Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Cobblers were one of the most popular beverages of the nineteenth century. They brought about the world-wide popularity of the drinking straw. That ubiquitous cocktail shaker? Originally patented as a "cobbler shaker", as this was the first drink to be commonly shaken!

The cobbler is one of the earliest popular "American iced drinks", and was often mentioned in the same company of "cock-tails", "slings" & "juleps" along with such other forgotten treasures of the early 1800's including the "purl talabogus" ("A drink made by mixing spruce beer, rum or other liquor and molasses"), "clear sheer" (no idea!), "gum ticklers" (a "gill of spirits, generally rum, taken fasting"), "phlegm-cutters" ("double dose just before breakfast"), "Sangarees" (highball-like cobblers with spices like nutmeg or cinnamon in place of the fruit), and "Timber Doodles" (lost to time).

Included in every pre-prohibition cocktail book, and most of those that followed, there seems to be a remarkable consistency in the (albeit it simple) recipe. There are many variations including the "Champagne", "Catawaba", "Claret", "Sauterene" cobblers as well as versions using whiskey or bourbon. By far, the most popular was the "Sherry Cobbler", which mirrored the country's appetite for sherry at the time.

Sherry was hugely popular world-wide before prohibition, and was one of Spain's most famous wines. When the phylloxera plague wiped out the world supply, in the late 19th century, it was a huge blow to the sherry market. It never fully recovered, and sales continued to decline throughout the 20th century.

Sherry is now making a comeback. For me, it's a taste I've yet to acquire. If you have acquired the taste, by all means, you should try a sherry cobbler! Otherwise, a variation using a wine or spirit that you already enjoy is probably going to work better for you.

In 1839, the 'Southern Literary Messenger" included this recipe in a narrative:

"Powder your fine white sugar, or crystal candy, and sprinkle the mass through a sieve, over a tumbler of pounded ice—every particle of which is broken into lumps not larger than a pea. In another vessel, pour two wine glasses of pale gold sherry over the fine cut peelings of half a lemon—peelings which have suck'd into their pores sufficient acid from the ripened pulp, to make the pungen'. rind flavored like a China orange— and then, for a minute or so, suffer the spirit of the wine to extract the rich aroma. Next, dash the contents of one tumbler to the other, till fruit and fluid, ice and sugar, sweet and sour, warmth and frost, arc mixed and married by this delicate "runaway" process, and the dew of their bridal-kiss coats the sides of the vessel with a creamy veil. Then—allowing the new married couples to cool from the first extatic moments of their swimming embrace,—you sip the delicious pair in the dreamy elysium of their "honey moon!" 'Tis a raving mad " receipt," this—I know you will say so—but as a friend used to exclaim about my poor, dear mother's Pigeon pies—"I'll write poetry about it yet!"

An eloquent description, and the recipe is still very close to where we will end up. Some recipes call for stirring, some for shaking, but I love this description of the (then) common practice of mixing by pouring from one tumbler to another creating a "rainbow" arc.

In 1846, a  British military officer returning home from Canada, published "Canada and the Canadians" in which he describes Canadian experiences. He discusses the popular Sherry Cobbler in this passage: 

An American gentleman—mind, I lay a stress upon the second word—never bolts his victuals, never picks his teeth at table, never spits upon the carpet, or guesses; he knows not gin-sling, and he eschews mint-julep; but he does, I am ashamed to say, admire a sherry cobbler, particularly if he does not get a second-hand piece of vermicelli to suck it through. Reader, do you know what a sherry cobbler is ? I will enlighten you. Let the sun shine at about 80P Fahrenheit. Then take a lump of ice; fix it at the edge of a board ; rasp it with a tool made like a drawing knife or carpenter's plane, set face upwards. Collect the raspings, the fine raspings, mind, in a capacious tumbler; pour thereon two glasses of good sherry, and a good spoonful of powdered white sugar, with a few small bits, not slices, but bits of lemon, about as big as a gooseberry. Stir with a wooden macerator. Drink through a tube of macaroni or vermicelli. (Test Veau henite, as the English lord said to the garpon at the Milles Colonnes, when he first tasted real parfait amour.-—Cest beaucoup rnieux, Milor, answered the waiter with a profound reverence.

Gin-sling, cock-tail, mint-julep, are about as vulgar as blue ruin and old tom at home; but sherry cobbler is an affair of consideration —only never pound your ice, always rasp it.

Here we see an early description of a pasta straw. More commonly used were hollow shafts of rye grass or simply "straw". Metal or glass straws saw limited use as well, until the invention of the paper straw in 1888 which quickly replaced all other devices.

Checking in with the good professor, Jerry Thomas wrote this as way of introduction to the cobbler.:

"Like the julep, this delicious potation is an American invention, although it is now a favorite in all warm  climates. " The cobbler" does not require much skill in compounding, but to make it acceptable to the eye, as well as to the palate, it is necessary to display some taste in ornamenting the glass after the beverage is made. We give an illustration showing how a cobbler should look when made to suit an epicure."

His recipe remains the standard:

Sherry Cobbler (Jerry Thomas, 1862)
(use large bar glass)
2 wine-glasses of sherry.
1 table-spoonful of sugar. 
2 or 3 slices of orange.
Fill a tumbler with shaved ice, shake well, and ornament with berries in season. Place a straw as represented in the woodcut.

Harry Johnson's "Bartender's Manual", published 20 years later in 1882, also saw fit to add a comment on the cobbler in his recipe.

Sherry Cobbler (Harry Johnson, 1882)
(Use large bar glass.)
1/2 table-spoonful of sugar;
1/2 wine-glass of selters water, dissolve with a spoon;
Fill the glass up with fine crystal ice;
Then fill the glass with sherry wine;
Stir well with spoon, and ornament with grapes, oranges, pine-apples, berries, etc.; serve with a straw.
"This drink is without a doubt the most popular beverage in the country, with ladies as well as with gentlemen. It is a very refreshing drink for old and young."

