Tonight we seek to raise some money for the Friends of S. Mary’s and have a bit of a laugh in the process. Last year we organised a wine tasting, and so this year, inspired by our love of complex alcohol and a mixology session onboard the Queen Victoria, this is the result.
We list the cocktails, some spiel about it and the measures for a single drink. There is also our scaled-up volumes based on 20 people each having approximately 1/3 of a normal cocktail. I ran the front-of-house by presenting and mixing a single example whilst Lou was busy in the background making the volume.
On arrival: Kir
150ml chilled Prosecco or Cava
50ml Crème de Cassis
For 20 people: 1500ml Prosecco (2 x bottles) £12.00 & 500ml Crème de Cassis (1 bottle) = £9.00 =£21.00
General welcome and introduction about ‘cocktails’ Read the origin of the word from the Savoy Cocktail book (1930) p. 13 – 14
“Most of the people one meets in places where Cocktails grow have an idea that they know the origin of the word “Cocktail”; none of them, however, agree as to what that origin is, and in any case they are all wrong, as they always put that origin somewhere between sixty and seventy years ago (a book published in 1930), whereas in The Balance, an American periodical, of May 13, 1806, we read that:
“Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters – it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion.”
This is the earliest reference to the Cocktail that I have been able to find in print.
Historians have been misled by the word “Cocktail” into imagining that it was once in some way connected with the plumage of the domestic rooster. But this is not so.
The true, authentic and incontrovertible story of the origin of the Cocktail is as follows:-
Somewhere about the beginning of the last century there had been for some time very considerable friction between the American Army of the Southern States and King Axolotl VIII of Mexico. Several skirmishes and one or two battles took place, but eventually a truce was called and the King agreed to meet the American general and to discuss terms of peace with him.
The place chosen for the meeting was the King’s Pavilion, and thither the American general repaired, and was accommodated with a seat on the Bench, as it were, next to the King himself.
Before opening negotiations, however, His Majesty asked the general, as one man to another, if he would like a drink, and being an American general he of course said yes.
The King gave a command and in a few moments there appeared a lady of entrancing and overwhelming beauty, bearing in her slender fingers a gold cup encrusted with rubies and containing a strange potion of her own brewing. Immediately an awed and ominous hush fell upon the assembly, for the same thought struck everyone at the same time, namely, that as there was only one cup either the King or the general would have to drink out of it first, and that the other would be bound to feel insulted.
The situation was growing tense when the cup-bearer seemed also to realize its difficulty, for with a sweet smile she bowed her shapely head in reverence to the assembly and drank the drink herself.
Everything was saved and the conference came to a satisfactory ending, but before leaving, the general asked if he might know the name of the lady who had shown such tact.
“That,” proudly said the King, who had never seen the lady before, “is my daughter Coctel.”
‘Right,” replied the general, “I will see that her name is honoured for evermore by my Army.”
Coctel, of course, became Cocktail, and there you are! There exists definite unquestionable proof of the truth of this story, but no correspondence upon the subject can in any circumstances be entertained.
For our tastings tonight, we can’t even scratch the surface of the many hundreds of cocktails which have been developed and loved over the years. Our aim is to give you a taste of 8 different cocktails, some gin based, vodka based, whiskey based, rum based and a couple of champagne cocktails such as the ‘Kir’ which you have sampled on arrival.
If we were very wealthy of course, we would serve ‘Kir Royale’ which is identical in every respect apart from using sparkling wine from Champagne rather than the Italian Prosecco we have favoured. There will be another champagne cocktail later. These are half size samples. Other cocktails will be 1/3 size so, over the course of the evening you will have the equivalent of 3 full size cocktails. Hence the need for Taxi Zoë at home time!!
Now, let’s start with THE classic …
Cocktail 2: Gin Martini
The origin of the Martini or Martinez, can be traced back as far as 1862 to San Francisco, California. It quickly gained a huge following and rose to the rank of ‘classic’ in 1888 when it was published in Jerry Thomas’s legendary classic ‘How to Mix Drinks’. A marriage between Gin and dry vermouth perfectly balanced to your liking and served in a martini glass created from the cocktail glass of the same style; the martini glass has a larger stem and a wider bowl.
Martini is, of course, most famous as the preferred tipple of James Bond who started off drinking Vodka Martinis and then changed to gin. The name Martini comes, not from the drink, but the shape of the classic ‘Martini’ glass which had the name before the drink. (Sadly, we don’t have enough for you all tonight so your samples will be in wine glasses.)
Bond’s assertion that it should be ‘shaken, not stirred’ is not accepted by any decent mixologist. Martinis are stirred with the ice until the glass they are stirred in is too cold to touch (about 30 seconds).
If cocktails are shaken, small fragments of ice break off and dilute the drink, thereby affecting the taste and making it cloudy. James Bond, you know nothing… or maybe it was Ian Fleming’s commentary on the poor quality of Post-War Spirits!
60 ml Gin
15 ml Vermouth
The amount of vermouth used dictates how ‘dry’ the martini is.
