April 25, 2014

Hanky Spanky Panky

Ada Coleman is one of my heroes - the first famous female bartender in the world (until someone identifies a predecessor - because as we all know cocktail history can change with the turn (up) of an old photo).

At the moment though she is the great foremother. I love this picture of her (yes it's posed and all that, but there is a certain warmth in her tiny smile, that I adore.)

And let us not forget the cocktail she is remembered for: The Hanky Panky - it's actually hard to forget it once you have tasted it, it's one of those hate or love cocktails. I love it, actually way more than I thought I would - truth be told sweet vermouth taste a tiny bit like soup cubes to me, but once Fernet enters the equation all is well.

So I took notice when Jarred Brown and Sipsmith described a new take on the old classic - The Spanky Panky Martini. The addition of mint intrigued me and it was an easy choice for my much anticipated Friday cocktail - the one that recalibrate me to weekend mode.

But before mixing I fact checked something I have been telling a few people taking about Ada Coleman lately: That Harry Craddock didn't just wiz in from - perhaps - shaking the last cocktail in the USA before prohibition and naturally assumed the position as head bartender at the American Bar in the Savoy hotel in London.

He advanced when the management of the Savoy listened to American customers and retired both Ada Coleman and Ruth Burgess in 1925 because Americans was uncomfortable with women working in bars.

So, what is my source? The very same Jarred Brown - I own the signed number 149 edition of his and Anistatia Miller's: The Deans Of Drink - and it's here I've read this version of how Ada Colemans job as head bartender ended.

Ruminating on the unfairness of the action towards the two women I vigorously shook the Hanky Panky with added mint:
  • 5 cl gin
  • 5 cl red vermouth
  • 1 cl Fernet Branca (yes I love Fernet)
  • 10 fresh mint leaves
Put at least 7 mint leaves in a shaker and add the other ingredients, shake over ice and double strain into a coupe and garnish with the remainder of the mint leaves. But remember to wake them up by placing them on your palm and then deliver one firm slap.

And Ada? She was transfered to the flower shop at the Savoy. She was even gracious enough to say in an interview: I missed all my friends too much if I had retired at once, so I've come to work among the flowers, and already instead of mixing cocktails for my friends, I've been making buttonholes for them.

One firm slap, indeed!

April 21, 2014

The Collie

I like a good medicinal taste to my drinks - anything with a hint of iodine and/or the antiseptic whiff of a good bandage makes me happy.

By accident my contribution to this months Mixology Monday lands firmly in the cleaning cupboard group of drinks - the Collie taste like something that could clean out a dusty old room right quick.

But first read what Scott of Shake, Stir & Sip have to say about his chosen theme of Temperance:
While many of us today think of overly sweet and unimaginative uses of fruit juice combinations when we hear of nonalcoholic beverages, there is a growing resurgence and movement of creating real craft “mocktails” in cocktail bars around the world… As such, this month’s theme challenges you to create unique craft “mocktails” only limited by your imagination.  Perhaps you have an abundance of that homemade lavender syrup sitting in your fridge?  Maybe you’ve been thinking about creating a non-alcoholic version of your favorite cocktail.  Or maybe you just wanted an excuse to mix up an Angostura Phosphate you saw in Imbibe.  Oh yes, non-potable bitters are fair game here since they are legally classified as nonalcoholic in the states.  However, if the Teetotalist inside of you won’t allow it, you can go without them.  Cheers!
Truth be told I've never tried my hand at mocktails before - and I'm glad I didn't have to serve The Collie for unsuspecting guest. I does however grow on me as I drink and write.

I wanted to start out from a platform of the Indian yogurt drink called Lassi  - and started by ruling mangos out, the fruits available at this time of year in Denmark are rock hard and taste like imported apples.

I looked at my fruit basket and saw a grapefruit and appointed that star of my creation. The name? Well it springs from a childhood book about a certain dog almost named Lassi.
  • 2,5 dl ice
  • 1 dl plain greek yogurt
  • The flesh of half a red grapefruit - handle it over the blender not to waste any juice
  • 1 dl ginger beer
  • 3 cl violet syrup
Put the ice, yogurt and grapefruit in the blender jar and pulse until the ice is brushed. Add the ginger beer and pulse a few times - don't let the blender kill the fizz from the ginger beer.

Pour into Collins glass - add the violet syrup that will settle on the bottom ready to be agitated by a straw and garish with some kind of purple flower.

