Thursday, April 9, 2020

hong kong

1 1/2 oz Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
3/4 oz Italian Vermouth (Cocchi Sweet)
3/4 oz French Vermouth (Noilly Prat Dry)
2 dash Maraschino (1/8 oz Luxardo)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; Derek Brown recommends that a lemon peel might be a good addition (but I read about that after the fact).

Two Thursday ago, I tuned in for the Distilled Spirits Council's (DISCUS) virtual Spirits United toast to hear about the efforts of the USBG, local distillers, and other organizations to aid in the pandemic crisis. The toast was preceded by Boston alumni and now Columbia Room bartender Justin Cara-Donna making the Hong Kong. The recipe was created by legendary Washington D.C. bartender Henry William Thomas sometime before D.C. went dry in 1917. According to this Derek Brown article in The Atlantic, "Thomas was considered among the best in the world. The 'Bard of Baltimore,' H.L. Mencken, called Thomas a bartender of the 'highest skill and most delicate prudence,' the latter of which was crucial when serving the members of Congress and the state." Brown was able to acquire a copy of the 1926 The Life and Letters of Henry William Thomas, Mixologist that included cocktail recipes created in D.C. before Prohibition.
The Hong Kong came across like a Perfect Bobby Burns or Rob Roy and like a bitters-free Affinity on paper. In the glass, the Hong Kong proffered a peaty Scotch bouquet with a hint of nuttiness to the nose. Next, a grape and malt sip gave way to smoky Scotch leading into nutty cherry flavors on the swallow.

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