When writing about the Corn Popper cocktail—a Prohibition-era cocktail and one of the few written examples of a recipe intended for mass consumption with even an oblique call for moonshine—he asked me about its call for corn. The recipe was
Apparently, I had little to do that day, so wrote him a somewhat lengthy reply on the nature of “corn.” The answer reads in part
Now you’ve drifted into some interesting semantic territory rather than merely obscure ingredients. In the Savoy book, some things are what they seem - absinthe is generally that, despite variations in style. So is applejack (usually). “Corn” is a shorthand code, especially a post-prohibition work, merely for illicit spirits (often, but not necessarily, whiskey) that may be made from nearly any ingredient except fruit, but including sugar, wheat, rye, “ship stuff,” sorghum, cattle feed, mule chop, and, on occasion, corn.
Read the rest of the notes, including Erik’s photos and tasting notes, here.
The demi-original Corn Popper (Craddock, cribbing Judge Jr.)
1 Pint Corn (Georgia or Maryland).
1/2 Pint Cream.
The Whites of 2 Eggs.
1 Tablespoonful Grenadine.
Fill highball glasses half full of this mixture and fill up with Vichy or Seltzer.
Erik’s modern Corn Popper (single-serving)
1 1/2 oz clear, pungent, liquid of unknown origin
1 egg white
3/4 oz Cream
1 teaspoon Grenadine (homemade)
Measure ingredients into cocktail shaker. Seal and shake well. Break seal, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into collins glass. Top with selzer or sparkling mineral water.
Goes well with:
- Stomping through the Savoy, Erik's chronicle at eGullet of his cocktail recreations to date.