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Crimson Slippers

21 November 2014 · 4 Comments

I would like to make the point that classic or vintage cocktail sources do not always satisfy my imbibing thirst because – it must be admitted – many great cocktail combinations remain beyond them. There are many reasons for that. Certainly, barmen of the old days used only the liquors that they had in stock, and the knowledge that they were able to acquire. Therefore, the limited availability of imported beverages, low level of market integration (and, probably, relatively narrow and hard-to-find information sources) resulted in the limited number of approved combinations created on either side of the Atlantic. These combinations are, undoubtedly, exceptional, but some of those omitted seem not in any way worse.

One of the best examples is mixing rum (especially dark) and Campari. There are some truly classic compositions with Campari and gin (famous Negroni Cocktail), and Campari and whiskey (Boulevardier). They are both excellent choices, but the combination of Campari with aged rum, although very interesting, is relatively unknown.

Fortunately, we live in the days of globalization, total market integration, and perfect information availability. Thus the question of untested cocktail combinations will be solved in the nearest future ;) And it is specifically we, the cocktailian bloggers, who will play a big role in sifting out cinders from ashes and turning them into future classics (certainly, if we don’t shy away from that) 8) So, let’s go!

Crimson Slippers | ScienceOfDrink.com

The Crimson Slippers Cocktail arrived in my GoogleReader [R.I.P., bro. I am still miss you] account on Nov. 10, 2010 [from Doug Ford], and was noticed straightway, not least because rum being my favorite base spirit at the time. Plus, it was a very interesting combination of Campari and Cointreau (they nicely work together – for example, in the Lucien Gaudin Cocktail). All of this promised a lot of enjoyment… However, I checked the history, and lost my appetite. Damn snoberry didn’t let me try the thing I wanted :) What a shame!

Let me explain: the Crimson Slippers Cocktail was created by a freelancer food-writer A.J. Rathbun. He came up with it in the hot August of 2008 and posted the recipe on his blog. After a while the recipe was published in his book Dark Spirits (2009). Thus it seemed insufficiently classic for me even though it was approved by several very respected blogs like the aforementioned Cold Glass and A Mountain of Crushed Ice.

But let me look at this from the agathist point of view now :) – whatever happens happens for the best. I am really getting a lot of fun out of this libation here and now when I am so in need of such pleasure.

The Crimson Slippers Cocktail | ScienceOfDrink.com

Crimson Slippers

60 ml dark rum
30 ml Campari
15 ml triple sec (Cointreau)
1 [generous] dash Peychauds bitters
Stir the ingredients in a mixing glass with a lot of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wedge (OR [that I prefer] you may also rub the inside of the glass with the outside of the fresh cut lime wedge).

A few words about the ingredients. The key one is Campari – a vivdly red, extremely bitter, herbal, palatable Italian aperitif. You may ask why I qualified Campari as the key ingrediend of the drink… You, certainly, could, but only if you have never tasted Campari :) It has such a distinctive and remarkable palate that it undoubtedly can’t be forgotten. And, by the way, I’m totally convinced that a bottle of Campari is essential in any cocktail bar.

The next question is triple-sec liquor. Originally, A.J. used for his first sips a homemade liqueur, which was ‘not too sugary’ and ‘orange-y enough’; now he prescribes merely a triple-sec. Actually, I’m pretty sure that an excellent choice here is Cointreau, surely the best or, at any rate, one of the best triple secs ever.

As for bitters, I strictly follow A.J.’s suggestion, – Peychaud’s, but if you haven’t got it, good orange bitters will probably work well, too.

And the last but not least: the question of a base spirit. A.J. simply prescribes a dark rum. Precisely these twoo words have been giving me a lot of fun for a month or so now 8) Actually, I tend to treat the term “dark rum” as broadly as I possibly can. As a matter of fact, I’ve got more than three dozens of rums in my liquor cabinet now and practically two dozens of them are dark. I think even big rum connoisseurs won’t argue with me that any aged rum is dark enough for this drink :) On this scientific assumption, I’ve tried making the Crimson Slippers not only with heavy and dark rums of the English tradition but also with the well-aged, let’s say, rons and rhums :)

The Crimson Slippers Cocktail Composition | ScienceOfDrink.com

After superfluous (yeah, I should admit it) testing, I have made two main conclusions – a general and a particular one.

First, the general conclusion: there is no dark rum that will spoil the Crimson Slippers. If you pick a good rum, you’ll get a good cocktail. It’s amazing! No matter how powerful your rum is, it’ll play in the Crimson Slippers well. If it is powerful enough, it will bring beautiful vanilla and sweet rum (sugarcane, warm spices, and candied fruit) notes into this potent, bitter-sweet drink. If it is too powerful, it will be able to play with Campari and Cointreau head-to-head. And, to be honest, I can’t imagine a rum which would overpower an ounce of Campari ;)

Now, the particular conclusion: for me, the Cuban rum Havana Club 7 y.o. has become a favourite. This rum makes for a drink which corresponds completely to all my imaginings about a perfect play of a well-aged rum with bitter sweet Campari and Cointreau.

So, let’s summarize: the Crimson Slippers isan absolutely marvelous truly aromatic type of cocktail. It is rich, strong, full of different herbs, spices, and citrus fruits. And, yeah, it is on a sweet side. It should be totally right for a ‘sweet tooth’ mood, like all these sweet and strong, exquisitely classic concoctions from the Golden Age of Cocktails :)

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→ 4 CommentsTags: Campari · Cointreau · Peychaud's bitters · Rum

Adonis Cocktail and Bamboo (‘sweet tooth’ var.)

12 November 2014 · 4 Comments

The key aspect of my cocktail hobby is permanent broadening of my imbibing horizons (and, unfortunately, of my liquor cabinet). Naturally, I couldn’t help uncovering a curious world of cocktails with fortified wines like, just now, sherry.

One of the classical cocktail constructions with а sherry base is a combination of wine and vermouth with a dash of bitters. Actually there were many such cocktails in old books [for example, the twins The Anticipation and The Invitation in ‘The Flowing Bowl’ by Schmidt, Willian (1892, USA), the Brazil Cocktail in ‘New and Improved Bartender’s Manual’ by Jonson, Harry (1888, USA), the Cuban Cocktail in ‘Louis’ Mixed Drinks’ by Muckensturn, Louis (1906, Boston, USA; also East Indian Cocktail, Reform, Duke of Malborough etc.]. However only two have become real classics – Adonis (with sweet vermouth) and Bamboo (with a dry one). I would love to start with the Adonis.

Albert Stevens Crockett in his ‘The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book’ (1935, USA) mentions that this drink was “Named in honor of a theatrical offering which first made Henry E. Dixey and Fanny Ward famous”, and this remark allows somebody to create an amusing story 8) or even make a speculation that this drink was invented by the legendary Jerry ‘Professor’ Thomas (curiously he was the founder of the Broadway Bijou Theatre, where musical ’The Adonis’ was performed more than 600 times in 1880s). Personally I found the earliest citation of the Adonis Cocktail in ‘Drinks’ by Straub, Jacques (1914, USA) even though a lot of similar concoctions had been printed in older books (see below).

There are at least two common proportions for the Adonis Cocktail now – 1:1 like ‘The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book’ by Crockett, Albert Stevens (1935, USA) or 1:2 like ‘The Savoy Cocktail Book’ by Craddock, Harry (1930, UK).

The Adonis Cocktail | ScienceOfDrink.com

Adonis Cocktail

45 ml dry sherry
45 ml sweet vermouth
1-2 dash orange bitters
Stir the ingredients with a lot of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

I use my habitual Martini&Rossi Rosso Vermouth and an inexpensive Elegante Medium Dry Sherry by Gonzales Byass Bodegas. Also I mixed the cocktails with a generous dash (or even two!) of Fee Brothers West Indians Orange Bitters or Angostura Orange Bitters. Both were perfect!