As I studied the progression of recipes that followed, we seem to have 2 schools of thought that stem from these 2 recipes. Some use sparkling water like Harry suggests, some do not. Most say to shake this one, some say to stir.

In 1895, George Kappeler in his book "Modern American Drinks" decided to list 2 recipes. One using 2 jiggers of sherry, gum syrup and calling to be "mixed", the next using one and a half jiggers, fine sugar to sweeten, and called for the drink to be shaken.

The name "cobbler" is most commonly attributed to pebbled look of the "cobbles" of ice in the drink. All recipes demand very fine ice, shaved ice seems to be the most popular way to prepare, though many descriptions call for the ice to be pulverized to the point where no piece of ice was "larger than a pea".

The recipes share two additional commonalities. They call for the drink to be decorated with "fruits of the season"; usually berries, but sometime grapes, and they called for the use of a straw.

Some call for Maraschino or Curacao to sweeten, this sounds right. Some call for the orange or lemon slices to be muddled, this works if you muddle lightly but a good hard shake will muddle the oranges as well and leave them in better shape for presentation.

The amount of sugar used seems to vary quite a bit. A tablespoon of fine sugar is a common measurement. As much as 2 parts sherry to one part sugar syrup. Others as dry as 4 ounces of sherry to two teaspoons of sugar. You know how you like your drinks, adjust the sweetness accordingly.

By 1922, Robert Vermeire was commenting in his book, "Cocktails How to Mix Them", on how they made cobblers in the "old days". Here I thought it best to literally bring you a page from his book:

Jerry Thomas's book lists eight variations of the cobbler. Harry Johnson also managed to sprinkle eight recipes throughout his book, though not the same eight.

By 1927, Harry McElhone in "Barflies and Cocktails" includes only two lonely recipes. The port cobbler and the sherry cobbler. His sherry cobbler seems a mix of several cobbler recipes, perhaps a "best of the best" in his eyes.

Sherry Cobbler (Harry McElhone, 1927)
"1/3 Ice in a tumbler, add 1/2 glass of Brandy, 1/2 glass of Curacao, 1/2 glass of Maraschino, 1 glass of Sherry.
  Add syphon. Stir well, decorate with fruits in season. Float a little Port Wine on top.

(This sounds pretty good, I could probably cut my teeth on sherry with this mix.)

By 1948, David A. Embury (obviously of the "Harry Johnson School" here) gave this excellent summation of the cobbler in his book "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks":

"Like the Fixes and the Daisies, the Cobblers are served with straws in a goblet filled with finely crushed or shaved ice and are decorated with fruit and a sprig or two of mint. They differ from Fixes and Daisies (which are basically Sours) primarily in that Cobblers contain either no citrus juice at all or, at the most, only one or two dashes. They consist of either a wine or spirituous liquor combined with either sugar syrup or some sweet liqueur. While seldom served today, Harry Johnson, circa 1880, said of the Sherry Cobbler; "This drink is without a doubt the most popular beverage in the country, with the ladies as well as the gentleman. It is a very refreshing drink for the old and the young."

 In making any of the Cobblers, the goblet is first filled with fine ice. If goblets are not available an 8- to 10-ounce Highball glass can be substituted. The ingredients of the drink are not separately shaken but are poured over the ice in the glass, the sugar or liqueur first and the wine or spirituous liquor last. The contents of the glass are then churned with a bar spoon until frost appears on the outside of the glass. Straws are then inserted and the drink is decorated with fruit and mint and served.

We find ourselves here in the twenty-first century, and the cobbler has become arcane, forgotten and neglected. Gary Reagan, Dale DeGroff, Dave Wondrich, Robert Hess, and many other modern "masters" have given a nod to the cobbler in one or more of their books, though I have to wonder how many of their readers have actually given the drink a try.

Some of the best modern advice, comes from David Wondrich's "Imbibe", (a must read for anyone really interested in the history of cocktails).

David not only lists Jerry Thomas's original recipes, but gives great advice on finding the right modern wines to use for arcane recipes with names like the "Hock" cobbler (for which he says to use a "nice Moselle").

The cobbler could be on its' way back. I recently attended a holiday gathering with some of the country's best mixology minds, and a brandy cobbler was prominently featured. It was very popular with the crowd!

Could it be one of the top drinks of summer 2011? It's been a very popular refresher in the past, and it would certainly fit the trend of unearthing arcane gems and dusting off for renewed consumption.

Since this post is timed better for New Year's Eve celebrations than summer coolers, I'm going to feature the "Champagne Cobbler".

One of the original cobbler recipes to appear, I thought the best advice on the making of this drink came in the "Honorable William (Cocktail) Boothby's" 1908 publication "The World's Drinks and How to Mix Them". Here he instructs:

CHAMPAGNE COBBLER (Wm. Boothby 1908)
  Fill a cut glass with fine ice, and lay some assorted fruits on the top of it; then take a large mixing glass and place one dessertspoonful of sugar and dissolve it in a little water; add a wineglassful of champagne (pour carefully), mix and then pour over the decorated ice in the goblet, and serve with straws.

A "wineglassful" and "jigger" were typically interchangeable measurements that approximated 2 ounces.

A "Lewis Bag" and a "dead-blow" hammer will pulverize ice nicely.
Step 1) Fill glass with fine ice and lay some assorted fruits on top.

When you make your lemon twist, be sure to spray the oils over the top of your drink.
Step 2) Add 2 teaspoons of powdered sugar to bottom of large mixing glass and dissolve it in a little water.

Step 3) Add 2 ounces of champagne* (pour carefully) and mix with the sugar.

Step 4) Pour over the decorated ice in the goblet, and serve with straws.