April 18, 2014

Snow Ball

Of all the strange concoctions I have measured into a shaker the Snow Ball from the reprint of the 1935 edition of the Bar La Florida Cocktails wins hands down.

It's a mix of gin, creme de menthe, Parfait Amour and milk. Even stranger is the fact that the measurements are given as 1/3 each - not one third of an ounce or anything like that, so I just went with equal measures and hoped the creme de menthe would not overpower the other three ingredients.

It did but since I used the aptly named and super tasting glacial Creme De Menthe from Tempus Fugit it seemed fitting for a snowball or even a snow ball.

I do think that the milk to some extent pulls the drink together - both visually and taste wise. But the milk is also the weak point of the drink.

For the briefest moment in time - long enough to snap a picture thankfully - the drink looked drinkable but a short while later the booze split the milk leaving a translucent liquid in the bottom of the glass and curds on top.

I have few food hang ups and drank it regardless but it would be a disaster at a party or in a bar, so I wonder how they managed at El Foridita in Havana in 1935.

The milk I used was organic whole milk, perhaps a more processed milk will hold up better?
  • 1,5 cl gin
  • 1,5 cl creme de menthe
  • 1,5 cl parfait amour (I used Bitter Truth creme de violette - and I do know that Bols claims parfait amour is a purple curacao)
  • 1,5 cl milk
Shake everything over ice and strain into small glass - Nick and Nora type is good and just be thank full that this is a very tiny cocktail.

April 11, 2014

Colonial Gin and Tonic

I must admit Gin & Tonic is not a drink I fix myself often anymore. There are so many other cocktails and drinks I haven't tried yet, so I will rather spend my "booze budget" on them than the old familiar.

And I'm not talking about money, I'm talking about the amount of alcohol I allow myself to drink during a month. If I don't keep a tight budget one drink too easily leads to another and that is rarely a good thing.

Gin and Tonic and I have to some extend grown apart - I often find the taste a bit one dimensional.

Perhaps because I neglect to mix it with the same care I put into other drinks?

This Wednesday was international Gin and Tonic day however and Hendriks rekindled some of my old love by sending me a very nice little package. I couldn't resist and had a rare mid-week libation.

During my gentle gin-buzz I searched the interwebs for some good G&T-videos and found this, that shows how the reigning worlds best bartender Davis Rios mixes a 'gintonic' Spanish style.

A video that had me planning a fantasy trip to Barcelona for  amazing G&T's, including a visit to 41 Degrees for cocktails and bar foods the Adria way set to music.

And since the trips is all in my mind anyway why not visit Heston Blumenthal on the way home and taste one of his cucumber infused gin and tonics?

For some mysterious reason (clever product placement by spirits giants who have managed to turn the international gin and tonic day into booze lovers Mother's day, perhaps?) that very same day Gin Foundry's post about the Colonial Gin and Tonic popped up in my twitter-feed and I knew I had to mix it - actually cook it.

And what better time to do that than today?

I only tweaked it a little tiny bit.

Tonic reduction:
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 12 coriander seeds
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • The peel of one lemon and a quarter of a pink grapefruit
  • 4 thick slices of cucumber
  • 0.5 liter Fever Tree Indian Tonic
Put everything put the tonic in a heavy pot and crush it together with a pestle, add the tonic and cook for 15 minutes on a gently rolling boil. This will reduce the liquid to  0.30 liter - it will be very bitter, and I ended up adding a little simple syrup before I bottled it. I can't tell you how much, I just added a bar spoon at a time until it was to my taste.

After a quick trip to the freezer to cool the tonic down (well the tonic took the quick trip) I was ready to mix:
  • 6 cl Old English Gin - apart from the fact that I love this gin I figure it's closer to the gin used in the first G&T's.
  • 3 cl Tonic reduction
  • 1 cl lemon juice
  • Dash of rose tincture
  • 3 dashes angostura bitter
Everything in a shaker with ice and shake hard.

Then I have two suggestions:  Either strain into a icy cold stem glass - (use the winning method at the bottom of this post for quick cooling (and to find use for any cheap vodka in your bar)).

Or - and this is the path I chose - strain into a glass full of ice and some garnish - and top it off with a bit of Pellegrino Tonic Water for fizz and tonic balance.

Finally go here and stare at a must have G&T drinking vessel.

(Contrary to what it may look like, the only sponsored part of this post was the G&T box from Henricks on Wednesday - the rest is just the result of my love of name-dropping)