Every day a different drink. Not just how to make them, but a detailed review of how they actually taste, photos of the drinks, and stories along the way. Starting from the beginning, The Bartender's Black Book will be our guide, taking us

(and our livers) on a journey from which we may never recover. Cheers!

February 3, 2011

#34: Alexander

1 oz Gin
1 oz White or Dark Creme de Cacao
In a serving glass filled with ice, pour ingredients, then fill with milk or cream, then shake.

I read a story a few weeks ago about a religious teacher who had his students go in to various establishments and ask for things that they didn't or wouldn't have. Like going to a bookstore and asking for frozen yogurt. Supposedly it was to teach them humility and to break down the barriers of ego that we all hold. They had to learn to let go of what they thought about how others saw them.

As I pondered this, I saw opportunities to do just that the next time I go to the supermarket. Here's a short list of some items it would be fun to put on the conveyor belt at the grocery store. Just 3 items each time, and keep telling myself "I don't care what people think".

Box of condoms, suckers, My Little Pony

Box of cheap wine, Ex-Lax, water balloons

Vodka, matches, a pair of sunglasses

Dulcolax, a mirror, turkey baster

A jar of mayonnaise, a stopwatch, and a Bible

Olive oil, honey, and zucchini

Midol, a knife, a bottle of rum

Tabasco, a bag of ice, an enema

Rubber gloves, bleach, a tarp

See what you can come up with!


Well, we have bit of a dilemma today. After much research on the web (30 minutes, I'm not insane), it appears that the recipe in the book may in fact be wrong. The ingredients and amounts are right, but this appears to be the only instance of the drink that I can find where it is not being strained into a cocktail glass. The earliest reference for this drink dates back to 1915, and that recipe calls for it to be strained as well. So what to do? Make 2! A little background first.

Although the Alexander is not on the list of official IBA cocktails, the Brandy Alexander is, as well as another offspring, the White Russian. The Alexander predates all of them, dating from about 1915, and is said to be named after Czar Alexander II of Russia. During the 19th century, he was considered one of the most progressive leaders in Europe at the time, emancipating the Russian peasants from serfdom, reorganizing the military to include universal conscription from all wealth levels, and instituting and new penal code and simplified civil and criminal systems. All that kind of change led to the inevitable assassination, of course. So, early in the 20th century someone decided to name a drink after the Czar. Seems like it would have been nice if that had happened while he was still alive, but oh well, I can only hope to live on in posterity through having a drink named after me.

I made the drink according to The Good Book, just to see what would happen. It was a very tasty drink, a great sipping drink. It had a strong flavor from the gin and Creme de Cacao, but mellow with little bite. It slid on the tongue nicely and was a pleasure to drink. But the nagging fact that I knew this was made incorrectly seemed to detract from the experience.

So, I made it again, same ingredients, but this time everything was shaken in a mixer filled with ice cubes, then strained into a cocktail glass. Of course in all this I forgot to garnish with a touch of nutmeg. You would think I was trying to be an air traffic controller, but even just trying to keep all this straight was taxing to my addled brain.

Now that we seem to have the traditional method for this drink established, I noticed that the use of Dark Creme de Cacao had crept into the recipe from The Good Book, but that seems to have not been added to an Alexander until the Brandy Alexander came along in the 1920s. Since there will never be total consensus on any drink, I'll live with this.

The revised (for me) version was even better, with no ice cubes banging me in the nose. In the cocktail glass it was easier to sip, and it seemed creamier and richer.

Check out today's featured item.

No comments:

Post a Comment