Sunday, March 7, 2010

Exhibit #26: Out of this World

So I've been doing this cocktail museum thing at The Royale in Saint Louis (3132 S. Kingshighway) for half a year now. I don't facebook, but the bar does, so the menus have only been posted there. I realize many do not do the FB thing (self included), so I've been meaning to do a blog too. Maybe you don't live in the StL, but might visit while traveling. Or you just like old drinks. Cocktail Museum is on Sundays, come visit and have a tipple. Drinks are only at the bar - they're mostly too involved to offer for table service. The basic MO is forgotten or bastardized drinks presented in their original state, original preparation as much as feasible. I don't really dig the modern mixologist thang - there are enough drinks already, and there is more to being behind the stick than just mixing drinks. This "chef of the bar" thing is bullshit... sorry. I also work Mondays and we do this half-pint-album-sides thing (bring in a record we'll play and get a free half pint) - that's crazy and fun, and other occasional shifts. Hopefully you will read this and bring in some Darkthrone or Shostakovich quartets. After a decade or two of working in my basement, it's wonderful to be out among living breathing people instead of answering emails. Bartending is way better than playing music or running a record label. At least at this point in my life. Anyway, this blog will have the menus and maybe some pics and/or reports. I really don't like being online, so make no promises. But I'm just back from visiting my pals at the bar (tonight: SN Bigfoot (bottle), Aviation, and Moinette Brune (draught)...presently nursing a Rum Fix w/half El Dorado 12yr & Jamaica Plantation 8yr), am a little bored, tipsy, and motivated, so here we go.

What you've missed: Rum Shrub, Brandy Shrub, Whiskey Sling, Gin Sling, Gin Sling Cocktail, Navy Rum Grog, Bumbo, Captain's Blood, Colonel Joe's Rickey, Joe Rickey, Steevens' Rickey, John Collins, Ramos Gin Fizz, Rye/Bourbon/Brandy/Gin Cock-tail, Paloma, Cantarito, Rosita, Southside, Northside, Stone Fence, El Presidente, Hemingway Daiquiri, Nike Hercules, Corpse Revivers nos 1, 2 & 3, Revolutionary Stone Fence, Jack Rose, Satan's Whiskers (straight), Obituary Cocktail, Goat's Delight, Death in the Afternoon, Depth Charge, Maiden's Blush, Pick Up Cocktail, Weeper's Joy, Brandy Toddy, Hot Scotch, Hot Spiced Rum, Delilah (White Lady), Sidecar, Pegu Club, 1870s Manhattan, 1890s Manhattan, Algonquin, Crushed Strawberry Fizz, Floridita, Jungle Bird, Singapore Sling, Victory Cocktail, General Order no. 1, 69th Regiment Punch, French 75, Churchill Martini, Apple Toddy, Hot Milk Punch, Irish Whiskey Skin, Baltimore Eggnog, Tom & Jerry, Christmas Bowl of Bishop, Champagne Cocktail, Champagne Flamingo, Seelbach Cocktail, Chicago Cocktail, Prince of Wales' Cocktail, Rocky Mountain Punch, Morning Cocktail, Morning Glory Cocktail, Morning Glory Fizz, Saratoga Brace-Up, Blood and Sand, Leatherneck, Mamie Taylor, Robert Burns Cocktail, Vowel Cocktail, Americano, Black Velvet, Vesper, 1920s Martini, Ford Cocktail, Martinez, Jamaican Hot Tea Punch, Sano Grog, Hot Zombie, Coffee Nudge, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Twelve Mile Limit, Pisco Sour, Chatham Hotel Special, Coffee Cocktail, Princeton Cocktail, The Suburban, Arnaud's Special Coctail, La Lousiane, Le Roffignac, Sazerac, Antebellum Sazerac, St. Charles Punch, Vieux Carre, Rum/Brandy/Gin/Whiskey Fix, Between the Sheets, Blackthorn, Hanky Panky Cocktail, Kiss in the Dark, Pink Gin, Pink Lady, Soyer au Champagne, Buck and Breck, FDR Martini, General Harrison's Eggnog, Truman Old-Fashioned, Pisco Punch, Bishop's Cooler, Don the Beachcomber's Coffee Grog, Eastern Sour, Fog Cutter, and Mai Tai....phew. Yes, I am a total freaking dork for cocktails. I tend to obsess about things. Most of my life has been spent obsessing about music, but after 25+ years of that, I'm kinda done. For a taste of that, visit Scat Records, or the blog about my band Prisonshake's last album. Did I mention that I am wickedly handsome and love to flirt? And modest and self-effacing? Yes. Come see me, especially if you are an attractive woman. And tall. Or strong. Or from Bermuda. My wife doesn't mind.

But all hope is not lost. We'll be reprising a few of the above this month. And there is more to come, oh yes! Much drinkings and clinkings! Winkings and blinkings!

Here I am mixing up a Sazerac a couple weeks ago:

And the March menu, exhibit #26:

Three from London's Café Royal Cocktail Book (1937):

20th Century Cocktail $6
Plymouth gin, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, crème de cacao, lemon twist, up.

Golden Dawn $6
Apple brandy, dry gin (Beefeater), Viennese apricot liqueur, orange juice, up with a stemless cherry.

