Corpse Reviver #2

Представьте, Lillet пришел в Украину. Не знаю, евроассоциация тут сработала или маркетологи Перно Рикар Украина соскучились по новым постам на, но факт в том, что в самом обычном супермаркете рядом с моим домом [еще и с названием Сiльпо. Лилле Блан в Сильпо, Карл!], по цене в совершенно вонючие 11 евро [дешевле чем во Франции, кста, и это никакие не «старые» цены, это просто так мы шикарно тут живем] стоит Lillet Blanc формируя какую-то совершенно иную алкогольную обыденность в Украине :)

Corpse Reviver #2 |

Ладно, ок, конечно, это не могло не сподвигнуть меня на выход из зоны комфорта :) Это же ж еще одна вещь, которую я так вожделел и прежде всего затем, чтобы попробовать такую [скажем прямо, сейчас для меня неактуальную, если не принимать во внимание аллюзию] замечательную штуку как Corpse Reviver #2 – как утверждается многими самый популярный «оживитель», который впервые появился в печати в совершенно культовом первом издании ‘The Savoy Cocktail Book’ by Craddock, Harry (1930, UK). Это, в принципе и вся история этого коктейля1 8)

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Atty Cocktail

As you may have noticed I hadn’t written about Martini yet. But if you think it’s because I don’t like this cocktail that’s a big mistake. On the contrary, I actually like Martini so much that I just stand in awe of this Icon 8) And now, after seven years of cocktail blogging I consider that I should move 8) So, I’m planning to devote a few posts to Martini this year – from its beginning to modern state, figuratively speaking from Harry Johnson to Audrey Saunders (curiously they both use the same proportions, so the circle is complete). However, I want to start from some interesting riff to pluck up my courage.

First mention of the Attention Cocktail is supposed to have appeared in Hugo Enslinn’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks (1916, USA), this book not only insists on its full name but also gives quite a weird composition – gin, vermouth, absinthe and violet liqueur in equal parts. Next an important milestone in the cocktail’s story is a recipe in the classic The Savoy Cocktail Book by Craddock, Harry (1930, UK). The cocktail was given not only a light, unceremoniously shortened name but also (and that’s way too significant) also pretty exquisite proportions in a Dry Martini style [I think, there is no difficulty to notice that Craddock’s Atty Cocktail is a Dry Martini with violet liqueur]. This it the Atty that went out into the world (as is proven by the fact that Harry Craddock omitted violet liqueur in the Aviation not because he didn’t have it but rather that he didn’t think it was good (or in the right place)). It’s worth noting that Atty isn’t the only reincarnation of the Hugo Enslinn’s Attention Cocktail, there is another similar mix – Arsenic & Old Lace, that utilizes the same ingredients. It’s supposed to have been created and named after an American dark comedy film directed by Frank Capra in 1944.

I have to admit that even in the Craddock’s proportion the Atty Cocktail sounds pretty interesting (except for that shaking), but in fact this post was inspired by an absolutely awesome version from PUNCH Magazine, there were changed proportions to a wet side, and added some orange bitters and a lemon twist [actually, IMHO, these are mandatory attributes of the King].

The Atty Cocktail |

Atty Cocktail

60 ml gin
30 ml vermouth dry
1 bsp. creme de violette
2 dashes orange bitters
splash absinthe
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with splash of absinthe and discard. Add first four ingredients in a mixing glass with cracked ice and stir. Strain into the cocktail glass rinsed with absinthe. Add lemon twist.

Just as I read the recipe I realized with certainty that like any other Dry Martini, Atty Cocktail demanded a maniacally pedantic approach to mixing 8) So let me briefly describe some details of My Way.

Two key moments in a Martini preparation and serving which I’m going to clarify today are the well-chilled glassware and using appropriate ice for mixing.

First of all I chill my favorite glass. Obviously the easiest way to chill a cocktail glass for Martinis is to place one in a freezer for a certain time. However this way is too rough if we deal with crystal ware (namely that sort of glasses that suits Martini the best). Crystal is a rather sensitive material and it demands certain, you know, soft-glove treatment if you want to see your crystal ware as shiny as when brand new. So, the best way to gently chill crystal cocktail glass is using crushed ice and soda water – simply put plenty of crushed ice in the glass and add cold fresh carbonated water to intensify thermal transfer. Let the glass stand tfor a few minutes while you are preparing the cocktail.

It's Martini Time |

Next I add all the ingredients (and of course only the best that I could find, or at least – my most favorite) in a mixing glass (I never chill barware if I mix my plain Dry Martini – for achieving proper dilution, it’s important) and think some time about ice to mix the cocktail 8) As a matter of fact, in a home bar we have at least three sorts of ice for mixing (or even more, if you use ice-molds of different sizes for preparing ice cubes) – cubed, crushed and cracked. Specifically the last sort I prefer to use for Martini mixing. Fresh made cracked ice contains pieces of different sizes and forms that provide the best conditions for chilling and dilution of a Martini. For preparing cracked ice I use a bar spoon and very cold big ice cubes in a way described in this Michael Deitch article.

