Before baseball, basketball, or football, there were 2 great sports in the United States. One was boxing, a game of wit, skill and physical strength. The other was the track. The races were where the otherwise upstanding gentlemen would gamble away their hard earned (sometimes easily earned) cash, and celebrate amongst themselves with drinks and cigars. And while the Mint Julep has become the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, there were other forgotten cocktails named after races and their winners. The Derby cocktail was one of them. Trader Vic in his Bartender’s Guide (1947) lists three variations of the Derby. I will list all three for reference, but the first one is found in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.
1 oz Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
3/4 oz Lime Juice
I found the Derby to be an astounding cocktail. Well served before a meal as an apertif, the drink has a fruity sweet first sip which gives way to the bourbon and finishes with an astringently sour finish.
The Derby (#2)
1 1/2 oz Gin
2 dashes Peach Bitters
1 sprig Mint
The Derby (#3)
1 oz Brandy
2 dashes Curacao
2 dashes Pineapple syrup
1 dash Orange Bitters
2 oz Rye Whiskey
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 tsp Raspberry Syrup
This drink is a great twist on the classic sour formula. The less tart grapefruit provides the sour, but not overwhelmingly so, and the raspberry syrup adds the sweet. At first glance, I was a little apprehensive about the fruit combinations, however it turned out to work pretty well.
The secret, I think, is in the juice. For my first attempt at this drink, I went with a white grapefruit juice because that it was I had sitting around the house. It made a decent drink, but lacked that “sparkle” that I think pink grapefruit would provide. All in all a pretty decent cocktail, and one that I will probably add to my whiskey based list.
For the raspberry syrup, (which can be hard to find by the way) I used Smucker’s Red Raspberry Syrup. It has a great taste and viscosity, which works great in cocktails. It is available in my area at Fred Meyer stores.
Here commences the inaugural post of the Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails challenge.
If I may be permitted to already leave the alphabetical structure of the book, and move to the second drink listed. The reason for this is quite simple actually. I get home from work a little early and decide to make a drink while I do some work that needs to be done. I open my book, but to my disappointment, drink #1 is a recipe for 3 drinks at once. Doable I guess, but it calls for half an egg white, and as the author points out, it is extremely difficult to measure half of a little goopy egg white. Also, 6 drinks is really far more than anyone should consume at one time, so off to number 2 we go.
1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (I used Old Overholt)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Pineapple syrup
Shake in an iced shaker and strain.
Now, when I say an iced shaker I mean a boston tin packed to to top with ice! I would probably also normally double strain my drink into my chilled cocktail glass, but sometimes I really enjoy that layer of ice shards floating on top, so I didn’t.
I actually really enjoyed this cocktail. I was pleasantly surprised as I don’t really have a love for wines or fortified wines. Also, Pineapple syrup? Weird. What I found was that the vermouth complements the spiciness of the rye, and the pineapple provides the necessary sweetness, without distracting from the flavors. I could find myself drinking this drink on a semi-regular basis.
As some know, Dry Fly Distilling is probably my favorite distillery brand. Not only do they have excellent marketing, friendly staff, and a great love for distilling; they also have some amazing products coming out. Check out Lance Mayhew’s review of their most recent release: Washington Wheat Whiskey. And while your at it, check out Lance’s personal blog.
Liquor Review Washington Wheat Whiskey from Dry Fly Distilling – Distilled Spirit Review of Dry Fly Wheat Whiskey
Jan 8 2010
When Dry Fly Distilling began operations in 2007 in Spokane Washington, no one knew quite what to expect. Washington state had some of the toughest regulations in the country for craft distillers. Spokane was better known for Gonzaga basketball than the culinary charms of its more urbane neighbors Seattle and Portland and the decision to use only locally grown grains and botanicals in their products made some wonder whether Dry Fly could be priced competitively in the market. Now, entering its third year of production, and featuring award-winning vodka and gin, owners Kent Fleishmann and Don Poffenroth have begun releasing some of their wheat whiskey. Dry Fly whiskey is extremely hard to find and has very limited production so far, with just two batches being released to consumers. I recently had the opportunity to try Dry Fly’s 100% Washington wheat whiskey, and I highly recommend it. Distilled in a Christian Carl pot still to 120 proof (60% alcohol by volume), this whiskey then spent 18 months in new American oak casks. Both runs of approximately 1500 bottles were cut to 80 proof (40% abv) and hand bottled.
