Tag Archives: sugar

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.


Canadian Cocktail

Canadian Cocktail

Canadian Cocktail
1 ½ ozs. Canadian whisky
½ oz. lemon juice
¼ oz. curaçao
1 teaspoon sugar
2 dashes bitters
Shake well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass or over rocks in old-fashioned glass.

For this recipe I used Gibson’s 12-year, and Cointreau instead of curaçao. I also used simple syrup in place of sugar, for easier mixing. Since this recipe calls for non-specific bitters, it was the perfect time to pull out my recent batch of homemade Calamansi bitters*.

Not a really complicated drink. The whisky flavour is quite mild in this one, and it leans towards the citrusy. It might be a bit more interesting with a spicier bitters – some of the versions I’ve found online use orange bitters (which the Calamansi bitters are a good substitute for) and some use Angostura.

There’s a cocktail by this name in “Modern American Drinks” by George J. Kappeler (1895) which is just a Whiskey Cocktail (whiskey, gum syrup, and bitters) made with Canadian whisky. “The Savoy Cocktail Book” (1930) and “1700 Cocktails for the Man behind the bar” by R. de Fleury (1934) both have recipes by this name with Jamaican rum as the spirit and with the proportions of curaçao and spirit inverted. Most of the modern books I’ve checked, and most websites, have a similar recipe to Playboy. It almost looks like the modern Canadian Cocktail is a conflation of the two different historical Canadians.

Calamansi Bitters

*Calamansi Bitters
14 calamansi, halved
1 c. 100-proof vodka
½ tsp gentian
1 star anise, crushed
1 cardamom pod, crushed
¼ tsp coriander, crushed
1/3 c. sugar
Squeeze calamansi juice and seeds into vodka. Add in calamansi rinds and herbs. Let stand 2 weeks. Strain out solids, return liquid to jar. Boil solids in 2/3 c. water. Caramelize 1/3 c. sugar, and add it to water with solids. Let cool. Add caramel water with solids back in to jar with alcohol infusion. Let stand 5 more days. Strain and bottle.

These bitters manage to be sort of the inverse of orange bitters – instead of being citrus over a base of bitter herbs, the bitterness is up front with a very bright citrus tang underneath.

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.

Cuba Libre Cocktail

Cuba Libre Cocktail

Cuba Libre Cocktail
1 oz. light rum
½ oz. 151-proof rum
½ oz. cola drink
½ oz lime juice
½ teaspoon sugar
Lime peel
Shake both kinds of rum, cola drink, lime juice and sugar well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass. Twist lime peel above drink and drop into glass.

I used Bacardi white, Wray and Nephew white overproof, and homemade cola syrup* in place of both the cola drink and the sugar. I’ll probably try it again at some point with actual cola and sugar, but I can’t see the cola flavour standing up very well against the other ingredients.

This wasn’t too bad, a cocktail version of the classic Cuba Libre highball. I’d make this again, but I might add a dash of bitters (orange, or possibly my homemade calamansi bitters) next time.

This one is proving particularly difficult to research. It doesn’t appear in any of my other books, and any online search I can think of brings up mostly results about the highball version. I found 2 sites with basically the same recipe as above, the only difference being one uses 3/4 oz. of cola and the other 1 oz.
*Cola syrup No. 3
Fill a saucepan with 2 cups water and add:
Zest of 2 oranges (this time around I used 1 Valencia and 1 Seville)
Zest of 2 limes
Zest of 1 lemon
2 pinches ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground nutmeg
1 point of a star anise (crushed)
½ tsp lavender flowers
½ tsp ground cola nut
¼ tsp coriander (crushed)
10g stem  fresh ginger root
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp citric acid
Leave it to simmer for 20-30 minutes then strain it through a tea towel into a large container whilst it’s still hot. After straining stir in:
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
½ c Caramel colour**
The result is a cola syrup. After cooling, mix 1 part syrup with 4 parts soda water to make cola.
**Caramel Colour
Melt 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water together over low heat. Increase heat to medium high, cover pan, let boil 2 minutes. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and continue to boil, uncovered, until almost black (it will be smoking a lot at this point). Remove pan from heat. Let cool slightly, then add ¼ cup boiling water (slowly – the sugar may splatter). Stir until dissolved.

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.