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The Angler Cocktail

We had this one on Tuesday night, while I was taking too long in the kitchen making stuffed mirlitons. It’s a really, really lovely variation on the classic Pink Gin, switching bitters halfway and adding a tiny bit of sweetening. Wes was looking for soemthing flavorful and dry yet simple, and this really did the trick. I’m not sure of its history or origins; it’s listed in CocktailDB, and Wes got this version out of the book Vintage Cocktails, by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel.

The Angler Cocktail

2 ounces gin.
3 dashes Angostura bitters.
3 dashes orange bitters (we used Regans’ No. 6).
2 dashes grenadine.

Stir and strain; no garnish.

To make the classic Pink Gin, add 6 dashes Angostura bitters to 2 ounces of gin, stir and strain, up or on the rocks.

The Pegu Club: A visit with the Libation Goddess

Audrey Saunders, that is, cocktailian extraordinaire, until late 2004 bar manager at Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, and since spring of 2005 the proprietor of her own joint, the forthcoming Pegu Club. That bar will be worth a trip to NYC alone! [UPDATE: And as of December 2009 the co-owner of the wonderful bar and supper club in Hollywood called The Tar Pit as well!]

I don’t subscribe to Food and Wine magazine, so occasionally I miss out on some good stuff, including a nice, long article about Audrey and her mixological adventures in preparing to open the Pegu Club. For one thing, at that bar there’ll be … no vodka! Hooray! (Well, they’ll have a little, but it’ll be hidden under the bar, out of sight.) There’ll be 23 different brands of gin, and cocktails on the menu that she’s dug out of Charles Baker’s The Gentleman’s Companion: Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Glass. I may swoon.

For our cocktail of the day, let’s revisit the namesake cocktail of Audrey’s wonderful new bar, a favorite of Wes’ and mine. It’s wonderful.

The Pegu Club

2 ounces London dry gin.
1 ounce orange Curaçao.
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice.
1 dash Angostura bitters.
1 dash orange bitters.

Stir with ice and strain.

Have these at home, and if you can find a bartender near you who knows how to make one of these (and actually has orange bitters), you’re a lucky individual indeed.

From the Obscure New Orleans Cocktails Dept., Part 2

Right on the heels of Dave Wondrich’s introduction of the Rum Ramsey I learned of yet another New Orleans cocktail the very next day, another that I hadn’t heard of before. Dr. Cocktail emailed me to ask what I knew about another Monteleone Hotel creation aside from its wonderful, classic Vieux Carré Cocktail, one called “The Goody”. I had no idea, did a little Googling, and managed to find this:

The Goody
Carousel Bar, Monteleone Hotel, New Orleans

1 ounce light rum.
1 ounce dark rum.
1 ounce orgeat syrup.
1 ounce pineapple juice.
2 ounces orange juice.

Mix well and serve in a tall glass over ice.

Sounds perfectly good and refreshing, but pretty ordinary and not terribly complex; I have an overwhelming compulsion to run to the bar and add bitters, or pimento dram, or something.

From the Obscure New Orleans Cocktails Dept.

I finally picked up Dave Wondrich’s excellent new book Killer Cocktails: An Intoxicating Guide to Sophisticated Drinking. It begins with mixological rudiments (types of liquor, equipment, etc.) which you can skip if you’re no longer a beginner and get into the meat of the matter — the cocktails. There are a lot of drinks in there you won’t find anywhere else, and I can’t wait to get to exploring them. Dave’s writing and cocktail discoveries, both new and forgotten, are as top-notch as always, although there are differences of opinion at our Eagle Rock aerie. I enjoyed The Four Commandments of the Martini, but we do shake Martinis at our house; Wes likes ‘em that way, finding them actually colder than when stirred, which is what I prefer — that silky texture and no frakking ice chips. (Dave, if you ever come over, I’ll certainly stir, and I must confess that my own Martini epiphany was a stirred one made by Dale DeGroff.) As much as I’m enjoying it, though, I do have one wee problem with the book.

It’s got a spiral-bound, stand-up design which allows it to stand on the counter like an easel as you mix. Good idea, but someone at the publisher decided that instead of making the book such that you flip consecutive pages as the book faces you, then flip the whole thing over to continue on the other half of the book (i.e., the consecutively numbered pages are on each facing leaf), the pages are printed back-to-back; i.e., you have to flip the whole goddamn thing around after every page if you’re reading it continuously. I found that design unwieldy,and it makes me want to just tear all the pages out and staple them together so I can turn pages without having to flip the entire book around. The contents are worth the annoyance, though.

I was thrilled that Dave came up with a near-forgotten New Orleans cocktail I had never heard of. He says it comes from “The Bon Ton Bar” on Magazine Street in the 1930s; I wonder if that’s the still-extant Bon Ton Café on Magazine, home of some of the best crawfish étouffée and bread pudding in the city. In any case, apparently the bar/restaurant is still there (which leads me to think it’s the same place I’m thinking about) and is the only place in the world that serves this drink.

The Rum Ramsey

1-1/2 ounces Cuban-style white rum.
1 teaspoon Bourbon.
1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar or simple syrup.
1/4 ounce fresh lime juice.
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters.

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Optional lime wedge or twist garnish.

It was … interesting. I think it’ll be a lot better with a better rum than Bacardi (which was all I had on hand at the time); I’m trying it with Cruzan white rum next time. The single teaspoon of Bourbon gives it a really interesting character, and it certainly merits further experimentation. Thanks, Dave!