Saturday, June 9, 2012

Exhibit #102: Standards a la Schmidt

Last week we sampled some of William Schmidt’s more elaborate creations for the bar, and this week we’ll try his take on a few standards along with a couple more from his idiosyncratic 1891 book, The Flowing Bowl: What and When to Drink.

Whiskey Cocktail $8
The first cocktail, the original cocktail: spirit, sugar, bitters, lemon peel (though it was most often compounded with brandy in the early 19th century). What does Schmidt do with it? He adds a little absinthe, naturally. While that flourish was certainly not unique in the 1890s, it was exactly such practice that led drinkers to begin requesting an “old-fashioned whiskey cocktail,” so as to avoid such practice. Served up.

Vermouth Cocktail $7
The Vermouth Cocktail was American bartenders’ first reaction to vermouth when it began to be imported not long after the Civil War. It didn’t take much longer for them to begin ramping it up with whiskey or gin, thereby creating the Manhattan, Martinez and Martini. Originally this cocktail was a simple affair consisting of red vermouth and bitters, perhaps served with a slice of lemon. But for “the Only William” this was clearly much too plain - he adds a couple dashes of maraschino liqueur and a dash of absinthe. Served up.

Manhattan Cocktail $8
The king of cocktails first appeared in the 1870s, and other than choice of bitters (orange or Boker’s then, Angostura now) and proportions, the drink hasn’t changed terribly since. Schmidt’s recipe adds a dash of absinthe and maraschino to the standard whiskey, red vermouth, and bitters template. Served up, no garnish.

& a few more Schmidt originals:

Bitter-Sweet Cocktail $7
Equal parts Carpano Antica vermouth and kummel liqueur, dashed with absinthe, simple syrup, anisette, and orange bitters, up. Very much in the appetizer realm, with size to match – it’s a bit on the diminutive side.

Jack Frost Whiskey Sour $8
Apple whiskey (a defunct liquor – we will approximate with Laird’s apple brandy and Bulleit bourbon), cream, a whole egg, lemon juice, and a little sugar, up.

Oriental Brandy Sour $8
Peach brandy (as above, we will approximate with 3 parts cognac to 1 part peach flavored brandy), lemon and orange juices, egg white, and a little sugar, up. Both of these sours again illustrate Schmidt’s unique approach – sours do not customarily contain egg white, let alone an entire egg – those that do mostly appeared overseas during Prohibition, a good 30 years later.

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