To quote Trader Vic, “Fog Cutter, hell. After two of these, you won’t even see the stuff “. Trader Vic is credited in his Book of Food and Drink as the originator of the Tiki Classic, though in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, famed bartender Tony Ramos recalls its origins at an eponymous restaurant in Hollywood. No matter where it came from, this is a tall and tasty kick to the noggin. Vic describes it as “delicious but a triple threat. You can get pretty stinking on these, no fooling” This drink combines about four ounces of rum, brandy, and gin, with a float of sherry, and some tropical juices and flavorings.
This drink favors ice, and plenty of it. As big and tall of a vessel filled with cracked ice as you can get. Modern versions call for a higher ratio of orange to lemon juice, but the original formulation, with some nice homemade orgeat, is about as fantastic as it can get. This is a great drink, and a lesson for those of the “syrupy sweet” school of tiki drinks.
Just a note, Kaiser Penguin also has a great post on the Fog Cutter, and its many variations. This drink has been through a few remixes in its time, and is currently on most Trader Vic’s menu, and a few other classic menus, as the Somoan Fog Cutter. The difference is anyone’s guess, but it still packs a potent punch, no matter how you name it.
The Fog Cutter is another entry on the special menu on Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop, Feb 19th.
Another Mixology Monday has come upon us, this them: Brandy, and this host: Marleigh at Sloshed!
Now, besides its use as a sub-ingredient, or a breakfast or holiday tradition, I have to admit my knowledge on Brandy goes about as far as, well, not nearly as far as the Dominik’s MxMo contribution. But I do like a snifter of the stuff every once in a while, and with Clear Creek Distillery being local, my eyes are opening to the joy that is eau-de-vie.
I went searching for a recipe to highlight for this MxMo, but sadly all my Tiki books were, well, pretty dry. Other than matching it evenly with rum, or being one ounce in a 7 ounce drink, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of the stuff in the tropical cocktails world. So, I checked the Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic, in the Brandy Cocktails section. There are plenty of interesting drinks here (this post was almost about the Bosom Caresser), but nothing that hasn’t been covered elsewhere, so, I looked to the The Savoy Cocktail Book for the final verdict, and wound up chosing that lesser of the two siblings, the Corpse Reviver #1.
Corpse Reviver #1 (“To be taken before 11am, or whenever steam and energy are needed”)
- 1/2 Brandy
- 1/4 Calvados
- 1/4 Italian Vermouth
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.
The Trader Vic’s version suggest Cognac, but Cognac stock here has been getting low, so I went with my typical (and well stocked) Christian Brothers VS. The Calvados was Boulard Pays d™Auge, and the Italian Vermouth, Punt-E-Mes, because it just seems that nothing can go wrong with a bit of Punt-E-Mes.
It’s a lovely little cocktail, and I must say, its use as an invigorator is not without merit. I must say the looming workday is becoming much less so with every sip. There’s almost no harshness in it, despite its alcohol content, with the Calvados adding a bit of juiciness to it (and your daily apple), and some spicy and deep rich notes off of the Punt-E-Mes. I also added a schvitz of Grapefruit oil to the top, as I am wont to do. It tends to brighten up the flavors, particularly in a juiceless cocktail.
I can see why it fell behind in the race with the Corpse Reviver #2, but it certainly holds its own as a damned decent drink.
The winter rains continue, the ground around my house is saturated, and again, my bar, ReynolÃ©s Galley, is pretending it is a wet bar. Yes, the ship is leaking, and the floor is soaked, but at least it hasn’t sank. So, more work is ahead for me, and the walls must be temporarily torn down so that I can dry-lok the room, thank you 1940′s masonry.
So, upset at the ponderous bulk of work ahead, I decided to make myself a cocktail. Though please note, this decision also often occurs during times of thirst, boredom, joy, pain, misery, delight, celebration, and generally whenever I’m awake.
I was recently putting together a menu of Classic Cocktails for the Galley, seeing as there was more mopping than mixing to be done. I put a few favorites on there, the Last Word, Corpse Reviver #2, Sazerac (made the way it damn well should be!), but needed something different. So, taking a peek in the The Savoy Cocktail Book, I found something that looked ever so right up my alley, Sir Walter Cocktail.
Sir Walter Cocktail (Commonly known as “Swalter” ), from the Savoy Cocktail Book.
