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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Six Classic Cocktail Recipes from the 1950’s

Viewing newscaster Rachel Maddow’s amusing video about six classic Cocktails of the Fifties on YouTube made me realize that while many of the cocktails mentioned in that old article in Esquire magazine were old even in the Fifties, they had never gone out of style. Two reasons for that are 1) they’re delicious, and 2) they are fairly easy to make. Rachel gives her recipes in the video (sorry, no demos), and you can find links to my recipes in the World Cocktail Brain or in this article. It’s fun to compare recipes and use them as starting points for developing your personal twist on a classic cocktail. Just go with the flow and do what comes naturally.

The traditional Champagne Cocktail is so simple that I have never even blogged a recipe for it. Just drop a sugar cube into a champagne flute, add 2-3 dashes of Angostura Bitters, and fill the flute with champagne. If you’re looking for some tasty champagne cocktails that are a little more work, click on the above link to see recipes for the French 75 and the Cranberry Champagne Cocktail.

The Daiquiri is another classic. Beloved of Ernest Hemingway (and countless others), this blend of Rum and freshly squeezed lime juice (plus a little sweetener) is hard to beat. It may also be served frozen, but I prefer mine shaken and poured into a cocktail glass taken straight from the freezer.

If you haven’t sampled a Manhattan, what are you waiting for? This American original may be mixed with either Bourbon or Rye. Be careful though, these are so delicious they may be addicting. I like mine with a Luxardo Marasche® Marasca Cherry. Mmmm.

The Martini is sure to please all lovers of Gin. Since this cocktail approaches 100% in content (when well made), you will want to use quality Gin. Don’t forget: Martinis are better stirred than shaken. I’ll let you try Rachel’s recipe for a “real” Martini, and give you my recipe for a Vodka Martini instead.

Rachel’s recipe is for the traditional Old Fashioned made with Bourbon, but an Old Fashioned can also be mixed with Canadian Club, Brandy, Gin, Rye, or Rum. You can make an Old Fashioned with almost whatever liquor happens to be your favorite, just vary the bitters to compliment the liquor.

The final classic is the acclaimed Stinger, a simple mix of Cognac and Crème de Menthe that is sure to please lovers of brandy and mint. Vary the ratio of Cognac to Crème de Menthe to get just the taste you like. Besides, experimentation can be fun.

Here’s a link to a slideshow on my blog.

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