One of the things I’ve come to appreciate doing these cocktails of the week is the incredible depth that there is in the world of mixed drinks. I often will sit down Sunday morning, look over my bar to see what I have, and then just type random combinations of my inventory into Google and see what comes up. Another thing that I’ve enjoyed is the history and drama that comes with so many of these drinks. Take for instance this week’s cocktail: the Jack Rose. Where does that name come from? Well, it could be a lot of things:
There are various theories as to the origin of the drink. One theory has the drink being named after, or even invented by, the infamous gambler Bald Jack Rose. Albert Stevens Crockett (Old Waldorf Bar Days, 1931) states that it is named after the pink “Jacquemot” (also known as Jacqueminot or Jacque) rose. It has also been posited that the Jack Rose was invented by Joseph P. Rose, a Newark, New Jersey restaurateur, and named by him “in honor” of a defendant in a trial then being held at the courthouse in that city. (Joseph P. Rose once held the title of “World’s Champion Mixologist.”) However, the most likely explanation of the name is the fact that it is made with applejack and is rose colored from the grenadine. Harvey’s Famous Restaurant in Washington, D.C. claimed to be the originator of cocktail.
I found all of this, and more, out just by typing “Laird’s and grenadine” into Google!
- 2 oz. Applejack (Laird’s)
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice (I used lemon)
- 3/4 oz. Grenadine (home made)
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish, though you could use an apple slice.
So, the Jack Rose is a nice cocktail. But, nothing about it really sticks out. Maybe that is because I used lemon juice instead if lime juice? It’s not bad, it just seems to lack the little something that makes you remember a drink? Pleasant but unmemorable. This is a real shame too because you’d think a drink with Applejack, Grenadine, and lemon juice would be something worth sharing. I’m going to try it again with lime and maybe that will help…
I was going to do the Negroni for this week’s cocktail but while researching the history of the drink I cam upon the Americano. I thought an Americano was just watered down espresso, which it is, it’s also though the direct predecessor of the Negroni. While the Negroni is a mixture of gin, campari, and sweet vermouth the Americano uses club soda instead of gin.
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- splash of soda water
Pour Campari and vermouth over ice in an old fashioned glass, add a splash of soda water. Garnish with an orange slice.
The Americano is interesting. It’s not sweet, it’s not sour, it has a little bit of savory. The Campari, an herbal liquor, and it’s flavor profile skews heavily to bitter. This is slightly offset by the sweetness of the vermouth but the drink remains bitter. It does take a while to get used to though. Bitter really isn’t a taste that the American palate appreciates or enjoys. I wonder if the gin in a Negroni helps smooth the edges off the Campari at all?
I’ll find out soon! Next week I’ll try the Negroni!
I follow a cocktail maker on Tumblr, named DrinkShouts, they often show cocktails that look amazing. I’ve often wanted to make them but they usually require liquors that I don’t have and aren’t willing to purchase. They recently promoted the Bee’s Knees, a cocktail that dates back to Prohibition times. It is believed that the inclusion of lemon and honey was in order to mask the taste of bathtub gin. That might be the case, but it’s a delicious cocktail even with good gin.
- 2 oz. Gin
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- .3/4 oz. Honey Syrup
Combine ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe, if you have one. I don’t so I used a margarita glass. No garnish, or a lemon twist.
The Bee’s Knees has a nice smooth honey flavor with a hint of sour. Depending on the type of gin you use there’ll be a hint of juniper as it goes down. The honey syrup is delicious and I think I’m going to try using it in other cocktails that call for simple syrup. It has a distinctly honey taste to it, one I found quite appealing.
The São Paulo Mule cocktail is my first attempt at creating a cocktail. For Christmas I was gifted a 12 pack of Guarana Antarctica, the best soda on the planet, and I wanted to see if I could integrate it into a cocktail. My favorite cocktail is the Moscow Mule; it just seemed obvious that I should try and combine them. For a first attempt it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. I have some ideas on how to improve the cocktail that I’ll share below.
São Paulo Mule
- 3/4 oz. vodka
- 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
- Guarana Antarctica
Shake vodka and lime juice in a shaker w/ ice. Strain over ice. Add Guarana Antarctica to top. Garnish with lime wedge.
The problem with this cocktail was that the Guarana overpowers everything. It has a strong, distinct flavor and that overwhelms the lime. They only thing the lime juice adds is a discordant sour note. I could fix this by using a fruit juice that complements the soda but I worry that it might end up too sweet. I’m thinking that a better foundation for this drink would be a highball and maybe a more flavored liquor, say bourbon or a dark rum? I’ll let you know how it goes!