Friday, August 19, 2011

hell diver

1 oz Gin (Cascade Mountain)
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
1/4 oz Absinthe (Kübler)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist to the recipe.

Thursday last week, I opened up Jeff Masson and Greg Boehm's Big Bartender's Book and spotted the Hell Diver. The drink was adapted from a recipe found in How to Properly Mix Drinks book, and the Chanticleer Society bibliography suggests that this anonymous cocktail book was distributed by the Angostura company in the late 1930's. Given the decade, the drink could be a reference to the 1932 Clark Gable movie Hell Divers which told a tale of rivalry between two Navy pilots. Besides having an interesting name, it seemed like a quirky combination that was worth a try especially since the authors have good taste in the older drinks in the book (perhaps not in the handful of 1970s-1990s classics included there).
The Hell Diver began with an aroma of anise and chocolate along with the lemon oils from the twist I added. While the sip was a minty grape, the swallow contained the cacao notes that flowed into the absinthe ones. Overall, the Hell Diver was much better than I thought it would be, and the crème de cacao did a lot to tie the drink together. Indeed, I had a similar observation in the absinthe and cacao-containing Kaleidoscope a few weeks back.

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