- 1 tsp Grenadine
- 1 tsp CuraÃ§ao
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1/3 Brandy
- 1/3 Rum
Shake and strain into cocktail glass
It’s a lovely cocktail, more towards the sweet end of the spectrum, with the Rum and Brandy mixing together as fantastically, with a touch of bitter and sweet from the CuraÃ§ao and Grenadine. I’m using Meyer Lemon Juice right now, since, ’tis the season, and it makes for an outstanding drink. It’s quite a different flavor from typical lemons, with a lot less of the citric kick, and a lot mellower and sweeter flavor. Cruzan Amber seems to sit with the Brandy and other flavors very, very well, though I’d imagine Pisco and White Rum would be a nice variation. The 1/3 refers to 1/3rd of the drink, or half an ounce in this case. My recommendation is to make it a double, it’s can be a dinky cocktail, even at twice the size. Oh, and I added some flourish with a Grapefruit peel spiral, after expressing the oil. It works quite well with the rest of it.
I wasn’t able to find any more information on this drink other than the hundreds of recipes on the internet, and on cocktaildb. However, looking through a few of my tomes of knowledge, I found two versions in the 1948 reprint of the Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic. Oddly enough, the two versions aren’t marked 1 and 2, but are instead referred to in separate sections of the book. I wonder if anyone ever pointed out to him he’s got two recipes for the same drink… if you’ve got the ’76 version, let me know if it’s still in there!
Sir Walter Cocktail (Brandy Cocktails section, p. 86), Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic.
- 3/4 oz. Brandy
- 3/4 oz. Bacardi
- 1 tsp Grenadine
- 1 tsp CuraÃ§ao
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
Shake with cracked ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass
The proportions are a bit different here from the Savoy version, and it specifically calls on Bacardi. I can’t say using dark rum was bad though, because it tasted so good.
Sir Walter Cocktail (Rum Cocktails section, p.234), Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic.
- 1/2 oz. Rum
- 1/2 oz. Cognac
- 1 tsp Grenadine
- 1 tsp CuraÃ§ao
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
Shake with cracked ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass
This is more like the Savoy, with the 1/3 measurement being traded for 1/2 oz. It sure can drive me mad when a drink is setup only as parts, with no suggestion as to where to start. The parts notation can be nice for punches, but I like to know whether something started as a cocktail, a pitcher drink, a punch, or a bathtub.
I think this little number is ready to be rediscovered and printed a few cocktail menus out there. I know it’s on at least one… mine!
The midnight darkness stays through morning as autumn has descended upon our fair city, yet still the cry is heard in and just outside of every ham ‘n eggs shop from Albina to Burnside. BREAKFAST!!!
If there’s one thing that is truly a Portland, OR mainstay, it’s breakfast. Most recently some adventurous friends and I hit up Screen Door, a lovely little stop with the best southern-style breakfast I’ve ever had. Well, other than 4am visits to the Waffle House, but those were good in a whole different kind of way.
The best part about it though was the morning cocktail menu, and a damn fine one at that. For our party of four, two Ramos Gin Fizz were ordered, and for myself, a Burnside Brandy Milk Punch. The difference between this Brandy Milk Punch and the recipe I’d made in an my Brandy Milk Punch post was a nice dash of Pernod on the bottom, which worked very nice with the brandy. As Samuel Johnson said, “Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.“
The bartender and I had a nice chat about the Ramos, as they used whole milk, orange juice, and only shook it for a few seconds, but still it was damn tasty. After the Brandy Milk Punch, I tried to get the Bartender to recreate the Applejack Old-Fashioned I’ve become so fond of, but there was no Applejack or Whiskey Aged bitters in the house. So, from what we had, somewhere between the Applejack OF and the Tombstone (well, really a Proper Old Fashioned with Maple Syrup), comes the NW Old-Fashioned.
- 2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
- 1 small orange slice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Muddle the orange slice at the bottom of the glass, add ice, build the drink and stir. Garnish with orange slice, serve with slice at 2pm*
Just an old-fashioned with Maple Syrup, but man what a flavor. The maple syrup and bourbon make an almost too sweet hit on the palate, but the orange oil and bitters kick in to smooth out the mixture into some sort of wonderful Sunday morning perfection in a double-rocks glass.
*2pm as if the customer were facing a clock. A little trick learned from M&S Grill, a chain with a damn decent bar menu.
This past weekend was Rogue‘s Great American Distillers Festival. There were over 40 local distillers on site, sampling their wares. A lot of the distillers were part of the Oregon Distiller’s Guild, a guild supporting and promoting local Oregon distillers. There was also a mixology competition put on by Imbibe Magazine. Bartenders from a few of the finer restaurants and lounges were there competing for a cash prize, trophy, and a subscription to Imbibe magazine. The mixology competition was separated into several liquor categories. Unfortunately, I was only able to stay for the first day, but, most importantly, I was there for the Rum competition.
