Q.B. Cooler – Classic Recipe & History

Q.B. Cooler
Q.B. Cooler

What Does Q.B Mean?

If you are a former Air Force, you probably already know the answer to this, but the Q.B. in the Q.B. Cooler stands for Quiet Birdmen. Donn Beach served in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) from 1942 to 1945. The Quite Birdmen is an invite-only club of former military aviators formed at the end of WWI in France. Originally a drinking club named The American Flying Club, they eventually earned the name Quite Birdmen as a joke since they were often loud and drunk. As a former Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Air Forces, it seems fitting to name a drink after the Air Forces drinking club. (Originally, aerial warfare was a part of the Army as the Army Air Corps till 1941, then Army Air Forces in 1942, It wouldn’t become a separate branch till 1947 when the US Air Force was formed)

Did The Q.B Cooler Inspire the Mai Tai?

There is a typical story that Donn Beach’s Q.B. Cooler inspired Victor Bergeron (Trader Vic) and made the Mai Tai in an attempt to imitate it. But I don’t buy that. 1). The Mai Tai and Q.B. Cooler are almost entirely different drinks. It doesn’t help that there are countless recipes for the two, but the more or less agreed-upon canon recipes are very different from each other. If Victor Bergeron was trying to copy the Q.B. Cooler, he completely missed the mark. 2). Victor Bergeron did not hide when Donn Beach inspired him. He was public about how Don the Beachcomber inspired him to open a tiki bar. Also, he cited the cocktails he did try and mimic from Donn as cocktails inspired by and originally from Don the Beachcomber. Why would he suddenly act differently with this one drink? 3). I gather this story was started by a bartender of Donn’s and not Donn himself. Donn did not hide his frustration with others trying to copy his work, and he did not sue Victor Bergeron for copying his Q.B Cooler. Victor sued him. This leads to my final point. 4). Victor Bergeron and Donn Beach went to court to argue who’s Mai Tai was the original. Victor sold a pre-made “Original” Mai Tai mixer, and in the 1970s, Donn Beach began selling a pre-made “Original” Mai Tai mixer. The two went to court to argue who invented the original. Victor Bergeron won, and Donn removed “Original” from the label. I believe if Victor Bergeron tried to copy the Q.B. Cooler, he would have just made a drink called the Q.B Cooler and credited Donn Beach with having invented it.

Don the Beachcomber’s Forgotten Recipes.

Immediately after the 21st amendment had repealed prohibition, Donn Beach opened Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood, California. Donn single-handedly created the first Tiki bar and, with it, tiki culture. But like most innovators, Donn was worried about others copying his Hollywood-style Polynesian-themed bar and profiting off his ideas. Donn would show up a few hours before the bar opened, mix large batches of his spice mixes and mixers, and give them nondescriptive labels like Donn’s spice mix #1, #2, #3, or Donn’s Zombie Mix, Grog Mix, Gardenia mix. This was all done to hide the recipes. Donn never told the other bartenders or published a recipe, and while he did open other bars, his recipes never got out. Thus Donn’s original recipes died with him in 1989. So keep that in mind anytime you see a Don the Beachcomber cocktail; it is never an original recipe, just the best guess. And some guesses are better than others. Tiki was a lawless free for all for a little over a decade with no continuity between drinks of the same name. There is still a lot of that today. How many Mai Tai recipes have you seen even though we know the original canon recipe for it?

In the late 90s, a Tiki cocktail enthusiast named Jeff Berry came along with the intent of preserving the old recipes and Tiki culture and helping revitalize the public interest in it. Jeff interviewed old bartenders of Donn the Beachcombers and set out to recreate Donn’s secret recipes to the best of their knowledge. Gathering whatever information he could and testing recipes against people who remembered what the old drinks tasted like, he is credited with having saved recipes that would otherwise be lost to time. Remember that these are not Donn’s original recipe but Jeff’s best attempts at recreating them and that Jeff Beachbum Berry is probably the closest one to get it right.

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Q.B. Cooler

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

256

kcal
ABV

27%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make an Q.B. Cooler

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice

  • 1/2 oz Orange Juice

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 dashes Absinthe

  • 1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

  • 2 oz Black Rum

  • 1 oz White Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker, and add a scoop of shaved ice. If you do not have shaved ice then crushed ice will do.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Pour the whole shaker into the serving glass. Ice and all

Notes

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Chrysanthemum – Classic Recipe & History

Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum

What Does The Chrysanthemum Taste Like?