*Yes, I know that's not real champagne in the photo. Wanting to provide photos for the blog, and not having a champagne budget this week, I opted for a more reasonably priced (and still tasty) substitution from California, Korbel's Natural Russian River Valley "Champagne".

The keen observer may have noticed the bottle of "Sugar Cane Syrup" lurking in the mix. Here's the deal, when you get to the bottom of this one, especially this time of year, a "re-load" is very easy. Simply pour 1/4 ounce of simple syrup over your ice, refill with champagne, stir and recycle that ice! Then again, there's always the "easy" way...


"Pull out that julep cup, fill with crushed ice and fruit, pour 1/4 oz simple syrup over ice, fill with champagne."

I could have just said so to begin with, but where's the fun in that!
Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

American Drinks at the Vienna Exhibition (1873)

The following article appeared in the New York Times on September 2, 1873

  The special correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph at Vienna, writing on Aug. 11, after a week of very hot weather, says: "The American bars, three in number, drove a roaring trade. The Austrians have taken to cobblers and juleps with a heartiness bordering on enthusiasm, although, these nectarian compounds being somewhat expensive, the native consumer seldom goes in for a whole drink all to himself ; and there are few quainter sights in the big building, crowded as it is with extraordinary objects, than three heavily-bearded and spectacled Viennese sitting round a small marble-topped table, on which stands one amber-colored sherry-cobbler, their three straws plunged into its cool depths, their three heads in close proximity, their powers of suction strained to top pressure, lest any one of the three should get the better of his co-investors in the beverage to the extent of half a teaspoonful. Under the influence of this virtuous emulation, the cobbler vanishes like the card of a conjuror's trick, after which each competitor imbibes a huge draught of cold water. for which there is no charge, and pockets his straw. The straws are immensely popular here. I have seen persons of both sexes sucking up beer, coffee and 'plain soda' through them with an evident sense of exquisite and refined enjoyment. The bar-keepers tell me that the American and German ladies generally carry them away in their hair, through the frizzy masses of which they stick them in the manner of pins. The bar in the Rotunda started with a stock of 300,000, but has been obliged to renew its supplies twice since commencing business. About a hundred different descriptions of artful drink are made at this bar ; but the only one that seems to have laid hold of the Austrian public is the cobbler. Ten cobblers are drunk for every julep, cocktail, sling, smash, fix, or champarello. The drinking kiosques outside the building-English and German-have found it to their interest to provide cobblers for their insatiable customers."

(Transcribed by Ethan Bailey)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wild-Eyed Rose

This recipe is from Hugo R. Ensslin's 1917 book " Recipes for Mixed Drinks". Appearing in the back of the book under the heading "Miscellaneous Mixed Drinks", the recipe reads as follows:

Juice 1/2 Lime
1/2 pony Grenadine
1 drink of Irish Whiskey

Serve in highball glass with cube of ice and fizz with carbonated water.

Here's my interpretation:

Wild-Eyed Rose
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce grenadine
2 ounces Red Breast Irish Whiskey

Place large cube of ice in highball glass. Add lime juice, grenadine, then the whiskey. Top off with sparkling mineral water. If you do this in the right sequence, you will get the layered look in the photo above.

The name is appropriate here, as the first drink tends to leave you a bit "wild-eyed". It's sweet, tart, and tangy, but without any of those flavors becoming dominating or cloying.

I don't think you can go wrong using Red Breast in any recipe calling for Irish Whiskey. In the "Wild-eyed Rose", the whiskey fades to the background merely offering elusive hints of the wood-aged spirit, rather than the punch in the nose that this quantity would normally deliver.

All-in-all this is a very nice, very drinkable highball, My first round of photos didn't work out, and I had already tasted the drink before I found out. Making another for more photos was an easy decision!

Mixed for drinking, the Wild-Eyed Rose takes on a nice rosy color.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bon Amigo

Mezcal, Benedectine, Ginger Liqueur, Cardamon, Cloves, Honey and Lime Juice....what a combination!

The "Bon Amigo" is my own drink, but don't let my last minute name fool you. This one has some thought behind it.

It was inspired by Bryan Dayton, a local bartender who is the beverage director and part-owner of "Oak at Fourteenth" in Boulder, CO.

Bryan likes to use cardamom and "Domaine de Canton" ginger liqueur together. I had one of his creations using these ingredients, with a Sombra Mezcal base, over a year ago and the flavors really struck me.

The trick here is not to muddle the cardamom pods too much, just open them up. Be sure to "double strain" here with a fine strainer, as there will be fine sediment from the cardamom and cloves after your hard shake.

Bon Amigo Cocktail

1.5 ounces (45ml) Del Maguey "Vida" Mezcal
.75 ounce  (22ml) Fresh Lime Juice
.25 ounce (7ml) Benedictine
.25 ounce (7ml) Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
.25 ounce (7ml) honey syrup*
3 whole cardamom pods
2 whole cloves

Gently muddle 3 whole cardamom pods and 2 whole cloves in bottom of shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake hard. Strain into a cocktail glass through a fine mesh strainer. No Garnish.
(*Honey syrup is 1 part honey to 1 part water.)

Just muddle the pods enough to open them up.
This has amazing layers of flavor and goes down fast! The mezcal provides a complex, smokey base. The ginger, honey and Benedictine, add a spicy sweetness. The cardamom and clove add an even greater depth that really works well with the other flavors.

Ginger, Honey and Benedictine have all been used as medicine. Cardamom has been used to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat problems, lung congestion, and digestive disorders. It has also been used to break up kidney and gall stones. Cloves have also been used to treat kidney, liver and digestive problems. In Chinese medicine, cloves are used to fortify kidney yang.

As far as Mezcal goes, there is a Oaxacian saying regarding the drink: "para todo mal, mezcal y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, too.)

I will not go so far as to call this drink medicinal, because it tastes way too good to actually be good for you.

