Monthly Archives: April 2013

Frosty Dawn II

Just for fun, and because we happened to have a bottle of white wine open for dinner, I thought I’d try making the other version of the Frosty Dawn that’s floating around out there (for example, from here, but the recipe is repeated on any number of sites and in at least one book I own).

Frosty Dawn Cocktail
4 ozs. light rum
4 ozs. orange juice
1 oz. white wine
1 oz. maraschino liqueur
Mix all ingredients together in a highball glass, and serve.

First thing is, I halfed the recipe. A 10 ounce cocktail with 4 ounces of rum seemed a bit extreme to me. Halving it makes 5 ounces, which would fit nicely in a highball over ice. I went with Bacardi, an organic Valencia orange, Jackson-Triggs Chardonnay, and Giffard maraschino.

It wasn’t all that bad. Light and refreshing, and all the flavours blended well but also stood out enough to impart some character. Not as good as the original Frosty Dawn, but definitely drinkable.


Sesame Cocktail

Sesame Cocktail

1½ ozs. light rum
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. sesame-seed syrup (ajonjoli)
Shake well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass. […] A rummy and offbeat drink.

For this recipe I used Bacardi and homemade sesame-seed syrup (recipe below). The book says that the syrup is available in stores featuring Caribbean products, but I couldn’t find any and it didn’t seem too tricky to figure out a recipe for.

From the moment I discovered this recipe I’ve been itching to try it. Sesame-seed syrup struck me as a really interesting ingredient with a lot of potential, so it seemed strange that it is only found in 2 recipes in the Playboy Host & Bar Book.

I’ll say this for the Sesame, it’s well balanced. It also has a nice creamy texture from the sesame-seed syrup. But other than that it’s surprisingly plain. The flavours play so well together that it loses any distinctiveness. There’s a hint of sesame in the finish, but the ingredient isn’t showcased at all. It’s not a drink I’d make again by choice.

I’ve only found this recipe in 2 places: the PH&BB and CocktailDB (plus sites that pull recipes from CocktailDB). The recipes in both places are identical, so it is possible the recipe originated in the PH&BB. If anyone knows of an earlier citation for this drink, please let me know in the comments.

I decided to play with the sesame syrup some and see if I could improve on the original recipe somewhat. I think I succeded with the Margarita de Ajonjolí (I love it, at the very least).

Margarita de Ajonjoli

Margarita de Ajonjolí (Sesame Margarita)
50ml gold tequila
30ml sesame-seed syrup
20ml lime juice
Shake well with ice. Strain over ice in a Margarita glass.

The smokiness of the tequila really shines in this, and the sesame flavour stands up for itself much better than in the Sesame Cocktail.

Sesame-Seed Syrup
1½ c. sesame seeds
3 c. warm water
1½ c. sugar
Lightly brown the seeds in a frying pan. Allow the seeds to soak in water for 4 hours. Grind the seeds and water in a blender. Strain. Heat over medium heat and add sugar. Stir until dissolved.

I used a basic sesame milk recipe I found online and then sweetened it, so this is essentially a horchata (orgeat). I did find this difficult to strain effectively, so for my next batch I’ll try skipping the blender entirely, increasing the amount of seeds, boiling them in the water, and then straining the whole seeds out.


For anyone interested in trying some other sesame-based cocktails, check out the Domo Arigato at The Cocktail Virgin Slut, and Tess Posthumus’ La Ninja.

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.

Frosty Dawn Cocktail

Frosty Dawn

Frosty Dawn Cocktail
1½ ozs. light rum
1 oz. orange juice
½ oz. Falernum
¼ oz. maraschino liqueur
Shake well with ice. Strain over rocks in prechilled old-fashioned glass.

I went with Bacardi, Seville oranges, homemade Falernum (Kaiser Penguin’s recipe), and Luxardo Maraschino, and garnished with an orange twist. I scaled the drink up a bit, as well, since I got 40 ml of juice from my orange (so 60 ml rum, 40 ml OJ, 20 ml Falernum, 10 ml maraschino).

I chose to start with this recipe mainly because I had a batch of Falernum looking for a use. I also had recently come across some Seville oranges, which are a nice change from the ubiquitous Navel.

I really enjoyed this drink. All the flavours balance and blend well, but still keep their identities. Everyone I’ve made it for so far liked it, too. I think this one will go into regular rotation, at least for those times I have Falernum in the fridge.

The earliest version of this recipe I’ve found so far is from The Webtender Wiki, and is dated 1954:
1954, “Frosty Dawn”, Albert Carillo.

  • 7 parts Puerto Rican Rum,
  • 2 Parts Falernum,
  • 1 part Maraschino,
  • 1 oz Orange Juice

If you assume that the ‘parts’ add up to 2 ozs (60 ml), then this comes to 42 ml rum, 30 ml OJ, 12 ml Falernum, 6 ml Maraschino; pretty darn close to the Playboy proportions.

In digging around (mostly online) I found a really common variation that didn’t make a lot of sense to me: 4 oz rum (white), 1 oz maraschino liqueur, 1 oz white (or sometimes red) wine, 4 oz orange juice. It’s clearly based on the same original recipe, but the change from Falernum to wine was odd (not to mention that that is a LOT of rum). Then I found a recipe that specified that the wine should be Falerno del Massico and everything clicked into place. At some point someone came across the recipe and didn’t know what Falernum was. Assuming the it must mean Falerno del Massico, the substitution was made and the proportions changed to suit the new ingredient. There are also a few recipes floating around out there that use the wine-variant proportions, but have changed the wine back to Falernum.

I also found one book that had the name as ‘Frothy Dawn’, which I assume must be a typo, since there really isn’t anything frothy about this drink.

Edit: I did some digging on the name mentioned in the 1954 recipe (as I was unsure if he was the creator of the drink or just someone who submitted the recipe to the newspaper) and found this article, which states that in 1959 Albert Carrillo won a prize for his Honeymoon Cocktail. This drink (not to be confused with the more common applejack-based Honeymoon) contains 1 oz brandy, 1 oz orange juice, ¼ oz Cointreau, ¼ oz Falernum. This is similar enough to the Frosty Dawn that there is little doubt in my mind that Carrillo was the creator of the Frosty Dawn as well.

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.

The Project

I recently re-discovered my copy of ‘The Playboy Host & Bar Book’ from 1971, and, inspired by Erik Ellestad’s Savoy Stomp, decided I’d like to try making as many of the cocktails as possible. Many of the drinks also include hilariously pretentious commentary describing activities and situations the drinks might accompany. For each drink with such a description I’ll do my best to live out the recommended Playboy lifestyle.

For as many drinks as possible I’ll also give a history of the drink, compare Playboy’s recipes to those found elsewhere, and give my review of the quality of the drink and, if not drinkable, possible ways to fix it.

While doing some advance research for this blog I discovered that someone else has started a similar project, The Bar Book Project. I think our approaches are different enough that there really won’t be a duplication of efforts here, but I encourage readers to check it out for another perspective.

From time to time I’ll be posting other recipes, reviews, and experiments as well.