At first appearance, this whiskey shines bright like a freshly polished copper penny. On the nose, it was slightly spicy and a bit hotter than I expected a whiskey at 80 proof to be. After a bit of time, the nose revealed big caramel tones, with hints of butterscotch pudding, tangerines, almonds, tupelo honey and hay. On the palate, neat this whiskey was very soft, almost like a baby’s blanket caressing my tongue, with freshly baked orange scones, cinnamon toast, white pepper and peppermint notes. When I added a splash of water, this whiskey became even softer, with ripe peaches, spice cake, Juicy Fruit gum and grassy notes. The whiskey had a finish of 25 to 30 seconds, taken neat the finish was heavy on cinnamon, caramel and spice notes while with water this whiskey slowly disappeared with teasers of caramel, nectarines, peaches and mint. My only criticism of this whiskey is that I’m curious to see what this would taste like at a higher proof. I think that if this was 90 or 100 proof versus the current 80 proof it would probably get my top recommendation rating.
With this whiskey and their award-winning gin and vodka, Dry Fly has established itself as one of the premier American artisan distillers and established conclusively that great distilled spirits are here to stay in Spokane Washington.At $42 a bottle and only distributed in Washington state, this whiskey may take some time to find, but if you do, your patience will be richly rewarded when you taste Dry Fly’s wheat whiskey. Highly Recommended.
Visit Their Website
On Dec 4th, Dry Fly Distilling will be releasing their second release of washington wheat whiskey. Bellingham’s location to pick up a bottle is the new holiday location at Bellis Fair Mall. Store opens at 10:00am. See dryflydistilling/blog for more locations.
An alcoholic variation of a drink popular at the Starbucks in the Vancouver BC area.
2oz Irish Cream
1/2oz Vanilla syrup
6oz Earl Grey Tea
Brew 6oz strong Earl Grey, add Vanilla and Irish Cream.
Stir briefly and enjoy.
After posting about Baileys the other day, I got a real hankering for some irish cream. I go to the cabinet to grab be a sip, and realize that I am out. This is no good I think to myself as I search for an alternate beverage. Since it was a rather chilly night, and I couldn’t get anything to catch my eye, I settled for a hot toddy instead, vowing that I would remedy this lack of irish cream promptly.
Enter Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Figuratively of course. I had been passing the time at work by reading up on old MxMo articles, and I came across a recipe from Mr Morgenthaler on making your own irish cream. His recipe was excellent, but I decided to tweak it a little bit for my own tastes.
14 oz Irish whiskey (I used half Jamesons and half Redbreast simply because that’s what I had)
12 oz half and half
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 oz espresso
1 oz chocolate syrup
3/4 oz caramel syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
I feel that the recipe turned out pretty good. I think it could possibly use just a tad more espresso, and maybe some mint extract or creme de menthe.
One thing I will remedy for the next batch is the amount. This recipe produces about 38 oz of irish cream, and since I was reusing my whiskey bottle to be helpful to the environment, I was left with about a beer bottle left over.
I cant wait to try one of these. Here I have been making it wrong all along. If only I had attended Bar School, then I would surely be a better bartender.
I wonder if this old guy ever went to bar school? Regardless, his drink can’t be that good, because it’s nothing like the first one, and he runs the school, so he must know what he is doing.
I love a good whisky sour. I love sours in general. Now, I’m not talking about those sours that you get in a restaurant that are made with sour mix and soda, but the real thing. Usually I just whip up my sours with my base, some fresh squeezed lemon juice, and some simple syrup. But I recently watched an episode on the Small Screen Network, and Robert Hess talked about using egg whites in your sours. I had never heard of this before, but I tried it last night and it was excellent. Not much was added in the way of flavor, but a thick layer of foam to sip the drink through was wonderful. Sort of like a well made cappuccino.