Friday, February 25, 2011

saratoga cocktail

3/4 glass Old Brandy (1 1/2 oz Larressingle Armagnac VSOP)
2-3 dash Pineapple Syrup (1/4 oz)
2-3 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)
2-3 dash Boker's Bitters (Homemade, or sub Angostura)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Later on Saturday, I was flipping through Harry Johnson's New and Improved Bartender's Manual. When I spotted the Saratoga Cocktail, I figured that I ought to give this version a try. The other Saratoga Cocktail espoused by Jerry Thomas won out historically for name recognition most likely because it is has a more standard formula. Perhaps Thomas' version could be considered a Manhattan with half the rye whiskey swapped for Cognac, or perhaps a precursor of the Vieux Carré, a Saratoga that gets gussied up with the addition of Peychaud's Bitters and spoon of Benedictine. Harry Johnson's recipe was more in the style of a Fancy Brandy (brandy, bitters, and Maraschino or curacao), and this style over time lost out to the more classic Old Fashioned and other types of drink.
The Saratoga Cocktail started with a pineapple and brandy aroma. The sip was slightly sweet and fruity, and this were chased by the brandy's heat, the Maraschino's funkiness, and the bitter's spice on the swallow. The drink definitely reminded me of a more fruit, less almond Japanese. Overall, it was pretty aggressive of a drink similar to a less sweetened but more complex Brandy Old Fashioned. Looking at the ingredients list alone without the proportions, one might even think the Saratoga Cocktail could be a chick drink (well, more so if you swapped the brandy for vodka and dropped the bitters), but alas, it is nothing of the sort.

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