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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Five More Classic Cocktails for a Fancy Lady


Last post (found here) we went through some of the best classic cocktails for a lady, but the list to me feels incomplete without the following runner-ups.
 
Stinger
This drink is very simple and not particularly interesting in flavour - in fact, it can be way too sweet if made according to classic recipes. However, it is an excellent digestif to end your dinner or evening, and opens the door to some very interesting experimentation. Having a half-si
zed cocktail of Cognac or brandy with bitters, or amaro, and some representation of the mint flavour (be it Giffard menthe de pastille or Branca Menta or an amaro like Nardini) has become a mainstay of my drinking evenings. The drink also has a long American history, dating in literature back to 1917’s “Ideal Bartender” book, which lists it simply as equal parts of brandy and white crème de menthe. It was popular amongst pilots in WWI because the young men preferred drinks not to taste of alcohol, but also because the mint oil disguised the liquor on their breath (as cocktail historian David Wondrich reasons). The Stinger was a favourite of Billie Holiday, as well as enjoyed by the lovely Grace Kelly [right] in 1956’s “High Society,” Katherine Hepburn in 1940’s “Philadelphia Story,” and Jayne Mansfield and Cary Grant in 1957’s “Kiss Them For Me” (in which Grant says “stingers - and keep them coming.”) Giffard’s menthe de pastille can be substituted for crème de menthe (to better effect in my opinion), but is more potent and should be balanced accordingly. The below recipe is Wondrich’s:

2.25oz brandy

0.75oz white crème de methe

Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a cocktail coupe.

Pink Lady
The name is a little obvious for a lady cocktail choice, the drink is pretty-looking, tastes fruity, but it still packs a punch. It also carries a foggy history. Originally the recipes only included gin, grenadine, and egg white (Cafe Royal Cocktail Book, 1937), but later incarnations included lemon juice, applejack or apple brandy, and even cream. Esquire’s 1949 “Handbook for Hosts” (mentioned last post) also has this one in the ‘for the girls’ section. In popular culture, 1950’s sex symbol Jayne Mansfield [right] used to drink them before meals, and in the 1937 film “Topper,” Constance Bennett gives one to Cary Grant.
The most accepted recipe comes from David Embury’s “Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” in 1948:

1.5oz gin
0.5oz apple brandy (or applejack)
0.5oz lemon juice

0.25oz grenadine
egg white

Shake ingredients without ice, then add ice and shake again. Strain into a cocktail coupe.

Twentieth Century
This is an excellent introduction to gin, or an excellent trick for anyone who claims they don’t like gin. It originated in 1937’s Cafe Royal Cocktail Book, credited to C.A. Tuck, a British bartender who created the drink in honour of the Twentieth Century Limited. At the time this was a wonder of modern technology: the world’s fastest and most luxurious train that ran from Chicago to New York at 60 miles per hour from 1902 to 1967. So fancy was this train and its many dining and drinking cars, that passengers boarded and exited the train upon a red velvet carpet, which is actually the origin of the phrase “red carpet treatment.” The train was featured in several films, most prominently in Alfred Hitchcock’s very influential “North by Northwest” (1959). The drink itself is like a chocolate meringue dessert, but can still be made dry enough to enjoy. Below is the traditional recipe, but click here to see a variation using egg white and substituting a Giffard white chocolate syrup for the very flat crème de cacao, along with a more detailed history.

1.5oz Plymouth gin
0.75oz Lillet Blanc

0.75oz white crème de cacao   
0.75oz lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
 

Jack Rose
This pink and fruity sour has several theories of inception: named after a lying gambler who had a famous run-in with the law in 1912 (and who may have invented the drink himself), named after the Jaquemot rose because of the colour (as claimed in the book “Old Waldorf Bar Days” in 1931), or as recently uncovered in print in 1905, simply invented by a bartender at Gene Sullivan’s Cafe in Jersey City. Sadly the oldest printed account is the most likely one, negating the much more interesting Jack Rose the gambler story, which also lends the parallel of the drink itself being a liar, with its pink colour and fruity flavour masking what is actually a very strong drink. It is nonetheless a clever name, having both applejack and a rose colour. To be traditional, applejack should be used, but calvados is also acceptable and will offer a softer and fruitier drink. The juice is not specified between lemon or lime in the history books, but I find lime much more interesting. There are recipes galore on how to make this, and a major factor is how you make your grenadine. The simplest way is just to make a 1:1 simple syrup with real pomegranate juice in place of water, and this will enable you to balance drinks the usual way. Below is David Wondrich’s recipe:

2oz applejack (or Calvados)

1oz lime juice
0.5oz grenadine

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Aviation
A favourite among cocktail enthusiasts, the Aviation dates back to the 1910’s but underwent a recipe change in by 1930 when the Savoy Cocktail Book omitted one of its ingredients: cr
ème de violette. Throughout the next seventy-five years violette was for the most lost and forgotten as manufacture ceased, but thankfully in 2007 Rothman & Winter reproduced it and now we have several kinds available to us in North America. An Aviation without violette has none of the blueish colour for which it was likely named, and a much flatter-tasting drink altogether. Maraschino is somewhat of a challenge to the uninitiated, but with the balance of citrus and floral flavours makes this an excellent introduction. Below is Robert Hess’ adapted recipe. Click here to see a more in-depth history of the Aviation.

2oz gin

0.5oz lemon juice
0.5oz maraschino liqueur
0.24oz crème de violette

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. 

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