From The 1934 Savoy Cocktail Book, The Chrysanthemum is a beautiful example of the kind of cocktails invented in Europe during American Prohibition. With heavier use of European liqueurs and favoring more complex herbal flavors over the more American spirit-forward cocktails, the Chrysanthemum is a beautiful, herbal, bright, and both lightly sweet and dry cocktail. If you are looking for something new that will become one of your favorites, try the Chrysanthemum. This is not an exaggeration. The taste of this cocktail blew my mind. It’s that good.

A Short History Of The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel In London.

In 1893, The American Bar at the Savoy hotel started serving American-style cocktails in London to the British upper class. The American Bar has always been a high-end bar but what set it on the map was when Harry Craddock became its head bartender in the 1920s. Harry Craddock was a British-born bartender who immigrated to the United States, eventually becoming a US citizen and head bartender of several high-end hotel bars. Still, Harry found himself out of work with the start of prohibition in 1920. He then immigrated back to England and became head bartender of the Savoy Hotel’s Bar. Harry transformed The American Bar from a high-end bar to one of the seminal cocktail bars of the 20th century. As the American prohibition ended, the hotel realized it should record all of its most famous recipes and the innovations Harry brought to the bar. A year later, they published the Savoy Cocktail Book. Printed in 1934, the Savoy Cocktail Book documents the bar’s best recipes from the 1890s to the 1930s and stands as the pillar of prohibition-era European cocktail innovation. If Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide is the best cocktail book the 1800s gave us, then The Savoy Cocktail Book is the best cocktail book of the first half of the 1900s. I don’t think I will ever be able to drink there, though. A cocktail cost around $250 there, and they have one that’s almost $1000, and I’m not the Amazon guy, so good thing we have their recipe book.

The Garnish Is Absolutely Important

The most essential ingredient in the Chrysanthemum is the expressed orange peel garnish. There is only one Benedictine so that easy and good dry vermouth is also necessary, but the subtle flavor the orange oil adds makes this a fantastic drink. The garnish is rarely what makes a drink, but with the Chrysanthemum’s case, it’s essential. If you do not have an orange for the peel, orange bitters work well. I think it tastes better with a dash of orange bitters instead, but an expressed orange peel is traditional.

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Chrysanthemum

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: British
Servings

1

servings
Calories

155

kcal
ABV

26%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Chrysanthemum.

Ingredients

  • 3 dashes Absinthe

  • 1 oz Benedictine

  • 2 oz Dry Vermouth

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass.
  • Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink and strain into a glass.
  • Garnish with an expressed orange peel.

Notes

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Absinthe Drip – Original Recipe & History

Absinthe Drip
Absinthe Drip

The History Of Absinthe.

Absinthe was invented in the 1790s by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire, a French Pharmacist living in Switzerland at the time, as a way to kill intestinal tapeworms. The Pharmacist figured that wormwood oil would be even more effective at killing worms if mixed with super high-proof alcohol. Absinthe would be bottled anywhere from 50 to 75% alcohol. To make it taste better if it was primarily flavored with star anise and fennel. In 1912 absinthe was banned for public safety because wormwood oil is dangerous in high doses, and people would begin to hallucinate at toxic levels. LSD had pink elephants, and Absinthe had the green fairy. It was replaced with other anise-flavored alcohols that lacked wormwood oil, and in 2007 the ban was lifted, and Absinthe is legally able to be sold again. This time minus the wormwood.

Absinthe Drip Without A Sugar Cube.

You don’t need a sugar cube if you don’t want to add it, but without some kind of sweetener, an Absinthe Drip is a bit too intense. I wouldn’t recommend not having some sugar added. Simple syrup and plain water will work fine too. The sugar cube does not affect the color of the cocktail and is there to make the high level of oils more palatable. Again this all goes back to when Absinthe was used as an essential medicine, and a common way to make medicine taste better was to add sugar. Also, the drip speed doesn’t matter; add the water fast or drip it slow. I’ve tried not adding sugar before, and it isn’t very good. It tastes like drinking the essential oils you would add to a diffuser. Also, the fountain and spoon are all part of the presentation and more theatrics than necessary to make the drink.

Why Does Absinthe Turn A Milky White Color In Water?

