A majority of the time, pre-Prohibition cocktail books are the research materials I use for creating new cocktails or when I'm looking to serve something new to my guests. They are some great sources for reprints of the old tomes. Probably the best would be Amazon or, my favorite, Cocktail Kingdom. While many of these books are a fascinating look at how bars were run in the early 1900s and the recipes that were cataloged at the time, they don't necessarily delve into the history of the drinks or their particular place in American history.
Some of the flavors that I tend to associate with cold weather drinking are those that I associate with baking. In fact I call these flavors "baking spices." What I'm referring to are the common flavors of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. While these flavors can and are used year-round, there is just something about the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg coming from the kitchen when the weather is frosty and snow is on the horizon.
We've already talked about making a proper Martini and if you've read that article, the recipe in today's article will look familiar. The Hanky Panky is almost identical to a martini made with sweet vermouth but with the addition of one extra ingredient. While the martini has its own history, the Hanky Panky also has its own fantastic tale.
One of my favorite liqueurs is Chartreuse. The spicy, herbal, and sweet liquor has been produced by the Carthusian Monks in France since the early 1700's. The two most common types found in the liquor store is the Green or Yellow variety. The Green variety, arguably the most popular, comes in at 110 proof and is flavored with 132 plants and herbs. It's color comes from the chlorophyll in these herbs and plants. The Yellow variety is much milder in flavor and slightly sweeter. It clocks in at 80 proof. There are a few other versions of Chartreuse but these are generally much more expensive and hard to find.
This past Saturday I was teaching a class on cocktail bitters and one of the students mentioned they had purchased a well-known cocktail book and it only contained two recipes containing bitters. That got me thinking about drinks where bitters are an essential ingredient AND are so simple in execution that it would seem difficult to mess up.
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