Sunday, August 5, 2018

Savoy Hotel (Revisited)

I was writing about the Brandy Melba earlier--a drink named after a recipe at the Savoy Hotel--and I recalled that I wanted to take another try at the Savoy Hotel layered cocktail. I have dark creme de cacao, which is necessary for building the heavy sugar bottom layer. Benedictine is less sweet and can sit on top of it.

Martell single distillery cognac is dry and clean tasting, but it isn't much stronger than Benedictine. A lot of care is necessary with this final layer. You really have to be careful. Use a half teaspoon held upside down and placed inside the second layer to do this right. Then pour the cognac down the handle so it spreads out onto the Benedictine. It also helps to up the quantity of the alcohol to make the layers more visible.
  • 3/4 oz. dark creme de cacao
  • 3/4 oz. Benedictine
  • 3/4 oz. brandy (cognac please)
Pour each liquor over a spoon into a pousse cafe glass, gently layering them in the order that they are listed.

Diamond Head

I'm not sure if this cocktail is named after the Hawaii volcano state monument on Oahu, but it is monumental. Look at that head of foam that tops this potent drink! Gin and apricot brandy with lemon  juice are a perfect combination you see over and over. Then there's egg white, which makes this cocktail a lot like a gin sour with apricot.

MurLarkey ImaGination gin is a good choice for this drink because it has a hefty botanical load that keeps things interesting where other gins would get overwhelmed by egg white and lemon juice.
  • 2 oz. gin (ImaGination used)
  • 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Chelsea Sidecar

A drink named after the posh London neighborhood of Chelsea requires a posh London gin. Boodles is the much-asked-for classic dry gin from London. You won't see it in the U.S. that much, and much less now that American gin is all the rage. But there is something to be said of an old standard. And while the Gin Sidecar is slowly giving way to it original brandy forebears, a Boodles Sidecar is still smashing, baby.
  • 2 oz. gin (Boodles used)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Apple Annie's Fruit Punch

This punch was delicious, fun and easy to make. It is the perfect punch for summer afternoons and picnics. I was afraid at first that it would be too strong for my guests, but it was very balanced once the sodas were added. The fresh fruit is also a nice touch. In addition to oranges, lemons, apples and raspberries, I added farm fresh blueberries.

The spirit I used here was Laird's Applejack 86. It was strong enough to taste under all the juice, but a real apple brandy and not some jacked cider, weak with no taste.
  • 1 bottle or 1 liter apple brandy (Laird's used)
  • 3 oz. raspberry liqueur (Chambord used)
  • 10 0z orange juice
  • 8 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • 1 liter sparkling water or lemon lime soda
  • 1 apple sliced thin
  • 1 lemon sliced thin
  • 12-15 raspberries
Combine applejack, raspberry liqueur and fruit juices in a large punch bowl and stir well. Refrigerate for an hour and add a large block of ice before serving. Add the sodas and fruit just before serving and stir again. Serves 20.

Pendennis Club Cocktail

I was surprised at how elegant this cocktail was. Tart, yet bitter, a bit harsh but well balanced--sort of like on the edge of comfort that is more exciting than unpleasant. If that's not an endorsement, than it is just best to say that the Pendennis Club is classic and requires appreciation and the right ingredients.

The recipe calls for Peychaud's bitters, and I used the maximum amount, five dashes, to provide the pink color and the dry bitterness it is known for. I also wanted a strong and less juniper tasting gin, so Battle Standard Navy Strength it was. My own apricot brandy made up the sweetness.
  • 2 oz. gin (Battle Standard Navy Strength used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 3-5 dashes Peuchaud's bitters
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Creamy Screwdriver

The Screwdriver is as common as dirt. Not that it's bad. It serves a function of being easy to make and refreshing. But the more uncommon Creamy Screwdriver has egg yolk and is blended. It doesn't get more unusual than that.

And it's good. Blending egg yolk adds a thickness that is hard to identify. It is creamy, helped along by a creamy vodka like Divine Clarity. It is the perfect early afternoon smoothie that doubles as lunch and a drink.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Divine Clarity used)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 6 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled highball glass. 


This is one of the more tart cocktails I've ever had. 2 oz. of lemon juice are mouth-puckeringly sour. If you sit with it a while, though, you start to recognize the sweetness of the apple brandy and see that it isn't so bad. A lot like seeing by moonlight, your senses have to adjust.

This is the first cocktail I've made with a new product from Laird's distillery--Applejack 86. The label states that the spirit is 100-percent apple brandy. The "applejack" appellation works to make the spirit more folksy and more like the ever-popular whiskey. Brandy is not a spirit that's in favor right now, so that makes sense. This was an easy cocktail to make, but not a great introduction to apple brandy.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice.