Crimson Slippers

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 |

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 |

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 |

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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Comfort Manhattan

Сегодня мы будеи хулиганить :) Заниматься натуральным вандализмом, никого не стесняясь. Будем делать Манхэттены со странным американским ликером Southern Comfort.

Вкратце, знаете, что такое Southern Comfort? Это такое бухло. Старинный американский ликер, который сейчас производится на нейтральной спиртовой основе и ароматизируется фруктами, специями и виски. Ага, ну, вы поняли. “Рябина на коньяке” по-американски ;) Приспустите штаны, сделайте крутую заточку, возьмите в руку бутылку Southern Comfort, и, как говорится, не грозите Южному Централу. Йоу! Камон! Смоук вид эвридей :)

В рядах, так сказать, рядовых американцев единого понимания сущности этого американского “достояния” нет. Упорно ходят слухи, что это виски. “- Это же виски? Да? – Да, #@$%@, виски. Типа бурбон. Вон с ним даже Манхэттен есть.” :)

Ну, да. Почему нет? Манхэттен – это что? Правильно, это коктейль на американском виски с вермутом и биттером. А что такое SoCo? … Бурбон?!? Йоу! Камон! Йес оф коз! Так что дело за малым ;) Нет ничего проще, чем заменить в Манхэттене виски на SoCo и получить Comfort Manhattan (классное название!), ну, или Southern Comfort Manhattan, а ещё лучше просто, хлестко так, SoCo Man. Чувак, йоу! Ван СоКо Ман! Камон!

Прослеживая развитие коктейльной культуры Гарри Реган в своей The Joy of Mixology упоминает, что Comfort Manhattan идет к нам из брошюры How to Make the 32 Most Popular Drink (рекламный буклетик Southern Comfort 1959 года), а в 70-х Комфортный Манхэттен превратился в Improved Manhattan (Улучшенный Манхэттен) в другой рекламной брошюрке этого же бренда под названием Happy Hour Mixology Plus a Premier of Happy Hour Astrology (1972 год). С какого момента это маркетологическое изобретение превратилось в акт вандализма непонятно. Никто не выпускает прес-релизов по поводу изменения рецептуры. Не в этом мире. “Эй, ребята! Мы стали класть в нашу колбасу использованную туалетную бумагу, вместо геномодифицированной сои! Приглашаем на фуршет!”.

Ладно, заканчиваю брызгать слюной и переходим к тест-драйву :) Самый распространенный рецепт (найденный, кстати, не на свалке, а в The Bartender’s Bible by Gary Regan1, хотя на свалке рецепт, в общем-то, тот же :) ), предписывает соотношение 4:1, его и используем:

Comfort Manhattan

60 ml Southern Comfort
15 ml sweet vermouth (rosso)
3 dash Angostura bitters
Stir all the ingredients in a mixing glass with a lot of ice. Strain to a cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Ну, три моих деш Ангостуры я в этот коктейль добавлять не стал. Не тот формат. Реган, конечно, известный любитель наангостуренных до безобразия Манхэттенов, но я думаю, этот он врядли пил. Трудно себе представить, что кто-то может опробовать 1001 коктейль. Вон, Эрик какую-то Книгу коктейлей отеля Савой почти четыре года пил, так в ней гораздо меньше рецептов, не то, что в этой Байбл! (ну правильно, то ж Книга, а это Байбл, не козявки на морозе к забору клеить).

