Friday, July 15, 2011

grace cup

1 bottle Muscat or Malmsey Madeira (6 oz Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho Madeira)
1/2 pint Cherry Brandy (2 oz Cherry Heering)
1 glass Pineapple Syrup (1/2 oz)
Juice of 1 Lemon (1/2 oz)
Peel of 1 Lemon rubbed off on Loaf Sugar (1/4 peel muddled with 1/2 oz sugar and left for 1 hour to make an oleo saccharum)
A bunch of Borage, Balm, or Verbena (4 leaf Borage)
2 bottle Soda Water (6 oz)

Make oleo saccharum. Mix borage with rest of ingredients (save for the soda water) in a cocktail shaker, and allow to infuse and chill in the freezer for an hour. Add 1 oz water to sugar-lemon oleo saccharum to dissolve the sugar. Add oleo saccharum syrup and ice to the cocktail shaker, shake and strain into 2 highball glasses partially filled with ice cubes. Top each glass with 3 oz of soda water.

My garden's borage plants had finally reached the size where I could start harvesting them for drinks, so I delved into The Gentleman's Table Guide from 1871 to find an use. The Grace Cup stood out as a recipe that not only called for borage, but I had all of the other ingredients and it seemed like a tasty 19th century tipple. The only tricky part was deciphering what the cherry brandy meant; when I gave Andrea the option of kirsch, Cherry Heering, and Maraschino Liqueur, she opted for the Heering. While Maraschino seemed wrong, kirsch could add some pleasing subtle flavors to the mix, but I agreed that the Heering probably matched the Madeira the best.
The Grace Cup began with a Madeira-scented nose. The sip possessed crispness from the lemon and carbonation but was a bit more on the sweet side; again, the kirsch would have made the drink a little drier, so perhaps it would have been a good option. The sip also contained a vague fruitiness that was probably a combination of the Heering and the pineapple syrup. Finally, the swallow contained some of the sharper notes of the Madeira flavored with vegetal ones from the borage; borage leaves have a pleasing, almost cucumber-like essence to them, and they give many of these Cups a very British feel (despite the book being American). Overall, the Grace Cup was not all that dissimilar from the Madeira Cup; however, the former provides the option of Muscat and the latter of sherry.


erik.ellestad said...

That does look very tasty! Just hope I don't get caught "foraging" for Borage.

frederic said...

Most established borage patches usually have more than any one person can use. Ours hasn't reached that point but it's only been a month or so in the ground with 3 seedlings. I can't tell whether it's "a hardy annual" that seeds itself for the next year or a perennial yet (or both).

If you can't score some borage, cucumber peel is similar and delightful.