April 21, 2017
I would never ask the question (being happily married with the bestest wife in the whole wide world – the universe, even) from which this drink takes its name. But Crosby Gaige sure would. Not sure why, and sadly I can’t ask him, as he’s currently tippling (with his wife, perhaps, for all I know, or husband, or alien companion, if we’re getting universal. I’m sure no species-ist) in that great big bar in the afterlife. See, this comes from his book (a jolly one, by the way, if you ever see a copy) from way back in 1941, Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion. This particular drink is from “The Department of the Charentes or Brandy Department” chapter, and I was looking for a brandy a drink the other day, and realized, hey, I’d never tried this, and so even though I know many good answers to the drink’s name, I made it anyway. And it’s an interesting mix, because really (oh that joker Crosby), it’s a gin drink, with brandy (and Cointreau, and lemon juice) playing smaller parts. It might have just a stitch too much lemon juice for most modern palates, but I found it refreshing, and like the way the brandy sidekick’d to the gin, with that Cointreau underneath really, and the lemon bright up top. No matter what your views on material status, give it a whirl.
1-1/2 ounces gin (dryer the better)
1/2 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Shake well (yes! I know this all goes against traditional ice/shake/stir/mumbo/jumbo. But this is how Crosby did it, and it worked for me, too).
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Drink up. Then walk down that aisle!
February 5, 2016
I was browsing through Crosby Gaige’s Standard Cocktail Guide (which is a smallish book, much smaller that his Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion, which I love mostest), the 4th printing from 1944, and came across a cocktail called the Boomerang. I’d seen this version before (that’s a name that has probably been used for at 67 different drinks), but it’d been a bit, and fit the What I’m Drinking bill perfectly, because the base is rye, and I had a new rye I wanted to try in a cocktail.
What rye? I can hear you asking, and I’m glad you asked. It was Spirit Works Rye, from Sonoma CA (it came in the mail, I’ll admit). Spirit Works is a “grain-to-glass” distillery, which means that grain is milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, and bottled all on site. That’s neat! The rye is a small-batch number, aged for a minimum of two years in 53-gallon, charred, new American Oak barrels. It’s a rich rye, with nice woodsy-and-baked aromas, and a little spice (nutmeg and hints of clove) on the taste mingling with vanilla and more. Very approachable and mixable.
However! This drink also has a decent helping of Swedish Punsch and Sweet Vermouth. For the latter, I wanted something special, that would deliver its own full range of flavors. Luckily, our pal Michael N had recently given us a bottle of the Martini Gran Lusso Italian vermouth, 150th anniversary edition. Now that’s a gift! It’s based on a blend of Barbera and oak-aged Moscato, with a whole host of secret botanicals. The taste is memorable, with layers of flavors, sweet on the front with just the right amount of bitter on the back end. Delicious on its own, it’s swell in drinks too. And great here with the rye and other players. Crosby would be proud.
1 ounce Spirit Works rye
3/4 ounce Martini Gran Lusso Italian vermouth
3/4 ounce Kronan Swedish Punsch
1/8 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything. Shake well.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Drink, then drink again.
October 18, 2013
So, the other night I was reclining in the big comfy chair, trying to decide what to have for my evening libation while paging through a pocket-sized book called The Standard Cocktail Guide: A Manual of Mixed Drinks Written for the American Host by Crosby Gaige, published in 1944. It’s a handy little book, if not as exuberantly fun at Mr. Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion. But well worth picking up if you ever see it. I knew, before deciding on a drink, a couple facts. One: I wanted to make a drink using iced crushed in my new McSology Lewis bag (a dandy Lewis bag made here in Seattle out of 100% cotton canvas, and available for $48 for the professional-sized model and $26 for the home-bartender version, if after reading this you want one). Two: I wanted to make a drink I didn’t know. Three: I wanted to make a drink out of this book. Four: I wanted to use the last bit of mint from the mint plant out back. I ended up with the Santa Cruz Daisy, though admittedly I modified it perhaps nearly out of Daisy-dom, cause I went with a mint instead of fruit topping, and I used crushed and not shaved ice. But it was still massively delicious.
