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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Calvados Cocktail will jack you up

Salt Lake City cocktailians who read these posts should be familiar with the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), one of the classic cocktail books written at the height of Prohibition by the great Harry Craddock, barman at The American Bar in the Savoy Hotel.  Regular readers will recall the recent post on the Golden Dawn cocktail, where Laird’s® Apple Jack (CS# 053536) was substituted for Calvados French apple Brandy.  While the Utah DABC stores’ product list contains many different authentic Calvados, most retail for around $50 a bottle.  While these are great for sipping, the Laird’s makes a good substitute in most cocktails.  Thumbing through the Savoy book in the hope of finding another Calvados-based cocktail led to the discovery of a cocktail named after the Calvados itself.

The original Savoy recipe serves six, so unless you are hosting a party you will want to scale the recipe down a bit.  Fortunately, the proportions given are easily amenable to reduction, so a recipe for a single serving follows.  Readers will be surprised by the amount of Bitters that the recipe calls for.  While some of my recipes in these pages call for more Bitters than you are probably used to (the Rapture comes to mind), nowhere do they approach ¾ ounce in a single serving! If you’re worried about the Bitters, I recommend mixing the drink with about half the amount in the recipe, sampling it, and then adding more Bitters if you think it works.  The mixture of apples and oranges in this cocktail is quite good, and the Bitters offset the sweetness to give the cocktail more depth.  Finding good Bitters is always a problem in Utah, I used Regan’s® Orange Bitters #6 that I purchased over the internet, but if you have a local source, please post a response and let us all know.

Calvados Cocktail
  • 1 ½ oz Calvados or Apple Jack
  • 1 ½ oz Orange Juice (fresh squeezed if possible)
  • ¾ oz Cointreau®
  • ¾ oz Orange Bitters

Add the ingredients to a shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Shake vigorously until well chilled.  Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail class.  Garnish with a twist of Orange, or use a wedge or a slice.

Savoy’s Depth Charge – a cocktail recipe to quiet those rumblings below

Thumbing through the Savoy Cocktail Book is always a treat.  You find recipes for classic cocktails and ones you’ve never heard of; some sound fascinating, and others you probably wouldn’t want to try.  The Depth Charge definitely had an interesting sounding name, and the recipe was fairly simple for the amateur mixologist to stir up for an evening’s enjoyment.  The Savoy can be rather vague on quantities.  In the case of the Depth Charge it calls for “½ glass” each of Dry Gin and Kina Lillet, which could be anything up to 3 ounces.  That seemed a little much, so quantities have been rounded down to a healthy 1 ½ ounces each. 

The original Savoy recipe includes Kina Lillet, which had quinine in it, but is no longer made.  You can, however, simulate Kina Lillet by adding a dash of Angostura Bitters to the mix as specified in the recipe below.  There was a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin in the bar, and the idea of combining that with the Lillet was intriguing, to say the least.  The product was a bone dry cocktail, but the bouquet of the Hendrick’s combined with the orange peel garnish was delicious, and still tasted great as the cocktail warmed a little toward the bottom of the glass.  Be sure to inhale deeply through your nose as you sip this pale yellow beauty to savor the complete package.

Depth Charge
  • 2 dashes Absinthe
  • 1 ½ oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • 1 ½ oz Lillet
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

Add ingredients to a mixing glass 2/3 full of ice.  Stir briskly for 20-30 seconds.  Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a long languorous twist of orange peel.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Three Scotch Whisky cocktails for Bobby Burns Day

Saint Andrew’s Societies across the USA celebrate the Scottish holidays like Saint Andrew’s Day (November 30) and the bard’s birthday on Bobby Burns Day (or Robert Burns Day or Burns Nicht on January 25) with a Burns Dinner.  Salt Lake City Scots should be no different, and if they follow the traditions of these holidays they might be found partaking of some Scotch Whisky to assist their celebration, be it neat, on the rocks, or in a well-mixed cocktail.  Celebrating Burns Nicht is an excellent excuse for toasting Scotland with a some good Scotch Whisky.  The Utah Mixologist usually uses a blended Scotch in cocktails.  If you have a favorite blended Scotch, stick with it, but if you don’t have one yet, you might want to give Dewar’s™ White Label (CS# 004866, $25) a try.  Once you have a bottle of blended Scotch in hand, you are ready to select a cocktail.  Here are three classics that you should enjoy that all have three things in common.

In honor of the day, let’s start with the Bobby Burns cocktail.  This delicious offering has been around for a while; there is a recipe for the Bobby Burns in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930).  This delicious cocktail contains Scotch and Vermouth and has a little Benedictine thrown into the mix to reflect Bobby Burns poetic nature.  You should enjoy the interesting blend of herbals in the Vermouth and Benedictine combined with the peaty taste of the Scotch. 

