Once again, it is time to update our posts. We inform you for example about these things:
- B&B: Why is East Lancashire the place where the most Bénédictine is drunk in the whole of England?
- Brandy Crusta: Why shouldn’t the Sweet & Sour ratio be balanced?
- Canchánchara: What has Canchánchara got to do with a medicine used to treat fungus-infested, putrid wounds?
- Hanky Panky: Where did Charles Hawtrey get the idea to name the Hanky Panky and what does a butler have to do with it?
- Twentieth Century: Who was Charles A. Tuck, the inventor of the Twentieth Century?
- Punch, Toddy, Grog & Co. – Part 4: Punch – An Indian Drink: What further proof is there that punch is an ancient Indian drink?
- From Gin Punch to Collins – Part 7: John Collins and his Punch: Why are there no skeletons on the battlefields of Waterloo and what has sugar got to do with it?
We have also added new information to the following posts: And to All a Good Night, Army & Navy, Aviation Cocktail, Bamboo Cocktail, Boulevardier, Cascade Highball, Professor Langnickel, Upstairs.
We have also adapted recipes.
One may object to our hypothesis that for the regimental mixture it was stated that one should use Benedictiner, not Bénédictine. We would like to reply that this is not a contradiction. We refer to Harry Johnson. In his recipe for a Knickebein, he states in English that one should use Bénédictine; in the German translation it becomes Benedictiner.
In Germany, people loved the Knickebein. There were numerous different recipes. One of them is in the Lexikon der Getränke (Dictionary of Beverages), published in 1913: Bénédictine at the bottom, a cognac at the top, a whole egg yolk in between. Also in ‘Bowlen und Pünsche zum Manöver- und Feldgebrauch’ is a possibility for a Knickebein: Benediktine below and Cognac above. This is nothing other than a B&B with a whole egg yolk.
Soldiers from other nations are also associated with the Bénédictine. The ’11th (Service) Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment’, also known as the ‘Accrington Pals’, was stationed in the area of Le Havre, Harfleur and Fecamp from June to October 1919. Fécamp was also the location of the production plant for Bénédictine. After years of fighting in World War I, soldiers agreed that a ‘bene’ had medicinal properties and a restorative effect. So Bénédictine quickly became their favorite liqueur. Back in East Lancashire, they continued to ask for their ‘Bene’. Demand for the drink was so great that sales in East Lancashire, in the northwest of England, soon accounted for the majority of sales in the UK, and so it has remained to this day.
1947 Pedro Chicote: Cocktails mundiales. Seite 109. Aparicio-Cocktail.
Prepárese en cocktelera:
Unos pedacitos de hielo.
1/4 parte de buen coñac.
3/4 partes de benedictino.
Bátase bien en la cocktelera y sírvase en copa de
las de vino de Jerez, hasta su tercera parte, termi-
nándola de llenar de nata fresca.
About the quantity of lemon juice we have added:
We want to agree with this statement. On a trial basis, we first added as much sugar as was necessary to achieve a balanced sweet-sour ratio with 10 ml of lemon juice, as one should normally do. This makes the Brandy Crusta balanced – but it also lacks sparkle. With a little less sugar syrup, on the other hand, there is a slight imbalance that makes it more interesting, a little more acidic. This reminds us of the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche in Dresden. In a TV documentary it was reported that the medieval rules of the stonemasons had been followed and consequently no perfect 90° angles were built. Unconsciously, one notices the difference. The reduced perfection makes the building look more organic and beautiful than it would with perfect angles. It is the same with the Brandy Crusta: with a slight imbalance it becomes more ‘correct’. Only in this way does it get the ‘sparkle’ it should have.
We also have explained what orchard syrup is:
Orchard syrup, according to the Oxford Companion, is a fruit syrup made by boiling down fruit juice, sometimes with the addition of sugar. The main ingredient used is a mixture of apple and pear juice.
