Ward 8

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The Ward 8 belongs to a fairly small set of cocktail recipes, apparently inspired by political events. The story with this one is that it commemorates the winning of a seat in the Massachusetts legislature by one Martin Lomasney – with the eighth electoral ward being the one to return him the winning margin – at the end of the C19th.

I imagine the election was held in warmer months, as the drink is essentially a sophisticated whiskey sour, made with rye and a mixture of orange and lemon juices, so it’s a cool & refreshing drink, with a gentle alcohol burn from the rye. A small amount of grenadine lends an attractive colour, and acts as the sweetening agent. It’s a little too sour unless you have very sweet orange juice, but I wouldn’t be inclined to add too much grenadine to compensate; it’s slightly too cloying a sweetness & the whole drink could end up tasting like orange boiled sweets without care.

Method

40ml rye whiskey

20ml lemon juice

20ml orange juice

1/2tsp grenadine

Shake well over plenty of ice & double strain (for the orange & lemon pulp) into a martini glass. Garnish with a single maraschino cherry.

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Boulevardier

The Boulevardier
The Boulevardier

The Boulevardier is a very close relative to the classic Negroni, which I mixed recently. Here, the gin of the Negroni is replaced with whiskey, giving the drink a spicy note. This is a classic recipe (found first in McElhone’s 1927 book, Barflies & Cocktails) that has suddenly found fame again recently as part of the revival of older, neglected cocktail recipes; I think part of that success is that it is such a close relation to the Negroni that people have tried that drink are likely to try this one. And possibly more importantly, it is made from only three ingredients, likely found in most cocktail cabinets, making it easy to try. As the Manhattan & the Negroni, don’t be fooled by the lack of clever ingredients or unusual spirits: the Boulevardier works because it is an absolutely perfect blend of flavours. Somehow this mix of flavours is definitely more French than Italian. I cannot say for certain why, but the Boulevardier name seems totally appropriate; I can imagine a French homme du Monde enjoying one of these at his local Bar Tabac on the way home to his apartment in Paris, whereas a Negroni seems perfect for the Italian uomo di Mondo.

As with my usual tastes, I don’t believe a cocktail is complete without a few dashes of bitters, so I added some here. The original recipes don’t call for any, nor do they seem to specify any garnish, but some orange zest seems appropriate. Again, these choices are mine, yours may vary.

Proportions:

1 1/4oz. of Aperol

1 1/4oz. of whiskey (I used Buffalo Trace)

1 1/4oz. of sweet vermouth (I used Carpana Antico)

Dashes of bitters (I used Adam Elemegirab’s Orinoco bitters)

Glass: Large Champagne glass

Stir the ingredients over ice in a mixing glass.

Serve in coupe, garnished with some orange zest

World’s best single malt is Tasmanian

Sullivans Cove single malt whisky
Sullivans Cove single malt whisky

An industry that wasn’t even legal until twenty-two years ago has carried off the top prize for single malts at this year’s World Whisky Awards, where the French Oak Cask-matured Sullivans was described by one of the judges as a ‘match made in heaven, with a smooth buttery feel’. Sullivans Cove distillery is located on the Australian island of Tasmania, about as far away from the spiritual home of whisky as one can imagine.

The Guardian newspaper despatched Vicky Frost to visit a nearby distillery, William McHenry & Sons, described (until someone works out how to distill from Antarctic glacier water) as the ‘southernmost distillery in the world, in a fascinating article, that can be read on the Guardian website. The island is now home to no less than nine distilleries, all benefitting from a change in the law that had, until twenty years ago, made distilling on Tasmania illegal for over 150 years.

However, chances of finding a bottle from the winning barrel must rank as somewhat slim; comments on the Guardian article suggest that only 556 bottles of this batch (HS52) were produced, selling for around £77 ($115) each. The batch has already been shipped, so the only bottles now available will already been on the shelves of the few number of places that stock Sullivans Cove worldwide. Good hunting.

(Update: a quick check on the Whisky Exchange shows that Sullivan’s single malt is out of stock.)

World alcohol map

The World liquor map from Quartz
The World liquor map from Quartz

Here’s an interesting item on the Quartz digital news page: a world map of booze, showing who drinks what where. It is no great surprise to me that the UK’s favourite spirit is vodka, as it is popular with young drinkers, although a separate map of Scotland would surely show whisky as being more popular north of the border. According to Quartz, however, ‘separate data were not available’ when they put their map together. Perhaps more surprising was that Euromonitor, source of the alcohol data, had enough responses from Saudi Arabia to give a preference. Vodka also reigns supreme in N. America – although I blame Cosmopolitans for that one.