A word about sherry. As a matter of fact, since 2012 blended sherry (like the one I used) couldn’t be labelled as Amontillado or Oloroso. These names are reserved for the dry Vinos Generosos from Palomino grapes only (the Elegante sherry contains a blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez, now that kind of sherry is known as Medium… just Medium). But, retrospectively, throughout all of cocktail history such wines had been named as Amontillado and, respectively, Oloroso. I’m not so positive that bartenders of bygone days paid so much attention to the grapes variety for producing sherry but I’m totally positive that they recommended using rich and flavorful Amontillado and Oloroso sherries in mixing.

The Adonis Cocktail is a very friendly light aperitif drink. The main charm of it is that it is pretty light on booze but not in flavor. On one side this cocktail won’t be able to intoxicate you so much, but on another side it will be able give you true herbaceous richness.

As for me, the key point of the perfect Adonis Cocktail is appropriate diluting. As we know, water is an important ingredient of most cocktails (that are prepared with ice), and an optimal balance between diluting and cooling is half the battle. Since the cocktail contains no strong liquor, it, in my opinion, needs minimal dilution. In my home bar, I always use very cold and «dry» ice from the freezer (about -20°C), consequently I am often able to neglect chilling my equipment. But in this case I froze the mixing glass and also I kept ingredients in the fridge (excellent place of storage, by the way, for vermouths as well as for sherries) to minimize ice melting. So, my cocktails were diluted extremely precisely 8)

If you succeed in diluting your Adonis you could get a drink with quite pleasant sweet palate full of botanical, spicy and citrusy-fruity notes with nutty tang from sherry. Both fortified wines work perfectly together and are very interestingly improved by bitters and the twist.

Further, I tasted the Craddock 2:1 version. In actuality, the difference was not so remarkable as I had supposed. All the main characteristics were the same – quite a sweet palate with a ton of herbs, spices and oranges, and a piquant nutty sherry note. Both Adonises delight me equally – although I would prefer the first, you know, vermouth being my long-time passion while sherry rather a new one :)

Adonis Cocktail | ScienceOfDrink.com

Certainly I could have refrained from tasting the most famous sherry+vermouth cocktail – the Bamboo – particularly because I had picked up a seemingly absolutly inappropriate sherry for it (most recipes prescribe fino sherry, not Amontillado especially Medium Dry). But I didn’t 8)

The thing is that some time ago I bookmarked one interesting article about the Bamboo Cocktails in PUNCH Magazine. It was devoted to an interesting ‘sweet tooth’ riff on the classic bone dry Bamboo by Joaquín Simó.

Actually I had been dreaming about tasting the Bamboo Cocktail for a very long time. As William ‘Cocktail’ Boothby wrote in his ‘The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them’ (1908, USA), it was invented by Louis Eppinger – а german bartender, who had been managing the Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan since late 1880s. Boothby prescribed mixing together 1 part of French vermouth, 1 part sherry, 2 dashes of Orange bitters and 2 drops of Angostura. As you might have noticed Boothby doesn’t specify the type of sherry (but some information from the book implies that he might have used a sort of amontillado or oloroso sherry, but who cares, this wasn’t the original recipe). Nowadays, the driest fino sherry is widely recommended to mix the Bamboo. The common formula is 1 part of fino sherry, 1 part of French dry vermouth and a few dashes of bitters – both orange and aromatic. The Joaquín Simó’s version also includes a teaspoon of a strong sugar (cane) syrup to help balance the drink and give it а bit more texture. As I used Medium Sherry I decided to decrease the amount of syrup.

The Bamboo Cocktail | ScienceOfDrink.com

Bamboo Cocktail (‘sweet tooth’ ver.)

45 ml vermouth dry
45 ml sherry dry
1 dash (or 2 drops) Angostura bitters
1-2 [generous] dashes orange bitters
1 bsp. simple syrup
Stir the ingredients with a lot of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

I used Martini&Rossi Extra Dry vermouth as French vermouth and Elegante Medium Dry Sherry. I followed Bill Boothby on the bitters question to drop Angostura and add orange bitters by bar spoon 8) It worked here perfectly.

