MxMo 19th Century, The Japanese Cocktail

Posted by TraderTiki on September 14th, 2008 — Posted in Bitters, Brandy, Classic Cocktails, Drinks, MxMo, Recipes

Many thanks to this Mixology Monday’s hosts at, sending us back in time (and into the library) for some 19th Century Cocktails!

As read in Imbibe! by David Wondrich, in 1860, diplomats from Japan made a few weeks stay in New York City.  While there, they stayed at the Metropolitan hotel, about a block away from Jerry Thomas’ Palace bar.  The likelihood of the legation stopping in was about 100%, given their penchant for cocktails, and The Professor’s renown.

Created to commemorate this occasion was the Japanese Cocktail.  A tender and delicious little concoction of Orgeat, Brandy, and Bitters.

Text not available

Somehow, years later in Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual (1934 edition), the recipe changed dramatically.   This version adds a good dallop of shaved ice and Maraschino Liqueur, and replaces the Brandy with Eau Celeste (Himmels Wasser), which in searches shows as a sort of plant fungicide.

Harry Johnsons Bartenders Manual, the Japanese Cocktail

Seeing as I don’t appear to have a ready supply of large quantities of Copper Sulfate, Ammonia, and whatever the heck Sal Soda is to make the eau celeste, I think we’re going to have to go with the original good Professor’s recipe, adapted by David Wondrich, with some further adaptation of technique.

Japanese Cocktail

Japanese Cocktail

  • 1 Tbsp Orgeat
  • 1/2 tsp Bogart’s Bitters (sub Fees or homemade Boker’s)
  • 2 oz of Brandy

Stir with Ice, strain into champagne saucer.  Garnish with 1 or 2 twists of Lemon Peel.

It’s a delightful and creamy little bite of a drink.  The large amount of Bitters adds a lot of flavor, making a sort of mulled Brandy, while the Orgeat balances out the harsher notes in the bitters and any burn in the brandy.  Daniel at Teardrop Lounge made a lovely variation with Filbert Orgeat and Barsol Pisco, garnished with shredded chocolate.

I can’t recommend this drink enough.  It’s easy to concoct, and extremely pleasing to just about any palate.  Drink and enjoy!

MxMo XXVI: Fruit Liqueur

Posted by TraderTiki on April 13th, 2008 — Posted in Brandy, MxMo, Trader Vic

MxMo round… twelve hundred at this point? No, just 26.  This time hosted by Anna at Morsels and Musings, an Australia-based Cuisine blog.  The theme this go-round is Fruit Liqueurs, which opens a helluva lot of doors and makes the cocktailians mind boggle with possibilities.

A lot of options are available with this round, and I chose to go a path I’m both ecstatic and not so pleased with.  I am ecstatic because I get to cover a favorite topic of mine, mainly, old-timey drinks.  I am not so pleased because, well, I feel I cheated a bit on the liqueur portion of it, seeing as Calvados isn’t technically a liqueur.  Well, I put my conscience at ease by exchanging the lemon juice for house-made Limoncello, which makes for one hell of a kick.

Daisies are one of those old-timey drink categories we don’t see much of on modern cocktail menus (though if you do, please let me know).  Imbibe! has a great description of the drink, even categorizing it into old-school (orange cordial) and new-school (grenadine).  Trader Vic’s early-edition bartender’s guide seems to streamline the daisy, from the early 1900s half-lime, half-lemon, powdered sugar and grenadine, to just the lemon juice and grenadine, which makes for a very tart drink.  I tried a bit of an experiment using Bundaberg Ginger Beer, and it worked fine and dandy for a damned delicious Daisy.


Star-Eyed Daisy (adapted from Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide)

  • 2 oz. Calvados
  • 1 tsp. Grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. Limoncello

Shake with cracked ice and strain into double-cocktail glass or old-fashioned. Top with Ginger Beer or tonic water and serve.

A bit tart, a bit sweet, and entirely refreshing.  My wife describe it as spicy apple-juice.  I think you’ll describe it as a great summer drink.

Next MxMo is going to be hosted right here!  The topic is… RUM!  I’ll put more details into a future post.  See you then!

Fog Cutter, on the menu Feb 19th

Posted by TraderTiki on February 15th, 2008 — Posted in Brandy, Gin, Rum, Teardrop Tiki Menu, Trader Vic

To quote Trader Vic, “Fog Cutter, hell. After two of these, you won’t even see the stuff “. Trader Vic is credited in his Book of Food and Drink as the originator of the Tiki Classic, though in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, famed bartender Tony Ramos recalls its origins at an eponymous restaurant in Hollywood. No matter where it came from, this is a tall and tasty kick to the noggin. Vic describes it as “delicious but a triple threat. You can get pretty stinking on these, no fooling” This drink combines about four ounces of rum, brandy, and gin, with a float of sherry, and some tropical juices and flavorings.

Fog Cutter

This drink favors ice, and plenty of it. As big and tall of a vessel filled with cracked ice as you can get. Modern versions call for a higher ratio of orange to lemon juice, but the original formulation, with some nice homemade orgeat, is about as fantastic as it can get. This is a great drink, and a lesson for those of the “syrupy sweet” school of tiki drinks.

Just a note, Kaiser Penguin also has a great post on the Fog Cutter, and its many variations. This drink has been through a few remixes in its time, and is currently on most Trader Vic’s menu, and a few other classic menus, as the Somoan Fog Cutter. The difference is anyone’s guess, but it still packs a potent punch, no matter how you name it.

The Fog Cutter is another entry on the special menu on Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop, Feb 19th.

