MxMo – Life’s Bitter pt. 3

This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by Lindsey at Brown Bitter and Stirred, and the theme is… Brown, Bitter and Stirred. As a lover of spiritous drinks, aged liquor and bitters (potable or not), I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take my second foray into the MxMo crowd.

The cocktail that first came to mind was the Fritz, a virtually unknown but masterful tipple crafted by bartender Ryan Lotz of Lineage in Boston. I encountered it on the excellent blog cocktail virgin slut, of late my favourite resource for finding interesting drink recipes, and was intrigued by its heavy use of Peychaud’s bitters. I’d made cocktails with enormous amounts of Angostura bitters before, but Peychaud’s is a whole different animal, with a more spacious, less spicy profile. Whilst not entirely fitting with the month’s theme as no aged liquor has been used, it’s certainly a stirred and bitter treat. And well, Punt e Mes is pretty brown, don’cha think?

The Fritz

    Equal parts:

    • Junipero Gin (I used Tanqueray 47.3%)
    • Maraschino Liqueur (Maraska)
    • Punt e Mes
    • Peychaud’s Bitters

    Stir all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled rocks glass and garnish with orange peel.

    On tasting, the Fritz was readily identifiable as an oddball cousin of the Negroni. Aromas are of orange oil, candied fruit, floral perfume, and the distinct cherry-anise of Peychaud’s bitters. A rounded candy cherry and christmas fruitcake sweetness comes first on the palate, followed by a hollower structure of lifted mintiness paired with a deep bitterness and astringency. This structure lingers and lingers in the aftertaste, with traces of dusty Peychaud’s anise.

    Cocktail virgin slut mentioned that the creator of the drink suggested substituting Sweet Vermouth with a dash of Campari if lacking Punt e Mes; I think this would give very different results, due to the lack of powerful menthol in most vermouths. Carpano Antica Formula would be the closest vermouth match, as it’s got a similar flavour profile to Punt e Mes and a bit of mint to it. It could be interesting to try the drink with the Carpano Antica and a dash of Fernet Branca too…

    But that discussion is moot, as I don’t have Carpano Antica or Fernet Branca, and the drink in its original form, with Punt e Mes, is already a real masterpiece of a cocktail!

    Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 1:33 am  Comments (3)  

    The Power of the Sun…

    …by the palms of the beach?

    Doc Ock-tail

    Doc Ock-tail

    Today I’m looking at that quintessential summer drink, the Tequila Sunrise. It’s unfortunate modern incarnation is often a sticky mess of carton orange juice and low-quality grenadine or raspberry cordial. Though the OJ recipe, said by Dale DeGroff to have been invented in prohibition era America, can make a decent drink with the right ingredients and proportions, I’m going to be using the older recipe which Dave Wondrich attributes to Agua Caliente in Tijuana, who printed it in their drink book in 1933.

    Yes, I know it’s the middle of winter, and a very cloudy day at that. But tequila sometimes makes us do crazy things.

    Tequila Sunrise

    • 45mL Silver Tequila (Trago)
    • 30mL lime juice (home grown)
    • 10mL sugar or 2:1 simple syrup
    • ~45-60mL soda water
    • 15mL Crème de Cassis (Marie Brizard)

    Mix lime juice and sugar in a tall glass. Add tequila. Fill glass with ice (crushed or otherwise). Add soda. Add crème de cassis and let sink. Garnish with a lime wedge, and serve with straws.

    (In case anyone’s not in on the lingo, cassis is French for blackcurrant. It always pays to use a quality liqueur, so go for the Marie Brizard brand. I think I got my bottle at 1st choice?)

    Crisp lime and tequila flavours with a hint of fruity richness from the dispersed cassis. Bitter lime peel oil flavour is quite present, probably due to the thick skin on my home grown limes and the type of squeezer I’m using, and leaves an interesting depth. In fact, this might be that special something that makes this a great drink. To make sure, next time I’ll try it without getting as much lime oil in. A fascinating bonus of the sunrise building technique is that the drink shows very distinct layers not just visually but in flavour; the bottom being cassis dominant, but still with some sour punch and effervescence, the middle being a refreshing tequila lime fizz, and the top being light and fizzy and very cold. Hence, I think it’s best this be served with straws, so the drinker can explore the layers the way they choose (and stir it all together if that’s their thing).

