The Red Rot Cocktail was created for that event at the Boston Athenaeum, one of America's oldest private libraries. The name was apropos as red rot is a type of deterioration of tanned leather that occurs when the tannins (often found in books from the latter half of the 19th century) degrade to a fine red powder, and the non-potable red rot cocktail is a chemical mixture used to treat leather bindings for retarding the decay. The potable format was created by Lauren Clark of DrinkBoston and Misty Kalkofen of Drink and hopefully none of it spilled on any century old book bindings. The drink's description was written by Lauren in Charles H. Baker-ese and I have included an easier to follow recipe below it including the gin choice we used:
Red Rot Cocktail, which Rather Resembles the Noxious Liquid Medicine for Moldy Red Leather-bound Books but Nonetheless Pleases the PalateI opted for our bottle Ephemeral gin as it is a lighter, less junipery style; the Ephemeral might still appeal to people who claim not to care for gin while being complex enough to keep gin drinkers intrigued. Another fine gin choice would be Plymouth which is rather mildly flavored and is the one that Lauren used in this video on How2Heroes. The red part of the name derives from two components, the Cherry Heering liqueur and the Peychaud's bitters which impart a decently deep hue to the cocktail. The drink starts with cherry and lemon fruit aromas on the nose, and the sip yields a pleasing but not incredibly challenging level of spice. The gin is not as pronounced as it can be in many drinks, but is apparent on the swallow, and the drink falls safely in the middle of the sweetness spectrum. Furthermore, the Red Rot Cocktail's color is rather pretty but not too much so to scare off a guy. Perhaps the drink's name might not appeal to everyone, but the drink's taste sure has a good fighting chance to do so.
To one jigger of London dry gin add one half ounce each of St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Cherry Heering and fresh lemon juice, and two goodly dashes of Peychaud's bitters. Shake vigorously with ice and turn into a champagne saucer.
• 1 1/2 oz Dry Gin (Berkshire Mountain Distillers' Ephemeral)
• 1/2 oz St. Germain
• 1/2 oz Cherry Heering
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.