So this time round, Mixology Monday (hosted at Kaiser Penguin) is about wickedly potent drinks – i.e. drinks you cannot safely drink more than one of. I didn’t have to think too long about what drink to write about. Since picking up a copy of Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, the Early Fogcutter has been a big favorite of mine, and one too rarely enjoyed. That being the case, Mixology Monday gave me a great excuse to mix one up.
½ oz orgeat (Monin)
2 oz gold Cuban rum (Havana Club 3 anos)
1 oz pisco (Machu Pisco)
½ Plymouth Gin
1 oz orange juice
2 oz lemon juice
½ oz float of cream sherry (Canasta Cream – a blend of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez)
Shake over ice and strain into an ice filled hurricane glass or similar.
I find the sherry float tends to sink. No big deal but if it bothers you a sweeter sherry might help matters.
This recipe strikes me as a bit of an old school drink, with its generous quantities and calls for the use of numerous old-timey and slightly oddball bottles. The recipe is far better than any subsequent Fogcutter I have come across. The Tony Ramos Fogcutter, featured on the facing page in Ted Haigh’s book, does not remotely compare.
Yep, this is yet another great pisco drink. I honestly do not work for a pisco company. I just think pisco is sorely underrated. I like eau de vie generally as a cocktail ingredient. Since pisco has a lot of eau de vie characteristics I like pisco too. The pisco does wonderful things in this drink, complementing the orgeat and the sherry float, and adding some highly spirituous fruitiness that makes the rum merely another layer rather than the whole story.
The gin is another genius addition. Gin is an urbane spirit not normally associated with tropical drinks, yet used judiciously it helps restore the exoticism of the tropics to the jaded 21st Century palette. No really, it does.
I have read claims that gin featured in the original Cuba Libre, so put on your best lab coat and perform this experiment. Toss a ½ ounce of gin into your next Cuba Libre, not forgetting to squeeze or muddle some lime in there too. Drink the resultant concoction. Regardless of the historical pedigree of the gin-spiked Cuba Libre, after trying one you are more likely to find yourself reaching for a second than worrying about the drinking habits of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders*. A gin-spiked Cuba Libre is delicious. Small quantities of gin complement rum beautifully, adding complexity without causing the least disturbance. This early Fogcutter recipe is a great example.
Delicious! . . . as the Chinese say. Now do I dare to make a second?
* Just in case anyone does not know, the Rough Riders (a voluntary military unit sent by the United States to assist in the Cuban War of Independence) are alleged to have invented the Cuba Libre during their sojourn on Cuba. I am not convinced this story holds much weight, but there is no doubting it is often repeated. The main problem with the story is that the Rough Riders left Cuba in 1898, but Coca Cola did not become available in Cuba until 1900. Hmm. . .