    You know, despite prancing around in a Hawaiian shirt in the 13 degree weather outside, I was feeling pretty warm. I guess, in the end, summer isn’t really a season; it’s a state of mind.

    Published in: on June 4, 2010 at 6:12 am  Leave a Comment  

    Der Raum: Food & Wine Festival Degustation

    When I found out Der Raum was doing a degustation for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, I was intrigued; I’d wanted to attend one of their sessions for a while, so when I found out that one of these was on my birthday, I had to go! So my drinking buddy Nick and I booked tickets. I apologize for the blurriness of the photos; this is a product of low lighting and a small camera.

    We arrived a bit too early, and I was greeted with a few happy-birthdays from the bar staff. Whilst waiting for the degustation to start I had a celebratory Tobago Sour, a Trinidad Sour variant created by head bartender Josh Begbie. My memory is a bit hazy, as this was almost a month ago, but I think they differ in that the Tobago Sour is sweetened with Cointreau and gomme syrup and contains egg white; I suppose the egg white is here to thicken the mouthfeel like orgeat does in the Trinidad. To be honest, I preferred the Trinidad Sour, the egg white texture didn’t work so well for me in this drink (which is unusual for me, as I chuck eggs in anywhere I can really) and this seemed a bit drier and more Angostura-dimensional (as I can’t bring myself to say Angostura bitters are anywhere near one-dimensional). Now for the official start of the degustation… (more…)

    Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm  Comments (1)  

    You can call me Al…amagoozlum

    I just realised yesterday, after someone asked me when I last updated my blog, that I haven’t for over two months! So here’s another post.

    I started the afternoon without a clue of what to blog about, so I thought of a quick fix; peruse cocktail virgin slut until I found something that sounded interesting and tasty which I had the ingredients for. cocktail virgin slut is one of my favourite drink blogs, covering masses of drinks and often very interesting ones. I hit search for Genever and quickly came across the Alamagoozlum.

    The Alamagoozlum is probably best known at the moment for being the first drink in Ted Haigh’s (aka. Dr. Cocktail) magnificent book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. The only time I’ve actually read the book, once in the Borders on Lygon Street ages ago (can’t find it there now unfortunately) I was taken aback by its lengthy recipe full of ingredients nowhere to be seen on my bar shelf. But when Ted Haigh tells you to try out a crazy cocktail, you better damn well make sure you do it. So here, something like a year and a half later, I’ve got all the stuff, and I’m gonna go for it. Here’s the original recipe, as written in Haigh’s book and his source Charles H. Baker’s Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask:

    • 1/2 egg white
    • 2 oz   Genever
    • 2 oz water
    • 1 1/2 oz Jamaica Rum
    • 1 1/2 oz Green or Yellow Chartreuse
    • 1 1/2 oz gomme syrup
    • 1/2 oz orange curacao
    • 1/2 oz Angostura bitters

    Shake, strain into three glasses.

    Okay, I lied, I don’t have gomme syrup. I tweaked the recipe a bit for my own tastes; I cut the water and the syrup (it sounded a bit diluted and oversweet), and used a bit more egg white to compensate for the lack of gomme:


    • 1/2ish an egg white
    • 20mL Genever (Bols Oude Genever)
    • 15mL water
    • 15mL Jamaican Rum (Inner Circle Red)
    • 15mL Chartreuse (Green)
    • 10mL Sugar syrup (2:1)
    • 5mL Curacao (Grand Marnier)
    • 5mL Angostura Aromatic Bitters

    Mime shake, shake, strain into chilled cocktail glass.

    Not that pretty a colour, unfortunately, kind of a dusty pale deep red, more like in the picture below than above. Smells somewhat eggy ? and mainly of Chartreuse.