It's probably not as bad for you as many other concoctions however, and might even do you some good if you are feeling under the weather and can't stand the thought of another toddy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sweet & Vicious

This recipe is from Masson & Boehm's modern wad o' drinks "The Big Bartender's Book".

With over 1000 authoritative recipes it's a great book to simply open eyes closed and point to a page. It rarely takes me more than a few tries to land on something that looks really good.

The "Sweet & Vicious" is accredited to one "Alexander Day, New York", (of Death & Company fame).

One sip of this concoction and I was transported back to the famed NYC watering hole. Here's an easy, modern classic, that I hope you will enjoy.

The Sweet & Vicious

2 ounces (60 ml) rye
1/2 ounce (15 ml) dry vermouth
1/2 oz (15ml) Amaro Nonino
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 slices Fuji apple

Lightly muddle apple in the base of a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients, ice and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with thin slice of Fuji apple.

Even lightly muddling, you may want to use an additional fine mesh strainer as you pour from the mixing glass into the cocktail glass. This is to remove any apple pulp and keep your drink nice and clear.

I used Wild Turkey 101 Rye for it's nice nutty characteristics and Noilly Prat for the dry vermouth because I prefer Noilly over the other French dry vermouths that I have tried and...well, I just don't go through much dry vermouth, so it's the only one I keep on hand. If I get small bottles I usually go through it before it goes bad, as long as I keep it refrigerated. (Always use fresh vermouth!)

I'll sometimes use Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano in place of a dry vermouth in a recipe, but not here. The Noilly is just right. No, I wouldn't change a thing here. This one is very good, enjoy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fourth Regiment Cocktail

Here's another recipe from Straub's 1914 book "Drinks". When I came across the "Fourth Regiment Cocktail" browsing this book, it sounded familiar.

I did a little digging and found that this has become a popular drink with many of today's top bartenders. It's shown up on many high profile cocktail menu's from coast to coast, and for good reason. It's a very good recipe!

Other recipes for the fourth regiment specify rye whiskey, so I went with the Rittenhouse bonded 100-proof straight rye whisky, which always pairs well with the antica vermouth.

I thought about using "Punt E Mes" for the vermouth, but did not want the quinine flavors here. With all the bitters used in the recipe, I opted for the "Carpano Antica" instead for it's rounder, sweeter, and more herbaceous qualities.

To be honest, I do prefer the antica formula in most drinks that call for aged spirits. It's not for every recipe, every once and a while it surprises me and just does not work. For those drinks the "Punt E Mes" usually makes the perfect alternative.

I used Angostura bitters along with Scrappy's Orange and Celery bitters. I think the real success of this drink, is that it calls for "Celery Bitters".

These bitters are a rarely used in the old books, and have been recently resurrected by many different manufacturers. Since this is one of the few cocktail recipes that call for celery bitters, and that actually sounds good, I can see why it was latched onto.

This drink is commonly attributed to a 1931, though Robert Hess ( dates it to 1889. The recipe below is from 1914 and calls for lemon peel and Angostura bitters. Earlier versions are said to call for Peychaud's bitters and lime.

Fourth Regiment Cocktail (Straub, 1914)
1 dash orange bitters.
1 dash Angostura bitters.
1 dash celery bitters.
1/2 jigger (1 ounce) whiskey.
1/2 jigger (1 ounce) Italian Vermouth.
Piece of lemon peel. Shake.

Normally I'd say that since Jacques told you to stir when he wanted you to stir, and since this one says shake, that you should go ahead and shake away. I did shake this one first time out and it was good, but I really didn't get any of the flavors from the bitters.

The instructions to shake must have been a typo!

So I reverted to the more common instructions for these ingredients and stirred. Now here's a drink worth writing about! The celery bitters came out but did not overpower (as they easily do) rather, they provide a nice earthy, savory note. The 1:1 ratio of rye to vermouth is really sweet compared to a Manhattan, but the bitters and citrus oils balance that sweetness nicely.

To get that citrus oil balance, squeeze a lemon peel into the mixing glass over the other ingredients, drop it in and stir well. Then add lime peel for the garnish.

Cider Cup

"Cups", along with "fizzes", "flips", "daisy's", "frappes" and more, were often listed in their own separate sections in early cocktail books.  

This recipe comes from Jacques Straub's book that was published in 1914, and simply titled "Drinks". There are twenty recipes in this book for "Cups", all reflecting scaled down and bubbly punches served in "large glass pitchers."

Designed to accommodate 4-6 people, cups are perfect for entertaining. There are some great looking recipes here, with fun names as well, like "Biship's Cup", "Lord Latounne Cup", "Turk's Neck Cup" and "Velvet Cup".

They contain champagne, ginger ale, sparkling mineral water, hard cider, or even porter for the bubbles, and various selections of fruit and cordials for added flavor. A bit like a sparkling sangria.

I did not "age" the mix here, as the non-carbonated ingredients would not have created enough liquid to soak the fruit overnight. This would be the same for all of the "cup" recipes I've read. So, you just throw it together shortly before, or even just after your guests arrive. 

Here's the recipe I recently used, as it appears in Straub's book:

Cider Cup

Use large glass pitcher, into which put:
4 slices lemon.
5 slices orange.
5 slices pineapple.
1 jigger brandy.
1/2 jigger curacoa.
1/2 jigger maraschino.
1 quart champagne cider, or sweet cider, as preferred.
2 dashes lemon juice.
1 large piece of ice.
1 bunch of mint on top.

I was able to get the required "4 slices of lemon" from one piece of fruit, same with the "5 slices of orange". (The blood oranges at the store were looking good, so I used them here.) I cubed the fresh pineapple rather than making slices - I just didn't have the right knife to make thin enough slices.

For the brandy, I used 2 oz of Christian Brother's VSOP, 1 oz Cointreau for the curacoa, 1 oz Luxardo Maraschino, 2 pints of Strongbow English dry cider, and maybe 1/3 of a can of "Royal Anne" cherries from Oregon fruit products (do not add any of the syrup though, just the cherries).