To all intents and purposes this version of Bamboo is practically the same as Adonis Cocktail. The difference is a sort of using of а different vermouth. The specifics are so similar – well-balanced sweet palate with a lot of herbal, spicy and citrusy notes. An excellent drink!

Eventually after close aquaintance with these cocktails I understood clearly their place in my own barlist. I think they are, first of all, perfect brunch drinks – not the booze for a Sunday morning but rich flavorful potions that are able to create an appropriate mood and feeling of well-being for the whole day off.

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→ 4 CommentsTags: Aromatic bitters · Orange bitters · Sherry · Vermouth dry · Vermouth sweet

La Perla Cocktail

23 October 2014 · 4 Comments

Today we are going to continue a special wine theme. But if last time a sweet and full bodied Madeira wine was utilized in a rare pearl by Charles H. Baker, now I will explore the other side – the driest and lightest Manzanilla sherry in a contemporary creation.

Actually the La Perla Cocktail was bookmarked while I was browsing ‘The PDT Cocktail Book’ by Meehan, Jim (2011, USA) for the first time. However this post was inspired by charming Courtney Randall writings

Jim Meehan in his book confidently reports that the cocktail was named not in honor of the luxurious lingerie brand [as we could suppose] but a London bar led by Tequila Guru Tomas Estes. A date and place of birth were clarified successfully by the genuine creator.

The most exciting experience that I wanted to achieve with this drink was familiarity with my new passion – Manzanilla. Actually I am not a big wine drinker. Particularly, most dry white wines are completely not my choice due their acidity. But it isn’t so about Manzanilla. This wine has an excellent, perfectly dry palate without any sourness. Such a great palate with light floral, chamomille, nutty and fruity notes is exceptionally interesting. 

Technically, manzanilla is a special kind of dry and light sherry – a special wine from Spain. Only wines that were aged in Sanlucar de Barrameda town can be named Manzanilla.

Thus, when I ran into this bookmark some days ago I imagined vividly how excitingly smoky, sweet and fruity tequila and light floral Manzanilla ought to play together.

La Perla Cocktail | ScienceOfDrink.com

La Perla Cocktail 

45 ml reposado tequila (100% de agave only)
45 ml manzanilla sherry
20 ml pear liqueur
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with a lot of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass or a coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Some words about the ingredients and preparation. I use Corralejo Reposado Tequila 100% de agave; cheap, but not bad, Don Pablo Manzanilla Sherry and Nannerl Williamsbirnen. The manzanilla has an amazing, very fresh and fruity taste with infinitesimal acidity. As far as I’m concerned, the cocktail requires very gentle zesting with a lemon peel. This is not a place for bitterness. On the other hand, quite small quantities of lemon essential oil bring marvelous freshness to the drink.

Wow! La Perla is an amazing cocktail. It has a light, pleasant and balanced taste with an exciting combination of fruity winy notes with a little smokiness. The palate seems rather dry but you should realize that I’ve been drinking an old-fashioned Martinez all last month. So, if you want light, not bone dry, quite the opposite to a sweetish aperitive, La Perla Cocktail is a good choice.

→ 4 CommentsTags: Pear liqueur · Sherry · Tequila

Creole Contentment

12 October 2014 · 10 Comments

Maybe somebody noticed that the Science Of Drink Blog haven’t had updates in English in a long time. Actually all this time I kept in touch with many American cocktail blogs and had a lot of fun reading them. This kind of silent participation in conversation satisfies me in general, but one day I understood clearly that I would like more. The most important things in our lives are emotions and conversations. Can you imagine something better than good companionship full of intelligent arguments and sharing experience?

Actually, all these ideas agitated me after I had found yet another quite exciting cocktail blog – the Cocktail Quiz by Courtney Randall. Brilliant writings, sophisticated cocktails, wise ideas and curious suggestions inundate this place of the World Wide Web. At that very moment I completely understood how much I missed conversations with that kind of people. And I decided to try once again.

