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.
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 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 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.