Friday, February 5, 2010

Drinking Commies, My Dr. Cocktail Obssession...

...OK, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh (a man otherwise known as Doctor Cocktail) has captivated me. Up until Ken and I started playing with that book, we were of the firm opinion that there were two ways to come up with a good drink. One of them was to pull out our battered copy of Paul Harrington's 1990's book Cocktail, and the other one was to stick our noses in one of our vintage or vintage repro cocktail manuals (like The Savoy Cocktail Book). From time to time, we'd run across an interesting modern recipe, but we're into the Nick and Nora stuff; blueberries and Dutch gin is just kinda yicky.

Now the Harrington book is out of print and collectable. I just checked Amazon and they have a few new copies--for over a hundred and fifty smackeroos! But Haigh's book is a worthy next step. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it is the LOGICAL next step. A little gin-heavy, perhaps (but so many of the really good old recipes are gin-based). And one or two I've found just a wee bit sweet, but then it's always wise to taste any drink before adding the full amount of maraschino or triple sec or Grenadine or whatever. Lemons and limes differ in their tartness, and especially if you're a cocktail do-bee and make your own grenadine, you may have created something a tad more or less sugary than what Haigh calls for.

We'll be talking The Communist today on Cocktails with Chris.

Haigh calls for 1 oz of gin, 1 oz of orange juice, 3/4 oz of lemon juice and 1/2 oz of Cherry Heering (I wouldn't use anything less--no budget cherry brandy). Shake hard, serve up in a cocktail glass. I used a quarter of an orange slice for a garnish, but a lemon slice would probably work, too. A cocktail (brandied) cherry? No, not so much; it would get lost.

The Communist is a drink from the 30's, not too strong (so folks could have two if they wanted), and the appropriate pinko color. Very tasty and easy to like. I used Plymouth Gin.

And I'm not giving away any more of the good doctor's remedies. You'll have to buy the book yourself!!

Having just found out that Steeleye Span founder Tim Hart died on Christmas Eve (how did I miss that?), I'll be playing some of their music, and dipping into the rapidly expanding Randoradio new bin, too! Oh--and maybe a little Who, or at least some Pete Townshend, about whom I don't know quite how to feel with all these scurrilous things being said. But there is a song I'm thinking about that kind of explains it all...

...tune in at 4 EST, have a Commie, and listen up!

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