Friday, June 21, 2013

The Skinny -- Drinky Time with the Cocktail Collection

The cocktail collection is officially closed.  Well, supposedly.  She says it is; I keep buying things.  And she keeps buying things, too.

Just like it's her fault I now own this book.  She's the Blackbird that found this amazing little blue book on its shelf in the Salvation Army this week.  Of course I had to buy it.  Duh.

From 1951, The Bartender's Book, written by Jack Townsend and Tom Moore McBride, is a quintessential guide to the best of the best in the world of cocktails.  It's so witty and of the time, that I'm reading it like a novel.  And parts of it are laugh-out-loud funny.

These guys really got into the mind of the American drinker -- from typecasting bar customers to the watering down of classic cocktails through bluster and ignorance.  They also dip into the history of cocktails and their components.

I was slightly miffed that there is no Vodka section -- since I'm personally a vodka drinker.  They focus on gin, rum, whiskey, brandy, applejack, and scotch drinks.  But, really, there's not that many recipes in here overall.  Townsend and McBride liked good, solid, classic cocktails.  They included a list of the top 40 drinks served in 1950, with the survey information provided by the New York Bartender's Union.  The top five were:

1. Manhattan
2. Martini
3. Daiquiri
4. Whiskey Sour
5. Old-Fashioned 

And they didn't believe in all those fancy-schmancy themed cocktails.  There's a section where they harpoon the customers that want them -- called Freak Drinks.  Which oddly enough, contains a drink that has since become a classic cocktail, the Bloody Mary.  Seems it was just a trendy drink when the book was written.

Here's the most jaw-dropping concoction I saw in the Freak Drinks section.  I say to this recipe -- "I will never drink you, because you would kick my ass!"  (You may know about a Zombie -- bear with me, I'm not a rum drinker and have never heard its contents before.)

1 oz. amber rum
1 oz. silver rum
1 oz. Jamaica rum
1/2 oz. cherry brandy
1/2 oz. apricot brandy
juice of half lime
1 dash papaya juice
1/2 oz. 150-proof Jamaica rum

Fill a 14 oz Zombie glass half full of finely cracked ice.  Put in the ingredients and stir.  Top with the 150-proof Jamaica rum.  Decorate with a sprig of mint.  Serve with straws.

Here's the recipe for their number 1 cocktail, the Manhattan. Thought you might like to know if you're making it right...

2/3 rye
1/3 Italian vermouth
dash of Angostura bitters

Stir with ice.  Decorate with maraschino cherry.

Sounds simple enough!


(Now where's the vodka...)

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