I paused posting here for a bit due to a two-week trip to the US for work. No cocktail-making going on for me while I travel. I'm back in the saddle again at home though, so here we go. The Café de Paris cocktail looks like a pretty weird drink to me (and to others as well). The fact that it is yet another anise drink doesn't help with me either. I dug around to find out a little more about this one, and it appears to go pretty far back to a Brooklyn, NY hotel, which opened in 1909.
The Bronx is another cocktail with an interesting history, which shows in the fact that I have two recipes for it. This is kin to the Manhattan, in that it is another New York City borough name, and is in the same family of liquor and vermouth drinks. (And, yes, there is another borough cocktail, the Brooklyn, and I hear internet rumors that there is one for Queens, which is a Bronx with pineapple juice instead.) There are two stories about how it came to be.
Now we come to the Brandy Fizz, which is a recipe you can find much more easily than the previous Brandy Cocktail. The modern drink is still the same as this classic, and the recipe is older than the 1930s, showing up back in the late 1800's (though with a lot less lemon juice in it). All fizzes get their name from the addition of soda water. Fizzes as a drink class also all have citrus of some sort in them. This is essentially a fizzy brandy lemonade. Yum.
Next up in Lommebogen is the Brandy Cocktail. Try Googling that one. Yeah, you get all kind of brandy cocktails, but it's impossible to find hits for the Brandy Cocktail. So, this is just going from what is in the three books, without any modern research. I'm just not that patient or persistent, especially when all three books are pretty much in line, and it is a very fine cocktail as is from the 1930s. This is pretty much what it states—it's a brandy in cocktail form. Back in the day "cocktail" pretty much meant a shot of liquor with a little sweetener and some bitters.
The cocktail that comes first alphabetically in Lommebogen, and also matches my triple-book criteria, is the Blackthorn. This first one is a doozy. Let's start with the name. Axel has it written down as Blach Torn. Torn is thorn in Danish, and generally Danish isn't good with "th" in words. When I was looking at that one during the initial cross-referencing it took me a few minutes to realize that he was referring to the Blackthorn cocktail because I was just taking the name at face value.
As I dive into blogging the Lommebogen recipes I need to set some parameters, and clarify a few things. (If you don't know what Lommebogen is, read my earlier blog post about Cocktail History.) Here are some basic things you should know:
The selection of cocktails. I'm not doing every cocktail in Lommebogen (maybe someday, but not now). I'm only doing the cocktails that appear in all three of my reference books: Lommebogen, The Savoy Cocktail Book, and the Café Royal Cocktail Book. That tallies up to 43 cocktails.
I seem to like starting new projects. Not that I actually complete them all (see: weekly photo plan). So, in that spirit, I've got a new project—this time in the cocktail realm. Last fall my friend Rie gave me a great cocktail gift in a small book called Lommebogen (link is in Danish). It is a photocopy of bartender Axel Sørensen's personal bar notes from the 1930s.
I'll admit that I've become a cocktail snob. As I've been learning at home about bartending I've put my usual geek focus into it. When I go out it's hard to not be all "born again" on people. I've gotten to the point where I recognize that people should drink what they like, not what books or people tell you they should like. That said, I still have a lot of judgment in me for the bars who are serving the drinks. I used to get my nose out of joint from badly mixed cocktails, but I've come to understand that I just need to assess a bar for its capabilities and order accordingly. Here are a few things that I look for in a bar, and how that effects what I'll order so that I have a satisfying experience.
Anyone who has visited my home knows that I have a pretty extensive home bar. The world of cocktails is a big hobby of mine these days, and I've been slowly filling out my bar over of the last year. Luckily, I have a wife who supports my hobby, and so we have dedicated a fair amount of shelving space to the cause. That said, we do live in an apartment, and at the end of the day we only have so much space to spare. My home bar is now well beyond the simple list of a basic bar that you can find all over the web.
I got off to a pretty good start with my photography fun, and then I was on the road for work, so things got a little backed up in terms of reviewing, editing, and uploading photos. I also managed to get sick as I was leaving Mexico for home, and I lost a whole day to 20 hours of travel while making heavy use of airplane sick bags. :-( Needless to say, I was distracted, and ended up missing my 365 photo that day. Ah well, I know my 365s will never be perfect, so I'm OK with that. I also just completely spaced a photo last Friday. So be it.