In a Fix

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.

Pineapple Syrup

  • 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….

7 Responses to In a Fix

  1. Not that you can do anything about it, of course, but can I just bitch that I’m a charter subscriber of Imbibe, but I have yet to receive that issue?

    OK, done!

    Now I have a project for the weekend …

  2. Hi Chuck – We mailed the Sep/Oct issue to subscribers on 8/12, so if it hasn’t gotten to you yet, please contact us to verify your address and I’ll get a replacement copy out to you right away!! I don’t want you without your Imbibe fix….

  3. Or your Brandy Fix fix, for that matter–

    Chuck — the pineapple syrup really comes out very nice. I just wish I knew of more uses for it. With your fertile imagination for all things mixological, perhaps you’ll come up with something–if so, please share it with the world

  4. I am enjoying a Brandy Fix a I write this, as well as snacking on the pineapple chunks that have been soaking up sugar water for the past 24 hours. Wonderful drink. I might add, incidentally, that the Pineapple Syrup is mighty tasty splashed over ice and topped with club soda. A dash of orange bitters is good in it, too (I used Fees, figuring the herbals in ROB might destract from the pineapple taste). I’ve been thinking about perhaps Pineapple syrup mixed with [Coconut?] rum and maybe a squeeze of lime topped with club soda.

    Love your site.


  5. I just got Mr. Wondrich’s Esquire Drinks and I noticed the Pisco Punch recipe in there uses pineapple syrup essentially made to the same process as this here (except that it specified gomme). Might be interesting to try.


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