So there is quite a bit of star anise, fennel, coriander, and other wood oils in the absinthe. It’s these oils that give it its intense flavor and also provide its medicinal qualities. Lipids, like oil, are soluble in alcohol because they are very similar molecularly. Likes dissolve likes. Therefore the high percentage of alcohol and low percentage of water can act as a solution to the herb oil and keep them in a clear, evenly suspended solution. Once the alcohol to water ratio drops low enough, as in the case of this cocktail, the strongly hydrophobic oil is repelled by the water and separates from the ethanol molecule. The oil then bonds to other free-floating repelled oils. We perceive these large groups of suspended oil molecules as cloudiness.

Typically the oil molecules will keep bonding together until they form a fat blob of oil (pun intended) that floats to the top, just like a balsamic vinaigrette. This effect is called the Ostwald Ripening effect. But unlike balsamic vinaigrette, Absinthe with water will stay cloudy almost indefinitely. Why? The truth is, scientists, don’t fully know why. This effect is called the Ouzo Effect or Louching. The scientist discovered that at a certain point, the oil molecules stopped bonding together, and these small groups of oil floated evenly away from the surrounding alcohol, water, and other oil groups. And they don’t know why. Some of their guesses are that after the oil molecule broke free of the alcohol molecule, it picked up a slight negative charge. Once enough oil bonds together, the charge is strong enough to push away from the other negatively charged oil groups. Another guess is that maybe the Osmotic pressure kept them from further bonding together. This effect can be observed in any liqueur made from infused oil. The orange liqueur will do the same thing when adding water, Limoncello, essential oils, etc. It’s nothing specific to Absinthe but any oil-infused high-proof solution.

A noncocktail example is dissolving natural lipid-based, saponified soap in water to drive the point home further. Most “soap” these days are detergents and not true soap. Actual chemically correct soap is a combination of oils and glycerol. An easy-to-find natural soap is Dr. Bonner’s liquid Castile soap. Add it to water and see it turn cloudy like absinthe. The oils are bonded to glycerol and alcohol, and when the soap dissolves in the water, it turns a cloudy white color.

Absinthe And The Green Fairy.

Absinthe earned the title of the Green Fairy in the 1800s because of the madness it was said to give those who drank it. This madness was most likely the result of just drinking too many of them and getting blackout drunk, and at 50 – 75% ABV, that’s very easy to do. It is also possible that wormwood is toxic to humans at high enough doses and can bring about psychosis and eventually death. There is a saying that the only difference between a remedy and a poison is quality. It didn’t help absinthe’s image that many artists and social outcasts were fans of this cocktail, and some of their more eccentric behaviors were believed to be the results of drinking too much absinthe. So for better or worse, in 1912, Absinthe was banned in most of Europe and the United States and replaced in many cocktails by the much lower proof anise Liqueur. But if you would like to experience the cocktail that enchanted Oscar Wilde, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and many others, give this simple drink a taste.

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Absinthe Drip

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: French
Servings

1

servings
Calories

201

kcal
ABV

16%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make an Absinthe Drip.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Absinthe

  • 1/3 oz Simple Syrup

  • 4 oz Water

Directions

  • Simply combine Ice cold water with simple syrup and absinthe in a cup and enjoy.
  • For a fancier presentation place a sugar cube on a slotted absinthe spoon over cup with absinthe.
  • Slowly drip ice cold water from an absinthe fountain onto the sugar cube to dissolve it.
  • Add as much or as little water as needed for the desired taste.

Notes

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
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White Lily – Classic Recipe

White Lily Cocktail
White Lily Cocktail

What Does The White Lily Taste Like?

The white lily is a fantastic cocktail. It is clean and strong with a delicate orange and herbal flavor. If you wanted to group it, then it’s more along the lines of a vesper or dry martini. The white lily does many things right that it’s really impressive—lightly sweet, strong, and delicate flavor, citrusy and herbal.

A Short History Of The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel In London.

