The Corpse Reviver #2

The Corpse Reviver #2

The Corpse Reviver #1

Occasionally we are presented with a recipe for a drink we know and love, as is the case with the Corpse Reviver #2. Bartenders frequently recommended this bevvy when we were new to cocktail culture, and it was one of the first classic cocktails that we learned to order by name. Now that I serve drinks professionally, I too rely on this recipe as a gateway for novices. The drink is at once accessible and complex. It contains both familiar ingredients – gin and orange liqueur, and less common spirits – absinthe and Lillet Blanc. It is refreshing yet potent and citrusy enough to placate patrons who insist that they do not care for gin.

Historically the term ‘corpse reviver’ was used to describe a group of cocktails – those proverbial hair-of-the-dog drinks designed to restore the constitution after an evening of debauchery. Most of these recipes have faded into obscurity, but the #2 has enjoyed a revival in the last decade and should be available in any respectable cocktail bar.

It is interesting to note how quickly the cocktail scene has changed. In his entry on the Corpse Reviver #2, Ted Haigh notes the difficulty of obtaining Lillet Blanc in certain markets. This was in 2009! D & I live in a notoriously barren market, but in 2016 Lillet Blanc can be found in even the most uninspired of liquor stores.

The Corpse Reviver #2

And while we’re on the topic of Lillet Blanc, it has been noted elsewhere on this blog that the recipe for this product was changed in 1986, reducing the amount of quinine and thus bitterness in the fortified wine. We frequently substitute Cocchi Americano in classic recipes calling for Lillet, which offers more spice and bitterness. For this entry we tried making renditions using both Lillet and Cocchi and found that while there were subtle differences, neither was a clear frontrunner. Feel free to use either product, especially if you are trying to conserve precious refrigerator space.

 

 

The Corpse Reviver #1Though the Corpse Reviver #2 has earned iconic status in classic cocktail culture we should note that the formula for one other Corpse Reviver still exists. Purportedly the original Corpse Reviver, the recipe is included in The Savoy Cocktail Book and contains calvados, brandy, and sweet vermouth. We only had cognac and a VSOP calvados on hand so our version was decidedly high-end, but we both agreed worth drinking. It wasn’t a runaway success, (I was tempted to add a dash of bitters or an Ardbeg mist), but it was certainly on par with some of the other forgotten cocktails we have explored.

The Corpse Reviver #1

The Corpse Reviver #1

D surprised me when he professed that while both Corpse Reviver versions are pleasing, neither is acceptable morning fare. He declared, “For reviving the corpse, I’d rather have a Caesar.” This shocked me, coming from Mr. Boozy, but D has a point. He doesn’t want complexity early in the day, just a long juicy, spicy, easy-drinking beverage possibly accompanied by pickles and a peperoni stick. But after 5pm, a Corpse Reviver always hits the spot.

The Corpse Reviver #2

  • .75 ounce gin
  • .75 ounce Cointreau
  • .75 ounce Lillet Blanc/Cocchi Americano
  • .75 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Dash absinthe

Add a dash of absinthe to a chilled cocktail glass and swirl to coat the inside, discarding any excess. Shake the remaining ingredients over ice and strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a cherry or a lemon twist.

The Corpse Reviver #1

  • 1.5 ounces Brandy
  • .75 ounces Calvados
  • .75 ounces sweet vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

The Corpse Reviver #2

The Corpse Reviver #2 Ingedients

The Communist

The Communist

The Communist

This simple cocktail with a strange name is charming in a girl-next-door kind of way. The ingredients are accessible and humble, but if I’m going to be perfectly honest, I want to dress them up a bit. The foremost tasting note is juicy, not surprising given that it contains orange, lemon, and cherry. And juicy can be fun – it’s certainly an easy sell – but in this instance it reads as one-note. Cherry Heering has a beautiful nutty tone, which could be enhanced with the addition of bitters. Moreover the gin could easily be swapped out for a bolder base-spirit – rye jumps to mind as it is spicy and decidedly not sweet.

