Algonquin Cocktail

Vintage Cocktails: #1 The Algonquin

Here commences the inaugural post of the Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails challenge.

If I may be permitted to already leave the alphabetical structure of the book, and move to the second drink listed.  The reason for this is quite simple actually.  I get home from work a little early and decide to make a drink while I do some work that needs to be done.  I open my book, but to my disappointment, drink #1 is a recipe for 3 drinks at once.  Doable I guess, but it calls for half an egg white, and as the author points out, it is extremely difficult to measure half of a little goopy egg white.  Also, 6 drinks is really far more than anyone should consume at one time, so off to number 2 we go.

The Algonquin
1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (I used Old Overholt)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Pineapple syrup
Shake in an iced shaker and strain.

Now, when I say an iced shaker I mean a boston tin packed to to top with ice!  I would probably also normally double strain my drink into my chilled cocktail glass, but sometimes I really enjoy that layer of ice shards floating on top, so I didn’t.

I actually really enjoyed this cocktail.  I was pleasantly surprised as I don’t really have a love for wines or fortified wines.  Also, Pineapple syrup? Weird.  What I found was that the vermouth complements the spiciness of the rye, and the pineapple provides the necessary sweetness, without distracting from the flavors.  I could find myself drinking this drink on a semi-regular basis.

MxMo: Tea

This month while I knew of the topic of mixology monday far in advance, I failed to allow the creativity to flow in the appropriate amount of time. Therefore, I shall be posting a little lame drink and following it up with some more original cocktails. The topic this month is Tea, chosen by the cocktail virgin.

First off, I would like to share the Irish Mist. This is an original creation and may be made two ways. We could go for the slightly alcoholic version, or the I am for sure a man but I also drink tea version. This drink is based on whiskey for the strong, and irish cream for the weak.

Irish Mist
2oz whiskey or irish cream
6oz Earl Grey Tea
1/2oz Vanilla Syrup

Steep your tea for a full 5 min. Add whiskey or irish cream to warmed mug, add Vanilla syrup, and fill with tea.
A favorite of mine, and I like both versions, although I favor the weaker one as I love the rich flavor and texture that the cream imparts.

Next up is the Earl Grey MarTEAni, created by Audrey Saunders of the Pegu Club in NYC. This drink is essentially a tea infused gin sour, but is an excellent example of tea in a cocktail, and also a drink that is balanced in such a way to taste all of the different “tastes” that should be in a good cocktail.

Earl Grey MarTEAni
1 1/2oz Earl Grey infused Gin
3/4oz lemon juice
1oz simple syrup
1 egg white

The Quest

It is the new year, and I am on a mission. A mission that may turn out to be a complete failure, or may turn into something great. As Julie Powell attempted to make all the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook in a year, so I shall attempt to make and enjoy every single cocktail in the reissued Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. For me this is no small task. For one, here in Washington State our lovely governing bodies get to decide which brands of alcohols and beers are allowed to be sold here. In addition, most companies will not ship product of a high proof nature into the state. Which leaves me a little annoyed as I can already see that several drinks are going to be a challenge. However, I shall go forth with vigor and conquer.

Wherever possible I will try to go through the book in alphabetical order to keep from a chaotic mess, although time and money will be the ultimate dictation when new or hard to acquire ingredients come into play. Cheers!



Tea is the agricultural product of the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of the Camellia sinensis plant, prepared and cured by various methods. “Tea” also refers to the aromatic beverage prepared from the cured leaves by combination with hot or boiling water, and is the common name for the Camellia sinensis plant itself.

Tea.  It is the most popular drink in the world, and its consumption it equal to all other drinks in the world, including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol put together.  This to me is amazing in the fact that here in the US, tea is an often overlooked beverage.  We have it occasionally when we have colds, or if we are from certain ancestral backgrounds, but as a whole I think to the average citizen, tea is merely a simple beverage of a bygone era.  Let us however take a closer look.

There are six varieties of tea; white, yellow, green, oolong, black and pu-erh, of which the most commonly found on the market are white, green, oolong and black. All tea are made from the same bushes but processed differently, and, in the case of fine white tea, grown differently. Pu-erh tea, a post-fermented tea, is also often used medicinally, and I myself have never seen this tea available.

Herbal “tea’s” are not tea at all but rather an infusion or tisane of leaves, flowers, fruit, herbs or other plant material that contains no Camellia sinensis. The term “red tea” either refers to an infusion made from the South African rooibos plant, also containing no Camellia sinensis, or, in many Asian languages, refers to black tea.

The Camillia sinensis is an evergreen bush that is grown mainly in sub-tropical climates.  The plants require a minimum of 50 inches of rainfall a year, as well as a zone 8 climate and acidic soils.  There are 2 varieties of the tea plant, the large leafed Assam (C. sinensis assamica) which is predominantly processes into black and oolong teas, and the Chinese (C. sinensis sinensis) which is predominantly green, white, and yellow teas.  The tea plant can grow quite large, but is usually kept trimmed to waist lever to facilitate production.  During the tea producing season, the top 1-2 inches of the plant are picked.  This is called the flush.  A plant will flush every 7-10 days during this season.  Over three quarters of the tea in the world comes from the east half of the Asian continent; China, India, and Sri Lanka producing about 60 percent of the worlds tea.

Similarly to coffees that gain differing flavors from the region of growth and the roasting process, to tea is also classified according to processing techniques:

  • White tea:  wilted and unoxidized
  • Yellow tea:  unwilted and unoxidized, but allowed to yellow
  • Green tea:  unwilted and unoxodized
  • Oolong tea:  wilted, bruised, and partia;;y oxidized
  • Black tea:  wilted, often crushed, and fully oxidized
  • Post-fermented tea:  Green tea that has been fermented/composted

The proper preparation for tea is also one that is often overlooked in our culture.  Different teas require different brewing times and temperatures.  Many teas are brewed several times using the same leaves which is said to brew more complex flavors during the subsequent infusions.  Below is a graph depicting brewing temperature, time, and number of possible infusions.

Type Water Temp. Steep Time Infusions
White Tea 150 °F (66 °C) – 160 °F (71 °C) 1–2 minutes 3
Yellow Tea 160 °F (71 °C) – 170 °F (77 °C) 1–2 minutes 3
Green Tea 170 °F (77 °C) – 180 °F (82 °C) 1–2 minutes 4-6
Oolong Tea 180 °F (82 °C) – 190 °F (88 °C) 2–3 minutes 4-6
Black Tea 210 °F (99 °C) 2–3 minutes 2-3
Pu-erh Tea 200 °F (93 °C) – 210 °F (99 °C) Limitless Several
Herbal Tea 210 °F (99 °C) 3–6 minutes Varied

All of the teas above have differing flavor profiles, not only based upon the type of tea, but also where it is grown, how it is processed, if/how it was blended with other teas, and what additives where used (jasmine, bergamot, lemon, honey, mint, etc).  As you can see, tea can be either a very simple beverage or an epicurian delight.  With so many flavor profiles, tea can be paired expertly with a plethora of dishes.  Next time you are in the mood to try something new, reach for the tea leaves.

And stay tuned for the upcoming MxMo on January 25th, featuring Tea!