As read in Imbibe! by David Wondrich, in 1860, diplomats from Japan made a few weeks stay in New York City. While there, they stayed at the Metropolitan hotel, about a block away from Jerry Thomas’ Palace bar. The likelihood of the legation stopping in was about 100%, given their penchant for cocktails, and The Professor’s renown.
Created to commemorate this occasion was the Japanese Cocktail. A tender and delicious little concoction of Orgeat, Brandy, and Bitters.
Somehow, years later in Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual (1934 edition), the recipe changed dramatically. This version adds a good dallop of shaved ice and Maraschino Liqueur, and replaces the Brandy with Eau Celeste (Himmels Wasser), which in searches shows as a sort of plant fungicide.
Seeing as I don’t appear to have a ready supply of large quantities of Copper Sulfate, Ammonia, and whatever the heck Sal Soda is to make the eau celeste, I think we’re going to have to go with the original good Professor’s recipe, adapted by David Wondrich, with some further adaptation of technique.
- 1 Tbsp Orgeat
- 1/2 tsp Bogart’s Bitters (sub Fees or homemade Boker’s)
- 2 oz of Brandy
Stir with Ice, strain into champagne saucer. Garnish with 1 or 2 twists of Lemon Peel.
It’s a delightful and creamy little bite of a drink. The large amount of Bitters adds a lot of flavor, making a sort of mulled Brandy, while the Orgeat balances out the harsher notes in the bitters and any burn in the brandy. Daniel at Teardrop Lounge made a lovely variation with Filbert Orgeat and Barsol Pisco, garnished with shredded chocolate.
I can’t recommend this drink enough. It’s easy to concoct, and extremely pleasing to just about any palate. Drink and enjoy!
They’re not often heard of beyond the Bloody Mary or Mimosa here in the west, but breakfast cocktails have been around since man first thought to mix 2 parts hair of the dog with 3 parts morning after medication (eggs, milk). I’ve been aware of milk punches for awhile, but finally was inspired by Darcy’s Brandy Milk Punch post. I’ll let you head there for the recipe.
I’m not going to say it was a complete flop, but just reinforces how much the right ingredients are necessary. For the Brandy, I used Christian Brother XS. My experience with Brandy is pretty much limited to my parents’ Hot Toddies, with the ancient bottle of Christian Brothers brought out only during the winter holiday season. Beyond Christian Brothers, I’ve had a few excellent Pear Brandies, but still haven’t found that Brandywine so lovingly discussed as the drink of heroes. Christian Brothers seems, like so many brands, to have a bit of a sharp burn just to remind you who they are, almost as though they are branding your memory via your tongue. So, I can’t really say the Brandy mixed that well. However, I will give it credit in that there was not a drop of half and half or whole milk in the house.
Milk or cream is something that just cannot be skimped upon. A bit sadly, we live in a world (well, at least I do) that has moved on from Cow’s Full milk, the kind that invades your cereal’s bright colors, and sticks to the roof of your mouth. Nowadays, in this household, it’s skim skim skim. I used Skim Royale, a whipped concoction attempting to make skim milk more like 2%, but I’m now seeing, or really, tasting, the error of my ways.
When a proper cream is used, the flavor can be so spectacular, hiding any alcohol burn from the spirits. In this case, however, the Skim Royale had met its match, and laid down to die. The nutmeg, taking up the call, decided to increase the spicy burn of the Brandy. I was a little overzealous (had to take a pretty picture!).
A failure? Partially. A misery? No. I will say this though, my morning is feeling very eXtra Smooth. As my dear friend Craig would say “How else would you stop the shaking in the morning?”
Brandy Milk Punch
2 oz Brandy
3 oz Milk
1 tsp Sugar
Shake the Brandy, milk, and sugar with ice and strain into a Double Rocks glass. Garnish with nutmeg.
A great variation I’ve seen done at Screen Door here in Portland adds a rum of Pernod and sugar to the glass, which is utterly delightful.
Drink and Enjoy!