Saturday, December 18, 2010
Exhibit #48: Christmas Bishop + 2010 Faves
Christmas Bowl of Bishop $6
A traditional 18th century holiday punch. Red wine and Graham’s 6 Grapes Porto mulled with cloven roasted oranges & their juice, spices, water and sugar. Served hot.
"I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon over a bowl of Smoking Bishop, Bob!” So says Scrooge after his transformation, and in his offer of a bowl of punch, the change is revealed as a fundamental one. In the 19th century British mind, generosity was often measured in bowls of punch, the drink itself being communal by nature. Last year we made the Bishop in the Oxford style, with roasted lemons instead of Seville oranges, so this year we’ll have it as Dickens and most Londoners drank it. They also liked to set it on fire - there's that "smoking" part - but I suspect today's port is not quite as vigorous as yesteryear because it doesn't light very easily, if at all. As to the "Bishop" - it was custom to associate different varieties of wine with clerical names, often corresponding to colors worn by the clergy in the Anglican church: Pope for burgundy, Cardinal for champagne, Archbishop for claret, and Bishop for port.
YEAR IN REVIEW 1.1
Donga Punch $6.50
Barbancourt 8yr pure cane rum, grapefruit and lime juices, cinnamon syrup, crushed ice. One of tiki master Donn Beach’s less well-known creations. Not a booze bomb like many of his drinks, but still bewitching.
Lavender Lady $7
Beefeater gin, Busnel Calvados, Cointreau, crème de violette, and lemon juice, up. This lady is actually more gray than lavender in appearance, and may evoke memories of going through your grandma's old things. On the sweet side, but also complex and enchanting. From the eternally rewarding Café Royal archives.
Singapore Sling $8
Beefeater gin, Cherry Heering liqueur, lime juice, Benedictine, Remy VS cognac, club soda and Angostura bitters, on the rocks. The earliest recipes are identical to the Straits Sling, but with cherry liqueur stepping in for the kirsch - a misunderstanding. Although the Raffles Hotel of Singapore has long held that they invented the drink, when pressed recently for evidence by tiki archeologist Jeff Berry, they admitted they had no idea what the original recipe was. Tonight's recipe dates from the 1950s, as printed in a Gourmet magazine correction sent in by a Singapore resident.
Vowel Cocktail $7
Scotch, sweet vermouth, kümmel, orange juice, and Angostura bitters, up. Here's a rare one, courtesy of globe-trotting barman Harry McElhone's 1927 drink manual Barflies and Cocktails.