A new month, and a new issue of Imbibe magazine is out.
Along with features about the drinks of Jamaica and 15 beverage innovators (and a nice quote by Darcy in the Distilled section, and a drink by Jamie Boudreau in the Uncorked section), and a piece about vermouth in the Elements department (there’s the self-serving reference for the day), this issue includes a new regular column, “What the Doctor Orders,” by Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh.
Doc doesn’t mess around with this debut column, and heads right for the 19th century with a full-bore effort to revive the Fix. As he writes, “In its short 38-year lifespan, even bartenders pondered what made a fix a fix.” Starting with a mix of booze, lemon juice, water, sugar and ice, the fix evolved into a concoction made with pineapple or raspberry syrups, and occasionally liqueurs, before disappearing as the new century dawned. Haigh takes his fixes from this later stage of development, and prescribes two fixes that include a homemade pineapple syrup.
Obscure cocktail … exacting preparation … ingredients that require special shopping trips and at least 24 hours of preparation time … sounds like my kind of drink!
To make one of these fixes, you need to have pineapple syrup on hand. While I suppose you can buy it, the idea of processed pineapple-flavored syrups kind of gives me the shudders, so I elected to follow the home-brew method.
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 small pineapple
- smidgen of vodka or other neutral-flavored spirits
Mix the sugar and water until fully dissolved. Add the pineapple (skinned and cubed), and let sit for 24 hours. Remove the pineapple, pressing with a hand juicer to get some juice into the mix. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine strainer, and add the spirits for preservative. Refrigerate.
Brandy Fix (Haigh credits this to Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual, 1888)
- 2 ounces brandy
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce pineapple syrup
- dash of green Chartreuse
- 1/4 ounce simple syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a wine glass or tumbler filled with crushed ice. Add a splash of seltzer, adorn with lots of fruit and go to it.
I think the Chartreuse was what prompted me to make this — combined with the pineapple syrup and the always kind of haughty taste of brandy, the Chartreuse made the Fix taste like a true 19th century creature.
Pick up a copy of Imbibe (or, of course, subscribe) to find the full details, along with other recipes. And if you’re curious about vermouth….