30/30, #19: the Zamboanga “Zeinie” Cocktail

— “another Palate-Twister from the Land where the Monkeys Have No Tails.”

As if you couldn’t guess, it’s another drink from Charles H. Baker’s The Gentleman’s Companion.

I always like to turn to Baker for a little inspiration, both of the scribbling sort and of the bibulous type. I’ll spare you my gushings about his faux-Victorian prose stylings (though you should read the conversation I had about Baker with bartender, writer and Baker expert St. John Frizell for Tales Blog about a year ago), and append my admiration of the drinks he covers with the brief notation: “While some of the drinks are good or even great, many of them are odd, if not downright awful.” The Zamboanga “Zeinie” cocktail, while definitely on the list of off-the-beaten-path drinks, falls resolutely into the “good” category.

As Baker describes it, “This drink found its way down through the Islands to Mindanao from Manila, and we found it in the little Overseas Club standing high above the milk-warm waters of the Sulu Sea, on the suggestion of a new friend, just met[.]”

As I describe it: I thought I’d take advantage of the fact that I have homemade pineapple gomme syrup in the house to mix up this cocktail, which I’d meaning to try for some time. Sweetened with maraschino and pineapple syrup, and with a good three dashes of bitters, the Zamboanga has a richness from the cognac that in this context seems unusually exotic — as if the old French brandy was on a South Seas cruise and discovered its inner beach bum, touched up with lime juice and pineapple.

While I might tinker slightly with the recipe — perhaps bumping up the pineapple syrup, which is somewhat faint in this on-the-tart-side cocktail — I consider this a keeper.

Zamboanga “Zeinie” Cocktail
(adapted from Charles H. Baker’s The Gentleman’s Companion)

  • 1 1/2 ounces cognac
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
  • juice of 1/2 a lime (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 3 dashes fresh pineapple syrup
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake well with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass; twist a piece of lime peel over the drink — yes, lime peel, ignore those who say it’s gross — and use as garnish.

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.

2 Responses to 30/30, #19: the Zamboanga “Zeinie” Cocktail

  1. How do you cut your lime peel… Do you have limes with abnormally thick peels that stand up to a channel knife, or what?

  2. […] Zamboanga Cocktail: If (and I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m just saying “if,”) there isn’t a wizard and/or warlock of some standing residing within a little known tropical country whose name is “Zamboanga” then there darn well should be. Have a few of these Cognac-and-maraschino-and-more cocktails, utilizing the useful recipe from one of the most prestidigitatously powerful cocktail blogs present, Paul Clarke’s Cocktail Chronicles, and you’ll start peering at said wizard whether he (or she) is real (or not). Share and Enjoy: […]

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