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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Two Manhattan Variations

Angostura bitter is hard available in the Ukraine. But Angostura bitter is essential ingredient of the famous Manhattan. Manhattan is truly magnificient cocktail. As Garry Regan wrote in they The Joy of Mixology Manhattan is King of Cocktail. Actually we can make acquaintance with Manhattan with help of two very interesting special variations.

The Special Manhattan Cocktail was found at the CocktailDB. It contain Campari Bitter instead Angostura.

The Special Manhattan Cocktail garnish with red maraschino cherry (Коктейль Манхэттен Особый, украшенный мараскиновой вишней)

Special Manhattan Cocktail

50 ml whiskey
25 ml sweet vermouth
7 ml Campari
Stir well with a lot of ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cocktail cherry.

Actually a proper whiskey in Manhattan are american whiskeys like rye whiskey or bourbon, but you may substitute with canadian whisky with apropriate results.

I tasted several combinations with all of my canadian whisky – Canadian Club, Black Velvet and my favorite Crown Roal De Luxe. Also I use two of my sweet vermouths – Martini & Rossi Rosso and Cinzano Rosso. IMHO Martini Rosso vermouth is not great choice for both cocktails. The Cinzano works well in both.

The Special Manhattan Cocktail is great man’s drink. It is connoisseur’s choice. This cocktail is too similar to original Manhattan. It is strong bitter sweet and complex cocktail with aromatic profile. The bitternes of this two cocktails are so different.

Our next cocktail is Esquire Manhattan. This cocktail was created by D. Wondrich for Manhattan Experience Contest. This Manhattan contain Fernet-Branca instead of Angostura.

The Esquire Manhattan Cocktail (Коктейль Эсквайр Манхэттен)

Esquire Manhattan (Эсквайр Манхэттен)

50 ml bourbon
25 ml sweet vermouth
12 ml Fernet-Branca
Stir well with a lot of ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and add a orange twist.

Original recipe prescribe Woodford Reserve bourbon and Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth.

The Esquire Manhattan is great cocktail. It has strong bitter-sweet taste with great bourbon palate. The bitter finish are very interesting with a lot of herbal bitter notes of Fernet-Branca. It is great Manhattan expirience.

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The Boulevardier

The Boulevardier Cocktail was introduced for me by Eric Elestad. I read about this cocktail at his perfect blog – Underhill Lounge. His specify that The Boulevardier is more better cocktail than tasted Old Pal. And now I collected a few bottle of perfect bourbon whiskey and ready to taste some interesting.

The story of Boulevardier Cocktail conected (as Ted Haigh in his Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails specify) with name of Erskine Gwynne – expatriate writer, socialite (I like this word!) and nephew of railroad tycoon Alfred Vanderbilt, which edited a magazine The Paris Boulevardier circa 1930. The Boulevardier was his signature drink. This cocktails was rirst mentioned in Barflies and Cocktails by Harry McElhone (1927).

First I atsted the adapted version from the Ted Haigh’s book:

The Boulevardier Cocktail (Коктейль Булевардер)

The Boulevardier

45 ml bourbon whiskey
30 ml sweet vermouth
30 ml Campari
Stir all ingredients long and well with a lot of ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

I use the Four Roses Bourbon and Cinzano Rosso for my first Boulevardier. It is so good and interesting cocktail. But it is not ideal. The Boulevardier cocktail has bitter-sweet taste with some hints of bourbon. I decide to taste the authentic proportions of the Boulevardier Cocktail from Barflies and Cocktails by Harry McElhone.

The Boulevardier Cocktail in fancy crystal glass (Коктейль Булевардер в хрустальном бокале)

Boulevardier aka Bourbon Negroni

25 ml bourbon
25 ml sweet vermouth
25 ml Campari
Stir all ingredients long and well with a lot of ice. Strain into cocktail glass.

The Boulevardier Cocktail aka Bourbon Negroni is great and magnificient cocktail. It has rich and complex palate with notes of sweet herbs, citrus fruits and bourbon.

Also I try the Old Pal Cocktail with rye whiskey instead canadian:

The Old Pal Cocktail with rye whiskey (Коктейль в хрустальном бокале)

Old Pal

25 ml rye whiskey
25 ml dry vermouth
25 ml Campari
Mix well with a lot of ice. Strain into fancy cocktail glass.

This cocktail is not bad bad no great. It has so bitter taste with herbal pakae of vermouth and Campari and spicy taste of rye whiskey. The Boulevardier is my choice from this two cocktails.

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