 2/3 Plymouth gin, 1/3 French vermouth and 2 dashes of orange bitters.

The last cocktail above is illustrative of the understanding that, with fairly elemental combinations such as gin-and-French-vermouth, even a change in the base spirit is sometimes enough to make a completely different cocktail.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Thanks, I think I first asked about the "Allen" in the Maraschino thread when I noticed the similarities between it and the "Aviation" and was actually going to ask about the "Hoffman House" when I spotted a receipt for it in a book I recently purchased and noticed its similarities to what most of us make as a martini. Such name changes make sense I suppose but will drive bar tenders nuts, "No! I did not ask for an "Affinity"! I asked for a perfect Rob Roy w/ equal parts of vermouths and Scotch!" (I once had a customer become angry when I presented a perfect Scotch Manhattan and called it a "Rob Roy" claiming he did not want a "Rob Roy" and would I please bring him what he wanted.)


in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Not that the Savoy is consistent or anything.

Take the After Dinner and After Dinner (Special).

After Dinner

1/2 Cherry Brandy (1 oz Massenez Creme de Griotte)

1/2 Prunelle Brandy (1 oz homemade prune plum liqueur)

4 dashes lemon juice

Shake well and strain into a sherry glass.

After Dinner (Special)

1/2 Apricot Brandy (1 oz Vedrenne Liqueur de Abricot)

1/2 Curacao (1 oz Gran Gala Orange liqueur)

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

gallery_27569_3038_12375.jpg

Same name, and almost nothing to do with one another. Both are very sweet. I guess not so bad as a sort of port substitute or alcoholic liquid lolipop. Certainly, 3 oz is about the right size for these cocktails. The lemon in the After Dinner makes it a bit nicer for me.


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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And then to add to the confusion there is the After Supper.

After Supper

1/2 Apricot Brandy (1 oz Vedrenne Liqueur de Abricot)

1/2 Curacao (1 oz Rhum Clément Liqueur Creole Shrubb)

4 dashes Lemon Juice

gallery_27569_3038_18972.jpg

OK, this is still really sweet; but, it is also really tasty.

Of the three "After..." cocktails, this is my favorite formulation. Yum!

BTW, Some recipes for the "After..." cocktail with Cherry Brandy, use Swedish Punsch instead of Prunelle. Also, In my edition of Duffy's "Official Mixer's Manual", the Cherry Brandy and Punsch version is the "After Dinner (Special)" and the half apricot half Curacao is the "After Dinner". Sheesh, how confusing is that?

edit - post-absinthe mistakes corrected.


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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Absinthe Drip Cocktail

1 liqueur glass absinthe

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

gallery_27569_3038_17670.jpg

So, here we have three competitors, from left to right, Absinthe Verte de Fougerolles, Henri Bardouin Pastis, and an Arak. I didn't add sugar to the Bardouin or the Arak.

Sadly, I tasted the Absinthe Verte first. Totally blew out my taste buds.

Bardouin tasted like candy and the Arak tasted like anise scented water.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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gallery_27569_3038_778.jpg

Absinthe Cocktail

1/2 Absinthe (1 1/2 oz Absinthe Verte de Fougerolles)

1/2 Water (1 1/2 oz Water)

1 dash Syrup (Rich Simple Syrup)

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Absinthe (Special) Cocktail

2/3 Absinthe (1 oz Absinthe Vert de Fougerolles)

1/6 Gin (1/4 oz Beefeater Gin)

1/6 Syrup of Anisette or Gomme Syrup (barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)

1 dash Orange Bitters

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Instructions for both are, "Shake Well and Strain into a Cocktail Glass".

The Special is on the left.

With the real Absinthe I preferred the plain Absinthe Cocktail to the Special. It is pretty much just really cold Absinthe, though. With Bardouin Pastis, I preferred the Special.

Woo! Finally finished the first two pages! Off to Alaska to Allies next, with a possible detour to Nome.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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This is the edition of the Savoy, I am working from.

gallery_27569_3038_8953.jpg

It's a very handsome book, with color illustrations like the following on most pages. Often the illustrations will mirror one of the recipes on the page. For example, there is a plane on the two pages which contain the Aviation.

gallery_27569_3038_2247.jpg

The recipes/receipts are from The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London. Harry Craddock, an expat American, was the head bartender when the book was first published in 1930.

It is my understanding "The Savoy Cocktail Book" was one of the first cocktail books published in the US after the repeal of prohibition and thus holds an influential place in the history of the American Bar.

The current edition is a reproduction of the edition which was published in the 60s. In that edition, they changed the recipes/receipts from using 10ths as a standard unit of measurement to a fractional notation based on halves, thirds, quarters, etc.

