Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Greta Garbo (Bows)


Because of the popularity of Swedish Punsch at the beginning of the 20th Century, there were a handful of Greta Garbo cocktails named after the Swedish film star. I'm researching and trying them all with my homemade Swedish Punsch.

This cocktail, sometimes called the Greta Garbo Bows, is almost an exact copy of the better known (but still very obscure) Biffy Cocktail. That was one I found really too tart for my liking. Either Swedish Punsch used to be insufferably sweet, or the intention of the bartender was to create something so tart that it was a feature and not a bug of the recipe. See Ink Street, for examples of this. While I get the concept, I often have felt that intensely tart drinks with a low component of spirits were really the stuff of inexperienced Prohibition era bartenders who were trying to divert the drinker's attention from the alcohol. 

Perhaps that is what happened with this cocktail. According to legend Greta Garbo asked a bartender for something that hid the taste of alcohol. When she tried this drink, she bowed to him. It would be something special if it turned out to be true. The drink would be even better with a bit of sugar, though. So I have included it in the recipe just as I did with the Biffy Cocktail. 

  • 1 oz. dry gin (homemade used)
  • 1 oz. Swedish Punsch (homemade used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • sugar syrup to taste (1/2 oz. used)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

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