Cocktail of the day: Crusta

My friend Sheldon writes, “No more cocktail porn! Although the infused vodka looks interesting…”

No no, Shel … cocktail porn is good. :-)

Here’s another one I’ve seen in the old books and was nudged into trying by the bartenders at Petrossian in Las Vegas. It was supposedly invented at a New Orleans joint called Santina’s Saloon in the mid-1800s, although I’d never really heard of it growing up in New Orleans (then again, there’s a whole lot of stuff out there that I don’t know).

The traditional spirit for this drink is brandy or Cognac, but Bourbon has been known to be substituted (the Petrossian version specifically called for brandy, though). After studying both the Petrossian version and the somewhat different version I found in Herbst & Herbst’s The Ultimate A-to-Z Bar Guide, I’ve arrived at a mélange of both that I find appealing, although I have no idea which is closest to the original. In fact, I’ll include all three. (To confuse matters further, DrinkBoy has one that calls for Bourbon.)

Crusta
(Petrossian version)

1-1/2 ounces Raynal VSOP brandy
1/2 ounce Maraschino
1-1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 ounces sugar syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters

Crusta
(Herbst version)

2 ounces brandy
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Cointreau
1 teaspoon Maraschino

Crusta
(2001 adaptation)

2 ounces brandy or Bourbon
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce Maraschino
2 teaspoons Cointreau
1 teaspoon sugar syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters

For any of the above recipes, moisten the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon wedge, then dip the rim into superfine granulated sugar. Shake all ingredients with cracked ice, then strain into the glass. Drape a very long spiral of either orange or lemon peel into and hanging out of the glass by about two inches, then serve.