It’s Friday, it’s been a long, hellaceous day, and it’s getting close to midnight — I’m gonna skip the usual folderol with this one (not to mention the photo — too tired and fed up with the day to mess with the camera right now) and get straight to the booze.
East India Cocktail
- 2 ounces cognac
- 1 teaspoon curacao
- 1 teaspoon pineapple syrup
- 2 dashes maraschino
- 2-3 dashes Angostura or Peychaud’s bitters
Stir well with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass; hit it with a lemon twist and, if you’re up for it, a cherry.
The basics: Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual, 1882 and 1900 (and now, through Mud Puddle, 2008). True, Johnson calls for Boker’s bitters; if you’ve got ‘em, use ‘em, but for everyone else go with Angostura or, on David Wondrich’s suggestion in Imbibe!, Peychaud’s. I thought I’d break this out since I had a fresh batch of pineapple gomme in the house and was in the mood for something old-timey, really tasty and inherently boozy. This pretty much fits the bill, and is absolutely what was needed after a long week.
One aside: Ted Haigh ran another recipe for the East India Cocktail in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, a variation that calls for 1/2 ounce of raspberry syrup in place of the teaspoon of pineapple syrup in this version, and that ups the maraschino to a full teaspoon. I recall trying that back when the book first came out, and being delighted by the flavor but turned off by the heavy sweetness. This version is much more approachable, since it knocks the sugar back to managable levels; do be sure to use a decent cognac, though, since you’re basically getting dressed-up liquor here, with little to hide the flaws. And if you want to split the difference — especially if you’re not up for prepping your own batch of pineapple gomme syrup — you can substitute a good raspberry syrup, which is not only damn delicious but historically appropriate, if you get hung up on those kinds of things.
And with that, back to Friday evening…..
This drink is part of 30/30, a series of 30 drinks in 30 days — or as much as I can keep up before collapsing in a weary, booze-addled heap.