Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the peacock

2 dash (1 tsp) Amer Picon
1 dash (1/2 tsp) Absinthe (Versinthe La Blanche)
1 1/2 oz Brandy (Courvoisier VSOP)

Stir on ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last night while my potatoes were boiling for a batch of homemade gnocchi, I began flipping through the Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book and I spotted what seemed like a good aperitif cocktail, the Peacock. Using some of Wondrich's conversions in Imbibe!, I interpreted each dash of liqueur as a half a teaspoon (although he shows some variation depending on the ingredient and the recipe). The cocktail did prove to be dry enough to be a good aperitif with the absinthe and Amer Picon giving the right level of complexity. While drinking the Peacock, the absinthe flavors hit you on the first part of the sip. This is followed by the Cognac's butteriness, and then, lastly on the swallow, the Amer Picon bitters shine through. The absinthe though not overwhelming relative to the Cognac did seem to dwarf the Amer Picon a bit.

While researching the cocktail this morning, I found a good article by Gary Regan. Apparently, the history of the name revolves around an alleyway between the old Waldorf and Astoria hotels where young socialites strolled back and forth to see and be seen. With all of the strutting and preening going on, the corridor was dubbed Peacock Alley, and the cocktail was named in homage to this social institution. According to the article (but not mentioned in the cocktail book), the drink was originally served over crushed ice. Moreover, the current day Waldorf-Astoria bar serves the Peacock as a vodka, Pama, and Patron Citronge concoction in part due to the difficulty procuring Amer Picon and in part due to modern popular taste sensibilities eschewing anise-flavored liqueurs (not to mention liquors other than vodka). I will provide the recipe I found for it but I will probably pass on this version:
The Peacock (2005 Version)
1 1/2 oz XO Vodka
1 1/2 oz Pama Liqueur
1 dash (1/4 oz) Patron Citronge
Shake with ice and strain into a champagne glass.

No comments: