Tuesday, December 8, 2009


1/2 Egg White
2 oz Genever Gin (Bols)
2 oz Water
1 1/2 oz Jamaican Rum (Plantation)
1 1/2 oz Yellow or Green Chartreuse (Green)
1 1/2 oz Gomme Syrup
1/2 oz Curacao (Mathilde XO)
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters

Shake hard with ice for a while. Strain into cocktail (or here, rocks) glasses. Makes 4 servings or so.

While drinking my first cocktail at Drink on Sunday night, I was talking with bartender Joe Staropoli and somehow he mentioned the Alamagoozlum and how one customer will not forgive Joe for making him that drink. And to that, my reply was to declare that I would love for him to make me that cocktail as my second beverage. The Alamagoozlum is the lead-off recipe in Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and originally appeared in Charles H. Baker's 1939 Around the World with Jigger, Beaker, and Flask. Baker claimed that the drink was invented by J. Pierpont Morgan -- yes, the famous the banker and philanthropist was apparently an amateur bartender as well. I think it was the 1/2 oz of Angostura bitters that deterred me from making it at home, or perhaps the grand volume of the recipe. This should not have been much of a deterrent since I have enjoyed my experiences with copious amounts of Angostura bitters such as in the Trinidad Sour and since I am fully capable of scaling drinks down. Actually, the amount of bitters per serving (assuming it splits 4 ways) is less than the amount in a Seelbach.

Joe got very enthused and set to work on making the Alamagoozlum. I tried to convince him to scale the drink down, but he decided he would make it full sized and find homes for the other servings. The drink once poured had a rather healthy head on it with the froth deriving from the egg white and Angostura bitters. The nose was full of green Chartreuse and Angostura's cinnamon notes and was a prelude to the flavors to come. The Alamagoozlum was rather rich from the egg and the malty Genever, and it had a good deal of spice from the Chartreuse and bitters. I could not fathom why the gentleman did not enjoy the drink the previous time Joe made the recipe, except that he might not have been a fan of green Chartreuse. The yellow Chartreuse option would produce a less sharp and slightly sweeter balance and might be a decent path for those who prefer milder cocktails.

And speaking of communal drinking experiences, we ended the night with some tequila. To our right was New Hampshire bartender Jeff Grdinich who had just returned from his Mezcal adventures in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the conversation had been focused on agave spirits for much of the night. John Gertsen decided that our tequila needed to be served in a particular way taught to him by Alex Ott, a bartender and grandson of the famous Dada artist. Gertsen freshly grated a "discernible mound of cinnamon" on top of each orange slice, and we were instructed to take a bite of the dusted orange slice and then drink the tequila. The pairing works best with a reposado tequila since the cinnamon complements the wood notes from the tequila's barrel aging (besides cinnamon generally pairing well with tequila).

1 comment:

Randy said...

Hey Fred, I was there when Joey served up that first Alamagoozalem; he served it to my friend. It definitely didn't go as planned, because Joey and some of the other bartenders tried it and couldn't finish it. But I'll definitely give it a chance next time I'm in, thanks to your post!!