Tag Archives: by the book

Millionaire’s Moscato

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Simple, elegant and sophisticated, the classic Champagne cocktail is a cinch to make: add a few drops of Angostura bitters to a sugar cube, pop it into a Champagne flute, add 30ml brandy and top with Champagne. Easy, right? But, this being 52 Cocktails, we just had to adulterate the recipe, partly out of curiosity and partly because we’re tight-arsed and there is no way we’re going to use actual Champagne in a cocktail unless someone else is paying. And so, here you can see what look like a pair of classic Champagne cocktails (though you’d be forgiven for thinking the one on the right is a Berocca in a glass of apple juice), but they’re actually a couple of Millionaire’s Moscatos. Here’s how to make em.

MILLIONAIRE’S MOSCATO 1

This is the one on the right hand side of the picture. It’s got a slightly medicinal taste and would be most at home in a 1950’s style cigar-smoke-filled men’s club.

MILLIONAIRE’S MOSCATO 2

Obviously this is the one on the left side of the picture. It’s sweet and fruity and easy to drink. It’s a great way to kick off a party. Speaking of which, it’s New Year’s Eve – happy 2016, and thanks for reading these posts throughout the year. May your new year bring you happiness, cocktails aplenty and a new liver. Now, where was I? Oh yes. The method for making these two cocktails is the same, it’s only the ingredients that differ. Try them both and have a very happy New Year indeed.

INGREDIENTS – MILLIONAIRE’S MOSCATO 1

Sugar cube

Angostura Bitters – original

30ml brandy

Chilled Moscato (go ahead and use Champagne if you’d rather…and send a case our way, too!)

INGREDIENTS – MILLIONAIRE’S MOSCATO 2

Sugar cube

Angostura Orange Bitters

30ml apricot brandy

Chilled Moscato

GLASS

Champagne flute

METHOD

Add about 10 drops of bitters to the sugar cube. Drop it into the glass. Add the brandy and top up with Moscato.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

As easy as toasting your fellow cocktail drinkers on NYE – cheers!

RECIPES BY

We can’t really take credit for the bastardised recipe that is the Millionaire’s Moscato 1 – but we’ll happily claim we invented the Millionaire’s Moscato 2.

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Queen Elizabeth

 

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It takes just two words to make the 52 Cocktails crew very, very happy but, surprisingly, those two words are not ‘free cocktails’. No, the magic words are ‘The Everleigh’. The Everleigh is our bar of choice in Melbourne, but we won’t bore you with the ever-growing list of reasons why. Just go there, and revel in the old-world-yet-unpretentious atmosphere, the table service that makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room, the glorious displays of vintage cocktail shakers and vintage cocktail books (drool) and, of course, the ridiculously good, meticulously well-made cocktails. Basically, it’s heaven. (And if we ever hear the words ‘free cocktails’ and ‘The Everleigh’ in the one sentence, we’ll know we’ve died and gone to heaven!)
On a recent visit we tried a Queen Elizabeth cocktail and it was so delicious and sophisticated that we decided to try to recreate it at home. Two recipes with the same name appear in The Savoy Cocktail Book (just one of the many on display at The Everleigh, and the subject of a recent meeting of the bar’s Vintage Cocktail Book Club. Yes. This bar is so cool it has a book club dedicated to vintage cocktail books. If you have even a passing interest in books, cocktails or drinking and a fun night out, I highly recommend you attend a meeting.) One Queen Elizabeth recipe calls for curacao, vermouth and brandy; we made the other version, as follows.  It’s light and refreshing yet complex and herbaceous – more so when it’s made by a bartender at The Everleigh.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

As with most of the recipes in the fabulous Savoy Cocktail Book, this one is light on instructions, so we’ve taken the liberty of adding our own (in parentheses).

INGREDIENTS

1 dash absinthe (we used this to rinse the glass, though the original instructions indicate you just add it to the shaker along with everything else)

1/4 lemon juice (we used 15ml)

1/4 Cointreau (we used 15ml)

1/2 dry gin (we used 30ml Bombay Sapphire)

GLASS

Chilled cocktail glass

METHOD

Shake all ingredients with ice (unless you’ve already used the absinthe to rinse the glass) and strain into glass.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

Easy – but even easier, and most definitely more refined and delicious, if you simply order one at the Everleigh.

RECIPE BY

This version appears in The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock (first published 1930 by Constable & Co; this edition published 1987 by Spring Books), with additional instructions by the 52 Cocktails crew.

PS No, this article was NOT sponsored by The Everleigh. Though if they feel like it they are welcome to…

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Palmetto Cooler

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Tasting a bit like a mint julep but with an earthy undertone, the Palmetto Cooler is a refreshing, reviving drink – perfect on a hot day when you’re feeling like cactus.

INGREDIENTS

60ml bourbon

15 ml apricot liqueur (confession: I substituted apricot brandy as that’s what I had handy. Don’t judge me)

15ml sweet vermouth

3 dashes Angostura bitters

120ml soda water

mint sprig

GLASS

Collins

METHOD

Two-thirds fill the glass with ice. Pour in everything except the soda water and mint sprig and stir. Then add the soda, stir again, and garnish with the mint sprig. (Two lots of stirring helps your drink to chill down quickly, so don’t think you can get away with bunging everything in the glass and stirring only once!)

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

Easy.

RECIPE BY
This one’s from The Cocktail Bible by Steve Quirk (New Holland Press, 2010).

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New 1920 Cocktail

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I’ve often thought it would be great to travel back to the 1920s. All those glamorous cocktail parties! Flapper dresses! Racy new dances! Men in dapper suits! Sneaking into speakeasies past midnight! It’d be absolutely copacetic!

At least, that’s what history’s rose-tinted glasses would have you believe. And yet the 1920s were also when Prohibition kicked in and the Wall Street crash led to the Great Depression.

Maybe it’s best to revisit the past via a cocktail book instead; it’s cheaper, and doesn’t rely on having a time machine, for a start. Plus, it gives me a great excuse to show off one of my best-ever op shop finds: a copy of The Savoy Cocktail Book, bought for $2 in near-mint condition and now very much a prized possession. I’ve read so much about this book in other cocktail books, and now that I have a copy (and did I mention it was only $2?) I can see why. It’s beautifully illustrated, many of the recipes are classics that bars are still serving today (though I do wonder about some of the measurements, as some recipes call for ‘a glass of gin’), and the writing is refreshing and lively, just as a good cocktail should be. In short, if you ever see a copy, BUY IT – especially if it’s only $2 – and let it transport you to another era.

NEW 1920 COCKTAIL

Presumably this cocktail, which is basically a riff on a Manhattan with rye and orange bitters, was created in the 1920s; there’s no preamble to the recipe in The Savoy Cocktail Book. And yet, here in Australia, orange bitters have only become widely available in the past few years, as far as I know. Interesting, thinking a recipe that was served at the Savoy Hotel in London in the 1920s could only be easily made in Australia post-2000. What the hell else has the land Down Under been missing out on for all these years?! It’s enough to drive me to drink! Luckily, the New 1920 Cocktail is at hand…

The Savoy Cocktail Book lists the recipe as follows:

1 dash orange bitters

1/4 French vermouth

1/4 Italian Vermouth

1/2 Canadian Club whisky

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

52 Cocktails interpreted this as:

INGREDIENTS

1 dash orange bitters (we used Angostura orange bitters)

15ml Noilly Prat

15ml Cinzano Rosso

30ml Wild Turkey Rye whisky (as we didn’t have any Canadian Club, and they’re both rye-based so we figured it’d be OK)

GLASS

Cocktail

METHOD

Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients and shake it, hard. As The Savoy Cocktail Book‘s author Harry Craddock says in the foreword, ‘Shake the shaker as hard as you can: don’t just rock it: you are trying to wake it up, not send it to sleep!’

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

Now that Angostura Orange Bitters are stocked at most Dan Murphy’s stores, this one’s a doozy.

RECIPE BY

This recipe is from The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock (first published 1930 by Constable & Co; this edition published 1987 by Spring Books)

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Bourbon Triple Sour

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Some cocktails last through the ages; others die out like the dinosaurs. I’m hoping the Bourbon Triple Sour is in the former category.

The clue is in the title; it’s got bourbon in it, and it’s sour. But it’s a balanced sourness that’s offset by the bourbon’s caramel-ness; and with a gentle orange flavour tying it all together, it’s sort of like drinking citrus cordial for adults. It’s refreshing and tart and tastes way better than it sounds – try it.

INGREDIENTS

30ml bourbon (I used Hogs 3 Bourbon)

30ml triple sec (I used the Marie Brizard brand)

30ml lemon juice

5ml sugar syrup

GLASS

Old-fashioned

METHOD

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker that’s half-full of ice. Shake it. Shake it more. Harder. Keep shaking. OK, you’re done. Strain into a glass that’s half-full of ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge. (The original recipe calls for a cherry and a slice of orange AND a slice of lemon as a garnish. If you want a fruit salad in your face while you’re drinking. go for it.)