Йоу! Отличная штука! Вот всем, кому хочется плюнуть Манхэттеном на бурбоне, я советую эту штуку. Этим вы плеваться не будете! Это же ж прелесть. Сладкий, немного травок в нем есть, немного каких-то фруктов, типа, как в чае “нести персик”. Прелесть, а не Манхэттен ;) Жене очень понравился. Мне кажется, что это вообще коктейль для соблазнения. Что может быть соблазнительнее персика и бутылки Мартини Бианко? Определенно, ничего. Начнем с того, что персик определенно похож на попу, а … Ладно. Фик с ним… В общем, советую всем ловеласам взять этот коктейль на вооружение, SoCo, между нами, мачо, говоря, наваливает неподетски ;)

И музыки давно у нас чо-то не было. Вот, ещё один штрих к моей безкрайней душе:

[тут должен был быть плейер, но он заэкспайрился. Поэтому найдите где-нибудь и поставьте себе самостоятельно композицию JaRule – So much Pain]

Да, кроха, в этом мире столько скорби… ;)

Но, надо признаться, от вышеописанного коктейля может и слипнуться. Для серьезных имбайберов не подойдет. Поэтому серьезные люди пишут, что, мол, надлежащим вермутом в Манхэттене с SoCo является сухой вермут. Рецепт Manhattan De Luxe был найден на Сocktail DB, я буду считать этот факт индульгенцией всему посту:

Manhattan De Luxe

50 ml Southern Comfort
20 ml dry vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters
Stir all the ingredients in a mixing glass with a lot of ice. Strain to a cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

О! Это уже лучше. Первое – не так приторно, второе – тут же есть ботаническая составляющая. Сладость тут на уровне обычного Манхэттена где-то. Или нет, определенно, слаще. А по нюансам беднее, зато легко пьется. Это для продвинутых таких имбайберов со спущенными штанами. Девушке своей сделайте первый, а себе, с презрительной ухмылкой, второй. Типа – кроха, мы, мачо, предпочитаем штуки пожестче ;) И когда будете подмигивать, так, как бы невзначай, поправьте дружка. Кагбэ намекая… Что мол, все, влипла киска. Как муха в каплю Southern Comfort.

Но на двух таких простецких коктейльчиках я, конечно, остановится не мог. Душа требовала откровения. Оказалось, что в этой теме отличился Саймон Диффорд! Он тоже придумал коктейль с Southern Comfort и дал ему оригинальное название – Southern Manhattan! Мало того, это произошло для замечательного ново-орленского фестиваля Tales of the Cocktail 2005 года. Веря в миксологический талант Саймона, я опробовал и этот коктейль ;)

Southern Manhattan (by Simon Difford)

40 ml bourbon
20 ml Southern Comfort
20 ml sweet vermouth
3 dash Peychaud’s bitter
Stir all the ingredients in a mixing glass with a lot of ice. Strain to a cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Саймон предписывает для этого коктейля бурбон Мейкерз Марк и вермут Мартини Россо. ММ я оставил, в Мартини как-то привычно заменил на Чинзано (он, кстати, на Чинзано гораздо лучше, не сомневайтесь, проверено на себе).

Ну, это же таки Манхэттен! На бурбоне, сладкий такой. Ботанично-цитрусово-фруктовый. В центре игры, правда, бурбон, но в обрамлении. Комфортном таком обрамлении ;) И, надо признать, коктейль удачный. Вот даже есть настроение до@#$%ться, а ведь не к чему. Мягкий, сладкий округлый вход есть? Есть. Гармоничное пряное с выраженными нотами трав и мягкими нотами фруктов основание? Да. А уверенный пряный финиш, с нотам перца, миндальной косточки и дубовой терпкостью? Тоже есть. Послевкусие? Присутствует, как для коктейля, так и довольно долгое. Пряное. Приятное. А с другой стороны, вот есть в этом коктейле что-то фривольное. Что-то типа приспущенных штанов, которые открывают широкую резинку с надписью “Гуччи” ;) Южное, в общем что-то, очень южное ;) Но роскошное. И в стиле.

Для того, чтобы пить этот коктейль, определенно, надо быть R&B, как говорится, Rich and Beauty. Первое – однозначно, ММ – 50 баксов, SoCo ещё баксов под 30 сожрет, Пешо у нас вообще не найти (мне везли из-за бугра), ну, вермут тут самый дешевый из всего, но стольник гришек вынь да положь. В общем, готовьте 100 баксов! Второе же относительно. Красота, знаете ли, вообще относительна. Кому и кобыла невеста, как народная мудрость гласит. Так что, спасти мир может практически любой ;)

Continue reading “Comfort Manhattan”

S.I.P. #3 – Manhattan – Sweet! Dry! Perfect?