If anyone knows more about the history of the book or Mr. Craddock, it would be great to hear.

A FEW HINTS FOR THE YOUNG MIXER

1.  Ice is nearly always an absolute essential for any Cocktail.

2.  Never use the same ice twice.

3.  Remember that the ingredients mix better in a shaker rather larger than is necessary to contain them.

4.  Shake the shaker hard as you can : don't just rock it : you are trying to wake it up, not send it to sleep!

5.  If possible, ice your glasses before using them.

6.  Drink your Cocktail as soon as possible.  Harry Craddock was once asked what was the best way to drink a Cocktail : "Quickly," replied that great man, "while it is laughing at you!"


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Affinity

1/3 French Vermouth

1/3 Italian Vermouth

1/3 Scotch

2 dashes Angostura bitters

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

gallery_27569_3038_20942.jpg

I did remember to stir this one to chill, and a fine, fine cocktail it is.  I'm not normally a big scotch guy, but, here it is quite nice.  With the vermouth and bitters both tempering and accenting the briny and savory notes of the whisky.

This is a fine cocktail - we've been making more and more cocktails at home over the past two years (it's amazing what a difference a jigger makes - it seemed a fairly useless housewarming gift at the time). Anyways - the scotch of choice was Te Bheag which is a nice blend, both vermouths from martini rossi, angostura, stirred and strained and WOW - more than anything in recent memory, this drink defines balance, you taste everything individually and collectively. I'm loving the refined character of many of these Savoy cocktails you're posting up, keep at it.


"There never was an apple, according to Adam, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it"

-Neil Gaiman

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Thanks for the encouragement evilhomer!

I agree, the Affinity is a real winner, even not really being a scotch fancier.

The next up is the Alaska Cocktail.

gallery_27569_3038_6995.jpg

3/4 Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeaters)

1/4 Yellow chartreuse (3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse)

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

So far as can be ascertained this delectable potion is NOT the staple diet of the Esquimaux.  It was probably first thought of in South Carolina -- hence its name

Sadly, you will note that I got the proportions somewhat wrong.

The side trip on this journey was what David Embury called the "Nome". Whose proportions are dictated by, "It can be greatly improved by using less chartreuse and adding 1 to 2 parts dry sherry. This is the NOME."

2/3 gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeaters)

1/6 Yellow Chartreuse

1/6 Dry Sherry

Stir.

In any case, especially after adding some optional orange bitters per cocktaildb, we preferred the original badly measured formulation and didn't find Embury's embelishment an improvement. Though, I do think this drink should be properly made by stirring, not shaking.


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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I agree with you on the stirring vs. shaking. I have always believed that a drink should be shaken only if it has citrus generally. Surely there are exceptions, but for me citrus = shake. no citrus = stir.

john


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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The next up is the Alaska Cocktail.

3/4 Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeaters)

1/4 Yellow chartreuse (3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse)

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

Sadly, you will note that I got the proportions somewhat wrong.

We tried this based upon the recipe in Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide. It called for

1/1/2 oz gin

1/2 oz yellow Chartreuse

2 dashes orange bitters

Stir with cracked ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass; twist lemon peel over top and serve.

The Chartreuse overwhelmed the drink and we put a little note next to the recipe so we wouldn't bother making it again.


KathyM

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[...]

The Chartreuse overwhelmed the drink and we put a little note next to the recipe so we wouldn't bother making it again.

Really? Especially after adding the bitters, we found it a pleasant drink, even made with more Yellow Chartreuse than the Trader Vic's recipe. Herbaceous and just a touch sweet. Certainly, the Chartreuse is the dominant element.

I will try a drier version of the Nome some time (1 1/2 oz gin, 1/4 oz chartreuse, 1/4 oz dry sherry) and see if it is more to my liking.

I think Embury's version of the Alaska is even drier than that. I'll have to look when I get home. His method of measuring by "parts" gives me even bigger headaches than the fractions the Savoy uses.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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The choice of gin might have played a part in our reaction to the Alaska. We used Plymouth. Maybe a more junipery gin would be a better choice. The Beefeaters probably balanced the drink better than Plymouth.


KathyM

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Affinity

1/3 French Vermouth

1/3 Italian Vermouth

1/3 Scotch

2 dashes Angostura bitters

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

I did remember to stir this one to chill, and a fine, fine cocktail it is.  I'm not normally a big scotch guy, but, here it is quite nice.  With the vermouth and bitters both tempering and accenting the briny and savory notes of the whisky.