This was a big hit! Very tasty, especially if you already like hard cider...and how could you not like hard cider?

One last tip, don't forget to encourage your guests to fish out some of the fruit to garnish their cups with!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cockpit Cocktail

From the 1927 publication "Barflies and Cocktails" by "Harry & Wynn".

This recipe appears in the back section of the book, basically a "shout out" to members of the "I.B.F." (International Bar Flies) and their favorite drinks. The recipe is described as follows:

Ferdy Touhy, author of "The Cockpit of Peace," a lively collection of post-war chronicles with a boulevard background, believes in 1/6 Irish Whiskey, 1/6 Rye Whiskey, 1/3 Italian Vermouth, 1/3 French Vermouth. Try a "Cockpit' and you'll get cockeyed.

In addition to writing a few books on WWI, Ferdinand "Ferdy" Touhy was a Paris correspondent for "The New York World". A sharp wit, in 1923 he composed a popular song about the Fourth Assembly of the League of Nations: "THE SONG OF THE COUNCIL".

"Yes, we'll have no decisions, We'll have no decisions today— Our League of Nations Exists on foundations Of dodging, debates and delay. So with Europe dissolving We sit resolving That yes, we'll have no decisions, We'll have no decisions today—"

(Great satire has a timeless quality, don't you think?)

Here's Touhy's signature drink, the "Cockpit":

The Cockpit

1/2 oz Irish Whisky
1/2 oz Rye Whiskey
1 oz Italian Vermouth
1 oz French Vermouth

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.

A dash of Angostura bitters and a lemon twist really bring out the flavors here nicely.

Flushing Cocktail

From Jacques Straub's 1914 book "Drinks"

Flushing Cocktail
1/3 jigger (.75 oz) Italian vermouth.
2/3 jigger (1.5 oz) brandy.
1 dash syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters.
1 lemon peel. Stir.
Strain into old-fashion glass and serve.

A nice little Manhattan variation that makes a great aperitif. Sweeter than it's rye cousin of course, but not overly so. In fact, this one seemed remarkably light, and I was left with no cloying aftertaste.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Angler's Cocktail

This recipe comes from Charlie Paul's 1902 classic "Recipes of American and other Iced Drinks".


   Fill a tumbler with chipped ice ; put in two or three drops of Angostura bitters, half a teaspoonful of orange bitters, and three or four drops of raspberry syrup ; add half a wine-glassful of gin, then stir well and strain off.'s the recipe again in a more modern parlance:

Angler's Cocktail
2 oz gin
1/2 tsp orange bitters
2-3 drops raspberry syrup
2-3 drops Angostura bitters

Stir well with chipped ice, strain into a cocktail glass.

The Angler is bittersweet, as the amount of orange bitters would suggest, The small touches of ango bitters and raspberry syrup add some spice and sweet in the background...but those flavors stay in the background.

The orange bitters dominate and the drink remains very dry, a great crossover drink for anyone who likes a really dry martini and wants to try something different.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pago Pago Cocktail

Pago Pago Cocktail (1940)

3 Squares of fresh pineapple
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz green Chartreuse
1/4 oz white creme de cacao
1 1/2 oz gold Puerto Rican rum

Place pineapple, lime juice, Chartreuse and creme de cacao in a cocktail shaker. Muddle thoroughly. Add rum and ice cubes. Shake well, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This is one I've been wanting to try since reading a "Repeal Day" post at "A Mountain of Crushed Ice", where Mozart Dry was suggested as a replacement for the white creme de cacao. Finally haven gotten around to picking up a fresh pineapple, and with new bottle of gold rum to play with, I was excited to give it a try.

I'm not very familiar with tiki, but this drink seems straightforward enough and resembles a classic cocktail. This recipe is from Beachbum Berry's "Remixed" book, he did a great post on some of the drink's background here.

For me, the Mozart Dry was just perfect with this. You know when you get those great "nose" flavors after a drink, and find yourself puffing like a bull through your nose to keep them going? That was where I happily found myself here. Good stuff.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Havana Club Cocktail

Havana Club Cocktail

Another Embury recipe, this one gets a little more explanation than most. Embuy starts by saying:

The manufacturers of Havana Club, one of the finest Cuban rums, recommend the use of sweet vermouth instead of dry, thereby making the drink a Rum Manhattan. The recipe suggested by them, however, is much too sweet. Here is a modification:


1 part (3/4 oz)Italian Vermouth
3 parts (2 1/4 oz) Havana Club Gold Label Rum

Stir with large cubes of ice. Decorate with a cherry. This drink is improved by adding 1 dash of Angostura to each drink.

Even with the cherry and dash of bitters this cocktail is very dry, just as Embury preferred. 

It has quite a bite at first, but then mellows as you get further in. As it warmed, the crisp, nutty flavors of the rum become more pronounced taking on an almost rye-like quality, while maintaining the vanilla and tropical fruit flavors which are a perfect match for the Antica's sweet heady florals. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


From the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette. Published in the New York Tomes, November 16, 1884.

From the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette.
    A newly arrived Englishman, the other day, expressed surprise at the difficulty he experienced in understanding the language of the country. "Why you know," he said, "a very nice fellow, the other evening, asked me if I didn't feel like a 'histeing.' I didn't like to confess my ignorance, and so I said I did feel like it sometimes. Then he asked me what my weakness was. Of course, I at once came to the conclusion that 'histeing' was a complaint, and I answered that I thought my weakness was principally in my stomach. He at once said he would fill me plumb full of the old stuff, and make me feel like a daisy. You can imagine my surprise when I found out he wanted me to drink with him. Why couldn't he say it, you know, at once? Another awfully jolly fellow asked me the other morning if I wouldn't toss a (high)ball before breakfast, and when I expressed me willingness to have a little exercise before eating, I was staggered by discovering that tossing a ball was drinking a gin cocktail. Now, whenever they ask me something I do not understand, I always reply brandy or Bass's ale, and I find I hit the mark every time."