My initial impression was enthusiastic. The event ranged over 4 stories of the Gerding Theater (an old National Guard Armory from 1891). The ground and top floor had the distillers, and the bottom most floor contained the mixology competition. I was really impressed when the first thing on the menu was the Aviation, followed by Satan’s Whiskers, La Floridita, and other classic favorites.
There was a great mixture of various liquors available. Most notably were the number of vodka options, but there was a surprising (and surprisingly good) number of Gins available. I was able to sample about half of the variety that was there, and I wrote down a few quick notes to share.
- Prichard’s Fine Rum: non fragrant but needs to sit for a small time to open up. Hints of butterscotch, oak, caramel and vanilla. Made in Tennessee, and tasted like it. A lot of strong Bourbon notes. This was the only rum used in the Mixology competition. It mixed well with other strong flavors.
- Rogue Dark Rum: A lot of strong hazelnut flavor in this, which is probably why they now make a hazelnut spiced rum.
- Triple Eight Hurricane Rum: Pear and vanilla front taste, slightly bourbon middle with a light vanilla scent.
- Cockspur 12 year old: The classic, from Barbados, and so much of what a rum should be. Sweet, savory, slightly smoky, just fantastic stuff.
Other news is that House Spirits will be offering up a Rum next year, and given their talent with their Aviation Gin, I look forward to it.
- Philadelphia Distilling Bluecoat Gin: The Sweetest Dry gin I’ve ever tried, with a lot of berry to it. Very tasty, very sweet.
- House Spirits Aviation Gin: Notes of citrus, spice, and strong juniper. I need a bottle of this.
- BenDistillery Desert Juniper: Lightly alcoholic (very low proof), with a nice juniper flavor.
- Rogue Spruce Gin: Another conifer-based liquor, the spruce tips mixed very well with the Gin, giving a lot of sharp bold notes and spiciness to it.
I really, really need to get a few more bottles of Gin around the house. Ever since my first experiments with Tanqueray as a teenager, this is a liquor I truly love and need to know more about.
- Clear Creek Distillery Douglas Fir Eau de Vie: Like drinking a Tree. I can understand why the distiller doesn’t want this being mixed with (and at its pricepoint, I understand from my own perspective). It’s a wonderful and surprising flavor that I could see pairing amazingly wel with Pimento Liqueur.
- House Spirits Krogstad: Fairly light caraway flavor, would mix really well in a drink that called for Aquavit.
The Mixology competition, hosted by Imbibe magazine, featured a number of talented and experienced bartenders from the Portland. The restaurants represented included SauceBox, Teardrop Lounge, and a few other local imbiberies. Rules involved 15 minutes to mix 4 drinks, and a liquor from one of the distillers at the event had to be used as the base liquor. The concoctions brought for the event were a pretty strong mix of the classic and the nouveau movement. David from Teardrop, who I had the pleasure to mix words with over the inclusion of Falernum in their Mai Tai, even represented Teardrop with a Gin and Tonic. The Gin was Aviation, and the Tonic a homemade blend made specifically to pair with the Aviation. Having had a sample of both, I must say they would indeed blend well, with lots of spice and citrus notes. I will definitely be dropping by Teardrop in the near future. There is a passion to the drink there, and that is definitely after my own heart.
There were quite a few drinks using Rosemary. Something I would never think to use, and something I don’t see looking for in the flavor profile of a drink, but on trying the “Portland Streetcar”, I found the mix of Rosemary and Lemon Verbena really interesting and complex, almost like Chartreuse in character. I could really see using these savory herb in a nice bitters.
Sadly, no Tiki bars were represented. The two in town being Thatch and The Alibi. Thatch is still up and coming, and needs a few original drinks, but the Alibi has given way to the Rum and Coke wants of a Karaoke bar. Sad but true about the old Tiki haunts of times past, but it never was famous for its original drinks, as far as I know. Maybe someday I’ll step behind the bar, but meanwhile I’m pretty happy down in the Galley.
The GADF was a very nice event, where I got to meet a number of fantastic people, the owner of my favorite liquor store, the fine people at Imbibe, and a few more of the local bartenders and mixologists. I very much look forward to next years event.
Update, more writeups on the event. Thanks to Phil from Lamb Martini.