This is a fine cocktail - we've been making more and more cocktails at home over the past two years (it's amazing what a difference a jigger makes - it seemed a fairly useless housewarming gift at the time). Anyways - the scotch of choice was Te Bheag which is a nice blend, both vermouths from martini rossi, angostura, stirred and strained and WOW - more than anything in recent memory, this drink defines balance, you taste everything individually and collectively. I'm loving the refined character of many of these Savoy cocktails you're posting up, keep at it.

I just tried this and agree completely -- it's the best Scotch cocktail I've ever tried, very well balanced. It'll definitely go into my rotation.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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Embury's recipe for the Alaska is one part yellow chartreuse to 5-7 parts gin. Basically the same ratio as his "ideal" martini. That's too much fuzzy math for me to do the ounce conversion. A little more than a Quarter ounce chartreuse to 2 oz gin, maybe?

The next cocktail is the first of what I'll call the "party" cocktails. I guess these are designed to be made in quantity and drunk with a group of guests. This one seems to be a dessert cocktail. Most of these use the "glass" measure. I'm going with 2 oz per glass.

gallery_27569_3038_8184.jpg

Albertine Cocktail (Six People)

2 glasses Kirsch (1 oz kirsch)

2 glasses Cointreau (1 oz Cointreau)

2 glasses Chartreuse (1 oz Yellow Chartreuse, per cocktaildb)

A few drops Maraschino

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Fortunately, this one was easy to quarter. And I think the size is about right for 3 as an after dinner cocktail. Complex and more palatable than I imagined. Still very sweet! I found it much improved with a squeeze of orange peel over the top.


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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Though, after the addition of the squeeze of orange peel to the Albertine, my wife compared the flavor to that of a chewable vitamin. YMMV.

I wonder if it should be green chartreuse? That would make it awfully high test, for an after dinner cocktail and also push the flavor far more in the herbaceous direction.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I would say that any recipe calling for simply "Chartreuse" is talking about the green variety.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I would say that any recipe calling for simply "Chartreuse" is talking about the green variety.

Sam,

That was my initial thought, too. However, when I looked for Albertine recipes which actually specified, the ones I found called for the yellow variety, so I went with that. I've since found a couple versions that call for the green.

I dunno if it seems appealing enough to try it again with the green. Maybe if I replaced some of the volume of liqueur with vodka.


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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gallery_27569_3038_7109.jpg

Alexander Cocktail (No. 2)

1/3 Creme de Cacao (1/2 oz)

1/3 Brandy (1 oz)

1/3 Fresh Cream (1/2 oz)

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

I accidentally made the brandy version of the cocktail with the proportions of the (Gin) Alexander Cocktail (No. 1).

I don't mind this version, actually. Brandy-choco-licious. There's no way to get around the fact that it is a fairly sweet drink, but shaking it really well gives it a nice light foamy texture. I think original proportions above would be a little too sweet for me.

In any case, I'm off for a little vacation in the Brandy Belt, so I thought I'd do this version first. I do seem to recall the Brandy Alexander being a blended or ice cream drink when I was growing up in the midwest, though.


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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Until today, it's really been too hot to countenance either of these Cocktails. Fortunately or unfortunately, the fog has finally rolled back in tonight and Alexander gets his day in the sun.

gallery_27569_3038_78.jpg

Alexander Cocktail (No. 1)

1/2 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater's Gin)

1/4 Creme de Cacao

1/4 Sweet Cream

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

gallery_27569_3038_3282.jpg

Alexander's Sister Cocktail

1/3 Dry Gin (1 oz Beefeater's Gin)

1/3 Creme de Menthe

1/3 Sweet Cream

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Ladies are advised to avoid this cocktail as often as possible

Well, and anyone else for that matter. I was really dreading the Alexander Cocktails, and I have to say I didn't enjoy them all that much. I liked No. 2 the best. Garnished with a light sprinkling of cacao powder, No. 1 wasn't too bad. However, I can't really imagine ordering any of them at any point in the near future. Still, I did find them inspiring enough to think up my own variation. Still needs a bit of tweaking; but, it's not bad in an, "ooops, I just drank the Christmas Potpourri," kind of way.