I always use plenty of fresh made cracked ice for my Martini. Usually I add at least two or three times more ice than ingredients by volume. And of course I only use stirring not shaking in order to not to bruise my gin and vermouth 8) A little more rationally, it could be rephrased – in order to not to oxygenize my gin and vermouth in highly dispersed mixed-phase medium 8) So, as you can see, I am a strong believer in gin and vermouth bruising ;)

After carefully mixing I finely strain the mix in the prepared cocktail glass. I always use tea-strainer because I consider that even tiniest ice pieces in my Martini are an epitome of evil 8) Martini must be absolutely clear and brilliantly shiny (sapphirely in the case of the Atty ;).

The Atty Martini |

Also let me say some words about rinsing the glass with a splash of absinthe that is demanded for preparation the Atty. Actually, I had never liked this procedure because it’s not very effective and I am always greedy to discharge rinsings :) Fortunately these problems were solved after buying an atomizer, this thing really works!

All these steps allow me to obtain really great Martinis. One of which is Atty Cocktail.

Atty Cocktail close up |

Wow, wow, wow! The only thing I repeated while I took first, second and third sips of this heavenly blueish dry delight. Sometime ago one of my favorite cocktail bloggers – Doug Ford from Cold Glass described the Atty Cocktail with word «astonishing» and now I see what «astonishing» means 8) Actually it’s very curious to taste a word.

First what astonished me when I just took the cocktail in my hand was its aroma. The Atty has an absolutely unique deep perfume nose full of flowery, citrus notes with exquisite gin juniperic and vermouth subtle botanical flavor. From time to time I think that to embody some cocktails in perfume would be a good idea, I’m positive I would love an eau de toilette on basis of Satin Manhattan (aka Scotch Cooler) and Atty is a similar case (for another mood of course).

Besides, the taste of the drink is no less great than its flavor. The Atty Cocktail has rather a dry palate with base floral and junipery notes of gin and vermouth piquantly adorned with flowery violet and spicy anise notes of pastis (while I haven’t got good absinthe yet, I use Pernod as substitute). Of course I tasted several combination of gins and vermouths in this cocktail. For now the best results I obtained with a time-honoured combination of Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin and Martini & Rossi Extra Dry, and my other lucky couple has become a combination of Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin with Gancia Extra Dry vermouth.

And finally let me say something about another great Martini’s characteristic, which the Atty possesses too – action. This cocktail has a significant Martini outcome. An impact. An ideal anxiolytic. A portal to another world 8) A fantastic cocktail!

Improved Whiskey Cocktail

Hi everyone who still remembers me and my blog. The Science of Drink in English is on air again. And actually, we must thank for that :)

So, this story began sometime in April when guys from Rueverte: sent me for reviewing a quite interesting things – Scrappy’s Bitters Purple Gift Set (You can buy it using this link by a couple of clicks, I’m serious, lucky! Except you live in Ukraine like me… They don’t send bitters to Ukraine… Damn!). But whatever, It is an excellent challenge for broadening my cocktail bitters horizons 8)

Scrappy's Bitters Purple Gift Set

The Scrappy’s Bitters Purple Gift Set consists of four 0.5 oz samples – conventional Aromatic and Orange and exotic Lavender and Celery. Today I will use only the first two. Two others I will use sometime later when I can find any cocktails with such strange kind of bitters 8) (Maybe, I will have a look at the gift box, won’t I? ;)

Well, let’s go! First, it is good opportunity to remember what bitters are and why their palace on a bar shelf is so important.

Actually bitters are always a foundation-stone for cocktails. Let refresh in our memory first definition of the word “cocktail” – Cocktail is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters – it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and blah-blah-blah :) (The Balance, and Columbian Repository, 1806, 13th may). So, basically, cocktails are all about bitters.

Obviously, nowadays we can name «a cocktail» all kind of mixed drinks. But connoisseurs have to remember that suitable cocktails must contain bitters 8) Even Pina Colada ;)

Improved Whiskey Cocktail old-fashioned style |

The story of cocktail bitters is very exciting but it’s still not very clear. They were booming during the Golden Era of Cocktails and they were killed by Prohibition. In fact, there were a dozen notable bitters in Jerry Thomas’s time. Abbot’s Bitters (original Manhattan bitters), Bogart’s Bitters, legendary Boker’s Bitters, Peruvian, Orinoco, Angostura, Peychaud’s, Hostetter’s, Boonecamp, English Stoughton Bitters were in their high-day. But a few years after Prohibition bartenders had only dusty bottles of Angostura. Even Peychaud’s or Fee Brothers were hard to find, all other bitters felled into oblivion. All changed in 2000s, the modern glut of cocktail gives us many new or revived bitters every few months. So, we live in very interesting times!