Now, we have a third S.I.P. – an exciting on-line event for Russian-speaking blogers-imbibers. If you are following my blog, you may know what the S.I.P. is something like a Russian-speaking MxMo. Previous two S.I.P. kindled the Russian-speaking mixosphere and gave rise to some new blogs. So we will see who will delurk at the today’s event!

The main topic of the S.I.P. is the Manhattan. That’s a coincidence! Actually, I have had the Manhattan time during the last two months. The Manhattan is my passion. No, I should define it more precisely, the Manhattan is my challenge. No other cocktail exhilarates me more than the Manhattan. The Manhattan is an absolutely magnificent cocktail with its own story, its unique composition and look.

A popular story about the creation of the Manhattan Cocktail tells that the Manhattan was created in 1874 by a Dr. Iain Marshall for a banquet hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill (born Jeanette Jerome, a daughter of a notorious New York’s tycoon Leonard Jerome), the mother of one of the most outstanding Brits. The banquet was organized at the Manhattan Club in honor of an electoral victory of Samuel J. Tilden – the Governor of New-York, a famous politician and a Leonard’s old friend. The cocktail was named after his birth-place.

Actually, I think, that Jeanette Jerome – a noted beauty and a member of New-York’s high society – was worthy to be a godmother of the Manhattan. But some notorious facts destroy the story. As a matter of fact, the banquet took place at the Manhattan Club, New-York, USA, on December 29, 1874. A very curious detail: as we know Sir Winston Churchill was born on November 30, 1874, prematurely, at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England. In the second half of the XIX century there was only one way to cross the Atlantic – by boat and the voyage normally took about two weeks! It seems improbable for a woman, who just has given birth, to travel a distance of about 3000 miles and organize the banquet.

On the other hand, cocktail historian William Grimes specifies that Manhattan Club’s records indicate that the drink was invented there, but without noting of a precise date. He suggests that the banquet only popularized the Manhattan.

Thus, the New-York’s origin of the Manhattan Cocktail is absolutely specified. In fact, as some competent people say, New-York was a rye-drinking city in the XIX century. So, American rye whiskey is an authentic type of whiskey for the Manhattan. Both bourbon and brandy came in after the Manhattan gained popularity in some other states. But then Prohibition turned everything upside down, all was changed. During Prohibition, whiskey as well as other kinds of liquor was not produced. American whiskey was dead. But Manhattan was not. The Manhattan Cocktail obtained new fresh blood – the Canadian whisky. Actually, Canadian whisky, also called Canadian Rye Whisky, is quite a different type of whiskey. It has different maturing and blending methods but it makes use of similar to American whiskies raw materials – corn, rye, barley etc. Legal European bartenders and, of course, illegal bartenders of American speakeasies had a practice of using Canadian Rye in the Manhattan during the Prohibition. And it was then, I think, Canadian Rye Whisky became a third proper type of whiskey for the Manhattan.

Well, we know that the Manhattan is a truly American cocktail which consists of whiskey, vermouth and cocktail bitters. The Manhattan has three standard executions – properly speaking, the Manhattan (‘Sweet’ Manhattan), the Dry Manhattan (with dry vermouth instead of sweet vermouth) and the Perfect Manhattan (with both sweet and dry vermouths in it).

It seems toIt seems so simple. But actually the Manhattan has a great shade – potential which lies in using three pretty different types (-sic! Not trademarks, but three different types!) of whiskey. Vermouth also boasts a rich variety. And a range of cocktail bitters is unbelievably wide. It all makes a Manhattan quite a diverse cocktail though within a standard variation. Now I decide to devote the entry to my favorite recipes of three typical variations of the Manhattan. I am exploring each of these over and over again. The recipes below reflect my today’s vision of the Manhattan.

