Friday, February 13, 2015

1922's Cocktails - How to Mix Them: With Five Great Holiday Drinks

Vintage Cookbook: Cocktails - How to Mix Them, "Robert"
Publication Details: Various editions and publishers. First published 1922

Published originally in 1922, Cocktails - How to Mix Them went on to become one of the most successful cocktail books ever printed. It ran through multiple editions over decades and remains, if you have a copy, a great resource for mixing some classic drinks.

Commonly printed in a handy pocket format, it was written and compiled by "Robert" of the "American Bar, Casino Municipal, Nice, and late of the Embassy Club, London." The "Robert" was Robert Vermeire, a well known bartender in the London club scene of the 1920's.

The book has not only Cocktails, but also Rickeys, Slings, Sours, Coolers, Cobblers and many, many more varieties of intoxicating blends, as well as a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails. It is introduced with a fanciful "history" of the cocktail as well as instructions on properly mixing them, shaking versus stirring, and so on. It ends with a fun "Do You Know That-" section of what amounts to alcohol trivia. 

Today we will share four drinks from the book (exactly as originally published) that go perfectly with winter and the holiday long weekend (if you are in Ontario), and I will throw in one of my own making, The Caribbean Admiral, as an added holiday bonus!

[Editor's Note: The gill is unit of measure that has fallen out of use and is the equivalent, in the case of this book, of a quarter pint. Wikipedia has an entry giving some equivalencies.)

Hot Apple Jack Sling

Fill a tumbler half full of boiling water and Sugar Syrup to sweeten, 3/4 gill of Apple Jack Brandy or Calvados, and stir up gently. Squeeze the peel of a lemon into the glass, and add grated nutmeg.
Some people prefer a tablespoonful of fresh lemon juice also in it.

Hot Spiced Rum

Put into a tumbler 2 or 3 lumps of sugar and dissolve them in a little boiling water, add:
1 gill of Old Jamaica Rum
1 piece of butter as large as a small walnut
1 tablespoon of spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg).
Fill the glass with boiling water. Stir up well and serve.

Dragoon Punch

This punch is a favourite drink in the Northern countries of Europe, principally in Sweden and Norway. Here is the recipe for a party of four people:
1/2 gill of Brandy
1/2 gill of Dry Sherry
A small bottle of Stout
A small bottle of Lager Beer
1 bottle of Champagne
Sweeten according to taste and decorate with thin slices of lemon.
This punch is usually prepared in a big bowl, and the mixture must be well iced.


The Gluhwein is a German hot Claret Toddy, made as follows:
In a saucepan put 2 lumps of sugar, 1 slice of lemon, 1 piece of cinnamon and 1/2 pint of Claret. Boil and serve as hot as possible.

[Editor's Note: "Claret" is a generic term for a French or Bordeaux style red wine.]

The Caribbean Admiral

My own concoction, this is based on a drink I tried, known as an "Admiral", and modified to my own taste by substituting Ginger Beer for Ginger Ale and making a few other modifications! It is rather strong and warms without the need for any actual heat!

In a large tumbler place 2 ounces Rye Whiskey, 1 ounce bitters (like Alpenbitter), 1 ounce lime juice and 6 ounces chilled Ginger Beer. Mix by either gently shaking or stirring thoroughly. Serve poured over a two-or-three ice cubes in a large glass. (As an alternative, vermouth can replace the bitters, though I prefer bitters).


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