Tchoupitoulas Street Fizz

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles … Chuck finally got his act together and remembered to participate in Mixology Monday! Well, barely.

Mixology Monday XIX: The Fizz

This month it’s being hosted by Gabriel at Cocktail Nerd, and because I’m behind on blog reading this week I missed the heads-up until last night. Rick emailed me to tell me he’d posted the New Orleans Fizz No. 1 and would I like tocontribute some history to the comments. “Oh, feck,” I thought, “I forgot MxMo again!!

I was determined not to miss it this time, so I leapt into last-minute frenzied research mode. Rick had gotten his fizz recipe from Charles Baker’s Gentleman’s Companion, and I didn’t want to be quite so much of a copycat is to mine one of Baker’s many other fizz offerings (although I might do one or two of them this week anyway, ’cause I haven’t done them before and some of them look fantastic). I didn’t want to do a gin fizz either, and decided to reach for an old standard — Stanely Clisby Arthur’s 1937 classic Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em (mine’s a sixth printing from 1944 and hasn’t fallen apart … yet). I double-checked it for fizzes, and it was fairly thin in that regard. We had the Ramos Gin Fizz, plus a couple of Collinses, and basic “Gin Fizzes,” consisting of gin, lemon juice, powdered sugar and seltzer water, either plain or in three other varieties — Silver (containing egg white), Golden (containing egg yolk) or Royal (containing a whole egg). Classic, yes, but not exactly floating my boat.

I tried to think of some other spirits I might like to see in a fizz, and since I’ve been enjoying rum so much lately, and since I’d never had one, I thought, “Hmm. How about a rum fizz?”

Off to CocktailDB, where a search for “fizz” in a drink name turned up 114 results, 15 of which were based on rum — some of which looked interesting, some of which really, really didn’t, and one of which was called simply … Rum Fizz — rum, cherry brandy, sugar, lemon juice and soda. Relatively simple, but I saw it as a place to start rather than something I wanted to try for this event. Most of these fizz recipes called for soda, but I wanted something else.

As I was flipping through Arthur’s book, I came across a recipe I hadn’t really noticed before — the Tchoupitoulas Street Guzzle, described thusly:

1 split ginger beer
1 jigger Cuban style rum

Ginger beer is not to be had these days, but ginger ale will do as well. Mix with ice.

Guzzle is a somewhat inelegant word meaning to drink immoderately or frequently. Prior to the Civil War days the Iron Horse tavern was famed for its guzzle. As it increased in popularity among a certain New Orleans street it acquired the name of that street and became known as the Tchoupitoulas Street Guzzle. Tchoupitoulas (pronounced chop-a-TOO-las) was the name of an ancient Indian tribe that had its village in what is now the upper part of New Orleans. Just what sort of fire-water was their favorite guzzle history saith not.

Bingo. I had my idea for a more interesting rum fizz.

I played around with a few ideas, and settled on this combination for what I consider to be the first version of this drink. I whipped up a batch, Wes and I tasted them, and he declared it worthy of a writeup for Fizz Day.

For the rum, I used Old New Orleans Crystal Rum, but Cruzan Light 2-year-old Virgin Islands rum would work well, or any good light rum with some character (i.e., not Bacardi). I changed the lemon juice to lime, to give it more Caribbean character. I continued that by removing the cherry brandy (e.g. Cherry Heering) and substituting one of my favorite old/new liqueurs — it’s been around for ages but has only recently been available in this country — Clément Créole Shrubb. If you haven’t come across it or heard me mention it here before, it’s an orange liqueur not unlike Grand Marnier, but based on rum rather than Cognac and with a lovely, almost mysterious spicy quality. I had some rich demerara syrup left over from making Paul Clarke’s Swordfighter Swizzle, so I added a teaspoon of that for a bit more sweetness and depth from the bit of molasses in that sugar. Egg white for a foamy head, and Angostura bitters for a bit more spice to help tie it all together. And instead of soda, a nice, spicy ginger beer-type ginger ale. Not that wimpy, might-as-well-be-7Up Canada Dry stuff, we’re talking about the kind of ginger ale that’s intensely peppery, such that if you smell it after you open the bottle, you immediately sneeze. The result? Not too bad. Not too bad at all.

The Tchoupitoulas 
Street Fizz

The Tchoupitoulas Street Fizz

1-1/2 ounces white rum.
1 ounce fresh lime juice.
1/2 ounce Clément Créole Shrubb.
1 teaspoon rich demerara syrup.
1 egg white.
2 dashes Angostura bitters.
3 ounces (approx.) spicy ginger ale (we used Blenheim’s).

Combine all ingredients with plenty of ice in a shaker. Shake the living crap out of it for at least a minute, until your hands stick to the outside of the shaker and you get so exhausted that you realize how truly out of shape you are, and that you would have been totally put to shame by Henry C. Ramos’ shaker boys. Strain into a goblet, top with the ginger ale and garnish optionally with a little grated nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

(To make rich demerara sugar syrup, dissolve 2 parts demerara sugar (or else “Sugar in the Raw”) in 1 part hot water. Cool, store in a jar and keep in the fridge.)

I’m probably going to play around with this one a bit more, but not a bad start.