The Equinox Cocktail

The Equinox Cocktail

By Andrew “the Alchemist”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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Happy Autumnal Equinox!  Celebrate Autumnalia safely!

(Some nerdy calendar material follows – feel free to skip to the drink!)

One of my madman hobbies is the creation of a natural solar calendar that notes modern and ancient observances and begins each year (at what I feel is the natural time for it) at the beginning of Spring.  I also number the years since the beginning of written language and the ability to record history – the time-since being conventionally called the Historic Era (the time-before being called the Prehistoric Era).  Since incontrovertible evidence of written language has been found dating back to about 3,400 b.c.e., it could be said that we are in the year 5410 of the Historic Era.

Night and day are virtually-equal today.  At 7:09 p.m. (UT-08 – California) this evening, Autumn begins.  The ancient Romans would have called any celebration of the Autumnal equinox ‘Autumnalia.’

There will also be the added rarity today of a full moon in the night of the Autumnal equinox.  The full moon will occur at 1:17 a.m. (UT-08 – California) after midnight tonight.  The ancient Greeks observed the full moon each lunar month with Dikhomenia – a time to honor Cthonic dieties (primal gods in the Earth as separate from the Olympian ‘sky gods’), and to meditate on one’s motivations and face difficult truths.  Dihkomenia was believed to magnify the force of oaths, and it was thought especially-bad to break one’s word at this time.

But, on to the drink…

I thought that for celebrating the Equinox, a drink should equally-represent the Northern and Southern hemispheres – since the center of the Sun is in the same plane as the Earth’s equator today.  The type of drink I chose was the Cocktail, a sub-genre of the Sling (the Cocktail is famously also-known-as the ‘bittered sling’).  Apart from the Ensembles, Slings (including Cocktails) are about as simple to devise as mixed drinks can be.

From the North, I skipped vodka and settled upon Scotch whisky.  From the South, I selected the Brazilian spirit, cachaça.

For the bitters (only one of the features necessary in any true Cocktail), I chose Boker’s to represent the North.

I would like to have been able to modify the drink with Caperitif, which was a quina (the other type of aromatized wine besides vermouth) from South Africa.  But, that product is long gone.

That left me needing one more ingredient from the South.  I decided that passion fruit would be that ingredient.

To make a Cocktail containing juice (whether sour or succulent), it is important not to add so much of it that the drink loses its essential quality as a Cocktail.  With too much juice, you have made a Punch or Succulent of some sort.  That’s fine – on the occasion that such a drink is desired.  But, I want this drink to actually be a Cocktail – so a half-barspoon of passion fruit juice is probably the most that the drink should contain.  For the elemental mixologists out there, passion fruit juice is tart enough to be counted as an ingredient of the sour element.  The juice can sometimes be found as a concentrate in organic-ish markets.  If you can find fresh passion fruit, use it – but you will have to press and strain juice from the pulp found inside the fruit.

So, here it is:

The Equinox Cocktail

Devised by Andrew “the Alchemist”

Service-ware: 4½ fl-oz. glass cocktail goblet (chilled)

Combine in a mixing glass:

→ 1 fl-oz. blended Scotch whisky

→ 1 fl-oz. cachaça (aged, or ‘velha,’ is best)

→ 2 fl-dsh. [≈1.25 ml.] Boker’s aromatic additive bitters

→ ¼ fl-oz. simple 1:1 sugar syrup (or a teaspoon of superfine sugar)

→ ½ bsp. [≈1.25 ml.] passion fruit juice

→ method ice

Stir slowly to mix, chill and dilute

Finely-strain into the service-ware

Garnish by twisting a strip of orange zest over the drink and dropping it in

Enjoy!

Pre-prohibition Drinks of the Week

Pre-prohibition Drinks of the Week

By Andrew “the Alchemist”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

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Pre-prohibition Ensemble of the Week:

The Creole Lady

From: The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book – by Albert Stevens Crockett (1935)

This drink is from the main layer of material in Crockett’s book, which he states came from the original recipe book in his possession that had been used in the hotel’s bar until it closed in 1919.

Service-ware: glass spirit snifter

Build in the service-ware:

→ 2 authentic maraschino cherries

→ ½ fl-oz. maraschino liqueur

→ ¾ fl-oz. Bourbon whiskey

→ ¾ fl-oz. verdelho Madeira wine

Stir to mix

Enjoy!

Note: if verdelho Madeira is unavailable, rainwater Madeira may be used.

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Pre-prohibition Sling of the Week:

The Angelus Cocktail

From: The Flowing Bowl – by A. William Schmidt (1892)

Service-ware: 4½ fl-oz. glass cocktail goblet (chilled)

Combine in a mixing glass:

→ 1 fl-oz. tom gin

→ ¼ fl-oz. absinthe

→ ¼ fl-oz. triple-sec Curaçao liqueur

→ ½ fl-oz. sweet vermouth

→ 2 fl-dsh. orange additive bitters

→ method ice

Stir slowly to mix, chill and dilute

Strain into the service-ware

Garnish by twisting a strip of lemon zest over the drink and dropping it in

Enjoy!

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Pre-prohibition Posset of the Week:

The Sabbath Calm

From: The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book – by Albert Stevens Crockett (1935)

This drink is from the main layer of material in Crockett’s book, which he states came from the original recipe book in his possession that had been used in the hotel’s bar until it closed in 1919.

