Friday, August 3, 2012

Guest Exhibit #3: Ladies, and Gentleman

This week, John presents a delectable selection of drinks culled mostly from aesthete Charles H. Baker, Jr. and his remarkable 1939 booze travelogue, The Gentleman’s Companion: Around the World with Jigger, Beaker, and Flask.

Aunt Emily $9
From Sloppy Joe's in Havana "years before his spot got to be a sort of half way house for every itinerant American on the island," according to Baker. Equal parts calvados (French apple brandy), dry gin, apricot liqueur, fresh orange juice, and a dash of grenadine - served up and shaken hard.

Gaby des Lys $7
Gaby Deslys (a nom de plume) was one of the most popular singers and dancers to grace the stages of Paris and New York in the last days before the advent of film. She was known for her affair with the king of Portugal, and for attempting to have a critic horsewhipped for a bad review, and died because she wouldn't let doctors operate on a throat infection, lest it mar her appearance. "Gaby the lovely, Gaby the delightfully mad, Gaby the free soul-- who died too young and gave a fortune in pearls to the Paris poor! Gaby is gone," Baker writes, "but her memory marches on, and this cocktail in her honor." Three parts dry gin to one part orgeat syrup with a teaspoon of absinthe, ice-cold. Chilly and deceptively sweet.

Cora Middleton $9
A late 19th century Old Waldorf creation that rests in an awkward place between cocktail families. Listed rather parenthetically as "Clover Club made with Jamaica rum", we're serving it with Appleton Estate’s Reserve 8 yr old, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and egg white, up.

Jimmie Roosevelt $10
This one is a modest creation by Baker himself, made at his home while entertaining Colonel Jimmie Roosevelt of the Civil Aeronautics Commission, whom, he says "no citizen-- Republican, Democrat, Socialist, Townsendite, or any other political breed, can meet ... and not at once be taken his smile, his sense of humour and affable charm." Judging by the quality and quantity of this drink's payload, it is obvious that Mr. Roosevelt was quite a welcome guest, indeed. This recipe is reduced from Baker's by half: one jigger of Martell VSOP cognac, served with sugar and Angostura over crushed ice, topped with champagne and a float of green Chartreuse. "No pineapple, no mint sprig, no cherry garnish. It is cooling, refreshing, invigorating, a delight to the eye and palate."

Mi Amante $12
Continuing the ice cream streak that's Robert's gotten us all into: my beloved is simply a couple ounces of "the best gin possible," in our case Old Raj, mixed with four times its measure in coffee ice cream. We've tested this oddity and agree with Baker's admonition: "We tried this during a recent local heat wave with results entirely at odds with the first reaction to its written formula." Delicious.

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