Category Archives: ABSINTHE

Playing With Fire

Just another Friday night at the bar:

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Remembering Hemingway

Yesterday was Hemingway’s birthday, and we celebrated it appropriately at the bar where I work:

  

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Happy Birthday, Jack Dempsey!

It’s Jack Dempsey’s birthday today, which had me flipping through my copy of Mr. Boston for the recipe for the Dempsey Cocktail:

  
That pic above comes from the 1953 edition of the Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide.

I know Mr. Boston’s not the oldest cocktail book nor the most cited, but it’s the only one I have on hand that mentions the Dempsey Cocktail.

Jack Dempsey

Who was Jack Dempsey? I didn’t know much about the man until I cribbed the following from Wikipedia:

William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey was born June 24, 1895 and dies May 31, 1983. He was also known as “Kid Blackie” and “The Manassa Mauler.”

He was an American professional boxer, who became a cultural icon of the 1920s.

Dempsey held the World Heavyweight Championship from 1919 to 1926, and his aggressive style and exceptional punching power made him one of the most popular boxers in history.

From Mr. Boston:

Ingredients:

•1 oz dry gin
•1 oz apple brandy
•1/2 teaspoon absinthe substitute
•1/2 teaspoon grenadine

Preparation:

Shake well with cracked ice and strain into a 3 oz cocktail glass.

Other Recipes:

—Difford’s Guide uses rum in its “Jack Dempsey” cocktail.


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The Birth Of New Orleans

I love New Orleans.

I first went to the city as a freshman in college and I’ve since been back twice, but all those trips were before I was a bartender — and long before I had an interest in classic cocktails and modern mixology.

Today marks the founding of the city of New Orleans.

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.

Many of the cocktails we associate with the city came some time later, but any reason to celebrate is reason enough!

SAZERAC

The Sazerac is sometimes referred to as the oldest known American cocktail, with origins in pre–Civil War New Orleans, though there are much earlier published instances of the word cocktail.

 

Before rye whiskey, the drink was made with cognac. When absinthe wasn’t allowed, a liquid called Herbsaint was used for the absinthe rinse.

Some recipes call for equal parts cognac and rye whiskey with whatever rinse is available, a blending of the original recipe and how it’s now come to be made.

INGREDIENTS

  • Sugar (or simple syrup)
  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Absinthe rinse

PREPARATION

Chill a rocks glass. Give it an absinthe rinse, using only a few drops of absinthe!

Stir the following and strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass: 2 oz rye whiskey, .25 oz of simple syrup and 2 or more dashes of Peychaud’s bitters.

Rub a lemon peel around the rim of the glass and discard. The drink does not get a garnish.

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Happy Birthday, Hemingway!

Today is Ernest Hemingway’s birthday.

Talk of the man tends to go hand-in-hand with talk of cocktails and libations.

There have been a great number of articles and cocktail lists written regarding Hemingway in the last few years, due in part to the publication of Philip Greene’s book “To Have And Have Another.”

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I’m not an expert on Hemingway, but I am more than passingly familiar with some of the drinks that get associated with his name:

Cocktails associated with Hemingway:
•Daiquiri
•Death In The Afternoon
•Dripped Absinthe
•Dry Martini
•Jack Rose

I’ve written about Death in the Afternoon before! Click the link and check out the cocktail in all it’s glory:
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Hemingway’s recipe for the drink:

“Pour 1 jigger of absinthe into a champagne glass. Add iced champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.”

As I said earlier, I’m not a Hemingway expert, but today’s a perfect day for learning a little about the man and all the cocktails he’s associated with.

Below you’ll find resources with info about absinthe and daiquiris and details debunking Hemingway mojito and Bloody Mary lore.

Links worth reading::
•A Liquor.com piece from 2013.
•A Food Republic piece from 2012.
•The Wondrich write-up on “Death in the Afternoon.”

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The Man Behind The “Monkey Gland”

Today is the birthday of Serge Voronoff.

Voronoff has very little to do with cocktails. He was a doctor, a French surgeon of Russian extraction.

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He is best known (and really only remembered today) for one thing — a surgery he performed which now has a cocktail named after it.

Voronoff pioneered “the technique of grafting monkey testicle tissue onto the testicles of men for purportedly therapeutic purposes while working in France in the 1920s and 1930s.”

“As his work fell out of favor, he went from being highly respected to a subject of ridicule. Other doctors, and the public at large, quickly distanced themselves from Voronoff, pretending they had never had any interest in the grafting techniques.”

You can read more about him here.

It is from his life’s work that today we have a cocktail named the “Monkey Gland” — a gin and absinthe delight with orange and grenadine flavors.

Monkey Gland:
The Monkey Gland was created in the 1920s by Harry MacElhone, owner of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France.

Here we have Imbibe Magazine‘s recipe:
•1 1/2 oz. gin
•1 1/2 oz. fresh orange juice
•1 tsp. grenadine
•1 tsp. simple syrup
•1 tsp. absinthe

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled glass.

[Adapted from Barflies and Cocktails by Harry MacElhone (1927)]

I’ve also read that the Monkey Gland was created in April 1923 by Frank Meier, at the Ritz Hotel, Paris.

More About The Monkey Gland:
About.com Cocktails
Voronoff.Wordpress.Com
Art Of Drink

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Death In The Afternoon

Ernest Hemingway’s “Death in the Afternoon” is just two simple ingredients:

ABSINTHE and CHAMPAGNE!

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About This Cocktail
Absinthe and champagne! It’s surprisingly delicious, though not if you don’t like anise.

Ingredients
1.5 ounces of absinthe
4 ounces champagne

Preparation
Here’s the method of making and imbibing as per Papa Hemingway himself: “Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.”

Halloween is fast approaching, so before the holiday arrives, take the time to read Alan Moss’s piece on this cocktail over at The Real Absinthe Blog.

For my money though, read David Wondrich’s piece on the cocktail over at Esquire.com. The man’s always got such great stories to go along with his cocktail recipes.

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