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

Maybe one degree, since you have to squeeze a lemon. Can you have one degree of difficulty? Gah, I don’t know, I’m not a mathematician.

RECIPE BY

This recipe appears in The Cocktail Bible by Steve Quirk (New Holland Publishers, 2010).

NOTE

One of the good things about this recipe is it doesn’t try to be high-fallutin’. There’s no requirement that you use top-notch bourbon, and it actually calls for triple sec instead of Cointreau (yes, I know the two are different things and have their own qualities, and I know triple sec is pretty damn good in a cocktail, but I’m a snob and still think Cointreau is better). While I’m tempted to try making this drink using, say, Buffalo Trace bourbon and Cointreau, I’m not sure there’s any point – it’s great just as it is. One day I’ll do an A-B test and find out which one is best – it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. If you’ve already conducted such a scientific experiment, please let me know the results in the comment section below. Cheers!

PHOTO CREDIT

Gertrude the dinosaur appears courtesy of Make it Wednesday: https://www.facebook.com/MakeitWednesday

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Old Pal

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‘I say, Old Pal, how about a cocktail?’

‘Why certainly, but don’t Hogg the recipe book – pass it to Maureen so she can fix us a drink, quicksticks!’

Hello and welcome to the 1950s, when men chortled down the phone while secretaries made them such drinks as the Old Pal and workplaces, as a result, were almost enjoyable places. That’s the vibe I got when I tried the Old Pal, anyhow – with its rye whiskey kick and the bitter orange overtones of Campari, it seemed like the kind of old-school drink Don Draper would have for breakfast. Then again there are plenty of things Don Draper would have for breakfast, including his secretaries, so maybe that’s not the best way to judge a cocktail…

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Although I’m not a Campari fan I am determined to work out why other people are, and when I stumbled across this drink in a vintage cocktail book I thought it’d be worth a go. Containing rye whiskey, dry vermouth and Campari, the Old Pal is a perverted version of the Negroni, which contains gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. And that’s what it tastes like, too; like a watered-down version of a Negroni, even though you’d think the rye whiskey in the Old Pal would have a stronger flavour than the gin in a Negroni. It’s kind of boring, the sort of thing you drink just to get drunk. It’s the kind of drink that makes you realise why Negronis are still popular when Old Pals have fallen out of favour. It’s the kind of drink that could almost – almost – make me appreciate a Negroni, and that’s saying something.

‘I suppose it’s all about the delights of subtlety and nuance in a Negroni, as opposed to the straight-shooting ‘down the hatch, that’s the stuff’ of an Old Pal, Old Pal.’

‘Damn straight. Now let’s visit the Members Club and see if someone wants to taste your Old Pal, you don’t get much more subtle than that.’

Chortle.

OLD PAL

INGREDIENTS

Equal parts rye whiskey, dry vermouth and Campari. We used:

30ml Wild Turkey rye whiskey

30ml Noilly Prat

30ml Campari

GLASS

Old-fashioned

METHOD

Stir all ingredients together in a mixing glass that’s half-full of ice. When it’s ice-cold (place the inside of your wrist on the outside of the glass to check, or just taste-test), strain into the old-fashioned glass and serve.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

How would I know, I got the secretary to make it.

RECIPE BY

This version appears in Cocktails and Mixed Drinks by Anthony Hogg (Optimum Books, 1981).

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Between the Sheets

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As a long-time fan of Aussie cooking icon Margaret Fulton, I can understand why people would want to get her between the sheets. She’s vivacious yet well-balanced and so retro that she’s cool again – just like the Between the Sheets cocktail we made from her 1984 cocktail book, pictured above. Most recipes for this elegant drink call for light (white) rum, but this one specifies dark rum. The 52 Cocktails team used a spiced dark rum, tried it out on a guest drink taster and elicited the following review:

52 Cocktails: So what do you think?

Guest Taster: Ooh. That’s delicious.

52 Cocktails: What are the nuances of this cocktail that you’re enjoying?

Guest Taster: Nuances? You’re asking me for nuances when I’ve been drinking all day? Ack. (Pause) OK, let’s see. Nothing really stands out, because it’s so well-balanced. It’s smooth. It’s sophisticated. If you were trying to get me between the sheets it would work. And if you were to offer me another I would definitely drink it, no questions asked.

