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Stomping Through the "Savoy" (2006–2007)


eje
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I'm actually something of a fan of the Bronx Terrace, though I can see that it's flavor isn't for everyone. It's very dry, with a spare, suave undercurrent that is appealing when I'm not really in the mood for anything else. I save this cocktail for the occasional jaded palate moment, when I just need something different, but a drink that's quiet in the glass and free from the mixological razzle-dazzle that I usually look for in a recipe.

I did a writeup on the Bronx Terrace about a year ago, over here.

It's interesting, there are a few unsweetened citrus cocktails in the Savoy. The Bennett is even more basic, being just Gin, Lime, and bitters. I'll have to give this one a try. Sometimes bracingly tart can be a good thing. (Had a most excellent and bracingly tart Pegu Club Cocktail at Slanted Door on Monday. Too bad that restaurant is so crowded, as the cocktails are worth a stop all on their own.)

In my Duffy/Beard "Official Mixer's Manual" the Bronx Terrace seems to have morphed into something called the "Bronx River", which is Gin, Dry Vermouth, juice of one whole lemon, and a half teaspoon of sugar.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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For what it's worth, Jacques Straub's 1914 Drinks has this one as 50-50 gin and French vermouth (still with the juice of half a lime). I think this works a little better.

Craddock seems to have pinched the 2-1 version from Harry MacElhone.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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For what it's worth, Jacques Straub's 1914 Drinks has this one as 50-50 gin and French vermouth (still with the juice of half a lime). I think this works a little better.

Craddock seems to have pinched the 2-1 version from Harry MacElhone.

All through following this mighty undertaking the question has been in the back of my mind: How big were drink servings back then? This really is more of an issue on drinks like the Bronx Terrace, where ratios and real measurements are combined, which could really affect the sweetness balance and such of a drink if you made it too big or small. I assume that the recipes are presented that way because bars would tend to have a stock of whole fresh citrus on hand rather than pre-squeezing a bunch. Is there anywhere in the Savoy that gives a clue as to what the drink size is supposed to be? I notice that you've been going with about 3 oz of liquid, which I think is fairly typical for drinks served in a bar, though at home I tend to make my drinks somewhat smaller, going with about 2 oz mostly from personal preference, though I've read things that lead me to believe in pre-prohibition times this would have been a more typical serving. If so, this would result in a somewhat different drink (to say nothing of the whole question of how big were the citrus available at the time).

Hopefully someone can shed some light on this.

-Andy

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I've gone back and forth on the size and not really made much of a point of getting bogged down on it.

Then you have to start worrying about the size of lemons, limes, and oranges which have also changed significantly in the last 50 years. Not to mention the proof of the alcohol.

The only cocktails which are consistently volume based are the ones which use measures like "glasses" or "wine glasses".

Allowing that these "glasses" or "wine glasses" are something like 2 oz, I have found the portion size is probably somewhere closer to 2oz than 3oz. That is to say, when I cut the 6 person recipe in half, I end up with 2 large-ish or 3 smallish cocktails.

I think, too, though, that different cocktails may have different portion sizes. Really, no one's going to want to drink much more than a 1 1/2 oz Pousse Cafe or other very sweet dessert cocktail.

The other ones I think should be fairly small are the 100% booze cocktails, like the Bunny Hug or Barton Special. I think we're really talking about something like "shooters" in those cases.

On the other hand, a less than 3 oz Daiquiri or Bacardi Special is just a little sad.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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The only cocktails which are consistently volume based are the ones which use measures like "glasses" or "wine glasses".

Allowing that these "glasses" or "wine glasses" are something like 2 oz, I have found the portion size is probably somewhere closer to 2oz than 3oz.  That is to say, when I cut the 6 person recipe in half, I end up with 2 large-ish or 3 smallish cocktails.

To me a "wineglass" sounds more like 4 oz. In fact, that's how it's marked on my Mix N Measure mixing glass. Has this changed over the years?

