Visit my latest project, The World Cocktail Brain, now hosted at The WCB is a new way to expand your cocktail knowledge, discover new recipes, find cocktail facts and more in a dynamic, new viewing environment. It may take a few seconds to load, but it's worth waiting for! Click on this link to open The World Cocktail Brain in new tab/window. Click on this link to open My Blog Roll embedded in The World Cocktail Brain.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Campden Cocktail – a Gin and Lillet classic

Salt Lake City cocktailians who like to experiment with classic cocktails will recall the recent post on the Calvados cocktail from 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, London.  The Calvados is, of course, based on the well-known French Apple Brandy, but the other evening in the hope of finding an interesting Gin-based cocktail, the Utah Mixologist picked up the Savoy book, opened it to his marker, and spotted a likely candidate on the page facing the Calvados.

Little is known about the origins of the not very well known Campden cocktail.  Even the meaning of the name is lost; while there is a Campden Hill neighborhood in London, there is no reason to believe that the cocktail is named after it.  Furthermore, if the recipe in the Savoy is followed, the cocktail is a little too sweet for modern tastes, so it has not been popular during the intervening years.  That failing, however, is easily fixed.

The recipe just calls for “Dry Gin”.  When Dale DeGroff made me a Martini at Portland Cocktail Week, he used Plymouth® Gin.  Plymouth is a brand name for a distinct type of Gin that legend says was used in the first Martini cocktail.  It’s made at the Blackfriars Distillery in Plymouth (it used to be a monastery).  There were bottles of Bombay Sapphire® and Hendrick’s® Gin in the bar, and it was a tough decision, but the Plymouth won out.  Feel free, however, to use your Gin of choice. 

The original Savoy recipe includes Kina Lillet, which had quinine in it, but is no longer made.  The closest approximation available today is Cocchi Apertivo Americano®, which sadly is not available in Utah.  (You can get around this problem by using Lillet® Blanc with a dash of Angostura® Bitters as in the recipe below, but substitute the Cocchi if you can get it.)   The sweetness issue was addressed by going after the source and cutting the amount of Cointreau® in half (if you don’t have Cointreau, substitute Grand Marnier® or your favorite orange liqueur).  This cocktail remains slightly sweet, but you should enjoy the complex taste as the herbs and botanicals from the Gin and Lillet come through the orange flavor of the Cointreau.

Campden Cocktail
  • 1 ½ oz Plymouth Gin
  • 3/4 oz Lillet (see text)
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 3/8 oz Cointreau

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

No comments:

Post a Comment