This recipe was found on the Cocktail Quiz blog. Courtney wrote that this cocktail he found in ‘The Gentleman’s Companion: Being An Exotic Drinking Book Or, Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask’ by Baker, Charles Henry Jr. (1939, USA) and that inspired me to buy the book immediately. Some days ago I got the book and now I’m ready to mix :)

Usually I try to clarify the cocktail’s story but in this case it seems impossible. Charles H. Baker Jr. reported that this cocktail was invented somewhere in New Orleans. That was almost all I could clarify 8)

In sober fact I got interested in Creole Contentment Cocktail because it is a good opportunity to utilize one of my favorite special wines – Madeira wine. I have been loving Madeira since I tested a Madeira Flip this winter and now I am going to try something else with this interesting beverage [and quite an unusual cocktail component].

Quite literally, the original formula prescribes equal parts of ingredients (except bitters certainly). But a real expert Charles H. Baker Jr. suggests to cut maraschino down by half, and increase cognac in that ratio. As I’m not a mathematician, quite the opposite I’m a lawyer :) , my recipe is the same as Courtney’s.

The Creole Contentment Cocktail | ScienceOfDrink.com

Creole Contentment

45 ml cognac
30 ml Madeira
15 ml maraschino liqueur
1 [generous] dash orange bitters
Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry, as Baker says, this drink needs little trimming.

Some words about the ingredients I used. I took Remy Martin V.S.O.P. Cognac and Luxardo Maraschino Originale. I had set two challenges before drinking my first Creole Contentment Cocktail. First, I decided to try both recipes – the original (1:1:1) and the one above. Secondly, I wanted to compare different types of Madeira wine. Actually I’ve got two different, maybe I can say, opposite Madeiras in my bar – Henriques&Henriques Madeira Full Rich (sweet) and Special Dry (the driest one).

Certainly I started with Baker’s version [as I’ve understood it ;) ] with sweet, syrupy and potent Full Rich Madeira. Also I added a generous dash [usually I like to use my smallest bar spoon as a dash, about 1,25 ml] of Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters. These orange bitters have a moderate, smooth taste and I like to add them without scruple :)

As a result I obtained a very interesting cocktail. It was so good! This mix tasted like a noble pearl from the Golden Age of the American Cocktail – sweet and smooth, rich, complex palate with a bunch of refined tastes with lovely chocolate notes. Undoubtedly, it’s an awesome cocktail.

As a result I obtained a very interesting cocktail. It was so good! This mix tasted like a noble pearl from the Golden Age of the American Cocktail – sweet and smooth, rich, complex palate with a bunch of refined tastes with lovely chocolate notes. Undoubtedly, it’s an awesome cocktail. As I could have supposed [ ;) ] it was absolutely clear from the first sip that I didn’t want more maraschino or less cognac in my drink. So, challenge #1 was rejected :) The formula was acknowledged as perfect.

The Creole Contentment Cocktail served in a old coupe glass | ScienceOfDrink.com

The cocktail with Special Dry Madeira wasn’t as satisfactory as the one with Madeira Full Rich. Certainly it still tasted good, but it wasn’t awesome. Neither velvety smoothness nor noble chocolate sweet richness was in that mix. It was a pretty dry, relatively complex cocktail. But in my old-school ‘sweet tooth’ taste spoiled by Martinez [from the Golden Age of Cocktail] it was not interesting enough. Thus, I would object to using dry Madeira in this cocktail even if it is suggested by some respected people 8) Actually I’m positive that only syrupy full-bodied sweet & rich Madeiras are able to give us real creole contentment.

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→ 10 CommentsTags: Brandy · Madeira · Maraschino liqueur · Orange bitters

S.I.P.#17 – Martinez – The Roundup

5 October 2014 · 1 Comment

Sorry, but this post is not available in English. But coming soon!

→ 1 CommentTags: S.I.P.

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