The CommunistBut that’s not the game we play here. We make the cocktails as faithfully as possible and evaluate them as such. That this drink is a great base recipe open to modification is simply this girl’s opinion. As written, the cocktail would make a nice addition to a brunch menu, or would be lovely sipped on a patio near the beach. But is it memorable enough to warrant inclusion in this book?

D, rarely a fan of juicy bevvies, finds The Communist to be acidic. He declares, “If I was trying to fight off scurvy this would be easy drinking!” He also notes that the portion size is small and suggests making a recipe and a half to fill a cocktail glass.

 

One does wonder at the name of this drink. Unfortunately Haigh offers little in the way of information, offering only that the original recipe first appeared in the 1933 cocktail pamphlet, Cocktail Parade. Haigh’s lack of elaboration, combined with the uninspired results of the recipe, leave us feeling that this drink was included simply to fill a page. No offense to the girl next door, but when it comes to cocktails, vixens only need apply.

The Communist Ingedients

The Communist Ingedients

Summer Shrubs

Summer Shrubs

Shrubs

Shrubs

A shrub is an old-fashioned elixir intended to preserve seasonal fruit using a combination of sugar and vinegar. Once outmoded, shrubs have seen a resurgence in popularity over the last couple of years. D and I had sampled several, both in their non-alcoholic state and mixed in to cocktails, but we had never made any until this past weekend. Perhaps we never would have tried our hand at these lovely summer sippers had it not been for Heidi.

Heidi is a purveyor of shrubs, selling her Mixers and Elixirs brand at our local farmers market. After meeting her a couple of weeks ago we added her on twitter where she promptly challenged us to try making shrubs of our own. The very next day D returned from his morning coffee run with a book on shrubs from our neighborhood culinary bookstore, Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks. D cannot walk within two blocks of this store without absolutely requiring a very important tome. And thus, with shrubs on the agenda, began our most recent Sunday Funday.

We started at the farmers market where we found lovely fresh currants and a flat of mixed berries. From this we decided on three shrubs from the book: red currant with white wine vinegar; raspberry and thyme with apple cider vinegar; and blackberries and lime (with the unscripted addition of mint because I have great difficulty sticking to a recipe), also with apple cider vinegar.

Initially I was concerned about using fresh herbs, as they may contain bacteria and mold that can rapidly multiply. However a quick Internet search affirmed that fresh herbs can be used to infuse vinegar but should not be used to infuse oil.

Shrubs

Shrubs peparations

I washed each fruit and herb separately, allowing them to bathe in a solution of 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 6 cups of water for 10 minutes and then rinsing them in cold water.

This, incidentally, is a fabulous way to clean berries to help increase shelf life. Then we went to work, muddling berries with sugar to extract as much juice as possible.

You may never have heard of a shrub before and may be wondering why that is. Shrubs were an early method of preserving fruit beyond the natural growing season, much the same way as beer preserved grain and wine preserved grapes, though in this instance without producing alcohol. (There are boozy shrubs but we’ll save those for another day.) With a shelf life of more than a year the preserved fruit flavor can then be enjoyed at any time. Shrubs are usually diluted, either with sparkling or flat water or with alcohol, before serving. But as food preservation techniques advanced shrubs were all but forgotten.

I’m not sure why shrubs are seeing a revival now, though I suspect it is a natural offshoot of our contemporary interest in antique cocktails. Whatever the reason, they add a new and fun dimension to any bar.

To be clear shrubs do have a pronounced vinegar taste. The vinegar should mellow as the solution ages but be sure to work only with vinegar that you actually like. Also if you decide to work with ‘live’ vinegar, such as Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with “The Mother,” be prepared for your shrub to be cloudy. While I use live ACV for many purposes I selected pasteurized vinegar for project shrub.

Red Currant Shrub

  • 1 ¾ cups red currants, cleaned and stemmed
  • ½ cup turbinado sugar
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar

Using a muddler or similar gently crush the currants in a medium bowl.

Add the sugar and continue to muddle until the mixture is juicy and the sugar is mostly incorporated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 2 hours.

Separate the liquid from the solids using a fine strainer. Discard the solids. Add the vinegar to the currant and sugar syrup, stirring well to incorporate any sugar crystals. Transfer to a glass jar and allow to rest in the fridge at least one week before using.