A mixture of lime juice, honey and rum, boiled over a weak fire, is reminiscent of the Honeysuckle and shows that such a mixture has a distant past. In a book about diseases that occurred on board part of the British squadron in the Lesser Antilles in the 1790s, this treatment is described: »Equal parts of lime-juice, rum, and honey, or fresh syrup, boiled in the quantity of a pint over a slow fire, with two drachms of finely powdered verdegrease, until a third part of the liquor was evaporated, formed an application very useful in these foul, fungous, and putrid sores, and is in daily use in this hospital. With this solution, the fungous putrid sores were wetted and deterged, and sometimes lint wetted in it was applied over the part.«
The Oxford Companion considers the year 1921 to be probable, for in that year Charles Hawtrey produced ‘Ambrose Applejohn’s Adventure’ at the Savoy Theatre, and also acted in it. The theatre was next door to the hotel. Previously he produced ‘Hanky Panky John’ by Basil McDonald Hastings. The play was performed at the Playhouse Theatre in January and February 1921. The Sporting Times of 5 February 1921 described that the eponymous butler John had the nickname Hanky Panky because he had invented a cocktail called Hanky Panky. This must have been the inspiration for Charles Hawtrey to name ‘his’ new cocktail ‘Hanky-Panky’.
Charles A. Tuck was Head Bartender at the Picadilly Hotel in London when he published his book ‘Cocktails and Mixed Drinks.’ in 1967. Interestingly, that was the year the Twentieth Century train stopped running. He writes about himself: »As for me, I have worked in many famous hotels in England and abroad. I started at the Carlton, in London, which was one of the most famous hotels in the world and which is no more. Later, I worked at the Semiramis in Cairo and then gained a great deal of experience all over Europe. I opened the Buttery Bar at the Hyde Park Hotel in London some years before the last war and when the war was over I opened a new Cocktail Bar at Flemming’s Hotel in London. In 1950 I went to the Piccadilly Hotel and have been Head Bartender there for a number of years. So much for my experience in the art of mixing drinks.«
Charles Tuck was the president of the ‘United Kingdom Bartenders Guild’ in 1965, its vice-president in 1968. In the 1970s, he was vice-president of the International Bartenders Association.
In the context of the Twentieth Century, one can ask what kind of crème de cacaos was originally used. Was it ‘white’, i.e. clear, or ‘brown’? In the ‘Café Royal Cocktail Book’, where it was first described, only ‘ Crème de cacao’ is given in the recipes of the book, and in the appendix it is written: “Crème de cacao. – A French liqueur, chocolate in colour, with the flavour of cocoa and very sweet.” – This means that in order to mix this recipe faithfully, you would have to use a dark Crème de Cacao. However, a clear Crème de Cacao already existed in the 19th century, as a glance at the books reveals.
Distillation of alcohol
There is another argument in favor of punch as an Indian invention. Not only lemonade originated there. India and Central Asia are equally crucial to the early history of distillation. There are many archaeological finds and ancient texts that suggest the Indian subcontinent was one of the earliest centers of distillation.
From the Pacific, sugar cane spread to India and China. The earliest evidence of the production of alcoholic beverages from sugar cane is found in India.
The most substantial evidence of ancient distillation comes from Gandhāra, an ancient region around the city of Peshawar on the upper reaches of the Indus River, which today forms the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. There, clay stills, condensers, storage vessels, and drinking cups were found. These finds suggest that distillation of alcohol was known and used in northern India from the fifth century B.C. onward. There are also archaeological findings as far down as Mysore in southern India. These date from between 100 B.C. And 200 A.D. Distillation was also known in China. This conclusion can be drawn from two bronze stills that date from the Eastern Han Dynasty. This existed between the years 25 and 220.
General Narchus, who was involved in the conquest of the Indus region under Alexander the Great, confirmed the use of sugar cane in 327 B.C. when he reported, “A reed in India brings forth honey without the help of bees, from which an intoxicating drink is mademthough the plant bears no fruit.”
In Gandhāra and northern India, people also knew how to extract sugar from sugar cane.
There are numerous other references from ancient India: The Laws of Manu, written between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. For example, restrict the consumption of alcohol by Hindus, including non-alcoholic beverages made from sugar cane. The Arthashastra, a state law textbook of ancient India, written between the second B.C. and third A.D. centuries, describes fermented sugar drinks and states: »householders should be free to manufacture white liquor on festive occasions«. In the Samhita of the Indian physician Charaka, the centerpiece of traditional Ayurvedic literature, probably written in the first century, sugar is mentioned as one of the nine sources of wine.
Combining the findings of archaeological evidence and various Ayurvedic texts, one may surmise that the ancient Vedic term surā – normally understood to mean a fermented beverage – actually refers to distilled alcohol.