The Santa Cruz Daisy (Sort Of)
2 ounces white rum
1/4 ounce maraschino
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Fresh mint sprigs
Splash of soda water
1. Add the rum, maraschino, simple syrup to a mixing glass and stir well.
2. Crush a bunch of ice in your Lewis bag and revel in the crushing.
3. Fill a goblet or other swell glass with ice, and strain the mix gently over it, topping with more ice as needed.
4. Add a splash of soda and garnish with mint sprigs.
July 19, 2013
One of my favorite old-timey books of cocktails and drinks is called Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion. It’s by Crosby Gaige (hah!), who was a bon vivant about town in the early-to-mid part of last century. The book is a gas, as well as having bunches of good recipes. Recently, I tapped into it when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to imbibe, and found a fine recipe called Ants in the Pants, in The Old Gin Mill section – which makes sense, cause I wanted some gin. There was one wrinkle, however. The recipe called for Grand Marnier, which I was somehow out of (quick, Grand Marnier people, send me a bottle. Oops, too slow). Which led to me subbing in Pierre Ferrand orange curaçao, which yeah, I know is different, but it’s so so so good. And you know what? The drink ended up delicious, and I think Mr. Gaige himself would have approved. Oh, the change did make me alter the title, as you can see if you can read, and why would you be here if you couldn’t? Because where I come from, drinks have individual names, like people. And individual gins, which here should be Alpinist Gin, from the Seattle Distilling Company, if you can find it. It’s got the juniper hopping, but also has some other herbally and botanical goodness that adds a lot to the drink.
Pants in the Pants
2 ounces Alpinist Gin
1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand orange curaçao
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth (I used Cocchi Torino, and suggest it)
1 dash fresh lemon juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add it all why dontcha.
2. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass.
February 25, 2009
I was looking through my library (which isn’t like the booze Library of Alexandria or something, but which is an agreeable little stack of books about drinks, drinking, and more drinking) the other night for recipes for the Betsy Ross, because my pal Andrew had asked about it (for his new bar, which I talked about below. Really, this is turning into the Andrew Bohrer admiration society). Anywho, the flag-making patriot-in-liquid form as far as I found goes back to 1941 (and by the way, history buffs, I’m not saying I made a complete search of every known record and microfilm and microfiche, but just that I looked through the books in the above mentioned library), to a recipe in one of my favorites, the jolly Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion. Which was published in 1941, as you might have surmised. Now, this is a winding road way of getting here, but while tracking down the info, I re-noticed another drink, across the page from Betsy Ross, a drink with the enticing and intriguing name, “Mrs. Solomon Wears Slacks.” Which is one of the top twenty-five drink names. Or, at least, that’s what I’m saying today. In honor of Mr. Gaige’s (or whomever’s) naming prowess, I made the mix, a brandy-based affair, and it was pretty swell. I even sugared the Champagne flute’s rim, as suggested, getting sweetly jiggy with it. I mussed around with the Slacks some (gawd, that’s fun to say), but the basic ingredients stayed the same (I went a snitch higher on curaçao and bitters, and brandy for that matter). I suggest serving it up at those affairs where slacks are worn, or anytime you want to be a bit daring (which slacks were in 1941. And that’s how I’m wearing it).
2 ounces brandy
1/2 ounce orange curaçao
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1. Put a good helping of sugar (but not a mound or anything) on a saucer. Wet the outside rim of a Champagne flute (I used a lemon slice, but you could also rotate it through water on a saucer–just don’t get any water in the glass). Carefully rotate the outside rim of the glass through the sugar–but you don’t want to get any sugar on the inside. No, no, not a grain. So, be careful.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the brandy, curaçao, and bitters. Stir well.
3. Strain the mix into the flute. Garnish with the lemon twist (making sure now, that you get that swoosh of lemon oils from the twist into the drink and not into the atmosphere at large). Now, dance!