213. Brandy Straight

213. Brandy Cocktail

Well, I’m back from a slightly extended summer break! I’ve got a number of drinks lined up, so we should be a little less last minute than we have in the past. Not that you’d know that, I guess — the secret’s out!

Anyways, sometimes Jerry Thomas is kind of odd. Or maybe it’s just the 1800s? Not sure. In any case, this drink is definitely one of the stranger ones, for multiple reasons. One: does this “recipe” even need to be codified? Two: was the term he mentions common at the time? Three: should bartenders, especially those concerned with highly crafted cocktails, really condone this type of drinking? Four: What does he mean by “safe?”

On the news front, everything seems to be going to hell generally, so you might just need to order a drink and keep the bottle. almost 50,000 acres of country burned by wildfires this week alone, massive floods in Louisiana, and probably other things equally terrible that I either don’t know about or was too upset to read about. So, stay sharp out there, and help out where you can. Donating blood is always a great option, as well as donating money to good causes, if you have some to spare.

Also, all emphasis is added by Jerry Thomas, not me, in the following recipe.

213. Brandy Cocktail Ingredients

Continue reading “213. Brandy Straight”

17. Vanilla Punch

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Well, I spent all this time getting curaçao and then decided to make one of his drinks that doesn’t actually need it. Ah well, it was still delicious.

Vanilla Ice performed on the Today Show yesterday. I have no understanding of why this happened. Also, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were involved. This may have been a piece (one of the many) of 90s culture that I missed.

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17. Vanilla Punch

(Use large bar glass.) [We didn’t.]

  • 1 table-spoonful of sugar.
  • 2 oz. brandy.
  • The juice of ¼ of a lemon.
  • Fill the tumbler with shaved ice, shake well, ornament with one or two slices of lemon, and flavor with a few drops of vanilla extract. [Presumably, you put the ingredients in first, and THEN fill with ice. Also, I used more like 6-7 drops of extract, and you should too.
  • This is a delicious drink, and should be imbibed through a glass tube or straw.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: I’m not sure why it follows that if it’s a delicious drink, it should be imbibed with a straw, but he’s right on both accounts. Vanilla isn’t a super common drink flavor, other than, say, milkshakes, but it paired really well with the citrus, and the bite of the alcohol. The only change I’d like to make to this drink is to maybe add some soda water, to cut the alcohol a tiny bit and, more importantly, make it last longer. Also, shaking with shaved ice is sort of strange, too, but it seemed to work. It was sweet, flavorful, and not overpowering in any particular way.

PiC: I liked it! It wasn’t too sweet, and I liked how much vanilla there was.

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129. Ale Sangaree

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And we’re back to Jerry Thomas! I’m still a little behind ingredients-wise, so this is one of his simpler ones, but as soon as I buy some non-blue curaçao we should be on a roll. Also gomme syrup, which is apparently like simple syrup but smoother and silkier, which is intriguing. There’s a trip to BevMo in my near future.

There weren’t many news stories to go after with these particular words, but I found this article that says that Shakespeare’s father was an official ale taster for Stratford. Pretty sweet job, if you ask me. And speaking of sweet ale…

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129. Ale Sangaree

(Use large bar glass.)

  • 1 teaspoonful of sugar, dissolved in a tablespoonful of water.
  • Fill the tumbler with ale, and grate nutmeg on top.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: This was a rather vague recipe; I assumed that it wanted you to mix the first ingredient with the ale in the tumbler, rather than just sort of look at it while you drank the nutmegged ale. For the beer, I used the Mammoth Brewing 395 IPA that I brought back from my trip, partially because it was around, but mainly because I thought that the sage and other herbal notes in it would work well with the nutmeg, which they did! In terms of the drink overall, it initially just tasted like beer, with a hint of additional spice, but I think our glass was probably larger than expected, and so there wasn’t enough sugar to go around. So, I added more (probably about double) and then you definitely got the sweetness, which was pretty nice. Hit the bitterness of the IPA and toned it down. However, at the end of the day, it was just sweet beer, which was not too exciting. Nothing compared to the Port Wine Sangaree

PiC: I thought this tasted good but I wasn’t that impressed with it as a cocktail per se. Maybe the beer tasted worse in his time, so this made it easier to drink? I would drink it, but I wouldn’t make it again, unless I had a beer that was really bad.

Blogger’s Note:

This is not related to cocktails, but rather to the blog itself. As you know, I switched to a self-hosted wordpress site at the beginning of April and, well, it sucks. The hosting itself, that is. I have a bad provider, and while it’s free, I’d rather pay money and get faster loading, fewer errors, etc, because it doesn’t make it easy for readers like you to enjoy the content. So, does anyone know of any good options? I’m looking at BlueHost right now, which is recommended by WordPress itself, and has pretty enticing pricing. Thanks all!

