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Long-forgotten cocktails

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I love looking at old menus and their lists of cocktails, some of which are still fairly popular, some that pop up at 'speakeasy' style craft bars, and some that nobody's heard of in decades... often for good reason. What are some cocktails you remember or have even tried that nobody drinks anymore?

For example, I was at a terrific old German restaurant in Massachusetts this weekend, and an old menu in the restroom listed their house cocktail (.85!) as The Student Prince: Dooley's Cream and XO.

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  1. One of my favorite after dinner drinks, a God-Father. Only 1 out of 15/20 bartenders know the drink. Anyone? (No Google allowed!)

    18 Replies
    1. re: jrvedivici

      The drink "The Godfather" I am familiar with was Scotch and Amaretto.

      1. re: jcanino

        Now how do I know you didn't Google that? You are correct!!! It's a nice after dinner drink. Bonus points if you know the garnish.

        1. re: jrvedivici

          It was something that my father used to order all the time and that I used to make manning the bar at the local ELKS Lodge from time to time. Unfortunately I have no idea what the garnish was (I would have seen that if I Googled it!).

          1. re: jcanino

            Maraschino cherry. It's an old school drink a friend of mine, 30 years my senior, introduced me to many years ago.

            1. re: jrvedivici

              I got very drunk and very sick one night drinking Rusty Nails (Scotch and Drambuie) at an Airman's Club in Japan. It may have had a cherry. First and last time for mixing Scotch with anything except club soda. That was 46 years ago.

              1. re: grampart

                That's what you get for drinking alcohol when you were 2 years old grampart!! (I'm not going to ask what you were doing in an Airman's club in Japan at that age)

                1. re: jrvedivici

                  I was recovering from a broken ankle at Tachikawa AFB hospital. I was 20.

                  1. re: grampart

                    I think you just gave away your real age. lol (I hope you know I'm just kidding around with you, you don't owe me any explanations)

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      I know all that. My age is no secret. I'm not that old, just amazed at times that I'm still here.

                2. re: grampart

                  Just saw this and thought of you.

                  https://www.yahoo.com/food/the-trick-...

          2. re: jcanino

            eww, that reminds me of an oldie Sicilian Kiss

            1. re: Bellachefa

              I think the only difference was after a Sicilian Kiss, they killed you. Thankfully thus far I have had only God Fathers!

              1. re: jrvedivici

                My wife loves a good Godfather! I use Grant's scotch and Luxardo Amaretto. No cherry, though, I do serve it on an ice ball.

                1. re: kimfair1

                  "As long as you're up....:

          3. re: jrvedivici

            One elderly woman at the club I presently manage orders The Godmother as the only cocktail she will drink. Vodka and Amaretto.

            1. re: JMF

              Really? I haven't ever heard of the Godmother, I'm going to try that!! I am a vodka drinker more than scotch.

              1. re: jrvedivici

                While you're going down the vodka and Amaretto path:
                http://www.ehow.com/about_5381529_dri...

                Would work with Pisa liqueur, too--tasty in its own right with bonus points for the bottle and glasses that come with it.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  Hmmmm interesting, thanks!

          4. Sidecar
            Vodka Gimlet (Dad's)
            Bourbon Manhattan (Mom's)
            Black Russian (Mine)
            Brandy Old Fashioned (My Badger Sister)
            Pink Squirrel
            Brandy Alexander
            Dark & Stormy
            Mai Tai
            Zombie

            If you enjoy rum, try Googling tiki drinks.

            3 Replies
            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

              I see most of those on bar menus all the time; the Dark & Stormy is one of the most popular drinks in my part of the world, actually. The Pink Squirrel's new to me, though.

              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                Dark & Stormy's are pretty popular still here in New England, In Newport, some of the bars serve their own variation.

                1. re: jcanino

                  And here in Florida, Dark and Stormy's are pretty exotic. But then we go to the Bahamas for our island fix, not Bermuda.

              2. For a well-researched and thoughtfully collected set of exactly this sort of recipes, try Ted Haigh's book:
                http://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Spirits...

                --
                www.kindredcocktails.com

                3 Replies
                1. re: EvergreenDan

                  Fantastic! Thank you!

                  1. re: Boston_Otter

                    Great book. Mine has many of the pages warped and stuck together. I am a good, but untidy bartender.

                  2. re: EvergreenDan

                    I second Dan's rec of Ted Haighs book. But then I'm prejudiced. I'm mentioned in it on page 153.

                  3. I don't think I have seen a grasshopper in about 30 years.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Veggo

                      We have two bars in Portland, OR with the Grasshopper on the menu right now. Go figure.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        So much for the old joke: a bartender sees a grasshopper on the bar. "Hey!" he says "we have a drink named for you!" And the grasshopper says "You have a drink named "Bob?"

                        1. re: Veggo

                          I use to enjoy having a grasshopper with a cougar!

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Grasshopper pie for Christmas or New Year's dessert!

                            1. re: Veggo

                              I've been seeing them all over the place lately here in New York.

                            2. We have friends that don't dink much if at all when at home. Inevitably, when we go out, he orders a Tom Collins while she orders a Sombrero. You don't know how many servers look at her her and say "a what?".

                              36 Replies
                              1. re: jcanino

                                I have a family member that doesn't drink often and orders a whiskey sour. Umm, that was our parents cocktail. And what is the sour mix these days ~ surely not the same.

                                1. re: Bellachefa

                                  I have a whiskey sour a few times a year. Unfortunately, the friends who enjoyed them with me are now dead and I have not converted any children yet. The mix seems about the same as it always was...though I have seen it too sweet. The best ones have been at private clubs where, I assume, the membership is superannuated and holds onto such relics. Its a great drink.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    I'd imagine most places no longer have a jug of pre made mix, so fresh squeezed lemon, simple syrup and maybe an egg white for froth? With a cherry on top of course! My parents used to have packets of powdered whiskey sour mix in their liquor cabinet in the 70's.

                                    1. re: Bellachefa

                                      I've seen the mixes in bar wells (or good-sized bars) in Louisiana. THe last time I saw one made from scratch was at a private club and it was great.

                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                        I think I'll try to make one with fresh squeezed lemon and the egg white for that froth.

                                        1. re: Bellachefa

                                          The old NOLA joke was that a visitng Frenchman wanted one and confused the bartender when asking for "a contradiction." The customer explained that you put whiskey in to make it strong, water in to make it weak; lemon in to make it sour, sugar in to make it sweet,

                                    2. re: hazelhurst

                                      Good whiskey and a Great sour mix is preferable to a Great whiskey and a good sour mix. jmho

                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                        Never use that awful mix. A whiskey sour made with fresh lemon, sugar (or simple), and an optional egg white is a fantastic drink. Use a good whisk(e)y that you would enjoy neat or on the rocks, since it's the primary flavor. This does not have to be an overly sweet drink, when well made.

                                        I would only order this at a bar I trust, however.

                                        --
                                        www.kindredcocktails.com

                                        1. re: EvergreenDan

                                          Its odd..some of the premixed stuff is not half-bad (It doesn't taste like the powdered stuff..the ones I have had, anyway) but you're right, it is always better done comme il faut. I use good Bourbon always. Can't fix junk with masking flavor. Like a julep: bad whiskey = bad drink.

                                          1. re: EvergreenDan

                                            One you start putting the egg white in there, you can't go back - that silky smooth mouthfeel is part of the charm of a well-made whiskey sour.

                                            1. re: The Big Crunch

                                              I don't like the egg white myself. Just lemon, lemon zest, simple syrup, a hint of angostura bitters ice, and a serious shake.

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                Make one last night with rye (and a little Irish), sugar, lemon, and an egg white. The egg white denatured and there where white flecks in the drink. Not enough water? I added the egg white after shaking the other ingredients dry to dissolve the sugar.

                                                1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                  Dan- Could have been an old egg. Or you should have added the white to the dry shake for more emulsification.

                                                  I do such a hard shake that I don't do a dry shake anymore, although I make my bartenders do it. I still get more foam in one shake than they do in two. But I developed a shake that I use for cream and egg drinks that foams the heck out of them.

                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                    Yeah, I was also thinking that a dry shake (with the other ingredients) would have been the right way to go. Emulsify first, chill and dilute second.

                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                      Egg went into dry shake (after shaking the dissolve the sugar) with 1 small cube to seal. Then shaken with ice.

                                                      Eggs were fresh from the supermarket.

                                          2. re: Bellachefa

                                            I have lots of sours on my cocktail menu's right now. They are VERY popular. (In addition to consulting to several restaurants, I presently manage, and bartend weekend nights for the fun of it, at three main, full size bars and several satellite bars at a country club. Very busy place. Easter we had over 900 guests. Summers it get's to around 1500+ a day.)

                                            I have never used a sour mix to make a sour, nor been served one made with sour mix.

                                            My version of Morgenthaler's Amaretto Sour (has bourbon as well), Bourbon or Rye Whiskey Sour, and New York Sour (Whiskey Sour plus port). All made with fresh lemon juice, simple syrup or preferably Muscavado syrup, bitters, and egg white; with several drops of bitters on foam as garnish and for aroma.

                                            I also have a sour called Violette's Dream made with El Dorado 3 yr white, Creme de Violette, lemon, egg white and bitters, one called Moon & Stars made with Tuthilltown Half Moon gin, Giffard Pamplemousse Rose liqueur, egg white, orange bitters, lemon, and one called Reverie with ED 3yr white, pineapple, lime, and mint. (Pineapple juice provides the foam, no egg white needed.)

                                            1. re: JMF

                                              Never used sour mix or been served a drink with sour mix?!?! Well, obviously you didn't bartend in the '90s, expecially at dance clubs when shooters were all the rage. Good lord...one place I worked just subbed sour mix in for anything citrus. We kept lemons around solely for lemon drop shooters! Those were dark days my friends :(

                                              As I've said many times, I rarely order cocktails when I'm out unless I am damn sure the place is serious about their drinks. Cheap margaritas are a guilty pleasure exception because sometimes on a nice warm day, you just want to sit around with some friends at a place that sells cheap fajitas and get buzzed on the kind of Margaita you grew up with, particularly if they're boozy, I think that may be my only concession to drinks with cheap sour mix.

                                              1. re: The Big Crunch

                                                I bartended in the huge Hamptons Bay clubs in the late 80's, and in a local NY Irish pub for a bit in the 90's, and beertended in a Seattle brew pub in the mid 90's. So I didn't get much call for cocktails at any one of the places I worked, just highballs, shots, and beers.

                                                I didn't start drinking cocktails again until this new cocktail Renaissance hit around 10 years ago, and I have been cocktail bartending off and on the past 7-8 years. More consulting than bartending, until the past 8 months where I put in several shifts a week, focusing on fine cocktails, premium spirits, and wine.

                                              2. re: JMF

                                                JMF, mind sharing the recipe for that Violette's Dream? Sounds fantastic.

                                                1. re: jaba

                                                  Violette's Dream - JMForester, 11/24/2013
                                                  1.25 oz. El Dorado 3 yr. white rum
                                                  .75 oz. Rothman & Winters Crème de Violette liqueur (or Giffard Violet)
                                                  .75 oz. Lemon juice
                                                  .75 oz. Simple syrup
                                                  1 Egg white
                                                  1 dash Doc Forester's Colonial bitters or Angostura bitters

                                                  Dry shake, then shake on ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

                                                  This isn't a dream about rainbows and unicorns. More like a dark and sexy dream about Christian Grey... ;-)>

                                                  Here's a pic. Violette's Dream in Back. Gin Quince Old Fashioned and Sazerac up front.

                                                   
                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                    Moon & Stars - JMForester 12/2013
                                                    1.5 oz. Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard gin
                                                    1 oz. Giffard Pamplemousse Rose liqueur
                                                    .75 oz. Lemon juice
                                                    .5 oz. Simple syrup
                                                    2 dashes Angostura Orange bitters
                                                    1 Egg white
                                                    5 drops Angostura bitters garnish

                                                    Dry shake, then shake on ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with three drops of Angostura bitters on foam.

                                                     
                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                      What do you think of the Half Moon Orchard Gin?

                                                      1. re: jaba

                                                        I think it is great. I made it the house gin where I manage now. Also makes a mean martini.

