The Bebbo

The Bebbo Cocktail

The Bebbo Cocktail

The Bebbo Cocktail

The “B” section of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten cocktails lists 5 gin cocktails in a row, distinguished only by subtle variations. While I profess myself to be a gin drinker, I am also enormously fond of variety, and am starting to wish that the beverages were organized under some methodology other than alphabetization.

That being said, The Bebbo has its merits. It is a light, refreshing, tart, citrusy yet subtle concoction. This is the kind of cocktail recipe that is good to have in your repertoire as just about anyone with even a basic bar will have these ingredients on hand. Furthermore with only 1 ½ ounces of spirit The Bebbo is on the lighter side for a classic cocktail, making it a worthy libation to serve when trying to keep the party in hand, family gatherings for instance.

We tried this recipe two ways, the first with Broker’s Gin and a navel orange, the second with Aviation Gin and a blood orange. Both versions bowled us over with real orange flavor, so different from the synthetic essence of say, orange-flavored gin. D favored the latter version as he gravitates toward the drier, less floral aroma of the Aviation Gin. While I enjoyed both versions, I must admit that the pink hue afforded by the blood orange was stunning.

Blood Orange Bebbo

Blood Orange Bebbo

I would be interested in trying this recipe with a ruby red grapefruit or with a meyer lemon in the future.

D described The Bebbo as “an improved mimosa” (D is not fond of champagne) and as “a summertime drink!” For my part I have always associated citrus with winter, perhaps because my family used to buy crates of fresh Florida oranges and grapefruit each December. Incidentally, my Dad uses these same ingredients in toddy form to soothe cold and flu symptoms. In youth, I remember playing up my cough before bedtime just to get my hands on some of this elixir!

The Bebbo Cocktail

  • 1.5 ounces gin (feel free to experiment)
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • .5 ounce honey (heated to liquid)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice (blood orange is nice)

Shake over ice. Strain. Garnish with an orange twist.

The Bebbo Cocktail ingredients

The Bebbo Cocktail ingredients

The Bebbo, while not as complex as many of the libations in this book, is an example of simplicity at it’s finest. I will most certainly recreate (and probably reinvent) this cocktail for years to come.

The “Barnum Was Right” Cocktail

Barnum (Was Right) Cocktail

Barnum Was Right Cocktail

I’ll be the first to admit that I have developed a certain snobbery towards cocktails in general, and cocktail ingredients more specifically. Looking at the recipe for the Barnum (Was Right) Cocktail I had foreordained that this libation would be nothing special, simply a recipe we would try for the sake of the project, hereafter never to be reproduced.

My indifference turned to pure disillusionment when D returned home with a bottle of Bols Apricot Brandy (see snobbery above).

Bols Apricot Brandy

Bols Apricot Brandy

I have worked in my fair share of dive bars over the years and this particular line of Technicolor Bols products brings to mind images of barely-legal coeds attempting to get drunk on multilayered Skittles shots.

The problem D encountered when shopping for an apricot brandy was that while there are several craft apricot liqueurs on the market, none but the Bols declared itself a brandy. This raises the ever-present question of authenticity when it comes to reproducing the drinks in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. What was available when this recipe was created and how does it differ from the products on the market today? I suspect that the craft products D rejected were likely closer in production and flavor than the liqueur he chose. Some of these craft products were likely distilled from pure apricot juice that may have resulted in a more faithful apricot taste than the Bols “brandy,” which on further inspection contains water, sugar, alcohol, apricot juice, flavors, cognac, color, and citric acid.

The Barnum Was Right Cocktail

To further complicate matters there is the ever-nagging question of cost. Does one take a risk and buy a seventy dollar 500ml bottle of a craft spirit with zero knowledge of how the product was made and how it tastes, or simply buy the cheap mass-market brand that you already know tastes like Jell-O? I’m not even going to attempt to answer these questions here but I felt a need to raise them as, so far, product selection has been our biggest obstacle.

All of this aside, the resultant cocktail was a pleasant surprise. Despite an entire ounce of the apricot brandy it is not too sweet. The gin (we used Broker’s here) dominated the foreground with a mellow apricot flavor bringing up the rear.Burnum Was Right February 12, 2014 019-19-Edit-4

The Angostura bitters tied the spirits together, balancing the drink. It is easy drinking, perhaps to the point of peril. D declared “a few of these and you’ll find yourself swinging from a trapeze!”  Overall it is an unintimidating and simple drink that I would feel comfortable serving a cocktail novice.

Barnum (Was Right) Cocktail

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce apricot brandy
  • .5 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake over ice. Strain. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Barnum Was Right Cocktail ingredients

The Barnum Was Right Cocktail ingredients