Saturday, January 15, 2011

Exhibit #49: All About the Daisy

Friends of the Royale may already be familiar with the Daisy from our regular cocktail menu, but tonight we'll be presenting them in their original incarnations - and there are several. The Daisy first appears in the mid 19th century and was essentially a variation on the Sour; as such, it tends to fall on the pucker side of the sweet/sour line. It was a very popular drink for a couple decades before dying off, then roaring back to life in the early 20th century in a somewhat different formulation, along with a smaller revival of the original version. Despite its name and the pinkish hue of the later incarnation, it was considered a particularly manly drink.

In its original guise, the defining secondary ingredients were lemon juice and orange curacao. This is notable because if one were to apply the formula in Mexico, employing native tequila for the spirit and subbing the more easily acquired lime for lemon, you’d have a Margarita… which also happens to be the Spanish word for 'daisy.'

Ur-bartender Jerry Thomas often substituted other cordials for the curaƧao depending on the chief spirit - orgeat for whiskey and gin (the old genever style, not available here), and maraschino for rum. Because he published the very first bar manual in 1862, most others followed his lead.

19th Century Brandy Daisy $7
Cognac (Camus VS), lemon juice, Grand Marnier accent, a little sugar, a dash or two of Jamaican rum, and club soda, up. Whether early in the game or late, the Brandy Daisy has always been the most popular incarnation of this drink.

19th Century Rum Daisy $7
Rum (Mt. Gay Eclipse), lemon juice, Luxardo maraschino, a little sugar and soda water, up.

19th Century Whiskey Daisy $7
Your choice of bourbon or rye whiskey, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, a little sugar and soda water, up.

Old Waldorf Rum Daisy $9
One of the most common variations on the original Daisy was to substitute yellow Chartreuse for the orange cordial – sometimes as a float, giving the drink a vaguely yellow center like the flower. At the old Waldorf bar, a particularly potent variation was a specialty of the house: pungent old school Jamaican rum (Smith & Cross), yellow Chartreuse, lime juice, a little sugar, up, with mint garnish. Evokes a boozy butterscotch vibe - unusual at first, but it doesn't take long to settle in and enjoy.

New School Brandy, Gin, Rum or Whiskey Daisy $7
As prepared during the Daisy revival of the 1910s. Essentially the formula we use for our regular daisies, but with a couple small differences. Tonight we'll use the 2oz pour of that era, and serve over crushed ice, and trick it out with plenty of fruit as it was originally done. Spirit, lime and lemon juices, grenadine, sugar, club soda, crushed ice, fruits.

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