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 Bibulo.us, 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!


1 Comment »

Comment by Lizzy Caston

Yeah, I’ve been pretty obsessed with the Japanese lately. Lance at 50Plates made me a version using rum (can’t remember what kind) and Filbert Orgeat. It was absolute heaven. So balanced with incredible layers of flavor. Not too sweet either, which is surprising given both the rum and orgeat.

Although, I guess technically that it wasn’t a Japanese, but still, it was the best version I’ve had yet.

Posted on September 14, 2008 at 10:21 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Subscribe without commenting