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The "wineglass" used to be a standard unit of measure, and it was 2 oz. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, as it fell out of use, some people interpreted it as an actual wine glass, and considered it to be 4 oz.

At the same time, and I'm sure not coincidentally, the 2-oz metal jigger was introduced, and soon became the standard bartender's measure. Around 1900, this got supplemented by the 1 1/2 oz jigger, for cheapskates or lightweights, and even the 1 1/4 oz jigger, which was popular, we are told, in the bars around Wall St, as brokers liked their drinks small, but frequent.

In general, though, it's safe to assume the 2 oz jigger is what is called for in a recipe like Straub's Bronx Terrace, which calls for 1/2 jigger each of gin and vermouth.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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[...]

In general, though, it's safe to assume the 2 oz jigger is what is called for in a recipe like Straub's Bronx Terrace, which calls for 1/2 jigger each of gin and vermouth.

I've been operating on the assumption that the Savoy fractions are based on percentages of the total amount of pre-chill liquid in the cocktail.

Do you think they mean a fraction of a standard measure, (like a 2oz jigger,) instead?

edit - I guess it doesn't really matter, as the fractions always add up to 1. Just a different way to look at it.

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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For what it's worth, Jacques Straub's 1914 Drinks has this one as 50-50 gin and French vermouth (still with the juice of half a lime). I think this works a little better.

Craddock seems to have pinched the 2-1 version from Harry MacElhone.

Gave this a try last night and was not entirely convinced by the 50-50 sugar free version. And, yes, I did dial down the size to a more modest volume. 1 oz vermouth, 1 oz Gin, juice of 1/2 lime.

gallery_27569_3038_28200.jpg

Going to have to get some smaller cocktail glasses.

Need to pick up some more limes so I can give the MacElhone/Craddock ratio a try.

By the way, the Bronx Terrace is a bit similar to the Presidente Vincent Cocktail, which is Rum, Dry Vermouth, Lime, and a touch of simple. Though, the PV does recommend a sugar rim, which I could also see working with the Bronx Terrace.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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gallery_27569_3038_40354.jpg

Brooklyn Cocktail

1 Dash Amer Picon (1/2 barspoon Torani Amer)

1 Dash Maraschino (1/2 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino)

2/3 Canadian Club Whisky (1 1/2 oz 40 Creek Barrel Select)

1/3 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)

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

This seemed a bit flat as written. I've read that Torani Amer is closer to Amer Picon with the addition of some Orange Bitters. A couple drops of Regan's Orange Bitters did perk it up a bit. A squeeze of lemon peel and it really started to sing.

Ahem, of course it might be a bit tastier with, say, Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey or Rittenhouse 100. But, out of deference to the Savoy, I stuck with Canadian.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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The Brooklyn has become one of my favorite cocktails, although I do use a traditional rye like Sazerac or even my Van Winkle. I probably use slightly more Amer and Maraschino, but nonetheless, I like this as a nice foil to a Manhattan. I'll have to try to brighten it with a lemon peel next time.

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I've read that Torani Amer is closer to Amer Picon with the addition of some Orange Bitters.  A couple drops of Regan's Orange Bitters did perk it up a bit.  A squeeze of lemon peel and it really started to sing. 

As a Brooklynite of 20+ years, I've always had a personal interest in this one.

Not too long ago, our own Scratchline was generous enough to give me a half-bottle of the original, 78-proof Picon (thanks again!). The other day, I rummaged through the various hidey-holes where I keep my aperitifs and amari and rounded up enough to do a comparative tasting, Amer Picon against the world.

Besides the Amer Torani, I had the following Italian amari:

Abano (Luxardo)

Averna

Borsci

Bruno Nardi

Ciociaro

Cynar

Fernet Branca

Lucano

Montenegro

Nonino

Praga

Punt e Mes

Ramazzotti

Plus a couple of little things from Santa Maria Novella and a stray bottle of Becherovka (what the hell).

