Saturday, June 2, 2012

Exhibit #101: The Flowing Bowl, and other late 19th century depravity

William Schmidt, a German-born immigrant, was THE rock star of the bar in the late 19th century. His 1891 book, The Flowing Bowl: What and When to Drink, is a contrast to many barguides of the period; it contains just a few nods to the standard repertoire, and even many of these have his stamp on them. Its baroque and filigreed recipes and ingredients have seen no equal until the present day, when people don’t think twice about having seven ingredients in a drink, with a few of them infused with barrel-aged pig parts or lavender quail sperm.

For contrast, we’re also including a few from his contemporary, George Kappeler, likewise a German immigrant tending bar in New York. His book, like many of that time, owes a large debt to Jerry Thomas, but has a unique take on some old drinks, and also contains several original drinks in more classic proportions. Among these, there is a strong voice.

Bosom Caresser $9
We’ve served this before, but that was a 1920s British variation. Milk, Camus VS cognac, a whole egg, raspberry syrup, up. Kappeler.

Brandy Rose $8
Martell VSOP cognac, dashed with Grand Marnier, parfait d’amour, maraschino liqueur, and peppermint schnapps over crushed ice. Schmidt.

La Fin du Siècle $12
Cream, orange and lemon juices sweetened with a little sugar, egg yolk, Martell VSOP cognac, Benedictine, and Luxardo maraschino, dashed with Grand Marnier, anisette, parfait d’amour, and crème de noyaux, up, topped with sweetened egg white. This drink is noted “William’s Pride” under the recipe title.

The Glorious Fourth $9
Cognac, lightly sweetened lime juice, ice cream, and a dash of Jamaica rum, up. Schmidt.

Long-Range Cocktail $8
2 parts Carpano Antica red vermouth to 1 part each absinthe and cognac, with a couple dashes of Peychaud’s bitters and sugar, up. Kappeler.

Widow’s Kiss $8
Equal parts apple brandy, Benedictine, and yellow Chartreuse, up. This is the drink for which Kappeler is best known. When dryness came to be in vogue after Repeal, many wrote him off because of this drink – to the norms of mid-century drinking, it seemed insane at best. It is indeed a sweet drink … but also visionary and very much of its time. We are following Kappeler’s instruction to shake the drink rather than stir it – after all, shouldn’t a widow’s kiss be icy cold?

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