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Monster in a Glass
Not Only History of Cocktails, but History Through Cocktails
Category: History
Location: http://blackliverproject.com/
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May 29, 2017 01:17 PM PDT

Some say the Brandy Crusta is distinct enough to be considered an entirely different type of drink than a cocktail. Others say it is just a variation on or an evolution of a true cocktail. When it really comes down to it, having this kind of argument is just going to end up with you having a warm drink and a sad face. Going all the way back to the 1840s, this is one of the older drinks we have explored. The basic ingredients of brandy, lemon, lemon peel and the sugar crusted rim seem to stay consistent as time goes on, but the other ingredients start changing almost as soon as it starts showing up in recipe books. Curacao and maraschino liqueur make appearances in different recipes, as does gum syrup and various types of bitters, and hell, throw some fruit in there for good measure!

For once, we have a drink that does not have a dispute over who created. With the great majority of information pointing to Joseph Santini out of New Orleans and no one else claiming ownership, we should be done looking at this one, right? Well, exactly where, when, and why he created it depends on the source. We find that a lot of the details on the origin require some parsing and piecing to get closer to the truth. So we dig deeper into Santini and just what he was doing in mid-19th century New Orleans. Was he a bartender? Bar manager? Café owner? Tobaccoist? Wine importer? Yes, probably all of that. And add super-businessman, mason, and reformer who cared a whole lot about New Orleans.

We don’t care if it is a cocktail or not, so join us as we try to nail down the origin story of the Brandy Crusta.

January 18, 2016 12:45 PM PST

passion fruit flowerThis was a fun episode.  The cocktail itself had a fairly ordinary background, so we made the most of it by disparaging passion fruit and spotlighting the UK Bartenders' Guild. The drink itself appears first (and only) in the Cafe Royal cocktail book which for the first time we discuss as part of the drinks compilation project the UK Bartenders' Guild took on in the 1930s. This drink is itself remarkable because it's the only one we've seen that features passion fruit juice and the Cafe Royal cocktail book is equally remarkable because it's the only cocktail recipe book that features passion fruit juice at the time...and it does so 37 times. So we decided to focus on passion fruit since we knew nothing about it. We also sample some real grenadine and orange flower water. The Avenue cocktail contains:

  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz Calvados
  • 1 oz passion fruit
  • 1 dash of grenadine
  • 1 dash orange flower water

Despite the lack of information on this cocktail, it was delicious. The team generally did enjoy this drink, appreciating a break from gin for this fruit forward beverage with a bourbon base. Nicole also pointed out where one could find the Passion of the Christ in the passion fruit flower.

March 29, 2015 10:00 PM PDT

The Fred Collins Fiz on first glance would almost certainly be the sibling drink of Tom and John. This one is kind of a mystery though because the ingredients don’t really match any of the drinks in the Collins family, not even Grandma Rye, Aunt Bourbon, or wacky old Uncle Rum.

So then it is a fizz then, right? Because of the fizz in the name? Except it seems to be missing the second “z.” And there isn’t any soda water, which typically makes a fizz a fizz.

There isn’t a whole lot to go on with this drink, so we can only assume that this long lost Collins cousin is an impostor cocktail. Still, it is a cocktail. You are lucky I am thirsty Fred Collins!

The ingredients are as follows:

2 oz bourbon
0.5 oz simple syrup
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp orange curacao

March 28, 2015 10:00 PM PDT

There isn’t a definitive explanation about how the Ford Cocktail got its name, so we get to do a whole lot of speculation on this cocktail. Dating back to at least 1895, it is a little too early to be named after the Henry of car fame. Luckily, there are so many other Ford options to choose from! Based on the timeframe, we explore Malcolm Webster Ford, a track and field athlete with daddy issues and a tragic end. A descendant of Noah and Daniel Webster, he came from a long line of literary talent. Unfortunately, his bookish family was not very accepting of his great athletic ability, which is the complete opposite of the plots from every 1980s movie.

Join us as we take a look at the Ford cocktail. In this episode we are talking horseless carriages, track and field, family friction and fratricide, Henry Ford, Betty Ford, Ford Prefect, and time-traveling Harrison Ford. More Fords than you ever could hope for!

The ingredients are as follows:

1 oz Old Tom Gin
1 oz dry vermouth
3 dashes Benedictine
3 dashes orange bitters

March 27, 2015 10:00 PM PDT

I like a cocktail that tells you what it does for you. The Fogcutter lets you know right away, that this drink is going to clear away the cobwebs. How many cocktails can boast that it can make you less foggy?

In this episode we take a look at this tropical drink that brings in the titans of tiki, Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber. This mid-20th century cocktail is generally attributed to Vic Bergeron, but saw a good deal of variation on the ingredients as different bartenders gave it their own touch. While tiki drinks might be late in the cocktail game, fogcutters actually go back to around the 1700s.

So join us as we go back to a time when booze was your breakfast and your medicine.