    On my first sip it seemed overpoweringly sweet, but not so much thereafter. It’s still very sweet, but not at all in an off-putting way mysteriously; I suppose the bitters tamed this a bit. I suggest you find out how much sugar works in the drink for yourself.

    The flavour is huge, deep and kind of ‘magical’- like drinking a crystal ball, most likely due to Chartreuse containing like a billion botanicals I’ve never even heard of or tasted in anything else. Awesome! Most obvious on the palate is the Green Chartreuse and its slightly mineral/herbal character, followed by the fire and spice of the angostura bitters and rum. When the burn kicks in on the swallow the rum really speaks up a little, with some of its funky notes coming into play, with some lingering molasses. The genever plays quite a background role here, giving a detectable but quiet maltiness.

    You can tell that water has been added, which I’m not sure is a good thing (usually I’m very picky even about shaken dilution levels, preferring a shorter shake), but in a cocktail with ingredients like this I’m certainly not finding the flavours to be stretched too thin.

    At first I found the texture kind of slimy, but then realised I’d forgotten to mime shake it, so I returned the drink into the cold tin, sans ice, and gave it a few quick shakes and poured it back into my glass. Much better, now with a slightly frothier head (but a bit warmer for it). You know what the lesson here is folks.

    Bottom line is, this is a fantastic drink that I would recommend to anyone who isn’t shy of these bold flavours. Do it!

    Here is some further reading on the subject: the original post Fellow Aussie blogger Ben from Everyday Drinking just did a post on this recently, and he just gave me some props on his blog so I’m giving him a shoutout back. He should definitely get a drink with me if he pops down to Melbourne anytime sometime. This thread is also very good, as is this post.

    Published in: on April 4, 2010 at 12:41 pm  Comments (1)  

    Life’s Bitter – pt. 2

    A post on eGullet piqued my interest with mention of a Campari Alexander. Campari? With chocolate? As a dessert drink? Further research indicated the drink was part of Anvil’s (Houston, TX) fall menu for 2009. Being one to love just about anything with Campari in it, I had to give this a taste. Another forum post delineated the recipe as containing 2 parts campari to 1 part each cream and chocolate liqueur, as opposed to the equal parts of the standard Alexander formula. Unfortunately, I don’t have any dehydrated Campari crystals to garnish as Anvil do. The dehydrated Campari concept is really getting around, with two Melbourne bars already making mileage of it; Der Raum using it to allow the drinker to control the Campari content (and otherwise eat) in their Negroni variant the Spice Trader and Golden Monkey using it as a rim garnish.

    Campari Alexander

    2 Campari
    1 Crème de Cacao (Baitz Dark)
    1 Cream

    Destined by recipe to be a great digestif. The cream, though dulling the sharp complexity of campari’s flavours significantly, offers the luxuriously rich dessert texture expected of an Alexander. On the tongue is a chocolate dominated palate, which soon slides into the classic bitter finish of Campari. The mouthfeel, if I recall correctly (been a while since my last Brandy Alexander), proves thicker than a traditional spirit-based Alexander, and the direction maybe even sweeter (due to Campari’s sugar content), though this is rendered inoffensive by the bitterness.  Whilst this is a drink to take in small doses, it may prove to be my favourite Alexander variant yet.

    Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 12:29 am  Comments (1)  

    Life’s Bitter

    Let’s put things into perspective.

    Most drinks call for 1-3 dashes of bitters. The Seelbach, already considered relatively heavily bittered, requires 7 dashes each of Peychaud’s and Angostura. The Alabazam contains a whopping teaspoon (5mL) of bitters. I tried counting how many dashes it took to pour 5mLs from an Angostura bottle, but I lost count; the total was either 20 or 40.

    Well, the Trinidad Especial, and it’s cousin the Trinidad Sour, require that you pour a whole ounce (30mL) of bitters.

    Not only that, but they ask for it to be balanced with an equal measure of orgeat syrup, a regular does of citrus and just a bit of spirit. These are inverted cocktails if there ever were any.

    Needless to say, I was intrigued. Lacking pisco, I could not recreate Valentino Bolognese’s original Especial, so I went for the Giuseppe Gonzalez (of Clover Club and Dutch Kills) interpretation, the Trinidad Sour.

    Trinidad Sour

    1 Angostura Aromatic Bitters
    1 Orgeat syrup (homemade)
    3/4 Lemon juice
    1/2 Rye Whiskey (Jim Beam)

    Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Lovely blood red hue. Nose is unsurprisingly dominated by the scent of Angostura bitters. Mouthfeel is thick and chalky from the orgeat, and astringent from the bitters. The flavour- stunning. My orgeat initially makes itself known, but quickly takes a backseat to a rollercoaster ride through all of Angostura’s spicy complexity; cloves and cinnamon jump out at you. Rough in nature, but luxurious regardless; like a red carpet for the palate.

    I was worried my homemade orgeat with its somewhat muted almond flavour wouldn’t have the presence to stand up to the full ounce of bitters, but it balanced surprisingly well. I’ll post more details and a recipe for the orgeat sometime later. I think a beefier rye than Jim Beam could do a bit better here as well, but this is well worth tippling regardless.

    Those interested in other bitters dominant drinks would do well in checking out the Stormy Mai Tai, also created by Gonzalez, and the Gunshop Fizz by beta cocktails (ex Rogue Cocktails), which calls for a 2 ounce base of Peychaud’s bitters.

    I had 10mL of lemon juice leftover, so I decide to make a mini test sour. I had a drink at Der Raum recently, which, if I recall correctly, was sourced from their good friends at Door 74 in Amsterdam. Named the Frisco and, if I again recall correctly, comprising of Laphroaig 10, Benedictine, lemon juice and champagne (with a flamed nutmeg garnish), it ticked all my boxes for delicious. I was curious to see how a sour using only the Islay, Benedictine and lemon would go.

    2 Laphroaig 10 y.o
    1 Benedictine
    1 Lemon juice

    The Benedictine is surprisingly transparent; in fact, the other ingredients feel mainly present to tame the Laphroaig slightly whilst still letting its full character shine through. The honeyed sweetness of the Benedictine is a natural partner to scotch and lemon. A pretty delicious drink, all in all, I will definitely be revisiting this, maybe with a higher proportion of Benedictine next time.

    Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 12:47 am  Comments (3)  

    Julieta y Romeo

    We had people over for Christmas lunch today and I felt like mixing a drink for a friend. Noting the presence of cucumber and lime in the fridge, I decided to make a rare favourite treat; the Juliet and Romeo, a complex but very approachable cocktail created by Toby Maloney of The Violet Hour in Chicago. The drink, with its friendly yet exotic combination of lime, mint, cucumber and rosewater, has gained a happy following on the eGullet forums, where Toby gladly shares his bar’s recipes on request (mad props to the man for his generosity and skill).

    Though sublime, this isn’t a drink I prepare regularly as the recipe is quite complex and I don’t always have cucumber around- but the effort in prepaation will be the last thing on your mind once you take the first sip. Here’s the recipe as Toby wrote it:

    Juliet & Romeo

    2 oz Beefeater or Hendrick’s
    .75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
    .75 oz Simple Syrup (I used 2tsp sugar)
    3 drops Rose Water
    3 drops Angostura Bitters
    3 slices Cucumber, peeled
    6 sprigs Mint

    Muddle cucumber and pinch of salt. Slap the mint. Add rest of ingredients. Let sit for 30 seconds (time allowing). Shake. Strain. Garnish with 1 floating mint leaf and 1 drop rose water on top of leaf, and 3-5 more drops of angostura on the surface of the drink.

    Notes: Take care to use DROPS not DASHES of Angostura in this drink. You may perhaps want to use fewer drops than Toby recommends, as to my knowledge bitters at his bar are dispensed from eyedropper bottles and the Angostura dasher top kind of tends to accumulate the bitters into larger drops. 2 drops from the bottle are probably enough on the surface .

