Category Archives: Gettin’ Jerry With It

MxMo XIV: Tiny Bubbles

The thing that always surprises me about champagne cocktails is the underlying nefarious nature of many of these drinks. You look at a recipe, think, “oh, it’s just a glass of wine, same stuff you use to toast at weddings and on election night last November — look, there’s only a smidgen of booze in the glass, it’ll be lighter than your run-of-the-mill highball,” then mix up a couple and, boom — your ears are feeling fuzzy. The thing I always forget is that champagne isn’t simply a substitute for seltzer; while it prances and fizzles in the glass, it’s actually getting the gin in that French 75 or the bourbon in that Pendennis all excited to come out of the glass and down your gullet, where the real fun begins. But even though I always underestimate them, each time I start to fiddle with champagne cocktails, I resolve to do it more frequently.

Mixology MondayThis break for bubbly was prompted by Anita and Cameron over at Married…With Dinner, hosts of this month’s Mixology Monday. Champagne cocktails seemed an apt theme, given that it’s tax day (considering that the final calculation of my return reversed a substantial debt and turned it into a small refund, I’m in the mood to celebrate), and that this month marks the first anniversary of Mixology Monday events. Oh, what a year it’s been — from pastis to exotica to whiskey, to a shooter event that fizzled — ah, memories. Okay, I’ll stop — on with this month’s drink.

Crimean Cup a la MarmoraI decided to use this month’s theme to dig into one of the few remaining recipes in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails that I have not yet tried: the Crimean Cup a la Marmora. Actually a punch, the Crimean Cup dates back (in print, anyway) to Jerry Thomas’ The Bar-tender’s Guide, from 1862. While several of the old drinks listed by Thomas lack the pizzazz you find in more modern drinks, the Crimean Cup is a happy exception. Mixing rum, brandy, lemon juice, maraschino and orgeat with champagne and soda water, the cup is a surprisingly light and even-handed punch. From the recipe, it looks rather sweet, but between the champagne and the soda, the sweetness is easily leavened. If you’re not convinced, simply reduce or eliminate the added sugar, or add a touch more lemon juice. This drink is reason itself to keep a bottle or two of bubbly on hand.

Crimean Cup a la Marmora (makes 2 drinks)

Muddle 2 broad slices of lemon peel with a teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 ounce dark Jamaican rum (Haigh suggests Myer’s; I used Appleton V/X, with good results). Add:

  • 1 ounce brandy
  • 1/2 ounce Maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Jamaican rum (Appleton again)
  • 2 ounces orgeat
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 4 ounces soda water

Stir vigorously and pour into a goblet with 2 or 3 large pieces of ice. Add 3 ounces chilled dry sparkling wine (I only had cava on hand, but it worked well)

Head on over to Anita & Cameron’s place to see what other folks are posting.

MxMo XI: Flipping Out

Why was it that the good folks at Imbibe Unfiltered decided to choose “Winter Warmers” for the theme of this Mixology Monday? Did they somehow foresee that good chunks of the Pacific Northwest — including their base in Portland, and mine in Seattle — would be socked in for days on end with temperatures barelyContinue Reading

MxMoVI: Port Wine Sangaree

OK, at least half of the appeal of making this drink is the opportunity to say (or in this case, write) “Sangaree.” If you’re looking for a new way to get tossed out of a bar, you could do worse than making it a habit to stroll in, rap loudly on the bartop with yourContinue Reading

Gettin’ Jerry With It, Part III: Japanese Cocktail

Thanks to Robert Hess for reminding me of this drink in a post over at The Spirit World. As Robert points out, the Japanese Cocktail is one of only ten “cocktails” listed in Jerry Thomas’ 1862 The Bartender’s Guide. It’s unfortunate that this drink has fallen by the wayside–its flavor is deep and evocative, yetContinue Reading

Gettin’ Jerry With It, Part III: Mississippi Punch

On February 7, 1882, a former hod-carrier and assistant plumber from Boston named John L. Sullivan met Paddy Ryan in a bareknuckle heavyweight bout in Mississippi City, Mississippi. Sullivan was a rising star in boxing–having gone pro in 1877 after knocking celebrated boxer Tom Scannel into the orchestra pit at Boston’s Dudley Street Opera House,Continue Reading