In 1893, The American Bar at the Savoy hotel started serving American-style cocktails in London to the British upper class. The American Bar has always been a high-end bar but what set it on the map was when Harry Craddock became its head bartender in the 1920s. Harry Craddock was a British-born bartender who immigrated to the United States, eventually becoming a US citizen and head bartender of several high-end hotel bars. Still, Harry found himself out of work with the start of prohibition in 1920. He then immigrated back to England and became head bartender of the Savoy Hotel’s Bar. Harry transformed The American Bar from a high-end bar to one of the seminal cocktail bars of the 20th century. As the American prohibition was ending, the hotel realized it should record all of its most famous recipes and the innovations Harry brought to the bar. A year later, they published the Savoy Cocktail Book. Printed in 1934, the Savoy Cocktail Book documents the bar’s best recipes from the 1890s to the 1930s and stands as the pillar of prohibition-era European cocktail innovation. If Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide is the best cocktail book the 1800s gave us, then The Savoy Cocktail Book is the best cocktail book of the first half of the 1900s. I don’t think I will ever be able to drink there, though. A cocktail cost around $250 there, and they have one that’s almost $1000, and I’m not the Amazon guy, so good thing we have their recipe book.

Use The Right Orange Liqueur.

The most essential ingredient in the white lily is the orange liqueur. You have to use Cointreau, no other brand works, and I will tell you why. When mixing any cocktail, it’s best to use a neutral base spirit, orange liqueur, like Cointreau, and not one that uses an aged-based spirit, like Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is excellent stuff and wonderful to drink by itself, but the color is off, and aged oaked brandy flavors compete with the cocktail’s other flavors. It’s excellent for sipping, not so much for mixing drinks. It specifically has to be Cointreau and not another brand of dry neutral orange liqueur because Cointreau has a ton of orange peel oils dissolved in it. This cocktail’s beautiful pale white color is the dissolved oils in the orange liqueur breaking off the alcohol molecule they are attached to in a process called the Ouzo effect or louching. It is similar to how absinthe turns pale white when you add water. Cointreau does too, but to a much lesser degree since it has fewer dissolved oils than absinthe. The amount of oil capable of being dissolved in a liqueur will be proportional to the ABV of the liqueur. At 40% ABV, Cointreau has far more orange peel oil than an orange liqueur would at 35, 30, or 25% ABV. The oil also adds a lot of flavors, but only Cointreau will give you that beautiful look and intense orange flavor. Again other orange liqueurs will still taste good but will not have the same appearance. Check out my Absinthe drip description for a more detailed explanation of the Ouzo effect.

Recipe Resources

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White Lily

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: British
Servings

1

servings
Calories

238

kcal
ABV

40%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a classic White Lily.

Ingredients

  • 5 dashes Absinthe

  • 1 oz Orange Liqueur

  • 1 oz White Rum

  • 1 oz Dry Gin

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass. Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.
  • Garnish with an expressed lemon peel.

Recipe Video

Notes

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Biter Cocktail – Recipe

Biter Cocktail
Biter Cocktail

What Does The Biter Cocktail Taste Like?

The Biter cocktail is very similar to the Last Word, and if you like the last word, you will like this one too. The Biter is a bit more boozy, complex, and herbal than the Last Word, but they are very similar again. This is a tough one to describe. It’s herbal, slightly sweet, and a little sour. Don’t be fooled by its pretty color. It’s very strong and very herbal.

A Short History Of The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel In London.

In 1893, The American Bar at the Savoy hotel started serving American-style cocktails in London to the British upper class. The American Bar has always been a high-end bar but what set it on the map was when Harry Craddock became its head bartender in the 1920s. Harry Craddock was a British-born bartender who immigrated to the United States, eventually becoming a US citizen and head bartender of several high-end hotel bars. Still, Harry found himself out of work with the start of prohibition in 1920. He then immigrated back to England and became head bartender of the Savoy Hotel’s Bar. Harry transformed The American Bar from a high-end bar to one of the seminal cocktail bars of the 20th century. As the American prohibition was ending, the hotel realized it should record all of its most famous recipes and the innovations Harry brought to the bar. A year later, they published the Savoy Cocktail Book. Printed in 1934, the Savoy Cocktail Book documents the bar’s best recipes from the 1890s to the 1930s and stands as the pillar of prohibition-era European cocktail innovation. If Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide is the best cocktail book the 1800s gave us, then The Savoy Cocktail Book is the best cocktail book of the first half of the 1900s. I don’t think I will ever be able to drink there, though. A cocktail cost around $250 there, and they have one that’s almost $1000, and I’m not the Amazon guy, so good thing we have their recipe book.

Recipe Resources

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Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App

Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.

