Sunday, September 11, 2011

Exhibit #75: Roots & Herbs & Dark Fruits

Alaska Cocktail $7
Old Tom gin, yellow Chartreuse and orange bitters, up. From the Old Waldorf bar. Over time this drink has become increasingly more dry, with the original ratio of gin to Chartreuse beginning at 2:1 then sliding all the way down to 8:1. We'll plot a middle course and go 4:1, enough Chartreuse to really taste it but not so much as to be horribly sweet.

Green Park $8
Plymouth gin, Chopin rye vodka, Cointreau and grapefruit juice, up. It's not often that we use vodka on Sundays because it is by and large a recent (post WWII) phenomenon. Most old cocktail books contain no recipes whatsoever that call for it. But vodka did begin to make the rounds a bit in Europe in the 1920s, so we do begin to find vodka cocktails in Prohibition era European cocktail books, especially the Cafe Royal bar book, which calls for "Latvian Rye Vodka" in a dozen or so recipes out of several hundred. See also the Sandringham below, and look for more cocktails featuring rye vodka on our next few menus.

Kill or Cure $8
Chilled Carpano Antica vermouth poured into room temperature Fernet Branca - a highly unusual method. This preparation as well as the name would seem to hinge upon the digestif Fernet's power to settle and soothe an upset or overfilled stomach.

Ox Blood Cocktail $8
Dry gin, Heering cherry liqueur, Carpano Antica vermouth, orange bitters and a few dashes of Grand Marnier. Earthy and complex, and yes...blood red.

Sam Ward $8
Yellow Chartreuse and crushed ice inside half a lemon, which then serves as drinking vessel. Sam Ward was a member of a well to do New York family with ties to the financial markets and a history dating back to the Revolution and beyond. Although his father was a member of the Temperance Union, Sam Jr. was a fast mover, owner of horses, and such a gourmand that he was often allowed into Delmonico's kitchen to prepare his own sauces. As to the Chartreuse, here's what you need to know - produced commercially since the 1740s by Carthusian monks, the basis of the recipe comes from an alchemical manuscript for an 'elixir of long life' given to the brothers in 1605. The liqueur contains approximately 130 different herbs, flowers and secret ingredients known only to two brothers at a time, both of whom live under a vow of silence. Yellow Chartreuse, introduced in 1838, is lower in proof than its elder green sibling, and is a bit sweeter and milder as well.

Sandringham Special $8
Bulleit rye whiskey, Grand Marnier, with small amounts of rye vodka and apricot liqueur, orange bitters, up.

Vermouth Cassis $6.50
A fine cooler that makes for a swell nightcap. Dolin dry vermouth with our own house-made ratafia (creme de cassis' grandaddy) and club soda, on the rocks. Our ratafia has an armagnac base and is flavored with black currants, spices and other dark fruits.

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