March 26, 2015 10:00 PM PDT

The ingredients of The Flying Dutchman cocktail resemble a cold remedy, so I hope you like citrus! Or have a cold. This drink has orange gin, orange juice, lemon juice for extra Vitamin C, and a couple drops of Angostura bitters for color perhaps? Or digestion? Maybe just for fun? We don’t really know, because this cocktail is short on information about why and how it came to be. This one truly may have been a forgotten cocktail.

We take a quick gander at the unusual ingredient that is orange gin, but the bulk of this episode is spent covering the legend of The Flying Dutchman. So join us as we talk through the Viking origins of the legend, ghost ships, and the influence on art, literature, poetry, and bartending.

2 ozs orange gin
1/4 orange juice
1/4 lemon juice
3 drops Angostura bitters

March 25, 2015 10:00 PM PDT

This Fish House Punch takes us to all the way back to colonial America and includes stories you probably didn’t learn in elementary school. This punch is truly a monster in a glass, or maybe a goblet, or bowl, or whatever people drank punch out of in the 18th century. Containing nearly all the booze and all the sugar, this surely guaranteed the founding fathers could stay up all night getting trashed while creating a nation.

In this episode we discuss the origins of the Fish House Punch in the the social club known as the Schuylkill Fishing Company, AKA the Colony of Schuylkill. We also take a look at other Philadelphia gentleman’s clubs of the time, including the Junto Club founded by Benjamin Franklin.

Rumor has it that George Washington allegedly drank so much Fish House Punch once, that he couldn’t write in his diary for three days! THREE WHOLE DAYS?!! Wait, was this a standard for judging how bad your hangover was? The founding fathers were known for running up pretty large tavern bills, especially during election season, but could this story really be true? Join us as we try to figure out if the first Commander-in-Chief was a lightweight, a heavyweight, or just hated writing in his diary.

There are variations on the ingredients in this punch, but here is the ingredients used for the tasting:

4 oz Jamaican rum
2 oz brandy
1/2 oz peach brandy
1/2 oz maraschino
2 oz green tea
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
champagne

March 24, 2015 10:00 PM PDT

Something about a cocktail named The Filmograph sort of screams early 20th century technology. “Folks! Gather around and see the future of moving pictures. Just a dime will introduce you to the wonders of the Filmograph!” We aren’t exactly sure what a Filmograph was, but it must have been something because we now have a drink named after it.

With a lack of references to the drink and some vague information about film publications and projection machines, this one left us with a whole bunch of speculation on how it got the name.

In this episode we focus on the unusual ingredient of kola tonic, explore its evolution toward being arguably the most famous non-alcoholic beverage, and the history and use of the kola nut. So step right up ladies and gents and marvel at The Filmograph!

The ingredients are as follows:

2 oz. of brandy
3/4 oz. of lemon syrup
1/2 oz. of kola tonic

March 24, 2015 10:48 AM PDT

If you do a quick search on the internet you will find any number of websites and blogs mentioning the Fairbank Cocktail, or more accurately, the Fairbanks Cocktail. You will also find that most confidently claim that the drink was named after actor Douglass Fairbanks. Occasionally, the voice of reason comes through and points to U.S. Vice President Charles Fairbanks as the origin for this drink. We here at the Black Liver Project try hard to do our research and present information as accurately as possible. Here is a hint: it doesn’t have anything to do with Douglass Fairbanks.

Join us as we explore this drink and get mad at the internet. The focus of the episode is the rise of Charles “Cocktail Charlie” Fairbanks and his political fall, because booze. Teddy Roosevelt has popped up pretty often throughout this podcast, but is featured heavily in this episode. That’s right folks, he killed big game, led the Rough Riders, and was still had time to throw his VP under the temperance bus.

 

The cocktail ingredients are as follows:

  • 1½ oz Gin
  • ¾ oz Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Crème de Noyaux
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

This cocktail was so, so pretty.  It was pink and delicate, we all wanted to gently kiss and snuggle it. And then we tasted it. If you like a wet martini, this drink would suit you well, but it is just so shocking because it totally destroys expectations the color suggests. On further consideration, we even wondered if this dissonance was intended as a part of a joke ie that this cocktail is essentially a joke cocktail poking fun at Charles Fairbanks aka Cocktail Charlie.

March 17, 2015 09:52 AM PDT

The East India Cocktail was first noted by Harry Johnson who claimed in his book in 1882 that this was a popular drink in among the British in India. It was hard to find any truth behind this, but it certainly sounds imperialistic. As we dive into East India Cocktail we discuss the long European colonial presence in the East, corporate interests evolving into national interests, as well as mutinies and rebellions.

Come join us as we explore why this brandy-based cocktail might have been popular in India, some weird Canadian temperance poetry and the disgusting possibility of maraschino olives. Ewww. (Trademark maraschino olives.)

The cocktail ingredients are as follows:

  • 3 oz – brandy
  • 1/2 oz – raspberry syrup
  • 1 dash – Angostura Bitters
  • 1 teaspoon – orange curacao
  • 1 teaspoon – maraschino liqueur
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