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RECENT COCKTAILS: JANUARY 22, 2011
Gin, Lemon juice, Honey, Orange juice
JANUARY 20, 2011
Sweet vermouth, Cynar, Orange bitters, Lemon juice, Salt

A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

From the Knowledge Vault

On the ’Rack

The Curious History of an Early Spirit

It went like this, but wasn’t. Some four thousand years ago in Mespotamia, the perfumers at the court of King Zimrilim created a technique to separate the essential oils of precious woods and flowers from the woods and flowers themselves in order to embalm their dead. Originally, this probably involved soaking flower petals in warm water and capturing the fragrant oils that rose to the surface. What they called this method is lost, but other cultures refined their work into the art and science now known as distillation.

Many ancient scientists ran up against this phenomenon. In the fourth century BCE, Aristotle realized that seawater could be made drinkable by distillation, and that the process could be applied to wine and other liquids, though there is no record of his actually distilling wine. To the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, distillation must have seemed like magic, and their knowledge was guarded from unknowing eyes.

A major advancement in distilling came between the 3rd and 4th century CE with the invention of the alembic (from the Greek ambix – a cup, typically made of glass) by Zosimos of Panopolis, an Egyptian. Having two vessels, one with the liquid to be distilled and one to catch condensed vapors with a tube running between them gave much more control and finesse to this delicate process. With a few modifications, this device is now known as a pot still.

Recent Additions

  • Hunter's Verdict — Añejo rum, Amaro Montenegro, Ginger liqueur, Bitters, Orange
  • Malort in Paradise — Herbal liqueur, Jamaican rum, Grapefruit soda, Pineapple juice, Passion fruit syrup, Lime, Pineapple, Grapefruit peel
  • Jamaican Beer — Dark rum, Rhum Agricole, Whipped cream, Allspice
  • The Ficus — Bermuda rum, Orange juice, Lime juice, Demerara syrup, Fig preserves, Balsamic Vinegar, Orange peel
  • Green Mountain — Cognac, Herbal liqueur, Lemon juice, Simple syrup, Mint

Recent Discussion

  • Re World's Fair, 2 days ago Craig E commented:

    Curated to clean up including adding creator. Thanks @yarm!

  • Re Brooklynite, 2 days ago yarm commented:

    "Some include a dash of Angostura bitters." The earliest recipes in The Stork Club (1946) and Trader Vic's Bartender Guide (1946) both do. And the one I spotted in Unvarnished (2020) does to. Only Imbibe Magazine leaves it out.

    Very similar to the Honeysuckle and Honey Bee (both recipes appear in Embury) which both have lemon juice but have white rum and Jamaican rum, respectively.

  • Re Detox Retox, 2 days ago HallA commented:

    No... don't drink this. I am not sure where this came from.. and should have used that as a sign to not drink it and to pay more attention to the ratios in which case I would have realized. A tablespoon of matcha powder makes this undrinkable, which I should have realized. Went looking for ref and a bullshit Dr. Oz website as "health" because of cucumber and matcha. May try to rebalance, idea may have some potential but don't try with this much Matcha.

  • Re Rudy Ray, 4 days ago Shawn C commented:

    Yes, I need to post more of my own (admitted in a sheepish tone.) I've been merrily trying others' contributions, but have been remiss in posting my experiments that worked...at least for my palate anyway. The Pasubio one I came up with combined it, St. Raphael Rouge (which is hard to come by in the U.S.) and rye for a Manhattan riff--sort of obscure because of the Raphael that I had to import from London, but found I really like it much more than I anticipated. I haven't decided whether to call the cocktail a Purple Manhattan or Montreux as a nod to Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water." I might want to save that smoke reference for something with Sfumato Rabarbaro and Pasubio if I find a combo that works.

    I also am very fond of the Rhapsody in Blue. For a fellow Pasubio enthusiast, some other Pasubio libations I am keen on are: Purple Globe, My one and only Blue, Scalatore, and Purple Martin (definitely need the Scarlet Ibis and Averell for this one to truly shine.)

  • Re World's Fair, 5 days ago yarm commented:

    Created by Vannaluck Hongthong at the Baldwin Bar in Woburn, MA.