Sunday, May 15, 2011

Exhibit #63: The Amateurs

Historically, the great majority of cocktails have been created by bartenders, or at the least they were midwives at their birth. What happens when non-professionals create drinks? Certainly these are among the better examples from the genre, but they do have certain unorthodoxies in common. The tell is one or more of the following – a tendency for a large number of ingredients, odd measures, non-standard technique (e.g.-shaking drinks that would normally be stirred), and combining equal parts of three or more strongly-flavored spirits. But just as in the sciences and other fields, the amateur often perceives what may be obscured by professional training.

The Alamagoozlum Cocktail $16
A creation of financier J. Pierpont Morgan, and mixed at titan’s scale with 6 ounces of liquor – so this one will serve 3 to 5 people. Or just one or two, and we’ll keep the rest of the drink cold for you while you imbibe your first round. Genever gin (grain-based and aged), water, Jamaican rum, green Chartreuse, simple syrup, orange curacao, a good amount of Angostura bitters and egg white, up. The Alamagoozlum defies standards not only with its long ingredient list and oversized proportions, but also adds water (this job is usually left to the ice in the shaker), and a measurable amount of Angostura (as opposed to the more customary dash or two). Never in a million years would any bartender come up with this cocktail.

The Last Word $8
Sometimes an amateur nails it and a drink becomes more than a footnote. This one is so tasty we’ve offered it several times, and will undoubtedly do so again: dry gin, Luxardo maraschino, green Chartreuse and lime juice, up. An invention of vaudeville performer Frank Fogerty (“the Dublin minstrel”) at Detroit’s Athletic Club during Prohibition.

The Leatherneck $7
A tribute to the Marines in booze form, created by former soldier and later New York World Telegram columnist Frank Farrell in the late 1940s. Blended whiskey, blue curacao, and lime juice, up.

Pale Deacon $10
Here we have the amateur’s penchant for not getting up to refill the glass – a full 3 ounces of hooch are called for here. A cooler by design, but without any soda water – instead, more booze and more juice! Dry gin, fresh grapefruit juice and a little sugar, well-shaken and on the rocks. Created by Jack F. Zimmerman of Akron, Ohio in 1936 and published by Esquire magazine.
Rosy Deacon $11
As above, but with half the gin replaced by sloe gin.

South Camp Road Cocktail $9
Dry gin and vermouth, lime juice, Grand Marnier, absinthe, simple syrup, grenadine, Angostura and orange bitters, and egg white, up. This one comes from a British Army retiree known only as “Wilson,” who lived near Kingston, Jamaica in the 1930s and spent his free time creating drinks. He kept his recipes close to the vest, but did let this one fly to a barman at the South Camp Road Hostelry, who in turn passed it on to a friend of Charles H. Baker, Jr., who printed it in his Gentleman’s Companion: Around the World with Jigger, Beaker, and Flask, the most readable and entertaining cocktail book ever put to print.

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