The Manhattan Cocktail garnished with a red maraschino cherry (Коктейль Манхэттен, укоашенный красной мараскиновой вишней)


50 ml rye whiskey or bourbon
25 ml sweet vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitter
Stir all ingredients in a mixer glass filled with ice cubes. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a red cocktail cherry.

Actually I prefer to use Canadian Whisky in my Manhattan. If I am in proper mood I use smooth and not very spicy bourbon. I regret to confess that I have only one bottle of American rye and do not use it in my Manhattans. Why? Because WILD TURKEY Rye 101 proof is an extremely powerful spirit and it easily kills my ordinary vermouths in the Manhattan. That result is categorically unsuitable for me. My Manhattan is about vermouth, not whiskey. The Manhattan, I am concerned with , is not the Old-Fashioned one . The idea of the Manhattan lies in pairing vermouth and whiskey and not in making whiskey easy to swallow.

My average Manhattan is a well-balanced, smooth and little spicy potation with some velvet bitterness. Properly made it is quite a libation.

My next Manhattan is the Dry Manhattan. When I say ‘dry’, it must be dry. I mean, a standard 2:1 version with dry vermouth instead of sweet is not dry enough for my palate. Therefore I use Embury’s proportions (5 : 1) for the Dry Manhattan:

The Dry Manhattan Cocktail (Коктейль Сухой Манхэттен)

Dry Manhattan

70 ml bourbon
14 ml dry vermouth
1 generous dash orange bitters
Stir all ingredients in a mixing-glass with a lot of ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Another important point is using orange bitters instead of Angostura for a great dry taste. I prefer using light bourbon like Four Roses in my Dry Manhattan.

My Dry Manhattan is a pretty dry cocktail. Not fabulous but dry enough. Both bitters and essential oils of lemon peel help drying the cocktail. The entry is dry with a hint of bourbon sweetness, the palate is dry and herbal, and the finish is complex with prevailing bitterness of citruses. My average Dry Manhattan is a well-balanced, dry and moderate cocktail.

Well, and now some words about the Perfect Manhattan. The next recipe I have borrowed from the one of my favorite cocktail book ‘Cocktails and Mixed Drinks’ by Anthony Hogg.

The Perfect Manhattan Cocktail (Коктейль Совершенный Манхэттен)

Perfect Manhattan

40 ml straight rye whiskey or Canadian rye whisky
20 ml dry vermouth
20 ml sweet vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitter
Stir all ingredients with a lot ice in a mixer glass. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry and lemon peel.

Basically, the perfection of the cocktail lies in equal ratio between whisky and vermouths not in equal ratio between vermouths. My Perfect Manhattan is a herbalicious, well-balanced cocktail with moderate spiciness. Actually the balance of it is quite close to my average Manhattan. It is the golden mean of Manhattans. By the way I often prefer the Perfect Manhattan with Peychaud’s bitters instead of Angostura. It gives yet another kind of bitterness, you know.

Finally let me make a short brief:

1. Rye you must. But Canadian whisky works quite well too.

2. Good vermouth makes a good Manhattan. A crap makes a crap. Cinzano works.

3. No Manhattan without bitters. But I mean bitters in quite a wide sense. Palatable bitters sometimes work as good as cocktail bitters, but the Angostura is that will do.

4. Do not shake the Manhattan, it will bruise an excellence.

5. Garbage in, garbage out. And, one drop of poison infects the whole tun of wine. There is no place for any drop of chemical cherry juice in the Manhattan. So, macerate your own cocktail cherries or wash well commercial cherries for garnishing good Manhattans.

6. It seems ‘so bitter’ for you? Leave it and leave me alone!

Continue reading “S.I.P. #3 – Manhattan – Sweet! Dry! Perfect?”