Alexander's Jamaican Cousin

1/2 Flavorful Rum

1/4 Pimento Dram (Allspice liqueur)

1/4 Sweet Cream


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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Quite a project you've undertaken, here. I have no intention of joining you, but I'll try to keep an eye on your reports. A couple tips:

The Savoy is one of the most prominent, early examples of "shovelware" cocktail books. These recipes are seldom fine-tuned or refined. It's quantity, not quality. The point was to produce a big cocktail recipe book for the English market, and the bulk of the book is recipes copied wholesale (accurately or not--for example, the Aviation recipe in Craddock omits the violet liqueur that made the original drink both more interesting and also gave it a hue that was more pertinent to its name) from an assortment of other sources Craddock had from his pre-prohibition days in the USA. Bottom line:

- many recipes are essentially identical except for name or some trivial detail

- many of these recipes will be terrible if you make them verbatim

- many will be terrible no matter what you try

- many can become sublime if carefully balanced; experiment

Absinthe cocktails: all the qualifiers above apply doubly to the absinthe-intensive cocktails in Craddock. I suggest you order a bottle of Absinthe Edouard from Jade Liqueurs. I doubt you will regret it. I do not recommend any Czech absinthe. I do not recommend "La Fee Vert" brand absinthe. Should you become entranced with the Edouard, I recommend you talk to the Wormwood Society. I recommend not adding sweeteners to absinthe drinks (or absinthe itself) until you've verified it's needed. Absinthe is a liqueur, and the good stuff is already pretty sweet. If you have a crazy sweet tooth (like many 19th Century French apparently did) sweeten to taste. Also note that many recipes published in the 20th Century really mean "pastis" when they say "absinthe". It's always nice to have the real thing, although it won't often make or break a drink. Of all pastis, I recommend Herbsaint and 51 most highly.

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Quite a project you've undertaken, here. I have no intention of joining you, but I'll try to keep an eye on your reports. A couple tips:

[...]

Martin,

Thanks for the suggestions and input!

Yes, it is a daunting task. I believe there are something like 750 recipes/receipts in the book. At least it isn't 1001 Cocktails or similar!

For the aromatic or sour based cocktails, I do try to do a bit of cross checking about the recipes before making them, then tweak them a time or two if they don't pass muster. On the other hand, if they are dessert cocktails, (which don't really appeal to me,) like the Alexanders, I just make them as written.

The Jade Absinthes were a bit pricey for me to justify as a first purchase. However, I wanted to get a full proof Absinthe, so went with the Verte de Fougerolles. I'm enjoying it and am glad I got a "real" Absinthe to play with.

BTW, I convinced some visiting friends to tote some Liqueur de Violette for me and will definitely be comparing Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Aviation recipe (Wondrich) with the one in the Savoy.

edit spelling and grammar.


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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gallery_27569_3038_2314.jpg

The Alfonso Cocktail

Put 1 lump of sugar in a medium sized wine-glass, 2 dashes of Secrestat Bitter poured on to the sugar, 1 lump of ice, 1/4 of a glass of dubonnet, fill remainder with Champagne, squeeze lemon peel on top and stir slightly.

I substituted Angostura for the defunct Secrestat bitters. If anyone knows of a more appropriate substitution, let me know.

Both my wife and I quite enjoyed this cocktail. It's a light aromatic aperitif and the champagne makes it a bit festive. Be quite nice for the opening salvo to accompany appetizers at a dinner party.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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gallery_27569_3038_12610.jpg

Alfonso (Special) Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters (generous)

4 Dashes Italian Vermouth (2 teaspoons)

1/4 Dry Gin (3/4 oz Beefeaters)

1/4 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Pratt)

1/2 Grand Marnier (1 1/2 oz Gran Gala)

Shake well (I stirred, instead. - eje) and strain into a cocktail glass.

---

I'm not sure what the Alfonso (Special) has to do with the preceding Alfonso, as it is, more or less, a Satan's Whiskers Cocktail with inverted proportions. It is nice looking; but, I didn't find it all that interesting. By the time I got to the bottom, I was tired of it.


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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gallery_27569_3038_18024.jpg

Alice Mine Cocktail

1/2 Italian Vermouth (1 oz Cinzano Rosso)

1/2 Russian Kummel (1 oz Linie Aquavit, 1 barpoon rich simple syrup)

2 Dashes Scotch Whiskey (1 barspoon Compass Box Asyla)

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

---

When I was researching this one, I came across some oddities. First, the recipe is often given as using the exact same ingredients as the preceding Alfonso (Special). I found this to be the case in Duffy's "Official Mixer's Manual". In other cases, it is just a Rob Roy with slightly different proportions.

While I don't know how close I am to replicating kummel by mixing Aquavit with rich simple syrup, it's too bad this version of the Alice Mine appears to be the least common. Where I regretted making the Alfonso Special so large, I regretted making this one so small. The vermouth, caraway, and scotch are a complex and amazing combination.

edit - BTW, I wasn't sure what to garnish this one with. After trying it, floating a thin slice of cucumber might be nice. I think I'd stay away from citrus.


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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