The Habitant

A recipe adopted from Ted Saucier's 1951 publication "Bottom's Up", as it appears in  "The Big Bartenders Manual" by Masson & Boehm. 

The Habitant

This Canadian cocktail is credited to "Larry Dennis, Seignory Club, The Log Chateau, Quebec"

"The Seigniory Club"

The exclusive private retreat of the "Seigniory Club" took its name from the French land grant system. "Seigniory" is the anglicized version of the French seigneurie.  The club was only open to an elite membership for its first 40 years of operation. Among Canadian members during this period was former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson; and non-Canadian members included Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, Prince Ranier and Princess Grace of Monaco. Among the many titled visitors was the Prince of Wales who revisited when he became the Duke of Windsor.

Château Montebello - home to the "Seignory Club" -  in 1930

"Habitant" is a word originally used in the early years of "New France" to designate any French colonists permanently resident in Canada.

 heard about this one recently from a friend, and I was curious to find out if maple syrup was better in a cocktail than it sounded. 

It did sound odd, but I had just read that drinks sweetened with maple syrup would be among the "Top 11 trends of 2011" in a recent blog by Kara Newman, so I was curious. 

The Habitant is a seductively good cocktail. The spicy rye and sour lemon notes are here, and in good balance with the sweet to make it an excellent "sour" cocktail. Using maple syrup and Angostura bitters to provide that balance, this becomes a complex and warming libation. 

The maple flavors fall way back and are hard to pin down, yet still there. I love the way this one stays with you too, like a warming fire in your belly. It's easy to imagine this being a favorite in any crowd, let alone the uber elite and exclusive group credited here.

The Habitant

1.5 oz (45ml) rye
1 oz    (30ml) lemon juice
2 tsp.  (10ml) maple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Compass

A recipe adopted from Johnny Brooks' 1954 publication "My 35 years behind the bar", as it appears in  "The Big Bartenders Manual" by Masson & Boehm

The Compass

The Compass

1.5 oz (45ml) rye
3/4 oz (22ml) Benedictine
3/4 oz (22ml) sweet vermouth


Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

I found that a dash of (Angostura) orange bitters was necessary to bring out the flavors in this drink.

The Demi-Virgin

The Demi-Virgin

A recipe from David A. Embury's 1948 book, "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks".

When I came across this one it looked worthy of a try, and what better "quirky" Embury drink to cap the series with?

I did a little digging on the drink's unusual name, and found that the "The Demi-Virgin" was also the name of a play that ran in New York City's "Eltinge" theater in late 1921. It was put on by a prominent promoter of the day, Avery Hopwood, who had two other shows running at the same time.

It was quite a controversial play and after a short run, it was ordered  to shut down.

The "Gossip of Rialto" column, that ran in the NY Times on Sept. 4, 1921, announced that the play had begun rehearsals. It was reported that on October 16th, local police had seen it fit to shut down an early viewing in Pittsburgh, before the show had ended.

It's Broadway opening on October 18th caused quite a sensation. (The article is a great read, I've linked it here.) By late November, New York City officials had begun attempts to shut the play down by revoking the theater's license.

The NY Times ran an article on January 4, 1922 announcing that the ban on the play had been upheld by a judge, and that the theatrical producer's request to lift the ban had been denied. It also mentioned that the play was still running as of that day, and that the city official in charge of the matter had been waiting for word of the Judge's order to shut down the production for good.

During the hearing to overturn the ban, a witness for the city characterized the play as "immoral, obscene and shocking to the sense of decency of even the most abandoned."

The "shock-rock" of it's day if you will...and great inspiration for a drink name.

This cocktail is a tasty treat, that it never caught on is probably due to it's name. "I'll have a Demi-Virgin, she said with a wink." How about Don Draper calling for one? I just don't see too many of the 50's cocktail-types having the confidence to pull that one off.

Well, maybe the "most abandoned"...but this was a time when the mainstream culture was extremely conservative, and that's putting it mildly.

It's a gem though, and worthy of a second chance.

The Demi-Virgin


1 part Grenadine (1/4 oz)
2 parts Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
8 parts Gin (2 oz)
1 dash orange bitters "to each drink" (which I take to mean, "after you've strained into the glass for maximum aromatic effect").


Shake well with cracked or crushed ice. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Jack Rose

This is the sixth and final installment in my "Embury six" series.


Some of you will no doubt be familiar with this cocktail, others I will assume "don't know Jack".

Of Embury's six basic cocktails there are 1 gin, 2 whiskey, 1 rum, 1 brandy...and 1 applejack recipe. Applejack? Really? It seems out of place with the other base spirits...or does it?

Applejack and America

What is Applejack? Nothing less than America's original whiskey.

Applejack, or "Jersey Lightening" is basically really hard apple cider and was commonly made in colonial America. Early in New Jersey's history, applejack was used as currency to pay the workers building the state's roads.

"Jacking" is the term for freeze distillation. The colonists would leave barrels of hard cider (or even shallow bowls) out in the winter elements, and scrape the ice off the top as it formed. Eventually they were left with a concentrated alcohol.

The process also concentrates impurities (fusel alcohols) that are removed when "heat" distillation techniques are employed, making this a brutal and dangerous form of hooch.

When Scottish distiller William Laird settled in New Jersey in 1698, he applied his technical know-how to the local crop of his new home, apples!

Apples had been cultivated in the colonies since the 1630's and were readily available. By employing traditional whiskey making techniques that he brought with him from Scotland, he produced America's first refined apple brandy. A heat distilled product that was aged in oak, just like any other whiskey, and which was America's first fine spirit.

In 1717, a "descendant" of William Laird built the Colts Neck Inn in Colts Neck, New Jersey.
William Laird's grandson Robert was a Revolutionary War soldier, and the Laird family supplied the troops with applejack. Sometime around 1760, George Washington wrote to the Laird family requesting their recipe for producing applejack, which the Laird family gladly supplied.

In 1780, operating out of the family center of operations at the "Colt's Neck Inn", Robert started "Laird & Co." and received United States Liquor license #1. The company still has records that date all the way back to this beginning!

Their first commercial records show that "cyder spirits" - applejack - was a standard item on the menu and sold at a price of four shillings, six pence per gallon. This represented about a half-day’s wages at the time! (For more on the Laird's unique history in America, here's an excellent article from the New York Times.)

James and Joseph Laird on left. Door to bonded warehouse indicating licence #1 on right.

Applejack Today

Although at one point there were more than 400 small, farm-based distilleries in New Jersey making applejack, Laird's is now the only one left from that group.

Current law requires that any "applejack" be aged in used bourbon barrels for a minimum of four years. The 80-proof bottle easily found on shelves in any liquor store is a product of the 1970's. At the time, it was created in response to America's growing taste for "lighter "spirits.

Laird's 80-proof applejack is made up of a blend of 35% straight apple brandy and 65% neutral grain spirits. It takes about 6 pounds of apples on average to make one bottle of this blend.

The un-blended styles, basically apple whiskeys, are still available.There is the Laird's 100-proof straight apple brandy, Laird's 80-proof Old Apple Brandy (Aged for a minimum of seven and a half years), and Laird's 88-proof 12 Year old apple brandy.

These are hard to find however. The easiest of the un-blended expressions to find is the 100-proof, straight apple brandy. Here the brandy that makes up only 35% of the 80-proof "applejack" is bottled at full strength. It takes around 20 pounds of apples to make a single bottle of this spirit!

Johnny Appleseed

One of the more interesting facts to come to light when researching America's love for applejack, regards one John Chapman, a.k.a. "Johnny Appleseed".

We were taught as school children that Johnny Appleseed wandered the country barefooted, wearing tin pots on his head and spreading apple seeds randomly. All bollocks with the exception of the bare feet, and then only in the summer to "save on leather".

He actually planted nurseries rather than orchards, going so far as to build fences around the nurseries to protect them from livestock. He would leave the nurseries in the care of a local, who would sell the trees on shares. John would return every year or two to tend to the nurseries.

Chapman's managers were asked to sell the trees on credit. He would accept corn meal, cash or used clothing in barter. While Chapman was hardly alone in this business pattern, he was unusual in that he remained a wanderer his entire life.

Here's the real kicker. It was the (hard) cider industry that drove this activity. By Chapman's time, the nation's thirst for cider and apple brandy was greater than what the supply of apples could provide! A fact conveniently omitted from the Appleseed legend.


Grenadine derives it's name from the French word grenade, meaning pomegranate. True grenadine syrup is made from the pomegranate's juice. Nearly every culture in the world has cultivated and revered the pomegranate as a symbol of fertility and abundance. (There's a great wiki on it here.)

By medieval times or even earlier, pomegranates have been processed into all sorts of syrups and tinctures.

It's first use in barcraft is often (and erroneously) accredited to a bartender by the name of "Jack Bender". Jack is said to have used grenadine for the first time when he introduced the original Sea Breeze cocktail in the 1920's.

Since bartending manuals were calling for grenadine in the Jack Rose (and other) recipes as early as 1910, we can assume that the credit should go elsewhere and that it was a fairly common ingredient by the 1920's

Today's ubiquitous "Rose's" grenadine, is compiled mainly of high fructose corn syrup. It is artificially flavored to taste more like raspberries than pomegranates.

For off the shelf choices, Stirrings makes a decent pomegranate grenadine, and Monin's Pomegranate syrup works well too (if not better).

If you want to make the fresh stuff, you can easily make your own grenadine with a pomegranate juice like POM's, but it's likely to result in a dark product that will turn your cocktails brown.

I used POM juice the last time I made grenadine at home and it was not terrible aside from the muddy appearance it gave my cocktails. I decided to pick up some fresh pomegranates and make it with fresh juice this time, and what a difference! Fresh pomegranate juice is definitely the way to go.



1 cup fresh pomegranate juice
1 cup unbleached sugar
1/2 oz Tanqueray 10 (or other high proof, quality gin)
1/4 oz Monin's Raspberry syrup
1/4 oz DeKuyper Bessen Genever (you could use Plymouth sloe gin)
1 barspoon orange flower water


1) Juice the pomegranates. You will need a sturdy juicer with a cone and seed catcher.

2) Strain the juice.

3) Add the sugar, heat over low heat stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let Cool.

4) Stir in the remaining ingredients and bottle.

Pomegranate molasses is a common ingredient that I did not have so I used the sloe gin-like "bessen genever" I picked up in Germany this fall. The gin is only used as a preservative so you can substitute vodka if you like.

What a color!

The Jack Rose's History

This was a post about a cocktail right? The Jack Rose's history is also a bit tricky, with varying legends associated with it's origin.
Jacob "Bald Jack" Rosenweig (1875-Oct 4, 1947)
The most colorful and popular story claims that a gambler and New York City underworld figure, Jacob Rosenweig, had this drink named after him or created it himself.

Jacob had several alias' including "Bald Jack Rose", "Baldy Jack Rose" and "Billiard Ball Jack". He operated a gambling resort on the east side of Manhattan known as 'The Rosebud", which was a popular underworld hangout.

The story goes that a drink containing "one jigger of applejack, juice of half a lemon, half an ounce of grenadine, shaken with ice, and strained", was named in his honor.

In 1912, the same year that Bald Jack was a star witness in the controversial "Becker-Rosenthal" case, an article appeared claiming that his infamy had put such a dent in the drink's popularity that some bartenders started calling the drink the "Royal Smile" instead.

