Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Squid Mixes: Japanese Cocktail
The Japanese Cocktail was invented by Jerry Thomas, AKA The Professor, a famous nineteenth-century American bartender. Interestingly and coincidentally, I am reading a book about him right now, though I got the recipe from a different book: Robert Simonson's 3-Ingredient Cocktails. Simonson employs cognac, orgeat (almond) syrup, Angostura bitters and a lemon twist. We didn't have much cognac left so I topped off with brandy. When I've made them before, I used The New York Bartender's Guide's recipe which adds lime juice. The single greatest flavor discovery I have made in mixing drinks is the dazzling combination of almond and lime - definitely a whole-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts situation. Alas, we had none on hand. Next time.
There is nothing Japanese about the drink whatsoever, always leaving the name a bit of a mystery. David Wondrich - author of Imbibe, the aforementioned book about Jerry Thomas - suggests that it was perhaps a marketing gimmick for a Japanese delegation that came to New York in 1860. There is no proof of this theory.
The drink is yummy. Brandy is dangerous stuff - essentially liquid candy. Orgeat is pretty amazing, too - the aroma alone is heavenly. It is a lot of sugar and the lime juice, when available, certainly cuts into it. Even without, it's a lovely treat.