Service-ware: 10½ fl-oz. glass banquet goblet (chilled)

Combine in a mixing tin:

→ 1 fl-oz. Cognac brandy (or good French brandy)

→ 1 fl-oz. ruby Port wine (reserve is preferred)

→ 1 tbsp. superfine sugar

→ ½ fl-oz. espresso coffee (cooled)

→ 1 whole medium raw egg (without the shell)

→ 1 fl-oz. heavy cream

→ plenty of method ice

Cover with half-tin and shake vigorously to mix, chill, dilute and aerate

Finely-strain into the service-ware

Garnish by grating some nutmeg onto the surface of the drink

Enjoy!

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Pre-prohibition Punch of the Week:

The Hancock Sour

Extrapolated from the Hancock Punch

From: Modern American Drinks – by George Kappeler (1895)

Service-ware: 4½ fl-oz. glass sour goblet (chilled)

Combine in a mixing tin:

→ 1½ fl-oz. American rye whiskey

→ ½ fl-oz. traditional rum (pot-distilled from molasses toddy)

→ 1 fl-oz. freshly-pressed Key lime juice

→ 1 tbsp. superfine sugar

→ plenty of method ice

Cover with half-tin and shake vigorously to mix, chill, dilute and aerate

Finely-strain into the service-ware

Garnish with an authentic maraschino cherry on a skewer

Enjoy!

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Pre-prohibition Grog of the Week:

The Marguerite Cooler

(not to be confused with the Marguerite Cocktail)

From: The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book – by Albert Stevens Crockett (1935)

This drink is from the main layer of material in Crockett’s book, which he states came from the original recipe book in his possession that had been used in the hotel’s bar until it closed in 1919.

Service-ware: 14 fl-oz. glass cooler tumbler

→ 5 fl-oz. service ice (5 full-ounce cubes)

Build in service-ware

→ 2 fl-oz. tom gin

→ ½ fl-oz. freshly-pressed Key lime juice

→ 6 fl-oz. cane-sugar ginger ale

Insert a straw

Garnish with a full-wheel slice of Key lime

Enjoy!

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Pre-prohibition Succulent of the Week:

The Cliquet

(a.k.a. Cliquot)

From: Drinks – by Jacques Straub (1914/1948)

This title was originally published in 1914 and reprinted in 1948. The currently available edition appears to be a facsimile reprint of the 1948 edition, which we can only suppose was an accurate reprint of the original 1914 edition.  Straub uses the name ‘Cliquot.’ This drink also appears without garniture as the ‘Cliquet’ in the pre-prohibition material found in The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book by Crockett as published in 1935.

Service-ware: 5 fl-oz. glass wine goblet (chilled)

Combine in a mixing tin:

→ 1¾ fl-oz. American rye whiskey

→ ¼ fl-oz. traditional rum (pot-distilled from molasses toddy)

→ 1 fl-oz. freshly-pressed orange juice

→ plenty of method ice

Cover with half-tin and shake vigorously to mix, chill, dilute and aerate

Finely-strain into the service-ware

Garnish by twisting a strip of lemon zest over the drink and dropping it in

Enjoy!

The American Trio Cocktail

I recently created this drink and thought I would share it.  I call it the American Trio Cocktail.  It is a rather simple, perhaps predictable, true cocktail made using the old-fashioned method.  It is based on three traditional American spirits. It is bittered with three traditional American additive bitters.

The American Trio Cocktail (by Andrew “the Alchemist”)

Select the service-ware. If you prefer the drink with a single full-ounce cube of service ice in it, a five-fluid-ounce-capacity old-fashioned glass tumbler will do nicely.  If you prefer more cubes of service ice in the drink, a larger tumbler will be necessary.

Place a single, one-teaspoon-equivalent sugar cube in the bottom of the tumbler

Add the following:

1 fluid-dash of Boker’s aromatic additive bitters

1 fluid-dash of Fee Brothers’ aromatic additive bitters

1 fluid-dash of Peychaud’s aromatic additive bitters

½ fluid-ounce of pure water

Crush the sugar cube and muddle the ingredients to create the cocktail water

Add the desired amount of service ice

Add the following:

a strip of lemon zest, twisted over the ice, rubbed around the rim and then dropped in

1 fluid-ounce of good Bourbon whiskey

½ fluid-ounce of good American rye whiskey

½ fluid-ounce of American apple brandy (not any product called ‘applejack’)

Stir the drink in its tumbler to chill and mix

Enjoy!

The Vieux Copain Cocktail

Here is my recipe for a drink first created by Jabriel Donohue of Portland, Oregon.

It is somewhat similar to the Old Pal Cocktail of the early 1900’s.  The Old Pal Cocktail was based either on American rye whiskey or Canadian whisky, modified by sweet vermouth and bittered by Campari.  With the Peychaud’s bitters, a French name seemed advisable.  ‘Old pal’ in French would be ‘vieux copain.’

THE VIEUX COPAIN COCKTAIL

Chill a 4-1/2 fl-oz. modern glass cocktail goblet.

Combine the following ingredients in a mixing glass:

– 2/3 fl-oz. American rye whiskey

– 2/3 fl-oz. Dolin blanc vermouth

– 2/3 fl-oz. Campari grand bitters

– 2 fl-dsh. Peychaud’s aromatic additive bitters

Twist a strip of lemon zest over the chilled goblet then rub the colorful side against the rim and drop it in.

After this, add method ice to the ingredients waiting in the mixing glass and stir without over-agitating for at least 30 seconds.

Strain the drink into the prepared glass cocktail goblet and then see that it is immediately enjoyed.