Sunday, February 27, 2011


This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Some Like It Hot" (MxMo LV), was picked by Nancy of the Backyard Bartender blog. Nancy's challenge was simple -- "make anything you want to, as long as it's served hot."

The theme was rather easy to pick a drink for as I had been eyeing the Locomotive in various old drink books for quite a while. The drink was named after one of the major advances in transportation of the early 19th century. Steam locomotives allowed for great numbers of passengers and large amounts of freight to be transported quickly, efficiently, and reliably between cities. Since these early railway vehicles used heat to generate steam to propel them, having a hot drink named after them was not very surprising.

The recipe I chose was from Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks from 1869 for it had a better recipe than the one that first tempted me in Modern American Drinks from 1895. It caught my eye and made me curious as it used red wine as a base, was sweetened with honey and orange liqueur, and was thickened with egg yolks. While that seems unusual by today's drink standards, this fell within the norm for the time period of the mid 19th century. And after trying it, the Locomotive still holds ground. The recipe from the book with my modifications was as follows:
• 1 pint red Roussilon or Burgundy Wine (16 oz Porta dos Cavaleiros Dão 2007)
• 2 Egg Yolks
• 1 oz Honey
• 1 drop Essence of Cinnamon (1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon)
• 3 drop Essence of Clove (1/8 tsp Ground Clove)
• 1/2 gill Curaçao (2 oz Senior Curaçao)
Heat wine with cinnamon and clove to nearly boiling. Meanwhile, beat up egg yolks, honey, and Curaçao until frothed. Add hot wine to egg yolk mixture, mix, and serve. I added a freshly grated nutmeg garnish.
Since I did not have the essences, I used ground spice instead; the original recipe called for the essences to be added to the egg yolk mixture, but I figured that a little extra mulling would help to bring the flavor out. Moreover, the drink seemed like it could use a nutmeg garnish so I took the liberty of adding it. The recipe makes 4 punch cups worth.
The Cooling Cups book included the pun that "it will drive away care," and after a few of these, the author would be right. The drink's nose was full of red wine aroma that was spiced by nutmeg and clove. On the sip, the honey and orange flavors were rather pleasing, and this was followed by the red wine, cinnamon, and clove notes on the swallow. The honey and egg yolk donated a luxurious thickness and mouthfeel that made the Locomotive rather delightful to drink. In addition, the wine's tannins and the sweetness of the honey and liqueur neutralized the other rather well. The warmth did make the drink seem more potent than it was as the heat increased the mouth's sensitivity to alcohol. Overall, the Locomotive was well worth trying on a cold winter's night and perhaps a great use of a leftover, unfinished bottle of wine.

Cheers to Nancy for picking the theme and hosting and to Paul for being the benevolent railroad yardmaster to us hobos.

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