The drinks roots in print actually go back to an article from 1905, in the April 22nd edition of the "National Police Gazette", which read:

"Frank J. May,  better known as Jack Rose, is the inventor of a very popular cocktail by that name, which has made him famous as a mixologist.  He is at present looking after the managerial affairs of Gene Sullivan's Cafe, at 187 Pavonia avenue, Jersey City, N. J., one of the most popular resorts in that city."

We're not quite done with the story yet though. Most historians agree that the drink was likely to predate any of these references. 

As we've seen, Applejack has long been the state drink of New Jersey and the early colonies in general. It's far more likely that someone sweetened their Jersey or Applejack Sour with some grenadine, noted it's rosy appearance, and named the drink accordingly.

Early Jack Rose Recipes

The first time we see the Jack Rose recipe in a cocktail book, is in the 1908 publication of "Jack's Manual" by J. A. Grohusko. The then appears in several books over the next decade, as the recipe evolved.

1908 - J.A. Grohusko from "Jack's Manual"

1 teaspoonful sugar
10 dashes Raspberry syrup
10 dashed lemon juice
5 dashes orange juice
Juice 1/2 lime
75% cider brandy.
Fill glass with cracked ice, shake and strain, fill with fizz water and serve.

Appearing in a new appendix added in the 1910 edition and accredited to R.H. Townes of 62 William St., New York. 

1910 - William H. Boothby from "The World's Drinks and How to Mix Them"

"The juice of one lemon, one part grenadine syrup, and two pats Apple Jack. Shake well with cracked ice, and strain into a cocktail glass."

David Wondrich in his book "Imbibe", credits Jacques Straub's 1914 recipe as the first to resemble today's drink.

1914 - Jacques Straub - Drinks
1 jigger applejack
1/2 lime.
1/4 jigger grenadine syrup. Shake Well.

The Embury Jack Rose

David's reasoning for apple brandy's lack of favor with the public was it's lack of proper aging. He ventured to say that "if some enterprising distiller would put out an apple brandy made with the same loving care as cognac and aged in wood for ten, twenty, or even forty years, it would soon rival grape brandies in popularity, especially for use in mixed drinks". If only someone had listened to him, when the book was first published in 1948.

His take was that this was basically a sidecar with apple brandy used in place of the grape brandy and grenadine (primarily for color) used in place of the Cointreau. He claimed that the drink was "...nothing but a Pink Apple Car." and calmed we should make it like that, prescribing:


1 part Grenadine
2 parts Lemon Juice
8 parts Apple Brandy

Shake vigorously with plenty of cracked or crushed ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.A twist of lemon may be used and the peel dropped into the glass if desired. Otherwise no decoration.

He went on to suggest frosting the glass by putting some grenadine in a saucer, dipping the glass in the grenadine, spinning the glass to remove excess drops and dipping the glass into powdered sugar.

The Modern Jack Rose

When researching my post on the sidecar I found it interesting that the members of the Museum Of The American Cocktail (MOTAC) could not agree on a sidecar recipe. Upon digging further into the sidecar, I realized why this made sense. 

The sages of the day 100 years ago did not seem to agree on the Jack Rose, which made me wonder about the MOTAC crew. It turns out they all have their own takes on this cocktail as well.

Dale DeGroff, Essential Cocktails (MOATC President)
1 1/2 oz applejack
3/4 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 oz grenadine
Apple Slice, for garnish
Maraschino cherry, for garnish

Combine applejack, syrup, lemon juice, and grenadine in a mixing glass with ice and shake well. Strain into a small cocktail glass and garnish with the apple slice and cherry.

Ted Haigh, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (MOATC Curator)
1 1/2 ounces applejack
Juice of 1/2 lime (or lemon - about 1 ounce)
2 or more dashes of real pomegranate grenadine

Shake well in an iced cocktail shaker, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lime (or lemon) wedge.

Robert Hess, Essential Bartender's Guide (MOATC Secretary)
2 1/2 ounces (75ml) applejack
3/4 ounce (22ml) lemon juice
1/2 ounce (15ml) grenadine

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

...and from the board of advisers

David Wondrich, Esquire Drinks

2 ounces applejack
1 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce grenadine

Shake the applejack and other ingredients well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Gary Reagan, Joy of Mixology
2 1/2 ounces applejack
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
grenadine to taste
1 lemon twist, for garnish

SHAKE AND STRAIN into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the garnish.


I must admit to a bit of luck on the lemon version below. The first time out, it was just right. Granted, I'd just transcribed several of the major recipes throughout history, but there it was. A nice rosy aroma from the orange flower water in the fresh grenadine. The beautiful pink blush. The sour apple bite. The warming lemon. It was spot on.

The lime version took a bit of experimenting though. The first time out I tried a 1/2 oz grenadine to 1/2 oz lime juice and it was too sweet. I pulled back to 1/4 oz grenadine and 3/4 oz lime, as I'd done with the lemon juice, and it was too tart.

Splitting the difference at 1/3 oz grenadine and 2/3 oz lime juice and I was back in the pleasure zone with all the wonderful qualities that appeared in the lemon drink reemerging without loosing the bite of the lime. (Be careful though, even sharing the experiments with my wife, we found that the potent 100-proof applejack can really sneak up on you quickly!)

This was my own tasting with a homemade grenadine. I'm posting these recipes as reference only. As you've seen above and throughout this series, it's always best to consider your ingredients, and adjust to your own tastes accordingly.

The Jack Rose with Lemon Juice


2 ounces Laird's 100-proof bonded apple brandy
3/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 ounce fresh grenadine


Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No Garnish

The Jack Rose with Lime Juice


2 ounces Laird's 100-proof bonded apple brandy
2/3 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
1/3 ounce fresh grenadine


Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No Garnish

What are you waiting for? Isn't it time for a Jack Rose?