Elixir for the Soul

This is a blog about sophisticated drinking, because alcohol doesn't have to be a poison, it can be a medicine for the soul.

Shawn, 21. Currently studying foreign language at university in China. Researching about cocktails is one of my passions, and I hope this blog can introduce others to the true way of imbibing. Every drink on this page is mixed, tasted and photographed by me.

Feel free to ask.

Margaret Rose
Gin - 2/3 oz
Calvados - 2/3 oz
Cointreau - 1/3 oz
Lemon Juice - 1/3 oz
Grenadine - 1 dash
Shake everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From “Café Royal Cocktail Book”, invented J. W. Fish.
Normally a Sour of this sort would use a 2:1:1 ratio, whereas here it is 4:1:1. The problem with 4:1:1 is that sometimes the spirit can become overpowering, but that’s still largely down to personal taste. This cocktail however, balances perfectly. You get that evident apple flavour mixed with gin’s botanical and floral notes in the beginning; then the sweet yet slightly tart citrus from Cointreau and lemon kicks in; grenadine not only added that slightly colour to make it a “Rose”, also helps to boost up the dry Cointreau’s sweetness. All in all a delicious and complex Sidecar-esque cocktail.
Silver City
Dry Gin - 2/3 oz
Dry Vermouth - 2/3 oz
Grand Marnier - 1/3 oz
Cointreau - 1/3 oz
Absinthe - 1 dash
Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
From “Café Royal Cocktail Book”, invented by Andrew Clark.
I wasn’t really expecting much. Although I like this sort of formula, but how good the drink is depend entirely on how good the liqueur is; and orange-flavoured liqueurs are not exactly what I would call interesting.
The the actual result exceeded my expectation. Two orange liqueurs, one that’s more complex, the other slightly drier, is a fine combination; with the bitterness of the vermouth, and the subtle hint of absinthe, made this a fairly enjoyable drink. A little less liqueurs and more vermouth and gin would improve it for me.
White Lady (Original)
White Crème de Menthe - 2/3 oz
Cointreau - 2/3 oz
Lemon Juice - 2/3 oz
Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From “Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails”. If you believe that Harry MacElhone was the real inventor of the White Lady, then this is the original version from Ciro’s Club, London, 1919; later MacElhone replaced crème de menthe with gin in his Harry’s Bar, Paris, 1929.
Quite enjoyable, I found the orange and mint combination pretty interesting; but compared to his latter version, this White Lady is a little too sweet, less refreshing, and lacking a solid base.
Dodge Special
Gin - 1 oz
Cointreau - 1 oz
Grape Juice - 1 dash
Stir everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From “The Savoy Cocktail Book”.
Truly a bad cocktail, equal parts of dry spirit and dry liqueur don’t make a good team, and I don’t even know what the grape juice is doing there, since 1 dash makes no difference whatsoever.
The recipe says “Cointreau or Mint”, which I assume it means mint liqueur: won’t be much of an improvement to be honest.
Mainbrace
Gin - 2/3 oz
Cointreau - 2/3 oz
Grape Juice - 2/3 oz
Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From “Café Royal Cocktail Book”.
Most Mainbrace recipes I’ve found on the internet called for grapefruit juice, whereas this Café Royal recipe called for grape juice, there could have been a slight misunderstanding somewhere; admittedly the one with grapefruit would have been more balanced.
Sweet, and the grape flavour isn’t very noticeable.
Lulu’s Favourite
Cointreau - 1 oz
Orange Juice - 1/2 oz
Lemon Juice - 1/2 oz
Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From “Café Royal Cocktail Book”.
A Sour with Cointreau as the sweetener and base, much like the Apricot Cocktail I did a while ago; a little less interesting in my opinion, but still fairly tasty.
N.D.C.
Dry Gin - 1/2 oz
Scotch Whisky - 1/2 oz
Cointreau - 1/2 oz
Lemon Juice - 1/2 oz
Sweet Vermouth - 1 dash
Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From the “Café Royal Cocktail Book”, invented by H. G. Yarrow.
Not as dry as a White Lady, not as smoky as a Silent Third, this drink is somewhere in between, with a bit of vermouth added to round everything up and adding a little more sweetness.
Blue Bird (No. 3)
Vodka - 1 oz
Cointreau - 1/2 oz
Lemon Juice - 1/2 oz
Maraschino - 1/2 tsp
Blue Food Colouring - 1 drop
Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The third Blue Bird is from the “Café Royal Cocktail Book”, 1937, created by W. J. Tarling himself.
This is by far the best Blue Bird in my opinion, it follows the traditional White Lady formula, lost some complexity with the vodka substituting gin, compensated by Maraschino as flavouring.
Balm
Oloroso Sherry - 1 1/2 oz
Orange Juice - 1/4 oz
Cointreau - 1/4 oz
Orange Bitters - 1 dash
Pimento Dram - 1/2 tsp
Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive.
From “The Savoy Cocktail Book”.
A sherry cocktail flavoured with orange and spices. The grade of sherry wasn’t specified, but I found a dry Oloroso makes the drink complex yet still refreshing.
Lavender Lady
Dry Gin - 1 oz
Calvados - 1/2 oz
Cointreau - 1/2 oz
Lemon Juice - 1/4 oz
Crème Yvette - 1/4 oz
Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From the “Café Royal Cocktail Book”, invented by J. C. Armstrong. Not to be confused with the modern Lavender Lady.
Take away the calvados and violet liqueur, it’s essentially a White Lady. The flavours are fine: apple, orange and floral; it’s the ratio that isn’t working, unlike the White Lady, there is too little lemon juice to spirit and liqueur, making it a little too strong and sweet - not to best combination.