Biter Cocktail

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: British
Servings

1

servings
Calories

241

kcal
ABV

34%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a Biter Cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Absinthe

  • 1/3 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1/3 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2/3 oz Green Chartreuse

  • 1.5 oz Dry Gin

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards.

Notes

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Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Sazerac – Original Recipe & History

Sazerac
Sazerac

The Origins And History Of The Sazerac Cocktail.

The most complete history of the Sazerac cocktail comes from Stanley Clisby Arthur in his 1938 book “Famous New Orleans Drinks and how to mix ’em.” It is not the oldest written recipe, though. That goes to the 1908 book “The World’s Drinks and how to Mix Them” by Boothby. However, the latter Arthur’s history and recipe are considered canon today.

John B. Schiller was a New Orleans agent and distributor for “Sazerac-de-Forge et fils,” who operated out of a location on Canal and Royal Street. Schiller acquired the site in 1859 and opened a bar in the rear of the building facing Exchange Alley/Place, where he made all kinds of drinks and cocktails elusively with Sazerac-de-Forge Brandy. The location was named Sazerac Coffee House, and a large tiled mosaic of the word Sazerac was placed at the bar’s entrance. While writing this history in 1938, Arthur says the mosaic was still there, but the location was currently a barbershop.

The bar’s namesake cocktail, The Sazerac, was probably more like the recipe in the 1908 Boothby book. Schiller’s original Sazerac is described by Arthur (Who got this history from Leon Dupont, who worked as a bartender there a few years later) as a simple Brandy, Peychaud’s bitters, and sugar cocktail. It’s debated when Absinthe was first added. In 1870 the bar was bought by Schiller’s bookkeeper Thomas H. Handy. The large tile mosaic was just too nice, and Handy kept the mosaic and changed the name to “Sazerac House” since Handy was not an exclusive distributor with Sazerac, he no longer felt obligated only to use Sazerac Brandy in the bar’s cocktails. The Sazerac recipe changed, and the brandy was replaced with rye whiskey, and Dupont says this was when absinthe was added too. The recipe provided here is from the 1938 book “Famous New Orleans Drinks and how to mix ’em” by Leon Dupont. Dupont was a bartender at the Sazerac House under Thomas Handy and claimed this is how they made the Sazerac while he worked there. I did double the volumes since it made a very short drink.

What is Selner Bitters?

In the 1908 Boothby Book, he states that one of the ingredients is Selner bitters. From all the research I could do, I can not find anything on what Selner Bitters were, and no one else ever references them. Boothby’s book is the only book in which these bitters are ever mentioned. But they did exist. On page 5 of the New Orleans Daily Crescent from May 14, 1859, an import distributor named S. Wolff has “Selner’s German Bitters” for sale in his newspaper ad. This verifies that those specific bitters were present in New Orleans when John B. Schiller opened the Sazerac Coffee house. For context, this ad is from there is a slave auction ad above it. What did these imported german bitters taste like? Who knows.
I cannot find any reference to them in other cocktails books from the 1800s, and they are used in only two recipes in Boothby’s book. They were not common. People reading Boothby’s book in 1908 had probably never heard even then, and p. I tried to look in the german newspaper and historical literature websites, but since I do not understand German, I did not get very far. Selner wasn’t the only bitter tonic advertised as a “German Bitter.” There were a few others, the most popular being Dr. Hooflands German Bitters. This makes me wonder if German bitters have a consistent style and taste. Based on the benefits Hooflands German Bitters provided, I would guess they were a juniper, camomile, ginger bitter with cocaine and cannabis. Perhaps it’s a fashion similar to Underberg. We may never know.

Should The Sazerac Be Made With Brandy Or Rye?

Neither way is wrong. It just depends on which recipe you are making and what you like. I don’t doubt the authenticity of Boothby’s 1908 recipe, but the use of Selner’s German Bitters makes this version impossible to recreate. The later 1938 Arthur recipe is the most well know, but even the author says it was first made with Brandy. So it’s up to you. Try both and see which you prefer. I prefer it made with rye whiskey, but both are good.

Recipe Resources

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Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App

Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.

Sazerac

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

226

kcal
ABV

34%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a classic Sazerac.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 oz Simple Syrup

  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 3 oz Rye Whiskey

  • 2 dash Absinthe

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass. Garnish with an expressed lemon peel

Recipe Video

Notes

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Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Rattlesnake – Original Recipe & History

Rattlesnake
Rattlesnake

What Does The Rattlesnake Taste Like?