Our second cocktail can also be found in the Savoy, although the proportions of Scotch to Italian Vermouth (1:1) are not the ones in general use today (2:1).  The venerable Rob Roy is over 100 years old.  This is perhaps the classic Scotch Whisky cocktail.  If you enjoy making Manhattans, you already know the recipe: just substitute Scotch Whisky for the Bourbon or Rye.  If you’ve never had one, you’re in for a treat. 

My final cocktail suggestion is the Blood and Sand.  Don’t let the color put you off, the flavor will surprise you.  The Blood and Sand is the youngest of the trio and is more of a concoction: it contains Scotch, Vermouth, Cherry Heering Liqueur®, and Orange Juice.  You have probably noticed by now that all three of these cocktails have Scotch and Vermouth in common, and yes, the Blood and Sand may also be found in the Savoy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Golden Dawn cocktail will make your day

Salt Lake City cocktailians who read these posts should be familiar with Ted Haigh’s book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, where you can find great recipes for vintage cocktails and (possibly a greater source of enjoyment) an engaging collection of cocktail lore.  When the Utah Mixologist attended Portland Cocktail Week, he had the privilege of meeting “Dr. Cocktail,” a quiet, unassuming man who really knows his cocktails.  If you’re serious about cocktails, you should pick up a copy.

Regular readers have probably noticed that the titles of these posts usually involve an amusing play on words or turn of a phrase.  The current title was not the first one that came to mind; the first idea was “Golden Dawn will start your day with a bang.”  This title, while a little more clever, kind of sent the wrong message about the starting time for cocktail hour, so it was left on the proverbial cutting room floor.  The name “Golden Dawn” is what first interested me to this cocktail, but when I scanned the recipe, I knew I had to try it.

This is a simple recipe, with equal parts of the four main ingredients (there is an alternate recipe in the book).  I used Bombay Sapphire® for the Gin and Laird’s® Apple Jack in lieu of Calvados.  Haigh recommends Marie Brizzard® Apry apricot flavored brandy, but it is not available in Utah.  If you are aware of an available substitute better than the ubiquitous Arrow®, please post a response to this post.  The subtle way the mixture of fruit flavors (orange, apricot, apple, and grenadine) play off against each other is striking.  You can just catch a hint of the Gin and its botanicals, and the Apple Jack makes its presence known and contributes a memory of apples.

Golden Dawn
  • ¾ oz Dry Gin (try Bombay Sapphire®)
  • ¾ oz Laird’s® Apple Jack (or Calvados)
  • ¾ oz Apricot Brandy
  • ¾ oz Orange Juice
  • Pomegranate Grenadine

Add the first four ingredients to a shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Shake vigorously until well chilled.  Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail class.  Add a cherry (Haigh recommends no stem or pick on the cherry) and finish by drizzling some of the Grenadine into the glass.

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – January 2012

When Utahans walk into the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores this month, they may think that they have walked out of the land of plenty and into the desert.  Special Price Adjustments (SPAs) originate with the distributors of the products, not the UDABC (only Clearance item price reduction come from the UDABC).  Last month the distributors were generous to promote holiday giving and holiday celebrations.  This month they are, let us say, penurious as the number of items on SPA drops from over 500 to barely over 200.  Cocktailians in search of ingredients will wish they had stocked up in December.  If this post seems short, you now know why.

There isn’t much excitement in the Rum shelves this month.  Liter bottles of Bacardi® Gold and Superior are both marked down around 16% to $15.49.  Appleton Estates® White Rum (CS# 042116) is on clearance for $10 a bottle.  The price has been dropping slowly on this one, so it should go cheaper next month (if there’s any left). 

Tequila lovers will be greeted by a lack of SPA tags on the Tequila shelves, there are almost no Tequila SPAs (three!).  Your best bets for Tequila deals this month are a pair of El Jimadors®: the Reposado and the Blanco are both marked down from $20 to $18.  Regular readers will know that a good Silver (or Plata or Blanco) is an essential ingredient in the ever popular Margarita, but this Reposado also makes outstanding cocktails.  For those who love Vodka Martinis, one liter bottles of Ketel One® are marked down.  There is also the usual large number of flavored Vodkas on SPA.

If you’re into Bourbons, Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey® (CS# 017086) is available for $23 ($2 off) and makes a great BLT, and there are a few other Bourbons marked down.  There is only one Scotch Whisky (a blend) marked down this month: Johnnie Walker® Red is marked down $2 to $24, so if you’re looking for something to put into your Bobby Burns give it a try.  As usual, the number of Rye Whiskies on SPA this month is low: zero.  If you need some liqueurs, Kahlua® and Tuaca® have been marked down a little over 10% this month.