In the seventh century, the Chinese Buddhist traveler Xuanzang reported that the people of the Indus drank sugarcane distillates, confirming the statements of General Narchus. Yeh-lü Ch’u-ts’ai, a high official of the Mongolian state at the time of Genghis Khan in the early 13th century, also wrote on his travels to the Indus Valley that sugarcane was grown there and that the people there made wine from it.
Alcohol was not fundamentally forbidden in Islam. Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages other than wine was permitted, since the Koran did not expressly forbid it. This explains why alcohol was also distilled and consumed in the Mughal Empire.
According to the Indian historian Ziauddin Barani, who died in 1358, arrack distilled from sugar was traded supraregionally in the Delhi Sultanate at the turn of the 14th century until Sultan Ala ud-Din Khalji, who was Sultan of Delhi from 1297 to 1316, banned distillation by decree. However, he later had to revoke this ban. From the administrative report of the scholar Abū ‘l-Fazl Allāmī, called Āʾīn-i Akbarī, for the Mughal ruler Akbar, who was Great Mughal of India from 1556 to 1605, details of production are evident: The distillate was made from sugarcane juice, with or without the addition of sugar; spices and other botanicals were often added; it was also distilled several times.
When European colonists reached the Indian subcontinent in the late 15th century, distilled alcohol was ubiquitous, and Europeans adopted local drinking habits.
When the Portuguese established their colony in Goa in 1510, they discovered that arrack made from palm sap was being produced, drunk and traded throughout eastern and southern India. The name comes from Arabic and means something like brandy. Traditionally, this arrack is made by climbing mature coconut palms, then cutting the stems where the tree’s flowers grow and collecting the sap as it runs out. This sap ferments rapidly with yeasts stemming from the environment and produces a palm wine, or “toddy” as it is called, with about 8 percent alcohol content, which must be distilled within twenty-four hours before it turns sour. The earliest references to such palm arrack date to the year 900, when Abu Zeyd Hassan, a chronicler from Basra, recorded an Arab navigator’s reference to a drink from Sri Lanka made from “palm honey, boiled.”
In the section on sugar clarification, we have added the following story:
In connection with the clarification of sugar, there is another interesting story to tell. At the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815, Napoleon’s army suffered a defeat. More than 20 000 soldiers died in this battle. However, archaeologists could not find any remains on the battlefields. In total, they found no more than two skeletons, and they had no explanation for this. But this mystery now seems to be solved. Historians Bernard Wilkin, Robin Schäfer and British archaeologist Tony Pollard have found that grave robbers removed the bones to make money. Bones were used to make a phosphate-rich bone meal, which was used as fertilizer. However, there was also another possible use: the ground bones were used in the sugar industry. Due to the increasing number of sugar beet factories, the demand for bones in the region was high from the 1830s. The boiled down sugar beet juice had to be filtered, and since it was discovered in 1811 that granulated bone charcoal provided better filtration, the need for it was great. In some cases, this process is still used today, using cattle bones. At that time, a bone trade was carried on far beyond the borders of Belgium and also in other parts of Europe. Officially, only animal bones were used, but as demand and price exploded, resourceful businessmen looked for alternatives. Apparently they also helped themselves on the battlefield of Waterloo. Illegal excavations were reported as early as 1834. It must be assumed that the region made considerable money from the desecration of corpses. It is estimated that a total of 1700 tons of human and horse bones were on the battlefield, which could have earned a huge fortune of around 240,000 francs at the time.
Another recipe for capillaire is: “Capillaire. Take twelve pounds of lump Sugar, and four pounds of Lisbon Sugar, six Eggs, well beat together, boil the same in three gallons of Water, and skim it as long as any scum appears, strain it through a bag, and when milk warm, add two penny-weights of Essence of Lemon.”
Tim Stookey also reports: “The drink was basically a commission. At the end of Tales of the Cocktail 2008, I was sitting in Arnaud’s French 75 Bar when Karen Foley from Imbibe magazine asked me if I would like to create a drink for their holiday special. I said yes, of course. I was inspired by the ’12 Mile Limit’. This drink also features rum, rye and cognac and tastes just great. The drink should never be very sweet. That’s why I decided to use Reposado Tequila. I wanted to limit the sticky sweetness of the Cherry Heering.” He justifies the use of bourbon by saying that it was more readily available at the time. The term ‘And to All a Good Night’ refers to the famous American poem ‘A visit from St. Nicholas’, also called ‘The Night Before Christmas’, where it forms the last line: “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night“”.
