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.

Summer Break

It’s two weeks until summer holiday officially begins. I was planning on spending the whole summer here in my flat, unfortunately I just received the news that this entire building will go through some heavy renovation in the next month, so I won’t be able to stay, neither can I leave any possessions behind during the construction. By the end of next week, I must have all my alcohol, glassware, and tools moved to a friend’s place; that’s a hell of a task considering how many hundreds of bottles I own.

I’m sorry to say there will be no new drinks from now on until September, that’s when the next term starts. Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on a few more rare liquors by then. In the mean time there are still a ton of good drinks on this blog to check out. I hope you all have a lovely holiday.

Thunder and Lightning
Brandy - 2 oz
Caster Sugar - 1 tsp
Egg Yolk - 1
Shake everything with ice and strain into a small chilled tumbler. Add a dash of cayenne pepper on top.
From “The Savoy Cocktail Book”.
As far as I can tell, the only difference between a Thunder and Lightning Cocktail and a Thunder Cocktail is that the former uses sugar instead of syrup; uses cayenne pepper as garnish rather than an ingredient; and served in a tumbler instead of a cocktail glass.
It’s similar to a standard Flip, while the Flip would contain a whole egg, this drink only has egg yolk. Since egg yolk itself doesn’t have any taste, this is a glass of sweet and spicy brandy, with a nice smooth texture. Not bad, if you enjoy this sort of egg drinks.
Irish Whiskey - 2 oz
Bénédictine - 1 tsp
Dry Vermouth - 1 tsp
Squeeze an orange peel on top. Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From “The Savoy Cocktail Book”.
Pungent, dry and smooth; the herbal Bénédictine helps bringing out Irish whiskey’s smokiness, the vermouth balances out the sweetness of the liqueur.
De Rigueur
Rye Whiskey - 1 oz
Grapefruit Juice - 1/2 oz
Honey - 1/2 oz
Shake everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From “The Savoy Cocktail Book”. Better known as the Brown Derby cocktail, named after the Brown Derby restaurant in L.A.
The Savoy didn’t specify the whisky, so I used rye, which I found to be very enjoyable, but most recipes for the Brown Derby would have used bourbon. The equal parts of grapefruit juice and honey certainly didn’t work, unless the drinker has a really sweet tooth. Lower the amount of honey and up everything else will help.
Brandy and Soda
Brandy - 2 oz
Soda Water - 4 oz
Build everything in a long tumbler with a few lumps of ice.
Been doing some reading on Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” for an end-of-term dissertation in the last few hours (It’s suppose to be handed in and marked by now, but I’m a procrastinator). The Brandy & Soda seems to be the drink that cropped up the most in this novel, and I was thirsty from all that reading, so it’s only fair to have a drink break.
This was the most popular way to enjoy brandy/cognac back in the 1920s to 1930s, unfortunately you don’t see this anymore; Coolers/Highballs like the Scotch & Soda still exist today, but Brandy & Soda kind of fell out of fashion. It originated from another drink known as “Fine à l’eau”. “Fine” came from the phrase “Grande Fine Champagne” - a type of cognac, and “l’eau” means water; so it was essentially cognac mixed with water, before water was replaced by carbonated water.
Not everyone will enjoy this, but I found it pretty delightful, since I’ve always been a cognac appreciator. The soda not only made it refreshing, but it also opens up the brandy’s flavour somewhat. Use soda from a siphon or a quality sparkling mineral water.
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.
Gin - 1 1/3 oz
Kiwi Liqueur - 2/3 oz
Lemon Juice - 1 dash
Stir everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From “Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails” (New Edition), by Guy, Paris, 1990.
Reminiscent of the modern day “Martinis”, which as you know, I’m not a fan; in its defense, this was invented in the 90s.
I’d prefer it to be shaken with more lemon juice, and turn it into a Sour.
Dry Gin - 1 oz
Grapefruit Juice - 1 oz
Mandarine Napoléon - 1/2 tsp
Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From “Café Royal Cocktail Book”, invented by R. G. Buckby.
Quite a good drink actually, gin and tart grapefruit juice, sweetened up with a little Tangerinette - a defunct tangerine liqueur; substitute with Mandarine Napoléon or other mandarin/tangerine-flavoured liqueurs.
Silver Stallion
Gin - 1 oz
Vanilla Ice Cream - 1 oz
Lemon-Lime Soda - 5 oz
Build everything without ice in a chilled tumbler.
Another drink with ice cream from “The Savoy Cocktail Book”, a significant improvement on the White Cargo cocktail.
Thanks to Erik Ellestad from Savoy Stomp for pointing this out, but when the editors of “The Savoy Cocktail Book” was copying this recipe from an older cocktail book - “Judge Jr.’s Here’s How!”, they mistook the “Silver King Fizz” (a brand of lemon-lime soft drink that’s no longer in production) as “Silver Fizz” (a Gin Fizz with egg white); so basically the “Savoy” was telling you to pour a cocktail on top of another cocktail, ludicrous.
Instead of the normal lemon-lime mixers like Bubble Up or 7 Up, I prefer using a relatively tart and bitter sparkling lemonade in this one; it certainly brings down the intense sweetness from the ice cream. When pouring something carbonated on top of a dairy product, stir vigorously to create a foam on top. The funny thing is, it actually looks like a Silver Fizz.
Grappa - 1 oz
Lillet Blanc - 2/3 oz
Rosolio - 1/3 oz
Absinthe Bitters - 1 dash
Stir everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a rose petal.
An original created by yours truly, an idea that took shape when experimenting with this “spirit-liqueur-vermouth” formula I like, inspired by cocktails such as the Rose Cocktail, or the Royal Cocktail.
I’m usually more interested in discovering classics rather than inventing new ones; but as the drinks I’ve tasted are piling up, it’s probably a good time to start.
A nice blend of floral, grape, and anise flavours is the aim. If anyone has the chance to mix one, I’d love to hear some feedbacks.