Repeal Day Cocktail: The William

William Schmidt
“What is the best recipe for a whiskey sour?”

“The finest,” said William [Schmidt], “is what is known as ‘The William.’ Take the juice of half a lemon, juice of a quarter orange, a dash of pineapple syrup and a barspoonful of sugar. Don’t put any seltzer in, for that would spoil it, but add an ordinary drink of whiskey. Then fill the glass with shaved ice and shake it well; serve in a fancy glass, and there you have a drink fit for a king.”

-The Evening World. (New York, NY), 15 Nov. 1889.

In honour of Repeal Day I’m forgoing the Playboy Host & Bar Book and attempting to re-create a pre-prohibition cocktail invented by “The Only William”, William Schmidt, of ‘the bar by the bridge’. Schmidt was a prolific inventor of cocktails, designing hundreds of the course of his career. He was quite creative in naming them, as well, so he must have thought highly of this one to have named it ‘The William’. Strangely, despite bestowing this honour on it, this drink didn’t show up in his 1891 book ‘The Flowing Bowl'; it doesn’t appear in any other publications, paper or online, that I can find either.

The William
2 oz whiskey (Bulleit Bourbon)
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz orange juice
Dash of pineapple syrup* (about 10 mL seems right)
Barspoon of superfine sugar (I ground table sugar up with a mortar and pestle)
Shake well with ice; strain.

At first I tried it with Alberta Premium Rye Whisky, and it was just okay. Then I tried it again with Bulleit Bourbon and it was excellent. The hint of sour from the pineapple worked well with the lemon to give this enough bite to counter the sweetness of the orange and sugar, and the caramel and vanilla notes of the bourbon really shine through.  This one I will make again.

* Pineapple syrup – equal parts sugar and pineapple juice, heat just enough to dissolve the sugar.

Carrillo’s Honeymoon

I just made up a fresh batch of falernum yesterday and was looking for something to make with it. At first I was thinking about making a Frosty Dawn, but then I noticed that I’d been left with a bottle of brandy after our last party so decided to try a different drink from the same creator.

Honeymoon

Honeymoon Cocktail
1 ounce brandy
1 ounce orange juice
¼ ounce Cointreau
¼ ounce Falernum
Shake over shaved ice and serve

It’s quite a good drink, though I think I prefer the Frosty Dawn by a little bit. It is a bit on the sweet side, and might be improved by replacing some of the orange juice with lemon.

This cocktail was created by Albert Carrillo in 1959 for the United Kingdom Bartender’s Guild competition in Los Angeles, where it won first prize and got Carrillo a trip to Copenhagen for the International Bartender’s Guild competition [source].

The similarities to his earlier drink, the Frosty Dawn, are obvious – nearly identical proportions, with orange juice and falernum as ingredients. This gives a fairly flexible formula for creating new drinks (four parts each spirit and OJ, and 1 part each liqueur and falernum), which I plan to play with a bit to see if anything sticks – I’ve got a promising lead already with gin and Ginger of the Indies liqueur.

Art of the Cocktail 2013 – El Humo Grande

Wow, it’s been a while. To do a bit of catching up, about a month ago it was Art of the Cocktail here in Victoria. I went to a couple excellent workshops (“Cocktail Archaeology” with David Wondrich, and “Culinary Techniques” with Jeffrey Morgenthaler), had a bunch of delicious drink and food at the Grand Tasting, and, most relevant to this blog, entered the Best Home Bartender competition.

This was my 2nd year entering, and I’m pretty pleased with how things went. I was much more relaxed than last year – still nervous, but I felt reasonably confident in my performance. I think that came from a combination of being quite sure I had a delicious drink, and doing a lot of rehearsing. It also helped that there were a lot of familiar faces both in the audience and behind the bar (all the other competitors were friends – we’d all brainstormed, created, and tinkered with our entries as a group).

My drink came in a very close 2nd place. One place I lost points was that my drink was a little too diluted. When I make it at home it’s with ice right from the freezer, but the ice at the competition had been sitting out and was therefore pretty wet, and I didn’t think to factor that into my planning. Something to keep in mind for next year.

Anyway, the drink I entered, El Humo Grande, is a variation on a drink I’ve posted on here before – the Margarita de Ajonjoli.

