Friday, March 24, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: The Cocktail on National Cocktail Day.


Today on the 2017 Sunset Cocktail Calendar is National Cocktail Day. This post is a little different than previous ones as it showcases a bunch of drinks from the early days of Cocktails and this may be my last Sunset Cocktail post for a while. I'll be packing things up to move shortly and I don't know if the place I'll be moving to will even have a view at all.

Here are a few Cocktails from the very early days, based on my limited knowledge and meager Google-fu. Please feel free to add or elaborate any information that is relevant and correct me if I'm wrong. I'm often wrong.

We start with what many consider the original drink called the Cocktail. In the early 1800's, before the name "Cocktail" was used as a catch-all for mixed drinks in general, the drink just called the Cocktail was a mix of a Spirit, Sugar, and Bitters.

2 oz E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon
1 Sugar Cube 
2 dashes Angostura Bitters 

Place Sugar Cube in a Rocks glass, dash the Bitters onto the Cube and muddle until Sugar is dissolved. Add a few dashes of water as needed. Add the Bourbon and garnish with a bit of ground Nutmeg. 

Now the Cocktail could be made with any spirit, Whiskey, Brandy, Gin, etc., this one just happens to be a Whiskey Cocktail. If you used Brandy, it would, of course, be called a Brandy Cocktail. Eventually this, for all intents and purposes became The Old Fashioned, though perhaps someday I'll rant about how most bars here seem to load it up with fucking Seltzer. To spice things up, early bartenders started adding in new ingredients as they came into being. You could add a bit of Curaçao and your ordinary Cocktail becomes a Fancy Cocktail, again, with any spirit, making the Fancy Cocktail a mix of Spirit, Curaçao, Sugar and Bitters.

A slightly more evolved Cocktail than the Fancy Cocktail is The Improved Cocktail, adding some Maraschino Liqueur and a bit of beautiful Absinthe. This one here is the Improved Brandy Cocktail.

2 oz Copper & Kings American Brandy
1⁄2 oz Gomme Syrup
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Berg and Hauck Jerry Thomas Bitters
1 dash St. George Absinthe

Mix everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Lemon peel "The flavor is improved by moistening the edge of the cocktail glass with a piece of lemon".

The Improved Cocktail above has a bit of a different set of ratios than others from old cocktail books but it's pieced together from what I gleaned and what I like. That being said, my "1 dash" of Absinthe often is a generous splash. It seems to me that this is a proto-Sazerac and I often make this when I don't feel like going through the whole ritual of making a Sazerac.

There is some contention that there was a drink called The Cocktail before the above 1800's drink we all adore that was developed in the late 1700's. Again, my Google-fu is weak with this one but it was well worth making.

2 oz Leopold Bros. Navy Strength Gin
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1 dash Scrappy's Aromatic Bitters

Stir everything and strain into a chilled Rock's glass filled with ice. Garnish with an Orange peel and Candied Ginger.

The articles that I saw this referenced on all credit the 20 March 1798 edition of the London’s Morning Post and Gazetteer for printing the term "Cocktail" and Beefeater Gin and Aromatic Bitters used in the drink. I did not have any Beefeater products but luckily I already had Ginger Syrup and Candied Ginger which are 2 magnificently wonderful things I almost always have on hand.

I hope people enjoyed these Sunset Cocktail posts and I hope I'll be able to continue to post them in the future.