    Also, take care to remove the skin from the cucumber before muddling, and note that the flavour profile of the drink changes dramatically depending on the amount of cucumber you use (not to mention the amount of mint). The skin can add an undesirable vegetal bitterness to the drink. Once the peel is removed, it would be wise to muddle the cucumber as hard as possible.

    I know rose water smells nice, but don’t go overboard with the drop on the leaf, lest you risk overpowering the nose with its perfumed aroma.

    Finally, due to cucumber solids and the overall ‘delicate’ direction of the drink, this is obviously something you want to double strain (i.e through both whatever you use on your shaker + a tea strainer).

    So, how does it taste? Divine. For a pretty stiff drink, there’s a noticable smoothness/lack of burn in the mouthfeel which I put down to the cucumber; this, combined with way trendy flavours are utilised to form a full and complex flavour spectrum make this a great gateway to fine drinking.

    So now I had half a lime left over.

    Margarita (revisited)

    1 1/2 Tequila (Trago Silver)
    3/4 Cointreau
    3/4 Lime juice

    If you wish, run a lime slice across half the circumference of a cocktail glass’s lip and sprinkle the wet edge lightly with salt on the outside. Shake all ingredients and strain into the chilled/prepared glass. Garnish with lime, or not.

    I’ll admit this is probably the first good Margarita I’ve made at home- and it is SO good. Oh boy. I’ve experimented with the popular 3:2:1 before but that never hit the spot- the Cointreau dominated and the diminished quantity of lime wasn’t enough to bring out the flavour of the tequila. But this… magnificent.

    Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 3:00 pm  Comments (1)  

    Mint Julep

    Viewed, but nowhere in sight. Your horse may not have come through, but a Mint Julep on Cup Day could make you feel like a winner.

    Mint Julep

    Mint Julep Close

    2 Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
    (or Brandy, if you wish (see below). I used Jim Beam Rye)
    1 to 2 tsp sugar
    Mint to taste
    Additional mint sprig(s), for garnish

    Dissolve the sugar with a dash of pure water (unless using syrup) in an appropriate vessel, be it a highball glass, julep cup or odd shaped thing I have. Add mint, and muddle gently to release the oils. Pour in the whiskey, and fill the cup all the way with crushed ice. Stir until a healthy frost develops on the surface of your chosen vessel. Top up with more ice if necessary. Garnish the surface of the drink with as many mint sprigs as you wish (anything from a twig to a forest’s worth), poking their stems into the ice. Serve with straws just long enough to give the drinker a noseful of mint.

    I hesitated to take any detailed tasting notes because, really, it’s just as you’d expect. Simple but superb. To my tastes, it remained delicious even after heavy dilution from sitting on crushed ice for ages. A great relaxing drink to sip in the lazy warm months.

    Some notes on method:

    To make crushed ice from cubes or similar, cover the ice in a tea towel or other appropriate cloth, place on an appropriately sturdy surface and have at it with an appropriately sturdy whacking implement. I use a stone pestle and a wooden chopping board. I take no responsibility for any damage you may cause yourself or your property during such endeavours. Oh, and watch your fingers! Alternatively, when I keep party-ice-bags in the freezer, by the time I’ve been icepicking it for a few drinks I get a decent wealth of tiny bits which work fine for crushed ice drinks.

    Some people like to muddle the mint with undissolved granulated sugar. This is a bad thing in my book, as it results in heavier extraction of bitter flavour elements from the leaves, and is more likely to leave sugar bits in your drink, which will ruin the texture if you’re inclined as I am.

    Ideallly, I’d have used more mint for the garnish, but my mint plant is still recovering from the worst of winter. In the 19th century and on the Esquire Drinks site they seemed to like them bushy.

    If using brandy, add a further small measure of peach brandy/eau-de-vie and a dash of dark Jamaican rum to make it a Georgia Mint Julep. I’ve never tried this due to a lack of peach brandy in my inventory. I think Mr. Thomas’ recipe for this variation calls for a further garnish of sliced orange as well. Sounds tasty.

    Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 1:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Blood and Sand, and Tango #2

    I got my Cherry Heering months ago and had wanted to try the Blood and Sand for months before that. Well, I figured, now was the time. The Blood and Sand was named after the 1921 film, and dates back to at least 1930 (the Savoy book). It is one of the few Scotch drinks that have endured the test of time with relative popularity. There seem to be two prevailing ratios for this drink; with equal parts, or as Ted Haigh and others have recommended:

    Blood and Sand

    Blood and Sand 1

    1 Blended Scotch (Famous Grouse Malt)
    1 Orange Juice (fresh-squeezed Navel orange)
    3/4 Cherry Brandy (Peter Heering Cherry Heering)
    3/4 Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano Rosso)

    Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry. Or if you’re me and feeling fancy and admire Jamie Boudreau’s blog… (it required TWO cocktail picks!)

    Perplexing. Definitely a sweet drink- not sweet enough to turn me off it, but a sort of compelling sweetness that leaves your mouth asking for more, like those gummy snakes you chain-nibbled when you were a kid. All ingredients make themselves known, but meld together in a appreciable, if somewhat uneasy, companionship. Not surprising for such odd bedfellows. Part of me wants a more assertive scotch presence, either by using a different whisky or upping the measurement, but the slightly more discordant notes I detect caution against this. Actually, it’s fine as is. As the drink warms and my palate adjusts, dissonance turns to rich harmony, and I’m beginning to really like it. Perhaps the best way to take advantage of this phenomenon is to have another…

    For full disclosure, I will admit I added a drop of The Bitter Truth orange bitters in the middle of drinking it as I wanted a slightly deeper bitter taste and a better link between the flavours. This may or may not have influenced my final enjoyment of the drink- clearly, more experimentation is needed!

    Blood and Sand 2

    I figured I had some orange juice left to use and hadn’t yet treated myself to a Tango 2 (from the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book). From what I can gather on Jay’s site, there were no instructions to garnish, but I went ahead with an orange peel because it was just lying there (he used lemon). Also notable is the recommendation to stir, not shake, even though the drink contains a cloudy ingredient (orange juice), presumably for the less airy texture and lack of froth.

    Tango #2

    Tango 2

    Equal parts:
    White Rum (Havana Club Anejo Blanco)
    Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
    Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano Rosso)
    Orange Juice (fresh squeezed Navel)

    Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Another sweet drink. An upfront fruity freshness created by the vermouths and orange juice segues to a deep herbal finish with lingering honey. A really good drink, and potentially a very accessible tipple to introduce neophytes to a more aromatic style of drink. I always found Benedictine to have a beautiful flavour but is far too intensely herbal on its own- drinks like this are a great way to explore its nuances, and I verily appreciate them.

    MxMo XLII: Egg-Gullet

    mxmologoThis month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by the eGullet forums, a great online resource for culinary information. The theme of the month is “Dizzy Dairy”; anything involving milk, cream, eggs, butter, cheese, etc.

    Eggs are one of my favourite ingredients to work with in cocktails. Many of my favourite drinks owe their excellence to the texture imparted by egg white; for example, a Whiskey Sour is wholly elevated by the addition of 10mL of egg white. In this post, I’ll be covering a few egg-based drinks which I think don’t get enough press on the net; the Royal Gin Fizz, the Prado, 1806’s Margarita Custard, Morning Glory Fizz and the Golden Gin Fizz.

    The Royal Fizz was a pre-prohibition subcategory of the Fizz, essentially referring to fizzes shaken with whole eggs. They could be made with any spirit, though I believe it was most popularly ordered with gin. The Royal Fizz and its cousins the Golden and Silver Fizzz (made with an egg yolk or white, respectively) are near extinct in the majority of bars these days, as people have shied away from the once-popular practise of imbibing raw eggs, particularly as morning-after drinks. This is a real pity as I believe they are great and equally palatable variations on the simple Fizz, which can get pretty boring fast.

