Monday, August 6, 2012

ocean cable

1/2 Canadian Club Whisky (1 1/2 oz Alberta Premium)
1/3 Lillet Blanc (1 oz Cocchi Americano)
1/6 Brandy (1/2 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Thursdays ago, we decided to make one of the original drinks in the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book, the Ocean Cable, that called for Canadian whisky. Though we lack Canadian Club, I do have a bottle of Alberta Premium that Marc Smolinski of A Drinker's Peace brought with him from Vancouver and gifted me at Tales of the Cocktail in 2011. Surprisingly the history of ocean cables for communication is much older than the book and pretty much all cocktail books for that matter. The first trans-Atlantic cable was successfully laid down in 1858 and telegraphs were able to be sent for 3 weeks before the cable failed; however, the project was labeled a success for it sped up messages that were otherwise being sent by boat from 10 days to a few hours. Later cable projects came with greater success as engineers improved materials and manufacturing techniques to increase transmission speeds and cable longevity. By 1937, the trans-Atlantic cable would have been old hat but still something very worthwhile to raise a drink over.
The Ocean Cable began with an Angostura spice aroma along with vanilla notes from the whisky. The sip then offered Cocchi's citrus-wine flavors and some of the Spanish brandy's grape. Finally, the whisky, brandy, and Angostura Bitters rounded out the swallow. Overall, the drink was a light oddball of a Manhattan variation. The Canadian whisky I used is a lot lighter than any rye or Bourbon I have tasted; therefore, the Cocchi Americano paired rather well with it (akin to the relative strengths of rye versus sweet vermouth) instead of being overwhelmed. However, the Angostura Bitters took a larger role in the drink than in a Manhattan so perhaps cutting down on the dash size might aid the balance here.

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