Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Virtue of Necessity


The spousal unit returned from the supermarket yesterday with a pretty bright-pink bottle of grenadine syrup tucked with his purchases; something we never buy, and the result, no doubt, of a hurried and/or inexperienced bagger getting two customers’ items muddled. I went online to see what possible use I could make of it.

The maker’s website suggested several candy drinks, including tequila sunrise. No thanks. I seemed to remember that back in the bad old days when cocktails were first becoming popular, grenadine was a common ingredient in a number of libations, and went looking for a traditional bartenders’ guide. On the Michigan State University’s Feeding America website I found The Ideal Bartender, written by Tom Bullock in 1917 and proudly asking in all caps on the title page:

“IS IT ANY WONDER THAT MANKIND STANDS OPEN-MOUTHED BEFORE THE BARTENDER, CONSIDERING THE MYSTERIES AND MARVELS OF AN ART THAT BORDERS ON MAGIC?"

…above a photograph of Mr Bullock, a scholarly-looking, well-dressed gentleman of middle years.

The recipes list ingredients that are now unknown (such as abricotine) or unlawful (such as absinthe), and drinks that have long since fallen from fashion, such as flips and toddies. Here is one for a Bacardi Cocktail, using grenadine (but not Rose’s).

BACARDI COCKTAIL

“Use a large Mixing glass.
Fill with Lump Ice.
½ jigger Cusiner Grenadine
1 jigger Bacardi Rum.
Shake well and serve in a Cocktail glass.”

I’ll have to try this, perhaps this evening, and let you know how it turns out. But I think I’ll stay away from Bombay Punch (fruit, sugar, carbonated water, 1 quart brandy, 1 quart sherry, 1 quart Madeira and four quarts of Champagne), the Bismarck (vanilla cordial, Benedictine, Kummel, Angostura bitters and an egg yolk) or the Coffee Cocktail (ice, a raw egg, sugar, port, and brandy, but no coffee).

Didn’t a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge offer Bob Cratchit a “steaming bowl of Bishop” the day after Christmas? Thanks to Mr. Bullock, I can now tell you what that is.

BISHOP A LA PRUSSE

“Before a Fire or in a Hot Oven roast 6 large Oranges until they are of a light brown color, and then place them in a deep dish and scatter over them ½ lb. of Granulated Sugar and pour on 1 pint of Port or Claret Wine. Then cover the dish and set aside for 24 hours before the time to serve. When about ready for the service, set the dish in boiling water; press the Juice from the Oranges with a large spoon or wooden potato masher and strain the Juice through a fine sieve or cheese cloth. Then boil 1 pint of Port or Claret and mix it with the Strained Juice. Serve in stem Claret glasses while warm. A little Nutmeg on top improves the drink, but should not be added unless requested by customer or guest.”

3 comments:

Packrat said...

I'm drawing a complete blank, but there was something that I used to make that called for grenadine. When the kids were at home, I always had a bottle in the frig. Also, grenadine is used in Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers drinks.

Steph's (tat) Stuff said...

Rarely these days do I drink, but when I do I have one rule: stay away from anything red! Grenadine brings back memories, fuzzy and woozy ones. Heh. As for abricotine, I think that's apricot liqueur. A Quebecois friend has a dusty old bottle of it sitting in the liquor cabinet.

Pat aka Posh said...

When I was growing up a friend of mine use to have her father mix us up a drink with it using 7-Up and we loved it