    Royal Gin Fizz


    1 1/2 Gin (Plymouth)
    1 lemon juice
    2tsp sugar syrup (2:1)
    A whole egg
    ~1 1/2 Soda

    Shake the gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg without ice for a decently long time to combine and aerate. Shake with ice and strain into a small tall glass. Top with soda water.

    I found the Royal Gin Fizz to largely approximates a Ramos Gin Fizz in flavour, but without the creaminiess and stability of froth. I may even prefer this to the Ramos, being less thick and filling. It didn’t foam as much as I’d have liked on the head due to the soda water I used being less than freshly opened. Rich and floral, but tangy and refreshing. Between this and a Continental Gin Sour I made at a friend’s house a few weeks ago, I find that pairing egg with gin really brings out the floral notes present.

    I invited my friend Nick over to taste the following drinks with me.

    The Prado is a sort of Margarita variation, subbing Maraschino for Triple Sec and adding an egg white. Though Washington Post claim it was created by Kacy Fitch of the Zig Zag Café, the drink actually dates to at least 1977, being printed in Jones’ Complete Bar Guide. Zig Zag have certainly made a good effort at popularising it, however.



    1 1/2 Tequila (Sauza Blanco)
    3/4 Lime juice
    1/2 Maraschino Liqueur (Baitz)
    3/4 to 1 Egg white

    Mime shake all ingredients. Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime twist, partly for the aroma but mainly because it looks pretty.

    I like to use a whole egg white for this to get it as fluffy and light as possible. I’ve made this with both the Sauza Blanco and Tequila Blu Reposado, both mixto tequilas, but haven’t yet tried it with a 100% agave spirit. I actually preferred it with the Tequila Blu, whose harsher character and strong pepper note held its ground better in this mix. The Sauza is more subtle. This is one of my favourite tequila drinks, a crowd pleaser I use to introduce people to egg white. Given there’s a half ounce of liqueur in there, it’s surprisingly not particularly sweet, and fairly bitter. When shaken right the texture is heavenly, like sipping a cloud. I noted on this tasting that the tequila and especially the Maraschino dominated the flavour when the drink was on the tongue, but upon swallowing a wave of lime burst over the palate, leading into a mildly bitter finish.

    The Margarita Custard is yet another riff off the Margarita, but a fairly unique one. Created by Sebastian Reaburn of 1806, a Melbourne cocktail bar that specialises in history, this ‘drink’ is like a lemon custard, only alcoholic. Here is Reaburn’s recipe:

    Margarita Custard
    A modern take on a 1930s favourite

    Margarita Custard

    30ml Herradura Blanco Tequila or Cuervo 1800 Blanco Tequila
    30ml Cointreau
    20ml fresh lemon juice
    15ml sugar syrup
    1 whole egg.

    Whip ingredients together well. Pour into a heat resistant glass. Heat using the steam wand of a coffee machine until the mixture sets. Garnish with a light dusting of grated nutmeg. Serve with a spoon. Eat while hot!

    I used Trago Silver for the tequila, and 2tsp of sugar instead of the syrup. I’ll be honest, every time I’ve made this I forgot the nutmeg finish. Regardless, the Margarita Custard is amazing. I’ve never tried it at 1806, but have not been disappointed by it at home. Very upfront orange flavour, luxurious texture and a lovely alcohol burn that results from the heat – this can be off putting to some. Being essentially a lemon custard, this is obviously an after dinner treat.

    nom custard

    Lacking a steam wand, I cooked this in the microwave instead. This brings some complications – it is essential that you get the cooking time right lest you end up with scrambled eggs. I have found it hard to get it to a satisfactory overall texture without having a few scrambly bits in, mostly at the bottom of the glass. Whilst these bits can be pretty detrimental to the texture, it’s not such an issue as the drink/food is far more than delicious enough to make up for it. I advise that you start with a shorter microwave time first, check the custard and microwave it further as required. In my microwave, about 40 seconds on the medium high setting does the trick. I have not yet experimented with stirring the mixture during cooking, for fear of ruining the texture, but may try this in the future.