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88. Mint Julep

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In case you hadn’t noticed (since the first recipe was #125), I am indeed skipping around a bit. This is partially due to the availability of ingredients, and partially because I don’t necessarily want to be making punch after punch after punch, and then julep after julep after julep. What is an effective categorization method in a book is not the most fun in the kitchen.

So for this one I wanted something I had heard of before. Was this first version a classic Mint Julep? Short answer: no. It’s pretty different, except for shaved ice and mint, but is a really nice drink on its own. Score another one for Jerry Thomas.

In other news, the U.S. Mint recently announced the national parks that will be on this year’s America the Beautiful (read: fancy) quarters: Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) in South Carolina. The first will be on shelves (in wallets? What do you say?) on February 8th. Riveting news, I know.

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88. Mint Julep

(Use large bar glass.)

  • 1 table-spoonful of white pulverized sugar. [Powdered sugar.]
  • 2½ do. water, mix well with a spoon. [do. is “Ditto” in ye olden days.]
  • Take three or four sprigs of fresh mint, and press them well in the sugar and water, until the flavor of the mint is extracted; add one and a half wine-glass [3 oz.] of Cognac brandy, and fill the glass with fine shaved ice, then draw out the sprigs of mint and insert them in the ice with the stems downward, so that the leaves will be above, in the shape of a bouquet; arrange berries, and small pieces of sliced orange on top in a tasty manner, dash with Jamaica rum, [I took this to mean dark rum] and sprinkle white sugar on top. Place a straw as represented in the cut, [I didn’t have a straw, but we’re getting some! By “in the cut” he means the image on that first Jerry Thomas post, which appears to just be in the drink. Not sure where else you’d put it.] and you have a julep that is fit for an emperor.

Fit for an emperor, eh? Pretty cool. Apart from the spirit choice (brandy instead of whisky), this started out like a pretty classic julep, but then he just goes crazy and adds all sorts of things to it. Only modifications I made (besides no straw) were to use new mint sprigs for the garnish because the muddled ones were kind of gross-looking.

Mint Julep Prep

Tasting Notes:

BN: I found it interesting that he didn’t use whisky, as that is a pretty common spirit back then — but I guess that wasn’t how he heard about the drink. I’ll look into when that switch occurred. The addition of the fruit and rum was really delicious though, especially the citrus — it gave it a lot more depth than I’m used to in a simply sweet and minty julep. I wanted a little more mint flavor but I should have just muddled more. I also liked the ombre (PiC is proud of my vocabulary) effect that was made when the rum was added to the top – dark rum to orange brandy to green sugar-mint water.

PiC: A little alcoholic for me, but i like it. Even making it a little sweeter would be good. I especially like eating a raspberry off the top and then taking a sip.

125. Port Wine Sangaree

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My first thought upon seeing this particular recipe was that it was going to be like a sangria, due to the name. But it turns out that a) it’s not, and b) Sangaree is an older term for a rather vague set of cocktails from either the Antilles or Spain. Apparently, and this makes sense and I can’t imagine why I didn’t notice it before, it’s because they are usually reddish, and therefore look like blood (sangre in Spanish). Yay for etymology!

Anyways, I don’t really like port, but I thought that this might be a good start for good old Jerry, to see if he knows what he’s talking about. And he does! Though simple, this recipe brings out some good flavors and makes it easy to drink the spirit.

And, today, during a demonstration held in support of migrants, a number of protestors illegally boarded a ferry in the PORT of Calais, suspending operations. Just another event in a series caused by more and more migrants streaming into Europe from the Middle East. Luckily, this one does not appear to have been a bloody interchange. So, as the Spanish would say, no SANGRIENTA.

I’m both hilarious and informative.

This, and all recipes will be copied verbatim from the 1862 edition, with comments in italics.

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Port Wine Sangaree

(Use small bar glass.)

  • 1½ wine-glass of port wine [A wine-glass is equal to 2 oz., ish, so this is 3 oz.]
  • 1 teaspoonful of sugar.
  • Fill tumbler two-thirds with ice.
  • Shake well and grate nutmeg on top.

I’ve encountered this problem where he doesn’t really specify between a mixing glass (I think that’s what he means by tumbler) and the final delivery vessel. Perhaps I’ll figure it out soon, but for now I combined ingredients and shook in a Boston shaker, then poured into ice in the glasses, adding the nutmeg after.

Port Prep

Tasting Notes:

BN: I liked this — it didn’t taste medicine-y like a lot of port I’ve had (which, generally, I hate), and the sugar somehow made me like it better, even though port is usually too sweet for me. I couldn’t really taste the nutmeg, but maybe I didn’t put enough in.

PiC: I liked this. I don’t know much about port, but I could taste the nutmeg at the end of the sip. It’s good!

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