For a refreshing cocktail add ½ – 1 ounce of shrub and 1-3 ounces of dry vermouth to a highball glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a twist.

Red Currant Shrub

Red Currant Shrub

Raspberry Thyme Shrub

  • 2 cups raspberries, washed and picked over
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Muddle the raspberries and sugar in a medium bowl until the juices are released and most of the sugar has been incorporated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 days.

Place the thyme in a small mason jar and cover with the apple cider vinegar. Store in a cool dark place for 2 days.

Shrubs Thyme

Shrubs Thyme

Separate the liquid from the solids using a fine strainer. Discard the solids. Strain the thyme from the vinegar, discarding the thyme. Add the vinegar to the raspberry syrup, stirring well to incorporate any sugar. Transfer to a glass jar and allow to rest in the fridge at least one week before using.

 

For a refreshing cocktail shake 1/2  ounce raspberry thyme shrub with ½ ounce of elderflower liquor and 1 ounce of vodka or gin. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and top with soda or sparkling wine.

Raspberry Thyme Shrub

Raspberry Thyme Shrub

Blackberry Lime and Mint Shrub

  • 1 ½ cups blackberries, washed and picked over
  • Zest of 4 limes, pith carefully removed
  • 1 large handful fresh mint, washed
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Muddle the blackberries, lime zest, mint and sugar in a medium bowl until the juices are released and most of the sugar has been incorporated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Shrubs lime-blackberries

Shrubs lime-blackberries

Separate the liquid from the solids using a fine strainer. Discard the solids. Add the vinegar to the blackberry syrup, stirring well to incorporate any sugar. Transfer to a glass jar and allow to rest in the fridge at least one week before using.

 

 

 

 

 

For a refreshing cocktail shake ½-1 ounce of blackberry lime shrub with 2 ounces of tequila or rum and ½ ounce of lime juice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or serve on the rocks topped with soda.

Blackberry Lime and Mint Shrub

Blackberry Lime and Mint Shrub

Book reference:

Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times by Michael Dietsch

Shrubs

Shrubs

 

 

More Adventures in Barrel Aging

More Adventures in Barrel Aging

barrel aging

The Bijou being barrel aged and soon to be enjoyed.

 

I’m not sure we knew what we were getting ourselves into. It seemed an innocent enough project, but now I wonder if it is getting out of hand. Our first foray into barrel aging was a raging success, our Vieux Carre turned out beautifully and we were hooked. But D, who prefers the cannonball approach to dipping his toe in the water, now has three barrels on the go. I caught him trying to order a fourth last week and quickly nipped that in the bud.

You see, three barrels does not simply mean aging three cocktails. These barrels are designed to be used at least four or five times each. And while it takes a little longer to reach the desired level of oakiness with each successive aging, it only takes about two weeks for the initial endeavor. Furthermore these barrels cannot sit between batches, so we find ourselves constantly trying to decide what goes in next, tracking down ingredients, and bottling the fruits of our labors.

To date we have successfully aged the aforementioned Vieux Carre as well as a batch of Boulevardiers. barrel aging part 2-2Those casks have been replenished with a batch of Toronto cocktail and Red Hook, respectively. The cask designated for gin got a late start, due to leakage, but is currently in the process of maturing a liter of Bijou cocktail. I think that will be replaced by a personal favorite known as the Jutland Calling. But as the clock ticks down on each cask there is the constant question of what goes in next.

Don’t get me wrong, we are having a blast, but we are also generating far more product than we can reasonably consume. So far D seems unfazed by the volume of product or the cost of investment, but I suspect that we will be tapped out long before the wood on these casks stops infusing liquor with good old oak flavor.

Barrel Aging Cocktails

Booze Bottle and Barrels, a sight for thirsty eye

Vieux Carre

  • 1 ounce rye
  • 1 ounce cognac
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • .5 teaspoon Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Stir over ice until chilled. Strain. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Boulevardier

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon (we used Bulleit)
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth (Martini Rosso works fine but feel free to experiment)

Stir over ice in a mixing glass. Strain. Garnish with a cherry.

