Bring It On, Apricot-Style

Just as I was preparing for Mixology Monday came a reminder that I have another blog event I need to step up for: the third installment of Raiders of the Lost Cocktail.

Raiders of the Lost CocktailLaunched at The Spirit World in late 2007, the Raiders event addresses cocktail ingredients that aren’t in heavy use today, but deserve a closer look. In the words of Robert Hess, “The objective of this exercise is to re-examine some of the slightly more obscure products which might be gathering dust on the shelves of bars across America (if not the world), and to see if our intrepid little band of explorers can uncover some forgotten gems of recipes which might breathe new life into those products.”

Here’s how it works: Participants post drinks using a specified ingredient by the deadline, and the cocktails must come from a previously published source (which should be included in the post, though the drink doesn’t have to be unique to that publication) — we’re revisiting classics here, so hang onto your original creations for other events. And since we’re trying to spread the good word, preference is given to drinks that use more common ingredients and are not too complex to prepare, so ideally you’ll be able to order the drink in as large a number of bars as possible. The winning cocktail is selected by the host, and the blogger behind the winning cocktail becomes the host for the next round … and the circle continues, ad infinitum.

The first round was devoted to Strega, and the winning cocktail was contributed by Anita and Cameron at Married…With Dinner (as if they haven’t won enough competitions recently). For the second round, which wrapped up in December, Anita and Cameron chose Benedictine as the theme; thanks to the boozy excellence of the Cocktail a la Louisiane, I wound up with the honor of helming the third round.

And here we are. Now that I’m pulling myself out of my post-holiday sluggishness, I remembered my duties as host and hereby announce that for the third round of Raiders of the Lost Cocktail, the ingredient is: apricot brandy.

Wha? Yes, apricot brandy (or, more accurately, apricot liqueur) – a stroll through most any vintage cocktail manual will turn up a number of drinks that called for a touch of apricot, typically provided by a sweetened, apricot-flavored grape brandy that gives drinks a sweet, fruity touch. Less typical are drinks calling for a “true” apricot brandy (aka eau de vie, or barack palinka), so for the sake of this exercise, let’s stick with the sweet stuff.

I don’t know which is the chicken and which the egg, but one correlate of apricot brandy’s decline can be seen by its placement in the liquor store: notably, on the bottom shelf. But thanks to the recent appearance of the excellent Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot liqueur in bars and liquor stores across the country, along with elusive sightings of the much-storied Marie Brizard Apry (and much rarer Giffard Abricot du Rousillon), I think it’s high time to re-examine what apricot brandy brings to mixology.

So here it is: come up with your drink and post a link to it in the comments section (don’t forget to mention the publication where you found it) by February 15. Following that deadline I’ll work my way through the recipes before emerging several days later — looking much the worse for wear and smelling strongly of apricots — to announce a winner.

So start your shakers and get going – let’s see what a little ambition and a little apricot liqueur can do.

20 Responses to Bring It On, Apricot-Style

  1. Apricot Brandy..memories..old, dusty flavored bradies the mainstays of creative mixology past. Now, with the miriad of flavored everything from every where, classic mixology rules again.

    Two Recipes for the “Raider” coming right up.
    One I really like for its color and thus creative garnishing allows personal touch to presentation. The other, well ythe name alone makes it great.
    Side note.. thanks to this endeavor, I now have to research the history of “Wild Oat”. 3 jiggers dry gin,
    1 jigger kirsch, 1 dash lemon juice, 1 dash apricot brandy.
    Perhaps a relative, we shall see.


    1 jigger Dry gin
    1 jigger Dry Vermouth
    1/2 jigger Apricot Brandy
    1/2 jigger Cointreau

    Shake with ice, strain Garnish Cherry

    “Millionaire 2 ”

    1 jigger Jamaican Rum
    1 jigger Apricot Brandy
    1 jigger Sloe Gin(what a classic ingredient)
    1 dash Grenadine Creative Garnish time
    Juice of 1 lime

    Shake with ice and strain

    The recipes are from “The Bartenders Standard Manual by Fred Powell
    His goal was to set a standard recipe so that travelers might find the same exact drink throughout US.

    Charlie Oat

  2. Thanks for the comment. I’m definitely up for this challenge but getting decent apricot brandy in a control state could be a real challenge. Something tells me that I might have to work with Mr. Boston Apricot brandy or some such nonsense.

  3. Oh, this sounds like fun. (Just about any thing that requires going to the liquor store to pick up a new ingredient is bound to be a good time.)

  4. if you can’t get apry… take a bottle of cruzan (better than brandy) or rather clear brandy and add a potent amount of dried apricots… 3/4 cup of sugar to 750 ml might get you close to apry but i could supply accurate brix to anyone with a $30 refractometer who wants to get it exact.

    i just re-infused a large amount of flavored vodka i got for free with dried apricots… green tea-apricot… for a cocktail with said vodka, punt y mes, simple syrup, and lemon juice… the apricot flavor and green tea mended the bad vodka very well…

    if anyone wants more exact help faking apry for the contest i’d be happy to help so people can get perfect sugar content… maybe even get a couple stone fruit pits in their…

  5. If making your own, by count on my refractometer, brix on the Brizard Apry is 42 vs 31 on the R+W Orchard Apricot.

    I’ve been making this below at home for a while whenever my wife brings home pom juice, though adding a dash or aromatic or Suze cause, that’s what I like…

    Boston Cocktail (Savoy)
    3/4 oz Dry Gin
    3/4 oz Apricot Brandy
    3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
    1/4 oz grenadine

  6. i got 40.5 brix for the Brizard Apry from my handheld refractometer… i really didn’t think it was that high… that is kind of frightening… no wonder it is so hard to find good uses for… higher alcohol probably isn’t enough of an asset when you face that intense sugar level…

    the orchard apricot is probably a better match for my sugar ethic even using classic proportions for drinks…

  7. High Spirits H.Paul Jeffers
    1 1/2oz gin
    1/2oz lemon jc
    1/2tsp maraschino liquer
    1/2tsp apricot brandy
    1 1/2oz gin
    3/4oz calvados
    1/2oz apricot brandy
    dashes of lemon jc.

  8. I’ve been making the following recently:

    40ml London Dry Gin
    30ml Apricot Brandy
    20ml Lime juice
    Dash peach bitters

    It has no name that I know of and I didn’t find it in any book. I like it best with an apricot brandy that has a clean apricot flavor. For example, Cartron works well, while De Kuyper (imho) doesn’t.

  9. The Periodista is a classic

    1 1/2 oz white rum
    1/4 oz apricot brandy
    1/4 oz Cointreau
    juice of half a lime
    barspoon of superfine sugar

    Shake with ice cubes and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

    From “American Bar” by Charles Schumann

  10. Thomas – thanks for pointing that out. Nobody needs to worry — I’ll make sure I check the comments here and at The Spirit World to make sure everyone is accounted for.

  11. I did a post on the Self Starter:

    Self Starter

    1 ½ oz gin (I used Plymouth)

    ¾ oz Lillet Blanc

    ¼ oz Apricot Brandy (I used Marie Brizard Apry)

    2 dashes pastis (I used about ¼ teaspoon of Henri Bardoin but many people would probably prefer less)

    I also did some other apricot brandy related blogging outside of the whole Raiders of the Cocktail event. I took a look at the Charlie Chaplin, tried a variation I called the Buster Keaton, and sampled a bunch of other apricot brandy drinks – including the excellent Incognito. Anyone feeling truly enthusiastic about apricot brandy can check that stuff out at my blog.

  12. My favourite cocktail from a bunch I tried using apricot brandy was the Tulip Cocktail:

    1 oz Calvados
    1 oz sweet vermouth
    ½ oz lemon juice juice
    ½ oz apricot brandy

    Shake with ice, strain in to a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon zest twist. Taken from the Savoy Cocktail Book.

    Also notable was the Claridge Cocktail:

    1½ oz gin
    1½ oz dry vermouth
    ½ oz Cointreau
    ½ oz apricot brandy

    Again, shake with ice, strain in to a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon zest twist. Also taken from the Savoy Cocktail Book.

    I also covered a few more which may be worth considering, though I think the two above are the best…

  13. […] 25 mls (1 oz) Apricot Brandy (such as Giffard)–PS for an EXCELLENT blog about Apry click here 10 mls (2 tsp) Sweet Vermouth (such as Vya) Dash of Cynar—Artichoke Liqueur Shake and […]

  14. I agree entirely with the people who have mentioned the Claridge already, though I’d like to add another one I created by accident recently; I was attempting to make a flaming/blazing Sidecar, with calvados as opposed to cognac. I had sadly run out of triple sec that evening, so I swapped in a little apricot brandy (Bitter Truth’s version was all I could get hold of)….it was bloody marvellous 😀 scrumpy, apricot-y, pleasantly tangy and, best of all, warm.

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