After much nosing and not a little tasting, the closest match in aroma and taste proved to be the 60-proof Amaro Ciociaro. Now, it's not a perfect match (it's a little more herbal), and admittedly 60 proof isn’t the same as 78 proof, but it does a great job of evoking the clean orange notes of the old Picon without being nearly as watery as the new Picon. Plus it avoids the vegetal notes of the Torani, which are entirely absent in the old Picon.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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[...]The other day, I rummaged through the various hidey-holes where I keep my aperitifs and amari and rounded up enough to do a comparative tasting, Amer Picon against the world.

[...]

After much nosing and not a little tasting, the closest match in aroma and taste proved to be the 60-proof Amaro Ciociaro.

[...]

Cheers Dave, quite a lineup!

I know I've seen the Amaro Ciociaro somewhere. Can't remember where, though. Most likely at Gasbarro's in Providence, RI, as I remember them having an astounding selection of Italian Amari.

I'll have to keep a lookout for it in my travels. What would be your second choice?

Have you ever turned up any history for the cocktail? None of the books or internet sources I found gave any information beyond the simple recipe. Of course searching on the internet for terms like "brooklyn" and "cocktail" make the noise ratio pretty high. Since it has French Vermouth, it doesn't seem like it can be that old.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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It's a New York drink of the 1910s, and appears in Jacques Straub's 1914 Drinks. I've seen references from 1910, but no way of telling if it's the same drink (there were competing formulae).

As for another amaro, unfortunately I didn't keep a record of the ones I eliminated; here in Brooklyn, turning up a bottle of Ciciaro is no problem at all.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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gallery_27569_3038_30712.jpg

Blue Devil Cocktail

1/2 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Boodles Gin)

1/4 Lemon Juice or Lime Juice (3/4 oz lemon Juice)

1/4 Maraschino (3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino)

1 Dash Blue Vegetable Extract (1 Drop Blue Food Coloring)

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass

I was out the other night with a few folks and for some reason they gave me a hard time about skipping some of the Savoy recipes. I dunno what to think about that. Personally, I was glad that other eGullet members were actually interested enough in the project to take part.

In any case, there were a few that I, personally, have not tried. So fine, I will work my way through.

The first among these is the Blue Devil. It does have a great name.

However, I can't quite figure it out. It falls somewhere between the quite tart Savoy Aviation and the pretty sweet Allen. Well, and it is blue. For whatever reason, I preferred both the Allen and the Aviation. Variety of Gin? Color? Ratio? Can't quite place it.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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gallery_27569_3038_30712.jpg

Blue Devil Cocktail

1/2 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Boodles Gin)

1/4 Lemon Juice or Lime Juice (3/4 oz lemon Juice)

1/4 Maraschino (3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino)

1 Dash Blue Vegetable Extract (1 Drop Blue Food Coloring)

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass

I was out the other night with a few folks and for some reason they gave me a hard time about skipping some of the Savoy recipes.  I dunno what to think about that.  Personally, I was glad that other eGullet members were actually interested enough in the project to take part.

In any case, there were a few that I, personally, have not tried.  So fine, I will work my way through.

The first among these is the Blue Devil.  It does have a great name.

However, I can't quite figure it out.  It falls somewhere between the quite tart Savoy Aviation and the pretty sweet Allen.  Well, and it is blue.  For whatever reason, I preferred both the Allen and the Aviation.  Variety of Gin?  Color?  Ratio?  Can't quite place it.

Recent discussion on the Drinkboy Forums has stated that research indicates that blue is not an appetizing color. Certainly doesn't do much for me. I can also see how Boodles would be a less than perfect match with Maraschino (though I personally find that a difficult flavor profile to utilize). Kudos for soldiering through all the recipes though, more dedicated than I, I chose the 66 recipes of Dr. Cocktail's book (including the three unattainable ones with Swedish Punsch) for my own soujurn.