Toronto Cocktail

  • 2 ounces Canadian Whisky
  • .25 ounce Fernet Branca
  • .25 ounce gomme syrup or simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Red Hook

  • 2 ounces rye (Rittenhouse is best)
  • .5 ounce Punt e Mes
  • .5 ounce maraschino

Stir over ice until chilled. Strain. Garnish with a cherry.

Bijou

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Green Chartreuse
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Stir over ice until chilled. Strain. Garnish with a cherry.

Jutland Calling

  • 1.5 ounces London dry gin
  • .5 ounce Bornholmer Bitter liquer
  • .5 ounce St Germain elderflower liqueur

Stir over ice until chilled. Strain. Garnish with a lemon twist.

 

 

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand-12

This is a familiar cocktail to us, especially to D. Along with the Rusty Nail it is one of only a handful of well known scotch cocktails, and certainly among the first suggested by bartenders when D requests a scotch-based bevvy. Until recently this drink was impossible to make in this province (correctly at least), but we revel in the recent arrival of Cherry Heering on our liquor store shelves. Blood and SandCherry Heering is a syrupy liqueur with a deep burgundy hue and a finish reminiscent of sherry.

We once had this cocktail mixed erroneously with maraschino, an interesting substitution that I liked – largely because it was a much more pleasing color than the original, but D was not a fan. In retrospect the maraschino overpowered the scotch, whereas the Heering rounds out the base spirit, highlighting the spicy notes while muting any harshness.

Ted Haigh notes that the Blood and Sand is named after a film of the same title, though it’s easy to imagine that the moniker is a result of its murky rusty hue. But while the color may leave something to be desired this libation is a classic for a reason. It is a workshop in balance: sweet but boozy, citrusy but not overly so, smooth and quaffable even for the scotch novice. I prompted D for some tasting notes. “I like it!” says D. “Why?” says me. “It has scotch in it. I like scotch.” “And…?” I pressed. “There aren’t a lot of scotch cocktails.” Well there you have it. Give this a shot if only because it is one of a handful of mixed drinks with scotch as a base. Make it again because it is delicious.

Blood and Sand

  • 1 ounce scotch (a blend such as Johnny Walker Red works well)
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  • .75 ounce Cherry Heering
  • .75 ounce sweet vermouth

Shake over ice. Strain. Garnish with a cherry.

Blood and Sand Ingredients

Blood and Sand Ingredients

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.

Barbara West Cocktail

Barbara West Cocktail

 Barbara West Cocktail

We approach certain cocktails in this book with great anticipation; others with mild interest, the Barbara West cocktail fell into the latter category. I was perhaps more keen than D, having developed an interest in sherry while taking a wine course for work some months back. Yet D, ever the trooper, was assigned the task of collecting the ingredients for this drink.

Brokers Gin November 06, 2013 023-4-Edit-2

Brokers Gin

He returned home from shopping with more bottles than seemed necessary for such a simple libation. At the BCL the selection was limited to a medium dry Australian sherry. Ever the purist, D felt strongly that sherry should originate in Spain, but as he feared he would not be able to find a Spanish Amontillado in our neighborhood and as the bottle was inexpensive, he acquired it nevertheless. From his sack he also produced a bottle of Broker’s Dry Gin. Over the last few months we have amassed quite the collection of gin and I’m sure we could have made do with a product from our shelf, but D experienced an immediate and overwhelming need for the gin with the hat. I may have mocked him for a minute or two for falling prey to such a marketing scheme, but after trying the Broker’s I found it to be incredibly well balanced and have been converted.

Sherry

Unhappy with his Australian sherry, D popped into a local wine store. Here he found the selection to be significantly superior. After consulting a salesman he selected a medium dry Amontillado at a very reasonable price point.

Our ingredients amassed, the resultant cocktail met mixed reviews. The Barbara West has a nice gin punch, like a martini, but with a nuttiness and brininess from the sherry. It has raisin and citrus notes and is pleasantly bitter. I tasted it before and after adding a lemon twist and found that the lemon oils present in the peel were essential to the drink. I felt an immediate craving for a bowl of olives and could see drinking it with a plate of cured meats and cheese.