Bitters are absolutely necessary for a cocktail bar. Bitters make cocktails more complex, more flavorful, more potent. They add some new dimensions for mixed drinks. People say, bitters are as important in a bar as salt and pepper are in a kitchen. They, naturally, are species for cocktails. Used by dashes even by drops they make many cocktails. There aren’t Manhattans without aromatic bitters or Sazeracs without Peychaud’s etc. Bitters are crucial ingredients of this cocktails.

Old-Fashioned Cocktail |

One of the best, more interesting and delightful cocktails with bitters is the Old-fashioned cocktail. First mixed in late 1880 it is archetypal cocktail: only spirit, water, sugar and bitters mixed in old-fashioned way without any specific bar tools. It is pure classic and unalloyed pleasure for a serious imbiber. We can mix the Old-Fashioned with many kinds of spirits but my favorite old-fashioned potion is whiskey, especially bourbon.

In the context of classical mixology writings like famous ‘How to Mix Drinks, or Bon-Vivants Companion’ by Jerry Thomas (1862) the Old-Fashioned Cocktail with whiskey is actually a Plain Whiskey Cocktail. And a Plain Cocktail is not only a cocktail, it is a most archaic mixology construction. Thus there are a few Plain Cocktails – Gin, Brandy, Rum. The next step of the evolution of this construction is an Improved Cocktail originated with second edition forementioned Jerry Thomas’s work – ‘The Bar-Tender’s Guide; or, How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks’ (1876). The main improvement is addition of minor quantity of two new ingredients – maraschino and absinthe.

And now I’m going to check how it works. Can we have a possibility to improve such a perfect thing as the Old-Fashioned Cocktail?

Perfect Old-Fashioned Cocktail |

Improved Whiskey Cocktail (Old-Fashioned Way)

60 ml straight American whiskey (preferably small batch)
1 sugar cube
1 bsp. maraschino liqueur
1 dash Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters
1 dash Scrappy’s Orange Bitters
1 dash absinthe or Pernod
1 tsp. plain water
Soak the sugar cube with bitters and liqueurs on the bottom of a fancy old-fashioned glass. Muddle the sugar with something suitable (like muddler or bar-spoon, or lipstick … whatever) then add the water and mix until the sugar disolves completely. Add the spirit and a couple of big ice cubes, then stir. Cut a small piece of lemon peel and spray the cocktail with some drops of essential oil then put lemon peel into the drink.

Let me say some words about ingredients. First, as I look at this cocktail as a completely high-end concoction, I recommend to use only finest components like your favorite small batch bourbon, Luxardo Maraschino Originale (avoid cheap bar maraschino) and high quality absinthe or, if you don’t have it, Pernod as appropriate substitute. I also recommend to use interesting cocktail bitters (like Scrappy’s by the way) in your Improved Whiskey Cocktail. Please note, that mixing of two or even three bitters is a right way to achieve perfect and unusual taste and aroma of your favorite cocktails.

By the way, Thomas suggested to shake up the Improved Whiskey Cocktail. I hazard to suppose, it is not good idea. It appears, shaking will bruise many delicate flavors and tasting notes of our mix. That’s why I prefer to make it in the old-fashioned way.

Certainly, the Improved Whiskey Cocktail is a superb drink. All these dashes, barspoons, drops and other little ones perfectly work together with our favorite booze. All those things have to improve our whiskey and give us an excellent mix full of aromatic notes and taste nuances. Maraschino and Pernod together with orange bitters emphasize a lot of fruit, citrus notes of bourbon (like Makers Mark or Woodford Reserve). Aromatic bitters and sugar sweetness play perfectly with a lot of ageing notes like warm brown species (vanilla) and spicy peppery notes of some bourbons (Ridgemont Reserve 1792). The bitters, sugar and liqueurs link all tastes and aromas together and give us an exciting complex palate.

Improved Whiskey Cocktail |

As I’ve got a dozen favorite bottles of bourbon in my bar, It took me about a month to taste the Improved Whiskey Cocktail with each of them. The results were quite different but one thing was the same – the cocktails were absolutely perfect!

And finally I can compare my new Scrappy’s with my traditional Angostura. First, I must say, both work well. However they work noticeably different. Angostura Aromatic gives a well-known potent rich taste in the cocktails. Orange notes of Angostura Orange Bitters are fruity, fresh and bright. It is delightful. Scrappy’s Aromatic works more delicate and it is not bad. But I was absolutely fascinated by Scrappy’s Orange Bitters. It is perfume sophisticated pleasure. It gives not only citrus freshness or orange juiciness, or bright aroma of fresh pilled orange zest but it gives spirituel orange bloom notes. I think that’s because Scrappy’s Orange Bitters has 110 proof strength and thus it is able to incorporate many aromatic essential oils. It is awesome! Thanks Scrappy’s for my pleasure!

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