MxMo XXIII, Corpse Reviver

Posted by TraderTiki on January 14th, 2008 — Posted in Brandy, Morning Cocktails, MxMo

MxMo XXIII: Brandy

Another Mixology Monday has come upon us, this them: Brandy, and this host: Marleigh at Sloshed!

Now, besides its use as a sub-ingredient, or a breakfast or holiday tradition, I have to admit my knowledge on Brandy goes about as far as, well, not nearly as far as the Dominik’s MxMo contribution. But I do like a snifter of the stuff every once in a while, and with Clear Creek Distillery being local, my eyes are opening to the joy that is eau-de-vie.

I went searching for a recipe to highlight for this MxMo, but sadly all my Tiki books were, well, pretty dry. Other than matching it evenly with rum, or being one ounce in a 7 ounce drink, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of the stuff in the tropical cocktails world. So, I checked the Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic, in the Brandy Cocktails section. There are plenty of interesting drinks here (this post was almost about the Bosom Caresser), but nothing that hasn’t been covered elsewhere, so, I looked to the The Savoy Cocktail Book for the final verdict, and wound up chosing that lesser of the two siblings, the Corpse Reviver #1.

Corpse Reviver #1

Corpse Reviver #1  (”To be taken before 11am, or whenever steam and energy are needed”)

  • 1/2 Brandy
  • 1/4 Calvados
  • 1/4 Italian Vermouth

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

The Trader Vic’s version suggest Cognac, but Cognac stock here has been getting low, so I went with my typical (and well stocked) Christian Brothers VS.  The Calvados was Boulard Pays d’Auge, and the Italian Vermouth, Punt-E-Mes, because it just seems that nothing can go wrong with a bit of Punt-E-Mes.

It’s a lovely little cocktail, and I must say, its use as an invigorator is not without merit.  I must say the looming workday is becoming much less  so with every sip.  There’s almost no harshness in it, despite its alcohol content, with the Calvados adding a bit of juiciness to it (and your daily apple), and some spicy and deep rich notes off of the Punt-E-Mes.  I also added a schvitz of Grapefruit oil to the top, as I am wont to do.  It tends to brighten up the flavors, particularly in a juiceless cocktail.

I can see why it fell behind in the race with the Corpse Reviver #2, but it certainly holds its own as a damned decent drink.

Sir Walter Cocktail

Posted by TraderTiki on January 5th, 2008 — Posted in Brandy, Rum

The winter rains continue, the ground around my house is saturated, and again, my bar, Reynolés Galley, is pretending it is a wet bar. Yes, the ship is leaking, and the floor is soaked, but at least it hasn’t sank. So, more work is ahead for me, and the walls must be temporarily torn down so that I can dry-lok the room, thank you 1940’s masonry.

So, upset at the ponderous bulk of work ahead, I decided to make myself a cocktail. Though please note, this decision also often occurs during times of thirst, boredom, joy, pain, misery, delight, celebration, and generally whenever I’m awake.

I was recently putting together a menu of Classic Cocktails for the Galley, seeing as there was more mopping than mixing to be done. I put a few favorites on there, the Last Word, Corpse Reviver #2, Sazerac (made the way it damn well should be!), but needed something different. So, taking a peek in the The Savoy Cocktail Book, I found something that looked ever so right up my alley, Sir Walter Cocktail.

Sir Walter Cocktail

Sir Walter Cocktail (Commonly known as “Swalter” ), from the Savoy Cocktail Book.

  • 1 tsp Grenadine
  • 1 tsp Curaçao
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 Brandy
  • 1/3 Rum

Shake and strain into cocktail glass

It’s a lovely cocktail, more towards the sweet end of the spectrum, with the Rum and Brandy mixing together as fantastically, with a touch of bitter and sweet from the Curaçao and Grenadine. I’m using Meyer Lemon Juice right now, since, ’tis the season, and it makes for an outstanding drink. It’s quite a different flavor from typical lemons, with a lot less of the citric kick, and a lot mellower and sweeter flavor. Cruzan Amber seems to sit with the Brandy and other flavors very, very well, though I’d imagine Pisco and White Rum would be a nice variation. The 1/3 refers to 1/3rd of the drink, or half an ounce in this case. My recommendation is to make it a double, it’s can be a dinky cocktail, even at twice the size. Oh, and I added some flourish with a Grapefruit peel spiral, after expressing the oil. It works quite well with the rest of it.

I wasn’t able to find any more information on this drink other than the hundreds of recipes on the internet, and on cocktaildb. However, looking through a few of my tomes of knowledge, I found two versions in the 1948 reprint of the Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic. Oddly enough, the two versions aren’t marked 1 and 2, but are instead referred to in separate sections of the book. I wonder if anyone ever pointed out to him he’s got two recipes for the same drink… if you’ve got the ‘76 version, let me know if it’s still in there!

Sir Walter Cocktail (Brandy Cocktails section, p. 86), Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic.

  • 3/4 oz. Brandy
  • 3/4 oz. Bacardi
  • 1 tsp Grenadine
  • 1 tsp Curaçao
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice

Shake with cracked ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass

The proportions are a bit different here from the Savoy version, and it specifically calls on Bacardi. I can’t say using dark rum was bad though, because it tasted so good.

Sir Walter Cocktail (Rum Cocktails section, p.234), Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic.

  • 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Cognac
  • 1 tsp Grenadine
  • 1 tsp Curaçao
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice

Shake with cracked ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass

This is more like the Savoy, with the 1/3 measurement being traded for 1/2 oz. It sure can drive me mad when a drink is setup only as parts, with no suggestion as to where to start. The parts notation can be nice for punches, but I like to know whether something started as a cocktail, a pitcher drink, a punch, or a bathtub.

I think this little number is ready to be rediscovered and printed a few cocktail menus out there. I know it’s on at least one… mine!