For his part, D was not overly fond of this concoction, though this should not come as a surprise as it’s a rather subtle gin-based libation. He declared it to be “surprisingly boozy” and reminiscent of “Santa Barbara in the springtime,” though I’m not sure he’s ever been to that part of California at any time of year.

Barbara West Cocktail

  • 2 ounces gin (we used Broker’s)
  • 1 ounce sherry (a medium-dry Amontillado works well)
  • .5 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Barbara West Cocktail

Barbara West Cocktail

Ted Haigh offers no insight as to the origins of the name of this cocktail, and further research has revealed nothing with certainty. While I could see pairing this drink with certain foods I must admit that the libation is as forgettable as it’s namesake.

The Alamagoozlum

The Alamagoozlum

Alamagoozlum Coctail

Even after making this cocktail I still have to look up the spelling. And the pronunciation? That’s anyone’s guess. What I can say with certainty is that despite the seemingly endless list of ingredients this cocktail is worth making.

There was a lot of anticipation surrounding this drink, this being our first of the project, and having spent the better part of two weeks tracking down ingredients. Our provincial liquor stores seem to feel that curacao should be blue. This is perplexing to me – what about fresh tropical oranges suggests a synthetic blue hue? Oragne CuracaoCall me a snob but I have yet to figure out why anyone would imbibe something that looks like, and probably tastes similar to, antifreeze. Luckily our friends at Legacy Liquor were able to help us out, providing us with the very last bottle “for quite some time” of Pierre Ferrard Ancienne Methode Dry Curacao. And wow, what a find! Made from curacao orange peels and a blend of spices the depth of flavor of this liqueur is starling, reminding me at once of Cointreau and Drambuie.

There was some debate over yellow versus green chartreuse. D wanted to start with the yellow, but I was a holdout for the green. Admittedly I had ulterior motives, green chartreuse is a major component of one of my favorite cocktails, The Last Word, and once we had a bottle in the house I’d be just a measure and a shake away from bliss. Green ChartreuseWe settled on the green.

Ironically, after all our careful prep and procurement, our first batch of Almagoozlums contained no chartreuse at all. After photographing all the bottles D read out the ingredients as I measured, then we took turns shaking. We shook until our hands froze to the metal shaker then strained it into two crystal glasses we had gleefully obtained at an estate sale earlier in the week. The libation was a beautiful dark color with a frothy rim and a silky mouthfeel. It looked exactly like the picture in the book and we were very pleased with the taste. Alamagoozlum CoctailWe both agreed it was worth the effort and started to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. It was only when I commented that the cocktail didn’t seem as boozy as I had imagined that we turned back to the recipe and realized that we had forgotten the chartreuse.

Always ones to correct the errors of our ways we started anew. Bazinga! Our first concoction had been pleasant, with notes of orange and some spice from the bitters, but the true Alamagoozlum is a knockout. It is at once citrusy, spicy, and woody. It’s definitely a sweeter style cocktail but with a boozy bite and sharpness from the spice. It has a luscious, creamy body, thanks to the egg white and the gomme syrup.

I should note here that we made our own gomme syrup. I would have cheated and made a rich simple syrup without the Gomme Arabic, but D was insistent that we do things properly. Gomme Syrup-1He tracked down the Acacia at a restaurant supply shop and put me in charge of the mixture. While we both doubted the recipe I used at times, the resultant syrup was thick and rich and well worth the effort.

 

 

 

 

 

The Alamagoozlum (serves 2-3)

  • ½ egg white
  • 2 ounces genever gin (we used Boomsma)
  • 2 ounces water
  • 1.5 ounces Jamaican rum (we used Appleton)
  • 1.5 ounce Chartreuse (we used green)
  • 1.5 ounces gomme syrup
  • .5 ounce orange curacao (Pierre Ferrand is great)
  • .5 ounce Angostura Bitters

Add the egg white to a large clean dry cocktail shaker. Shake long and hard. Add the remaining ingredients and ice. Shake again until frost coats the outside of the shaker. Strain into chilled cocktail glasses. 

The Alamagoozlum ingredients

The Alamagoozlum ingredients