El Humo Grande
35ml reposado tequila
20ml sesame-seed syrup
15ml lime juice
Small piece of chipotle pepper
Shake well with ice. Double strain over ice in a Margarita glass. Garnish with a wheel of lime.

AotC2013
Photo Credit: Michael Beach

Pear Rickey

Pear Rickey

Pear Rickey
1½ ozs. dry pear brandy (birnebrande)
¼ large lime
Iced club soda
2 wedge slices fresh ripe pear
Put three ice cubes into 8-oz. glass. Add pear brandy. Squeeze lime above drink and drop into glass. Add soda. Stir. Fasten the pear slices to a cocktail spear and place across rim of glass. Munch pear piecemeal while you drink.

For this recipe I used Okanagan Spirits Poire Williams Pear Brandy, which I picked up on a recent tour of their Vernon distillery.

This is a very refreshing summer drink, light and dry and aromatic. The delightful pear flavour of the Poire Williams shines through, but is also nicely balanced by the lime. This is one I will definitely make again.

The Rickey dates back to the late 19th century, but the PH&BB is the earliest reference I’ve found so far to the pear variety. It shows up a few places online, occasionally calling specifically for ½ oz. lime juice, and sometimes including a bit of simple syrup.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.

Mixology Monday LXXIV: San Juan Sling

mxmologo

For my second attempt at Mixology Monday, I decided to stick with the theme of this blog and pull something from Playboy’s Host & Bar Book. Andrea at Gin Hound selected cherries as this month’s MxMo theme, so between maraschino, kirsch, and cherry brandy I had a lot of options, but eventually settled on the San Juan Sling. I’d recently done up a pitcher of Singapore Slings for a party, and I think that may have influenced my choice a bit.

San Juan Sling

San Juan Sling
3/4 oz. light rum
3/4 oz. cherry liqueur
3/4 oz. Benedictine
1/2 oz. lime juice
Iced club soda
Lime peel
Shake rum, cherry liqueur, Benedictine and lime juice well with ice. Strain into tall 14-oz. glass half-filled with ice. Add soda. Twist lime peel above drink and drop into glass.

For this recipe I used Bacardi silver and  Bol’s Cherry Brandy.

This ended up being a really nice drink. The Benedictine is the dominant flavour, but it doesn’t take over at all. Rum and cherry make up the finish, and the lime mostly just keeps the sweetness in check. Next party I may do a pitcher of these instead of the Singapore.

I can’t find much on the history of this one. It doesn’t show up in any of my books, and the few recipes I can find online are identical to the Playboy version. There are mentions of a variation that adds Angostura, but no recipes.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.

Here’s the roundup of MxMo LXXIV posts: Part 1, Part 2

Sesame Syrup 2.0

I made a new batch of sesame-seed syrup last night using a much simpler method (no blender and simpler straining).

Sesame-Seed Syrup
2 cups raw sesame seeds
2 cups water
1 cup (approx.) sugar

  1. Spread the sesame seeds on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes at 350° F, mixing occasionally, until lightly toasted.
  2. Mix the seeds and water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain through a fine mesh strainer (no cheesecloth needed!). This should yield about a cup of liquid. Mix the liquid, while still warm, with an equal amount of sugar and stir to dissolve. Bottle and keep refrigerated.

For my favourite recipe using this syrup, see the Margarita de Ajonjolí.

Mint Julep

I finally had a chance to get over to Vancouver and stop in at The Modern Bartender a couple days ago. One of the things I picked up was a stainless steel julep cup, so I decided to make myself a mint julep.

Mint Julep
Mint Julep
12 mint leaves on stem
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons water
2½ ozs. 86- or 100-proof bourbon
6 mint leaves on stem
Tear the 12 mint leaves partially while leaving them on stem. Place in tall 12-oz. glass or silver julep mug with sugar and water. Muddle or stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Fill glass with finely cracked ice. Add bourbon. Stir. Ice will dissolve partially. Add more ice to fill glass to rim, again stirring. Tear the 6 mint leaves partially to release aroma and insert into ice with leaves on top. Serve with or without straw.

For this recipe I used Jim Beam – it’s not as high-proof as suggested, but it’s what I had handy and I really wanted a julep right then.

Before I looked it up I was a bit worried that the Playboy recipe might try to pull something funny with this one, but it’s a fairly classic and straightforward julep recipe, and was just as tasty and refreshing as I’d hoped.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.