David Wondrich notes that G. Selmer Fougner, a columnist for the New York Sun, reported on the Army & Navy in 1934. This was said to be an invention of New York advertising man Caroll Van Ark, who had submitted his recipe stating: »An inexpensive drink, but it tastes like a million.«
This was added:
For a well-balanced Aviation Cocktail, the choice of the right crème de violet is therefore indispensable. It should not be too sweet and perfumed, but also not too sour. Nils Wrage sums it up: “a good, cleanly balanced Aviation remains an impressive cocktail: Tart, fresh, complex, with that delicate florality – and probably the most elegant way to drink a blue drink.”
– “ein guter, sauber abgestimmter Aviation bleibt ein beeindruckender Cocktail: Herb, frisch, komplex, mit dieser zarten Blumigkeit – und der wahrscheinlich elegantesten Möglichkeit, einen blauen Drink zu trinken.“
Crème de Violette has been a liqueur since it was a French specialty in the mid-1800s, and it was exported to the United States beginning in the 1780s. Its roots go back a long way. Violet liqueur and syrup have been around since at least the 17th century.
Our experiment showed that the Bamboo is good when stirred, but even better when thrown, i.e. poured back and forth between two cups (one with ice, one without).
1895 Chris F. Lawlor: The Mixicologist. Seite 117. Boston Bamboo.
Take 1/2 Vermouth.
Bitters and syrup.
Stir and strain.
We have added a picture of Erskine Gwynne and also this commentary on Campari:
Jörg Meyer and Tim Mälzer also confirm that there have been several changes to Camparis. About an old bottling Tim Mälzer says: “Well, that was really aromatic, exciting, dense, complex somehow and not just sweet and bitter and had quite great levels.”
– “Also das war wirklich aromatisch, spannend, dicht, komplex irgendwie und nicht einfach nur süß und bitter und hatte ganz tolle Ebenen.“
According to the Oxford Companion, the Pompier, or rather a mixture of French vermouth, cassis and soda water, was already popular in France in the 1880s. The New York newspaper ‘Courier des Ètats-Unis’ of 11 July 1882 is cited as the source for this. We were not able to verify this information because we could not find the newspaper online. Subsequently, it is written that this mixture did not reach the United States until the 1930s. This contradicts our findings: Louis Muckensturm describes such a mixture as early as 1906 as a ‘pompier’. However, a pompier was also understood to mean something else. In 1876 it was said: “A pompier! Baron Chaurand had just drunk his first Pompier, Vermout and Curaçao, and now wanted to drink a second one.”
– “Un pompier! C’était le baron Chaurand qui venait de siffler son premier pompier, vermout et curaçao, et qui s’apprêtait à en avaler un second.“
Since cassis was first commercialised in the 1840s by Denis Lagoute, followed by other producers, the mixture of vermouth and cassis could not have been created before then. In particular, in 1878, when phylloxera destroyed the vines in Burgundy, many winegrowers saw cassis as an alternative and planted blackcurrants. As a result, cassis experienced a real boom and cassis became an integral part of French aperitif culture.
Mario Kappes says of the ‘Professor Langnickel’: “But I soon realised that you have to explain this drink in advance. If the guest reads cherry and is looking forward to a relaxed fruit bomb, it will be difficult.” The guignolet is important in the preparation, because: “Any other cherry liqueur won’t work, at least none that I’ve tried. Boudier’s Guignolet de Dijon is the least interchangeable of the whole construct. The distillate, in turn, must be a clear, distinct cherry distillate as a counterbalance, definitely one without juice or sweetener content. The drink won’t work with spirits that are too fruit-dominated.” A cherry distillate was chosen because “if you mix cherry liqueur and PX sherry with whiskey or rum, the result is a uniform mash. Then the drink is no longer differentiated.” Mario adds: “I’m not really a fan of zesting everywhere. But this drink needs it. The lemon zest helps the overall fruitiness. Without it, the drink can get very sweet and tiring as it warms up. We even partially re-zested a second time at that point.”
– »Mir war aber bald klar, dass man diesen Drink im Vorfeld erklären muss. Wenn der Gast Kirsche liest und sich auf eine entspannte Fruchtbombe freut, wird es schwierig.“ „Jeder andere Kirschlikör funktioniert nicht, zumindest keiner, den ich ausprobiert habe. Der Guignolet de Dijon von Boudier ist am gesamten Konstrukt am wenigsten austauschbar. Das Destillat wiederum muss als Gegengewicht ein klares, eindeutiges Kirschdestillat sein, auf jeden Fall eines ohne Saft oder Süßungsanteil. Mit zu fruchtdominierten Spirituosen funktioniert der Drink nicht.« »Wenn man Kirschlikör und PX Sherry mit Whiskey oder Rum mischt, ist das Ergebnis ein Einheitsbrei. Dann ist der Drink nicht mehr differenziert.« »Ich bin eigentlich kein Freund davon, überall zu zesten. Aber dieser Drink braucht es. Die Zitronenzeste hilft der gesamten Fruchtigkeit. Ohne sie kann der Drink sehr süß und anstrengend werden, wenn er sich erwärmt. Wir haben damals teilweise sogar ein zweites Mal nachgezestet.«
Thomas Domenig reports in a podcast about his time at the Le Lion and about the ‘Tasting Room’ located on the floor above: “My time at the Le Lion was from October 2011 to the end of June 2014. Gianfranco Spada was my colleague. I was lucky that we were a bit short of staff at the time, so I was able to work in the Tasting Room more quickly. Le Lion is a bar without windows, which means you have to ring the bell to get in. Mr Meyer got an extra room for rent and then set up a small, fine speakeasy bar there. To get there, you had to go down to the basement with the guests and then take them up in a super narrow lift. The lift also had lighting that was like on an operating table, and of course it was always great, because the people who then wanted to go back home in the bar evening then had the full lighting in their faces, and everyone looked great. In this ‘Tasting Room’, which was open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Gianfranco, a barman from London, did the ‘Tasting Room’ up there, with its very own vibe, and I was the commi there.”
– “Meine Zeit im Le Lion war von Oktober 2011 bis Ende Juni 2014 im le Lion. Gianfranco Spada war mein Kollege. Ich hatte das Glück, daß wir damals ein bißchen knapp an Mitarbeitern waren und dadurch hab ich schneller mal im Tasting Room arbeiten dürfen. Das Le Lion ist ja eine Bar ohne Fenster, das heißt, man muß klingeln, und man kommt rein. Herr Meyer hatte einen extra Raum zur Miete bekommen und hat dann da eine kleine, feine Speakeasy-Bar eingerichtet. Um dorthin zu gelangen mußte man mit den Gästen runter in den Keller gehen und dann mit einem superengen Fahrstuhl die Leute hochbringen. Der Fahrstuhl hatte auch eine Beleuchtung, die wie am OP-Tisch war, und natürlich war es immer super, denn die Leute, die dann am Bar-Abend wieder nach hause gehen wollten, hatten dann die Vollbeleuchtung im Gesicht, und alle schauen super aus. In diesem ›Tasting Room‹, der hatte damals Donnerstag, Freitag, Samstag auf, hat Gianfranco, Barmann aus London, dort oben den ›Tasting Room‹ gemacht, mit einem ganz eigenen Vibe, und ich war der Kommi dort.“
We have tried different products, namely: Baumgartner Edel-Sauerkirsch; Berto Bitter; Berto Rosso Superiore vermouth; Christian Drouin Blanche de Normandie; Eminente Rum 3 years; Eminente Rum 7 years; Fernet Nardini; Finsbury 47 Gin (Rutte Gin is no longer available); Freimeister Cassis; Hiebl Rote Williams; Hiebl Williams; Wood’s Old Navy rum; Zott Pomeranzengeist.
We have therefore adapted our recipes for these mixed drinks: Adonis Cocktail, Affinity, Bee’s Knees, Betsy Ross, Bijou, B.O.B., Bobby Burns, Boulevardier, Boulevardier 1929, Brandy Crusta, Brooklyn, Cascade Highball, Chase, Claridge Cocktail, Crescent, Diki-Diki, East India Cocktail, El Presidente, Fernet Buck, Föhr Manhattan, Georgetown Club Cocktail, Greenpoint, Kapernikus, Kennedy Manhattan, Kleginite, Knickerbocker, La Rafale, Le Loriot, Little Italy, Mai Tai, Manhattan Cocktail, Meehoulong, Montaigne, Morning Glory Fizz, Negroni, Peacock, Pendennis Cocktail, Professor Langnickel, Purple Bird, Quarter Deck Cocktail, Quartier Latin Cocktail, Rob Roy, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Toronto, Upstairs, Williams Sour.