-Andy

Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Cheers Andy!

By the way, going from my ImageGullet count, it appears that somewhere around the Bronx cocktail makes about 100 Savoy Cocktails for me. Whee! The centennial mark.

About 1/7th of the way done with The Savoy Cocktail Book!

So far, it has been a really interesting ride.

I hope more of you will stick around and participate in the rest of the trip.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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gallery_27569_3038_3951.jpg

Bolo Cocktail

The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime (1/2 Lime)

The Juice of 1/4 Orange (Valencia)

1/2 Wineglass Bacardi Rum (1 generous oz of Flor de Cana Extra Dry)

1 Teaspoonful Sugar (1 scant teaspoon caster sugar)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Not sure why I skipped this one, as it is quite delicious. Kind of a "lite" Daiquiri. Certainly quite refreshing and tart.

One nifty trick I learned from Angus Winchester's Daiquiri Video is to drop the juiced lime shell into the cocktail shaker. Also seemed appropriate for the Bolo. Give it a try, if you think that extra lime oil scent would add something to a cocktail you're making.

This is the last Savoy cocktail I'm going to do for a couple weeks. Though, if the fates are with me, I may get to sample some Savoy cocktails at The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel or the Dorchester. Cheerio!

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Bolo Cocktail

The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime (1/2 Lime)

The Juice of 1/4 Orange (Valencia)

1/2 Wineglass Bacardi Rum (1 generous oz of Flor de Cana Extra Dry)

1 Teaspoonful Sugar (1 scant teaspoon caster sugar)

double the rum and take out the sugar and that is my kind of drink....

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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The Yolk of 1 Egg

1 Teaspoonful of Grenadine (Rose's)

1/3 Curaçao (3/4 oz. Luxardo Triple Sec)

2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz. Raynal VSOP)

Breast Caresser Cocktail

1 oz. Bourbon (Evan Williams Black Label)

3/4 oz. Brandy (Raynal VSOP)

2/3 oz. Curaçao (Luxardo Triple Sec)

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/3 oz. Grenadine (Rose's)

1 egg yolk

that sounds pretty good....

i love anything with an egg.

i went to a great "easter egg" cocktail party last night at the green street in boston....i've never felt so revived by a cocktail before. egg is the most underrated ingredient out there.

i was searching through this thread because of the reference to rosso antico.... is anyone else a fan? and how does anyone think it stacks up to other sweet vermouths??

i've gone through a couple bottles just drinking it neat. i just bought a couple more bottles of it so i'm gonna start mixing it up....

cheers.

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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gallery_27569_3038_31288.jpg

Bombay Cocktail (No. 2)

1 Dash Absinthe (sadly Pernod was all they had)

3 Dashes Curacao (didn't see brand, might have been triple sec)

1/2 Brandy (Courvoisier VSOP)

1/4 Italian Vermouth (didn't see)

1/4 French Vermouth (didn't see)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass

First attempt at taking my little Savoy obsession into the outside world. The bartender at Montgomery Place was more than happy to take a crack at it.

I agree with Vesper Lynd, this is a most enjoyable cocktail. I'm definitely going to give it another try now that I am back home.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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There looks like a bit of a head on that drink; Is there eggwhite or pineapple juice in it?

Hmmm...

Fair point; but, unless he snuck it in when I wasn't looking, I don't think so.

Special fizzy English vermouth?

I'll probably stir it, when I make it at home.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Sadly feeling a bit out of it, and we were there quite early, so only pictures at the Savoy.

Front of hotel:

gallery_27569_3038_54773.jpg

Famous statue:

gallery_27569_3038_39836.jpg

The American Bar:

gallery_27569_3038_35565.jpg

The Bar at the American Bar:

gallery_27569_3038_47949.jpg

I know, I know, I should at least have been able to manage a Pimm's cup or White Lady. I blame my bad influence friends... Oh, wait, I'm the bad influence.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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