Monday, February 8, 2016

madame lou

2/3 jigger Dry Vermouth (1 1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
1/3 jigger Gin (1 oz Tanqueray)
1 spoon Pineapple Syrup (1/2 oz)

Shake (stir) with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a pinch of cinnamon (freshly grated).

Two Tuesdays ago, I began perusing Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix Them and discovered the Madame Lou. My curiosity was piqued from the name and the concept of a lightly fruit-tinged Martini. My sleuthing suggested that Madame Lou could be Lou Graham who ran a famous brothel in Seattle and was dubbed the "undisputed Queen of the Lava Beds." How does this wealthy madame tie in with William Boothby? Despite where her business was located, she did spend a lot of time in San Francisco where Boothby was tending bar at the time, and in fact, died in in the Golden City in 1903. It is not too far of a stretch to believe that he had at least heard of her or perhaps even served her a drink or three.
How much more San Francisco could having a Martini with pineapple syrup be? Pineapple syrup was one of the star ingredients in Duncan Nicol's famous Pisco Punch back in the late 19th century. Instead of a mere spoon of it, I tinkered with the ratios of the three ingredients in the Madame Lou to still retain its light aperitif nature yet have all of the flavors being on more equal footing. Once prepared, the Madame Lou proffered a pineapple and cinnamon bouquet. Dry white wine with a vague apple-y fruitiness filled the sip, and the swallow showcased juniper and other gin botanicals all softened by the pineapple.

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