The Lion's Tail $6
Maker's Mark bourbon, allspice liqueur, lime juice, Angostura bitters, up.

The Café Royal was a long-lived bar and restaurant in London's Piccadilly. In 1937 head bartender William Tarling compiled an unusual cocktail book to benefit the club's sports fund and the UK Bartenders' Guild Sickness Fund. The recipes in the book drew from the club's cocktail menu as well as from members of the UKBG. Spotlighting these drinks and its namesake venue appeals not only for the unique drinks it featured, but also for the similarity in nomenclature to our own spot. We've often overheard first-time customers talking on their phones say, "I'm at The Royal" or "Club Royal" - a wonderful error that many of us who work here enjoy repeating. But as to Café Royal, it was opened in 1868 by a penniless Frenchman named Daniel Nicols, who'd fled his homeland due to looming debt-related court actions. By the 1890s the venue had become a meeting place for London's most forward-looking and decadent artists and writers, holding that claim up until WWII, and continued to be an "it" spot for many decades afterwards, hosting everyone from Oscar Wilde to Mick Jagger throughout its history. Everything about the place was over the top - large rooms baroquely decorated, risqué art, and even a boxing ring in one of the dining rooms were but a few of its claims to fame. After purchase by an international conglomerate, its contents were auctioned off and the bar closed in December 2008 to make way for a new, more profitable hotel.

In this case, pictures are superior to anything I could write, so check these short articles with accompanying videos to really get a feel for the place:

Two early Don the Beachcomber drinks from the 1930s, a turn-of-the-last-century NYC favorite, and one for the season:

Donga Punch $6
Rhum Barbancourt, grapefruit and lime juices, homemade cinnamon syrup, on the rocks. Simple and of normal strength, but still pure Don, utterly bewitching and unique.

Port au Prince $6
Scarlet Ibis (Trinidad) and Barbancourt (Haiti) rums, Falernum (a cane-based liqueur native to Barbados, flavored with ginger and lime peel), lime and pineapple juices with a dash of pomegranate syrup over crushed ice. This is another simple one by Beachcomber standards, but illustrative of Don's understanding of the blending of different rums. By 1945 he was the largest single consumer of the spirit, serving 325,000 cases and stocking 138 different varieties in that year. Once we are able to secure some Demerara rums from Guyana we will present some of his more involved creations and delve into his fascinating biography.

Florodora $5.50
Imperial Florodora $7.50
Plymouth gin, lime juice, homemade raspberry syrup, and ginger ale, on the rocks, The "imperial" version subs cognac (Martell VSOP) for the gin and champagne for the ginger ale. The name comes from a 1900 hit musical that was very racy for its day. It featured six identically dressed, scantily so for the time, 5'4" brunettes, and the actresses who portrayed them were instant celebrities on the NYC nightlife circuit. The story goes that while out on the town one night, one of the actresses refused to drink anything but lemonade, much to her sporty companions' chagrin. After some prodding, she relented that, "if you bring me something brand new, I'll drink it," and the head barman (of an unidentified Columbus Ave restaurant), one Jimmy O'Brien, came up with this, "a fragrant, slightly silly [drink] that hits like a roll of quarters in a clutch purse." -David Wondrich

Irish Whiskey Flight $9
Because it's that time of year, right? Half-sized sample pours of three Irish whiskeys: Bushmill's Black Bush, Jameson 12yr and Paddy's.

2nd Quarter museum highlights:

Bishop's Cooler $6
Red wine, lemon and orange juices, a little sugar and a Pusser's rum float, on the rocks. From Trader Vic's 1947 bar manual.

Last Word Cocktail $7
Gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur (no relation to the syrupy cherries), and lime juice, up. An invention of vaudeville performer Frank Fogerty, "the Dublin minstrel," at Detroit's Athletic Club during prohibition. Your curator has had a very difficult time drinking anything but these as of late - an amazing blend of flavors that lights up your mouth like a pinball machine. Potent.

Mai Tai $7
Appleton and Pusser's rums, lime juice, Grand Marnier, orgeat (almond syrup with orange flower water), with crushed ice and mint & lime shell garnishes. The real thing - no pineapple, grenadine or long as you don't have too many. The most well-known of tiki drinks (and most often bastardized), it is deserving of space alongside the cocktail classics when prepared to the original 1944 recipe. "I originated the Mai Tai...anyone who says I didn't (i.e. - Don the Beachcomber) a dirty stinker!" -Trader Vic.

Morning Glory Fizz $7
Scotch, lemon and lime juices, club soda, egg white, a little sugar and a hint of absinthe, up. An 1882 Harry Johnson original, he adds this admonition to the recipe: "The above drink must be drank as soon as prepared, so as not to lose the effect of it. The author respectfully recommends the above drink as an excellent morning beverage, which will give a good appetite and quiet the nerves."

Pisco Sour $6
The national drink of Peru, although it was invented by expat American barman Victor "Gringo" Morris at his bar in Lima in the early 1920s. Pisco brandy, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white and Amargo Peruvian bitters, up.

Vowel Cocktail $6
Scotch, sweet vermouth, kümmel liqueur (flavored with caraway, fennel and cumin), orange juice and a dash of Angostura bitters, up.

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