                                                    2. re: JMF

                                                      Made this last night. Very nice, if just a little heavy on the Creme de Violette.
                                                      Thanks for the recipe!

                                                      1. re: jaba

                                                        What brand violette? It needs to be adjusted for other brands. With R&W it is pretty light on the violette if it was measured consistently.

                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                          I used R&W.

                                                          1. re: jaba

                                                            And .75 oz. made it violet heavy? Everything else measured correctly and El Dorado 3 yr white rum used? Weird.

                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                              Yep, used the recipe exactly as written. Angostura used for the bitters.

                                                              1. re: jaba

                                                                I've never actually used Angostura, just my Colonial bitters. But since I sold out to my ex partner, they aren't made to my original formula. I do have several cases still, plus the original recipe which I may revive commercially one day.

                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                  I actually made this again last night and it was fantastic. My creme de violette-loving wife said it was one of the best drinks she's ever had.
                                                                  Mind if I put this on kindredcocktails.com with attribution to you? Feel free to say no.

                                                                  1. re: jaba

                                                                    Sure. email me. info on profile

                                                      2. re: JMF

                                                        Okay. Gonna need that quince gin old fashioned recipe. Please!

                                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                          First you have to make quince syrup... this takes simmering quinces and a few other ingredients for 3-4 hours and use a hand blender to make a quince puree. Then run that through a lab centrifuge at 3300 times the force of gravity for 20 minutes and draw off the syrup... (The paste left over is what the Spanish call Membrillo and use for breakfast as a spread, or with bread and cheese.)

                                                          Then get hold of Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard gin.

                                                          And some other secret ingredients in very small amounts. ;-)>

                                                          Seriously, once this one is published I'll share. But until then...

                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                            Well, I have access to a small centrifuge, but not one that powerful.

                                                            I don't have access to patience, but I guess I'll have to make do . . . damn!

                                                            Anyway, sounds very, very special.

                                                            I'm in CA, but may travel to NYC this summer. Anyone pouring this out there?

                                                            1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                              There is one place in the NYC 'burbs that I set up that has a lot of the quince syrup and the recipe. And I have a case or so set aside for my next gig. But, get my email off my profile and email me when coming to NYC. I will get you a special invite into one of the places I manage and get you one of these. It is a pretty amazing cocktail. I had several restauranteurs go nuts over it and it is one of the drinks that landed me a plum of a contract.

                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                Very kind of you! I'll be in touch!

                                              3. A number of cocktails that were "forgotten" (or nearly so) 20-30 years ago have come back, which is nice to see. Best example of this is the Manhattan.

                                                When I was in college, my foolproof method for not getting carded in a bar was to order a Manhattan. Never failed...possibly because hardly anyone under the age of 50 had ever heard of the drink. That was 30-odd years ago, and times have changed...

                                                1. Ode to The Frozen Russian Qualude
                                                  and
                                                  The B-52 - layered
                                                  and
                                                  The two drink max - Long Island Iced Tea

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                                    Layered drinks. How many know a bar that can make a pousse-café? The good witch of the local bar scene of 40 years has departed and left no forwarding address. But she had the bottles labeled with their specific gravity. She could layer any combination you could ask for.

                                                    After traipsing around the world for 15 years, I order a Black Russian and a Sidecar and she remembers me.

                                                    "Macs Zoo Room. Center booth in the back. Making out with your girlfriend all Friday afternoon and the engineers buying you two for ones."

                                                    There are worse things to be remembered for.

                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                      I cannot recall the last time I saw a pousse-case ordered although they were all over New Orleans in the 1970s and 80s..

                                                      The Long Island Iced Tea was a standard then, too. It figured prominently in matters that are best not discussed where children might pry.

                                                  2. Pink Lady
                                                    Harvey Wallbanger
                                                    Tequila Sunset
                                                    Smoldering Boulder
                                                    Sputnik aka White Russian
                                                    Stinger
                                                    Angel's Tit
                                                    Singapore Sling

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                                      I've had a few of these but they're exactly the kind of utterly-out-of-fashion forgotten drinks that I'm fascinated by. What was the Smoldering Boulder? I can't find anything about it.

                                                      A bar near me serves Harvey Wallbangers when they have "lousy cocktail" night.

                                                      I had a Singapore Sling at EPCOT, of all places, when they had their yearly Food & Wine Fest. The Singapore booth was serving them, and the nice old Asian lady mixing them up warned me and my friends "now, these are very strong," and we laughed, because we were at Disney World. It was one of the most potent drinks I've ever had. We were stumbling.

                                                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                        The Singapore Sling isn't THAT out of fashion. Maybe the versions from the '80s are, but the tiki revival has made them pretty chic again, and you can often find them (made correctly) on the lists of trendy cocktail bars and restaurants with strong beverage programs.

                                                        I wonder how big the trend is for "lousy cocktail night"? We've had a few '80s cocktail nights in bars around my neighborhood in DC, though they've tried to clean up some of the worst offenders a bit for the more sophisticated cocktail drinker - think Clement Creole Shrubb died blue instead of cheap blue curacao.

                                                        1. re: The Big Crunch

                                                          Yeah, I should clarify that the "original" Singapore Sling is still a pretty great cocktail. The 80s/90s version (just gin or sloe gin, grenadine, and sour mix, maybe some pineapple juice) isn't :)

                                                          The local hipster bar has one night weekly with $5 80s cocktails: Harvey Wallbangers, Sea Breezes, Aqua Velvas, and the like.

                                                        2. re: Boston_Otter

                                                          re: SmoIdering Boulder I can't find anything either, maybe it was a California or local thing. It was Cherry Heering & can't remember what else, if anything, on the rocks.

                                                          1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                            Come to NYC and go to Golden Cadillac!

                                                            1. re: kathryn

                                                              Golden Cadillac is a interesting place. A combination of 60's-70's lounge/disco, with premium modern cocktails, and premium versions of 70's cocktails and Tiki drinks. But it can be inconsistent if the top bartenders aren't there.

                                                          2. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                                            Even the Tequila Sunrise has gotten rare. (And looking it up out of curiosity, evidently it used to be creme de cassis + lime instead of grenadine + orange, which would be interesting to try.)

                                                            It's the sort of drink that should have been all the rage with variations during the hipster tequila boom of 2010ish, but I don't recall spotting it.

                                                            Making one with just a hit of Aperol or Campari for the grenadine is fun, too, and still gets that gorgeous layered effect.

                                                            1. re: antimony

                                                              A Tequila Sunrise without freshly squeezed juice, is just another Manic Monday

                                                              1. re: antimony

                                                                I used to have a tall slender crystal martini pitcher with a glass stirring rod that was perfect for tequila sunrises. My cat broke it circa 1980.

                                                            2. I have a nice collection of old cocktail books. You can get some nic e re-prints from Cocktail Kingdom. But I know folks whose collections are insane. One person has such a huge collection of several thousand books, that cocktail and spirits book authors use his library for research. I've gone to his office/business and spent hours reading old cocktail recipes in the library, and taking notes.

                                                              I have found that you have to adjust many old recipes to today's tastes. Many old recipes are either too sweet, or too sour. Especially Tiki cocktails from the 30's-70's.

                                                              One good source for old recipes is the Old Mr. Boston guides. I recommend the newest one, it's the 75th Anniversary printed in 2012. And on ebay you can get old copies going back to the first one in 1935. I have the original, and a copy of each new edition where they made changes over the years. I think that came out to 14-15 editions, with around 100 printings all told so far. I was able to get digital versions and put on my pc and tablet.

                                                              Another good source are Beachbum Berry's Tiki books. Apx. 300+ original, vintage recipes. I have every single one on my pc and tablet, including creator and when/where served when possible.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                The new Total Tiki app, based upon Berry's books, is also excellent and has all that info.

                                                                1. re: kathryn

                                                                  So far the app is only for iphone/ipad.

                                                              2. I think my last Harvey Wallbanger was around 1973. When a student in New York, my landlord made Rob Roys for me every Friday afternoon. I have lots of books on spirits full of long-forgottens I'd like to try.
                                                                CP

                                                                1. Slow Comfortable Screw Against The Wall.