Saturday, November 21, 2009

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Rowley’s Gift Guide for Drinkers: Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails

Discretely check your drinker’s shelves before getting this one: it might already be there. Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails—now in its second edition—is the most useful introduction to classic cocktails on the market. While other scholars tackle classic drinks admirably, the breadth and depth of Haigh’s book are simply unparalleled.

Richly illustrated with graphics from Haigh’s personal collection of drinking ephemera, the book pulls together 100 recipes (“From Alamagoozlum to the Zombie and Beyond”) along with their backstories, origins, and liberal doses of unvarnished opinions about the proper way to make certain drinks or the spirits that elevate them from the merely lovely to the sublime.

The stand-out planter’s punch recipe below I first tasted at Tales of the Cocktail. Haigh reproduces it in this edition with notes on how New Orleans rum collector Steve Remsberg gathered the recipe (including the Secret Mix) from Jasper LaFranc at the Bay Roc Hotel in Montego Bay. It’s a keeper and we’re so glad it’s not forgotten.
Jasper’s Jamaican Planter’s Punch

1.5 oz dark Jamaican rum (Coruba)
1.5 oz Jasper’s Secret Mix (see below)

Add to a 10-ounce highball glass filled with cracked ice. Stir vigorously. Top off with more ice.

Jasper garnished his with a pineapple spear, an orange slice, and a cocktail cherry.

Steve garnishes his with fresh mint.

Jasper’s Secret Mix

Juice of 12 limes
1.5 cups sugar
1.25 oz Angostura bitters
½ whole nutmeg, grated

Stir the ingredients together in a mixing vessel until the sugar dissolves.

Let steep in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Store in a bottle in the refrigerator.
Vintage Spirits retails at $19.99. You can score a discounted copy at Amazon, but at $12.95 it’s slightly cheaper still through Mud Puddle.

See the gift guide as it grows here.


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