For 20 people (1/3 size): 400ml Gin £8.50 & 200ml vermouth = £1.20 = £10.00
Other Martini descriptions are:
Dirty – with the addition of a dash of olive brine
Wet – heavy on the vermouth
Dickens – without an olive or a lemon twist
Gibson – with 2 cocktail onions
Bradford – shaken with bitters
Churchill – The Churchill martini is the driest. Famously favoured by Sir Winston Churchill and involves waving an unopened bottle of vermouth over neat, chilled gin!
Local interest: Plymouth Gin was mentioned by name in the 1904 publication’ Stuarts Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them – in the section entitled ‘New and up-to-date drinks’!
One of these said up-to-date drinks was the Marguerite Cocktail which lifted the original Martini with the addition of bitters to slightly lift the dry taste. The currently favoured version also adds a bar spoon of Cointreau)
Cocktail 3: Margarita
With a worldwide reputation, the Margarita carries a heavy burden as the household name of the tequila cocktail family. With such recognition comes dozens of variations – everyone loves a Margarita and everyone has their own idea of what makes the best –
The Margarita is part of the daisy family of cocktails, which were popular in the early 20th century. In fact, ‘margarita’ is the Spanish word for daisy. Cocktails in the daisy family consist of spirit, citrus juice and something to both sweeten it up and to balance the citrus. Although many people think the Margarita comes from Mexico or South America, the origins of a cocktail containing tequila, citrus juice and an orange liqueur can be traced back to the Café Royal Cocktail Book in 1937, well before this combination was published as a Margarita. Named the Picador, its makeup is undoubtedly a tequila daisy, and at 2:1:1 parts respectively, it follows the classic formula of a Margarita. A British invention then? Perhaps.
For the homemade margarita mix:
1/2 cup sugar (or your favourite sweetener – ie 3-5 drops liquid stevia per serving)
1 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (8-12 limes)
For the margaritas:
150ml Margarita mix
50ml silver tequila
20ml orange liqueur
lime wedges/slices for garnish (optional)
& salted glass rims (put lime juice on a saucer, salt on another, turn the glass rimwards into the lime and then the salt)
For 20 people (1/3 size): 350ml Tequila £10.00 & triple sec 135ml = £4.00 = £14.00
Cocktail 4: Manhattan
The general consensus is that the Manhattan originated in New York around the 1930s. Some argue that the original recipe was made with Rye whisky from Canada due to prohibition restrictions in the US. Apparently, there are no documents to support this; however, a recipe for a Manhattan using Canadian Rye whisky features in The Savoy cocktail book of 1930. Whatever bourbon or rye you choose to use, make sure it is balanced out with a splash of sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters to create a truly marvellous drink that you’ll want to try over and over again.
60ml Bourbon (or Rye Whisky)
15ml Martini Rosso
Dash Angostura bitters
For 20 people (1/3 size): 400ml Bourbon £6.40 & 100ml Martini Rosso = £0.60 = £7.00
Cocktail 5: Cosmopolitan
Classic Cosmopolitan should be fluorescent pink – not red. It was actually born in the 1960s in Florida USA. This classic rose to fame in the mid-2000s thanks to the TV show ‘Sex and the City’. It has ties to the Cape Cod ( The Cape Coder cocktail is vodka and cranberry juice) and the kamikaze cocktails. A pairing of citrus vodka, orange liquor, fresh lime and cranberry juices, it’s easy to see why this is one of the top selling cocktails of all time.
Describe the use of the Boston shaker.
45ml Vodka citron
30ml cranberry juice
Juice of 1 lime
For 20 people (1/3 size): 300ml Citrus vodka £7.70 & 200ml Cointreau £6.00, 200ml cranberry juice £1.00, 7 limes, £2.00 = £16.00
Cocktail 6: Sex on the Beach
There are several stories claiming to describe the origin of the Sex on the Beach. One claims that the cocktail originated in Florida in the spring of 1987, coinciding with the introduction of peach schnapps. A bartender at Confetti’s Bar devised the drink and gave it the name in a nod to the many tourists visiting Florida’s beaches each spring.
50ml cranberry juice
50ml orange juice
25ml peach schnapps
2tsp crème de cassis
For 20 people (1/3 size): 350ml cranberry, 350ml orange £2.00, 350ml vodka £4.00, 170ml peach schnaps £1.30 = £7.50
Cocktail 7: Champagne Cocktail
A classic. Winner of the 1899 ‘New York Cocktail’ Competition. This recipe proves simplicity at its best and is easy to make as it requires no special equipment.
1 brown sugar cube
Top with Champagne (Prosecco/Cava) (150ml)
For 20 people (1/2 size): 10 sugar cubes (£1) 140ml Cognac £3.00 2000 ml Prosecco = £21.00 = £25.00
Cocktail 8: Officer of the Watch
And finally – the perfect after dinner cocktail to end the evening. Developed aboard Cunard as an alternative to the Espresso Martini. Officer of the Watch uses freshly made espresso which takes on a creamy appearance when shaken with the ice.
45ml gin (original recipe has navy strength)
15ml Amaretto (or Amaretti Syrup)
3 drops chocolate bitters
For 20 people (1/3 size): 300ml Gin £6.40, 100ml syrup £1.00 = £7.50