(I know, it's supposed to be Mixology Monday, not Mixology Friday, but it took a few days for me to straggle over.)
This month's theme suited me fairly well, as I had a couple of drinks on standby that fit the theme quite well, to wit -- "your variation of a classic recipe, or compare several variations of the same recipe, or anything really," as detailed by this month's host Jimmy Patrick of Jimmy's Cocktail Hour. Here's one I've mentioned in here before, but as it's one of my favorite recent variations I thought I'd give it another go. Sorry to flog this one again, but being sick for the last week left me little opportunity for experimentation, alas.
Several years ago, someone emailed me a recipe for a cocktail along with a story. According to the story, Rat Pack denizen Peter Lawford was fond of drinking one particular cocktail, and any Vegas bartender who didn't know it would end up having Lawford talk him through it. Whether it was his own invention or not was unclear, but I have yet to find a reference to it anywhere, or to the Lawford story. The cocktail had a very simple recipe:
2 ounces gin.
1 ounce Cointreau.
2 dashes pastis.
Rinse the glass with pastis and discard excess. Combine remaining ingredients with ice and shake for 10-12 seconds. Garnish with an orange peel.
Wesly and I tried it and rather liked it, and we credit the Preview Cocktail for being a big factor in moving us toward an appreciation of the joys of gin.
After our 2004 trip to Ireland to see Planxty, I started thinking about how some of those flavors would work with whiskey, and after a bit of experimentation came up with this one. Use a good, spicy orange bitters like Regans' (and I'd love to try this with Angostura Orange Bitters, if they'd hurry up and release them over here!). Mix it up and raise your glass to Van the Man. It's a long way to Buffalo, and a long long way to Belfast city too ...
St. Dominic's Preview
2 ounces Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey.
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier.
2 dashes orange bitters.
2 dashes Herbsaint, Pernod or other pastis.
Dash the pastis into a chilled cocktail glass and swirl around to coat. Discard the excess (or leave it in, if you like). Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing glass and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into the pastis-coated glass, and garnish with a curly orange twist.
One more that I'd flogged a couple of times on the blog before too -- as long as I'm lazily blogflogging cocktails we might as well toss this one back into the pond. In fact, it came up again here about four months ago, but perhaps the MxMO post might give it an opportunity to make it out to more readers than the handful o' yas who hang out here.
It's a pretty durn good drink, I think, and ended up becoming a favorite of one particular country and Western musician who visited our place once. Guys in his line of work might think such a drink to be "girly," yet after finishing his first and raving about it, he asked for two more. Yee-haw!
The original recipe came from a book I found on antique cocktail shakers, and I was taken with the name -- Tiger Lillet. (I'm always up for an awful pun.) The name was great, but something about the recipe looked a bit strange. They listed it as "1/3 Lillet, 1/3 Van der Hum, 1/6 Maraschino syrup." Hmm, well, that's only 5/6 of a drink. And "Maraschino syrup"? Do they mean that red crap in the jar of "maraschino" cherries? Or did they mean a true cherry syrup? Fortunately some digging on the web revealed the actual recipe, which was the winner of the World Cocktail Championship in London in 1952, created by a barman known to history only as "Mr. J. Jones." (Oh yeah, that guy!) Here's Mr. Jones' original:
1/3 Van der Hum.
1/6 Dry Vermouth.
Stir and strain. Serve with small piece of orange peel.
That looks a LOT better, and it's clear that Mr. Jones meant maraschino liqueur. However, at the time, I couldn't find any Van der Hum, which is a South African tangerine-spice liqueuer based on brandy, and at the time I really wasn't a fan of dry vermouth at all. I started tinkering, substituting for the Van der Hum a tangerine liqueur that I did have on hand, taking out the vermouth and adding something to give it a bit more oomph. I also needed a good name that was just as punny. Inspiration finally struck for the name, which came from someone I've oved and admired for a very long time and whose work has given me a great deal of enjoyment since childhood. And that's the truttthhhhhh.
The Lillet Tomlin
Offer your guests a gracious hello!
Then combine in a mixing glass:
1 ounce Lillet blanc.
1 ounce Mandarine Napoleon liqueur.
1/2 ounce Maraschino liqueur.
1/2 ounce Cognac.
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass, then garnish with a brandied cherry and an orange wheel. Garnish additionally with two ringy-dingys and serve to the party to which you are speaking.
I managed to get this drink as close as two degrees of separation from its namesake. An old friend of mine was working as camera operator on a film starring Miss Tomlin a while back, and I gave him the recipe and the story behind it and asked him if he could pass it on to her. He did! She was "fascinated," very flattered and told him to thank me, but unfortunately this did not result in an invitation for me to come to the set and mix one for her. Sigh.
(OK, I promise not to post this one again for a long time.)
Don't forget to check out Jimmy's wrap-up post of all the MxMo "Variations" entries for this month, and Happy Mixlogy Monday (four days late)!