Friday, October 17, 2008


1 1/2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. orange curaçao
egg white
1/4 oz. grenadine
1/4 oz. pastis

Shake with ice. Strain and serve in a cocktail glass.

Recipe from Don't use it, it's pretty unremarkable when made this way. I'll explain.

After making the grave error of ordering a before-dinner drink after dinner, I decided I couldn't go wrong with a pastis-based drink. So, that is what I requested from Scott at Rendezvous for my second cocktail. He decided I had to try his variant of the Millionaire.

The color of the drink was an intriguingly opaque pale purple. Scott told me he used the Old Fitzgerald Bonded for the bourbon, which I had admired on one of my previous visits. I did a quick search for the recipe on cocktaildb, and when I showed him the recipe above, he noted that he had tinkered with it substantially. I'm pretty sure he said he used 2 oz. bourbon, and I think he used more pastis and less grenadine. He also noted that it took him a long time to learn how to make the cocktail properly - the amount of egg white is the key. He only uses a fraction of the white, probably not even half. And it was perfect, the white gave body and opacity only with no hint of smell or flavor.

When I suggested the Millionaire cocktaildb recipe to Hugh at Eastern Standard a few nights later, he dutifully made one for my friend Tim. He used 1 1/5 oz. of Michter's rye instead of bourbon, and I cautioned him to be conservative with the egg white. The result just wasn't that tasty, and fell flat. Other cocktail reviewers online had noted this about the recipe as well. Scott's version has certainly elevated the Millionaire far above its dubious reputation.

In my preparation for writing this entry, I searched the intarwebz for a recipe that might give me a clue about the rest of the proportions Scott used. David Wondrich's recipe over at Esquire's website seemed the closest, for all that it omits the pastis. His commentary appealed to the Marxist in me:
The typical millionaire, circa 1920: top hat, tails, sweep-fendered Rolls-Royce, the whole Scrooge McDuck bit. An image with traction. In fact, it spawned several cocktails of that name, none of which a true millionaire would order. It was bad enough that these formulae wore their aspirations on their sleeves -- back then, in the age before Trump with a capital T, a millionaire had to at least pretend that it wasn't all about the Benjamins. Worse, though, most of 'em sucked. But here's one -- created at London's top-shelf Ritz Hotel, sometime before 1925 -- that "tastes sense," as Lawton Mackall put it in Esquire's October 1940 "Potables" column. Sweet, pleasant, even jovial. In fact, judging from actual millionaires we have met, rather atypical.

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