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!

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Comment by Heather

Is it named after Sir Walter Raleigh? I’m far to lazy to get off the couch and consult my own Savoy. Or Google it for that matter. If it isn’t, we really ought to make a drink in Sir Walter’s honor, he was a right capital fellow.

Posted on January 5, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Comment by TraderTiki

It’s entirely possible, but I do see some significantly different recipes online for a “Sir Walter Raleigh Cocktail”, albeit not anyplace reputable.

I’ll have to hit up someone with a copy of Jigger, Beaker and Glass or the Waldorf-Astoria.

Posted on January 5, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Comment by Chris

Now we need a ‘Sir Edmund Hillary cocktail’…or perhaps one for jazz great, Oscar Peterson (RIP both)


Posted on January 12, 2008 at 11:00 am

Comment by Tom

I had one of these last night. It’s one of the most well-balanced cocktails I’ve ever had. No particular flavor stands out and, if I hadn’t made it myself, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell what’s in it…lol I’m dying to know its origin, if anyone finds out!

Posted on February 25, 2009 at 8:17 am

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