This tastes very similar to a whiskey sour with egg whites. They taste almost the same, but the small addition of absinthe does add an excellent herbal profile to the cocktail. If you like sours and herbal flavors, this is one to try. The Savoy Cocktail Book claimed it was so strong it could cure a rattlesnake bite, but it’s not that intense, it’s pretty lovely, and I would say an improvement over the standard whiskey sour.

A Short History Of The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel In London.

In 1893, The American Bar at the Savoy hotel started serving American-style cocktails in London to the British upper class. The American Bar has always been a high-end bar but what set it on the map was when Harry Craddock became its head bartender in the 1920s. Harry Craddock was a British-born bartender who immigrated to the United States, eventually becoming a US citizen and head bartender of several high-end hotel bars. Still, Harry found himself out of work with the start of prohibition in 1920. He then immigrated back to England and became head bartender of the Savoy Hotel’s Bar. Harry transformed The American Bar from a high-end bar to one of the seminal cocktail bars of the 20th century. As the American prohibition was ending, the hotel realized it should record all of its most famous recipes and the innovations Harry brought to the bar. A year later, they published the Savoy Cocktail Book. Printed in 1934, the Savoy Cocktail Book documents the bar’s best recipes from the 1890s to the 1930s and stands as the pillar of prohibition-era European cocktail innovation. If Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide is the best cocktail book the 1800s gave us, then The Savoy Cocktail Book is the best cocktail book of the first half of the 1900s. I don’t think I will ever be able to drink there, though. A cocktail cost around $250 there, and they have one that’s almost $1000, and I’m not the Amazon guy, so good thing we have their recipe book.

How To Get Egg White Right In Cocktails.

Cocktails with egg whites are difficult cocktails to get right, and anyone who says otherwise is projecting a false image. Everyone who has made a fizz has had one of these pops open on them while shaking, only to make a mess. The best advice I can pass on to making any fizz cocktail is it comes down to 2 things; Technique and chemistry. A common technique that works very well is using a dry shake. A dry shake is shaking all your ingredients together without ice first to make forming the foam easier. The foam will still form with ice, but you will work twice as hard for half the result if you shake with ice first. The first shake is only about 20-30 seconds of vigorous shaking, but this is the part that forms most of your foam. A little tip here is to wrap a kitchen towel around the seal of your shaker because no matter how strong you are or how tight your grip, it will pop open a little. As the egg whites unfold, they can expand up to 8x their original size, thus increasing the pressure inside the shaker and forcing small amounts of the sugary egg mix to squirt out. Wrapping a small towel around the shaker will catch this and keep things clean.

Next and more important is chemistry. You have to get the science right for egg whites to foam properly. Denaturing/unfolding egg protein into a meringue is more science than brawn, and a friend of mine who is a baker once gave me this advice for how she made meringue at the bakery.

  1. Keep it room temperature.
  2. Use an acid to help break the proteins hydrogen bonds and unfold it in addition to beating it.
  3. Use sugar to stabilize the foam from collapsing and to form smaller bubbles.

A mistake I made for a long time was using eggs fresh from the fridge. Even if I’m doing a dry shake, I’m still starting with cold ingredients. So take the eggs out and let them come to room temperature first. Cold egg protein is much more stable and difficult to break apart than if it is at room temperature. The next tip is to use acid. Bakers will use cream of tartar as the acid helps accelerate the denaturing process along with beating it. In the cocktail, we use lemon or lime juice. It is much, much harder to form a foam without using an acid. The last bit of advice is to use sugar to stabilize the foamed protein from collapsing. A sweet liqueur alone isn’t enough. I’ve tried making fizzes with just liqueurs for sweeter alone, and they have never formed a good foam. This needs real simple syrup. If you don’t use sugar in your Fizz, what will happen is the foam will develop, but it will collapse back into the liquid just as fast, and you will be left with a thin layer of lame bubbles on top. It will still taste the same and be good, but that beautiful foam will be gone, and for these drinks, the large foam head is the garnish. The sugar makes the water “wetter” and helps keep the suspended air inside from combining into larger bubbles. This helps form a smoother micro bubble foam.