Enough said.

BETWEEN THE SHEETS

INGREDIENTS

1 dash lemon juice (How much, exactly, is a dash? It’s defined as 1/8 teaspoon but we didn’t know that at the time and used 1/2 a teaspoon. It worked just fine.)

1 measure brandy (we used St Agnes VSOP brandy)

1 measure Cointreau

1 measure dark rum (we used Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold rum)

Note: the book defines a measure as 45ml, but also points out it doesn’t matter what you use to measure spirits so long as you’re consistent. You could therefore use, say, a coffee-mug full of each spirit, but you’d want to have a spare liver and a surgeon on standby if you did. We don’t have these things handy so we wimped out and used 30mls of each spirit instead.

GLASS

Cocktail

METHOD 

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

If you can open a bottle while some sexy sax plays on the cassette deck, you can make this drink.

WORD OF WARNING

Despite its name, if you/the person you’re trying to seduce with this suggestively named cocktail drink too many of these, the only action you’re likely to get between the sheets will be when you roll over with a groan to face the alarm clock the next day.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT’S DUE

This recipe appears in Margaret Fulton’s Book of Cocktails & Party Drinks (Octopus Books, 1984). Sure, the recipes are actually by Joe Turner and it’s possible that Fulton’s name only got whacked on the cover because, in an eerie parallel to 1984, propaganda – sorry, branding – was more important than the truth, but hell, it’s a good book nonetheless. Joe Turner may not be a household name but his book doubtless sold lots of copies and for that – and this recipe, among others – he deserves kudos. Kudos, Joe Turner. Kudos.

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Rye and Prejudice

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After the success of last week’s Brown Derby, the 52 Cocktails team decided to explore what else can be made with grapefruit juice and brown liquor, partly because the combination worked so well in the aforementioned cocktail and mostly because we had bought a shiteload of grapefruits and had no other good ideas about how to use them. (Turns out they do not make a good substitute for bowling balls. Who knew?) And so we turned to a cute little book called Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle (Running Press, 2013). As you might have guessed, each cocktail’s name is a clever word-play on a novel’s title, such as Gin Eyre, Romeo and Julep and A Rum of One’s Own. Cute, hey? There’s a snappy summary of each novel, too, so you can fudge your way through a conversation about literature’s bigwigs without having to read the classics first. We’ll drink to that. What we probably won’t be drinking to, though, is the recipe for a Rye and Prejudice. Containing only grapefruit juice and rye whiskey, it’s not an Austen-tacious drink, but nor is it a classic; it’s too sour and not nuanced enough for our proud palates. With a couple of modifications (see below) it’s drinkable, but not the kind of thing we’d want to guzzle. Oh well – if we don’t drink many of them, at least we won’t end up with a rip-roaring Northangover Abbey.

RYE AND PREJUDICE

This is a little like one of Pride and Prejudice’s most irritating characters, the busybody Mrs Bennet: sour and boring. See the notes below for how to pep it up a bit.

INGREDIENTS

90ml grapefruit juice

45ml rye whiskey (we used Wild Turkey)

GLASS

Rocks

METHOD

Half-fill a rocks glass with ice. Add ingredients and stir well.

MODIFICATIONS

Ooh, is this drink sour. Unless you feel like re-enacting Pride and Puckeredlips, we suggest you modify it by adding 15 ml sugar syrup and 3 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate bitters (available here). It’s sweeter, and the bitters add some earthy depth and interest to the drink. I guess we’ll call it Emma.

You could also try Emma served tall on crushed ice, topped with soda, though we confess we haven’t tried it that way yet – it might take some Persuasion for us to waste good rye on such an experiment.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

You don’t need much sense or sensibility to make this one.

RECIPE BY

This recipe appears in Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle (Running Press, 2013). Modifications by 52 Cocktails.

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Monkey Gland

Although he was excited to have a cocktail as big as his head, Sammy wasn't sure about drinking something called a Monkey Gland. Maybe the bartender was just   aping around?

Although he was excited to have a cocktail as big as his head, Sammy wasn’t sure about drinking something called a Monkey Gland. Maybe the bartender was just aping around?

MONKEY GLAND

In the 1920s a surgeon called Serge Voronoff successfully implanted sections of chimpanzee and baboon testicles inside a human patient’s scrotum. This was thought to improve the patient’s sex drive and memory, among other things (for example, it was guaranteed to result in the nickname “baboon balls”). If you think that’s weird, what’s even weirder is that this style of surgery became immensely popular and the good doctor soon had to set up a monkey farm staffed by a former circus-animal keeper to keep up with demand. At the height of this monkey madness, Voronoff’s techniques were a real talking point in society; the surgery was mentioned in a Marx Brothers film, ashtrays portraying monkeys protecting their nuts starting selling in Paris, and a new cocktail was named the Monkey Gland, presumably in honour of his work.

Voronoff’s work eventually fell out of favour because, surprise, surprise, his grafts did not live up to his claims. Those who’d once championed him now ridiculed his ideas – in other words, they now had the balls to point out he’d been wrong all along. Consigned to the endnotes of surgical history, his name and his odd work now come up mostly when people ask about the origins of this equally odd drink.

Ah yes, the drink. A curious mix of gin, OJ and absinthe, coloured (a lot) and sweetened (a little) with grenadine, the Monkey Gland is somewhat disappointing given the story behind its name. Bright pink and tasting largely of diluted absinthe, it lacks the balance of more nuanced cocktails but is strong enough to be a real ball-breaker – just like Voronoff himself.

MONKEY GLAND

Try as he might, Sammy couldn't disguise his disgust at this curious conconction - boring to look at and dull to drink, it seemed like a real balls-up to him.

Try as he might, Sammy couldn’t disguise his disgust at this curious concoction – boring to look at and dull to drink, it seemed like a real balls-up to him.

INGREDIENTS

60ml gin

30ml orange juice

5ml absinthe

5ml grenadine

GLASS

Martini glass. Or a glass in the shape of a monkey skull, if you happen to have one handy.

METHOD

Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients and shake as though a monkey gland’s been grafted onto your nuts. Strain into the glass. Hold an orange above the glass. Eat a banana and swing from a tree. (Just kidding. But if a monkey gland really had been grafted onto your nether regions then you’d probably want to.) Using a vegetable peeler, remove a long piece of orange peel (avoiding the bitter white pith), then drop the peel into the drink.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

Easier than being experimented on by a mad surgeon.

RECIPE BY

This version of the Monkey Gland appears in The Architecture of the Cocktail (Amy Zavatto, Harper Collins, 2013). Other versions call for mere drops of absinthe and grenadine; perhaps that would make the drink more appealing (and certainly less pink).

IMAGE CREDIT 

Sock monkeys wrangled by our friends at Make it Wednesday.

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The Bronx

Bronx 3THE BRONX

According to an ad campaign for boxing and sportswear brand Everlast, ‘Nothing soft comes out of the Bronx’. Logically this means there are no marshmallow makers or pillow factories in the Bronx, and that Everlast’s tracksuits are made of something really hard, such as iron, which sounds mighty uncomfortable but would at least stay wrinkle-free. It also means the Bronx’s namesake drink should be a bracing, in-your-face kind of deal, and given that it’s basically an adulterated martini you’d think it would at least taste super strong.

But here’s the thing: it isn’t. Sorry, Everlast, but the Bronx cocktail is mellow and refreshing, with orange juice providing a slight sweetness and vermouth adding a little earthy bitterness. The balance of ingredients make this drink a real knockout; you’ll want to go round for round on this one.
INGREDIENTS
45ml gin (I used Tanqueray)
30ml freshly squeezed orange juice (if you want a pulp-free drink, strain it through a wire tea strainer before using)
5ml sweet vermouth (I used Cinzano Rosso, which oddly enough doesn’t have the word ‘vermouth’ anywhere on the label)
5ml dry vermouth (I used Noilly Prat, which reasssuringly does have ‘vermouth’ on its label, in tiny letters on the back)
Orange peel, as garnish
GLASS
Coupe
METHOD
Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients and stir slowly with a bar spoon for about 30 seconds/until the mixture is chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Using a vegetable peeler or knife, remove a strip of orange peel (avoiding the white pith) to use as a garnish. Twist this over the drink, so the essential oils will be released into it, then add the peel to the drink. (If you look closely you can actually see the oils dispersing when you add the peel to the drink. It’s a bit like conducting a really lame primary school science experiment, only a lot tastier.)
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
Can you squeeze an orange? Then you can make this drink. If you cannot squeeze an orange then I pity you, and store-bought juice will do.
RECIPE BY
This classic recipe appears in The Architecture of the Cocktail (Amy Zavatto, Harper Collins, 2013).
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