    This is my take on the Morning Glory Fizz. The Morning Glory Fizz was intended as a 19th century hangover cure. Inspired by my favourite bar Der Raum’s own interpretation, the delicious Islay Morning Fizz which uses Ardbeg 10 as a base and rosemary as a garnish, I basically took a standard Morning Glory Fizz recipe and added some Islay scotch and a few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters.

    Morning Glory Fizz

    Morning Glory Fizz

    1 Blended Scotch (Famouse Grouse malt)
    1/2 Islay Scotch (Laphroaig 10)
    3/4 Lemon juice
    3/4 Egg white
    2tsp sugar
    1tsp Absinthe/Pastis (Ricard) (slightly scant, maybe 4mL)
    3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
    ~1 1/2 soda water

    Mime shake the lemon juice, sugar and egg white. Add the blended scotch, Peychaud’s bitters and absinthe to the shaker. Rinse the inside of a chilled wineglass with the Islay Scotch, pouring it into the shaker as well. Shake hard with ice. Strain into the chilled wineglass and top with soda.

    I managed to work a huge and dense foam on it this time. This was probably due to using a freshly opened bottle of soda for the drink, a practise which I heavily recommend for all carbonated drinks but especially egg fizzes, where it is paramount that you build a nice head. It also seems it might be very important with such foam-topped drinks (including the Singapore Sling) to pour the soda directly into the drink, without jiggering. Jiggering the soda takes a lot of the initial fizz away, which I think may really diminish the frothing ability. Of course a lot of other factors were in play when I’ve mixed these drinks, such as freshness of the soda, so I can’t say this entirely conclusively.

    Other notes on the method: I find that mime shaking the sugar with the citrus and egg is enough to dissolve it well. Make sure you don’t add the alcohol at this stage as it inhibits the dissolution of sugar. If you’re using sugar syrup you can just skip that step, of course. I like to rinse with the Islay before shaking the Islay in to get more of it on the nose whilst drinking.


    This was a very nice drink. Nick commented that it was “very well balanced”. In the past when I’ve mixed this the pastis has kind of dominated (not unpleasantly), but this time it played nice with the others, perhaps because I used a mL or two less than I normally poured (hence the scant in the recipe above). After drinking through some of the thick foam, we hit the body of the drink, finding a fizzy citrus tang which gave way to anise flavours and lingering smoke. I think I could have done with a stronger Islay presence in this drink, perhaps using only Islay scotch as the base, but I don’t think I can afford to mix a 1 1/2 ounce pour of single malt every time I want one of these. It’s fantastic as is.


    Having an egg yolk left over from the above drinks, I decided to also give the Golden Gin Fizz a try. Instead of using the recipe I used for the Royal Gin Fizz above, I took my Tom Collins proportions and added the egg yolk, which turned out to not be such a good idea…

    Golden Gin Fizz

    Golden Gin Fizz

    1 1/2 Gin (Beefeater)
    3/4 Lemon juice
    1tsp sugar
    An egg yolk (approximately 15mL)
    ~2 Soda water

    Mime shake lemon juice, sugar and egg yolk to combine and aerate. Add gin, shake hard with ice. Strain into a small tall glass. Top with soda awter.

    This turned out distinctly bitter, perhaps remediable by increasing the sugar content or using Plymouth gin instead. Or maybe the somewhat large soda pour I gave accented the bitterness. Essentially, this would have turned out a better drink had I followed the recipe for the Royal Fizz above and simply omitted the egg white, as the richer nature of the drink calls for more sugar than a tart Collins or plain Fizz. I also prefer the the Royal Gin Fizz overall for its airier texture – the egg white quite improves the mouthfeel. This was still an enjoyable drink, but really, I reckon you might as well throw the whole egg in or stick with an eggless Gin Fizz.

    That’s all for this post. I also made Nick a fresh grapefruit Paloma (which I’ll write about later) and we had a nip of Ferro-China Bisleri, an iron tonic amaro…


    Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 6:16 am  Comments (1)