Cocktails with egg whites are some of the most elegant and sublime cocktails, but they are not the easiest to make. Eventually, you can get to a point where you can make them correctly and consistently, but it can take a while and many failed attempts. Hopefully, the tips I gave help shorten that journey. There are a lot of tips and tricks out there for making fizzes, and I tried to keep mine reasonable and realistic, but see what works for you. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and still, I have the occasional one that doesn’t foam up well, even though I make them all the same. It’s just the nature of the egg sometimes, and I accept it and make it again.

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Rattlesnake

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: British
Servings

1

servings
Calories

231

kcal
ABV

23%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a classic Rattlesnake Cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Egg White

  • 2 dashes Absinthe

  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz Scotch

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker without any ice. Shake dry for 30 second – egg foams better when it is not cold.
  • Now add ice to the shaker. Vigorously shake again till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards.

Notes

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Monkey Gland – Original Recipe & History

Monkey Gland
Monkey Gland

The Monkey Gland Cocktail And The History Behind It’s Name.

This is a fantastic English cocktail, invented in the 1920s by Harry MacElhone. First printed in the 1923 book “Harry of Ciro’s ABC of Mixing” by Harry MacElhone, the monkey gland is a lovely balance of herbal and orange flavors. Funny enough, the name for this cocktail comes from the French-Russian surgeon Dr. Serge Voronoff. Dr. Voronoff. Dr. Voronoff theorized that transplanting more vital animal body parts onto people would strengthen the subject. He was particularly interested in animal testicles and believed mental and physical issues resulted from poor sexual vigor. Seeing how chimpanzees were biologically very similar, he tried to graf monkey testicles onto “dumb” individuals, and amazingly, in a year, these subjects were intelligent and fit. of course, this was a hoax but its Dr. Voronoff’s experiments that is the history behind this cocktails name.

The Influential Scottish Barman Harry MacElhone.

Harry MacElhone is considered one of the great early European bartenders, along with others like Harry Craddock and William Tarling. During his life, MacElhone published three books, “Harry of Ciro,” “Barflies and Cocktails,” and “Harry of The New York Bar.” He is credited with inventing a few classics like the White Lady, Monkey Gland, and the Between the Sheets. He is also recognized for being the first to record other classics like the Side-Car, Boulevardier, and Old Pal and helping to preserve their history. Harry eventually purchased the New York Bar in Paris, France, which his family still runs today.

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Monkey Gland

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

195

kcal
ABV

22

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Monkey Gland Cocktail by Harry MacElhone.

Ingredients

  • 1 dash

  • Absinthe
  • 1 tsp

  • Grenadine
  • 1.5 oz

  • Orange Juice
  • 1.5 oz

  • Dry Gin

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker and add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards.

Notes

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

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Improved Whiskey Cocktail – Original Recipe & History

Improved Whiskey Cocktail
Improved Whiskey Cocktail

If the name isn’t descriptive enough, then think of a Whiskey Cocktail but better. I’m just kidding; this is very different than the average Whiskey Cocktail. While the normal one is cardamom-y and has a spice to it, this one is orangey and licorice-flavored.

This first appeared in Jerry Thomas’s 1880 edition of his bartender’s guide. His improved cocktail versions never really enjoyed the fame the normal ones enjoyed, but they are delicious and worthy of being remembered.

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Improved Whiskey Cocktail

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

164

kcal
ABV

39%

Total time

3

minutes

The precursor to the old fashioned, the improved whiskey cocktail by Jerry Thomas is a true classic.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 1 dash Absinthe

  • 2 dashes Maraschino Liqueur

  • 3 dashes Gum Syrup

  • 2 oz Bourbon

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes

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Improved Holland Cocktail – Original Recipe

Improved Holland Cocktail
Improved Holland Cocktail

First printed two years after Jerry Thomas’s death, the Improved Holland Cocktail was a variation of his original Holland Cocktail. This cocktail gets its name because Genever was thought of like a Dutch liquor back then, similar to how rum is so closely associated with the Caribbean. Not too many Genever cocktails would be made during this period because Old Tom Style Gin and London Dry Gin would soon become the preferred gin for mixing.

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Recipe Resources

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Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App

Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.

Improved Holland Cocktail

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

269

kcal
ABV

33%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Improved Holland Cocktail Recipe by Jerry Thomas

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Absinthe

  • 2 dashes Maraschino Liqueur

  • 2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 1 tsp Gum Syrup

  • 2 oz Genever

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes

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Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.