A few months ago a group of attractive young people walked into my bar looking for drinks. Since my bar is an expensive, well-appointed sort of place that mostly appeals to older couples and businessmen out with their mistresses, this alone would have the made the evening a night to remember.
One of the ladies, Erica, wanted a drink that our previous bartender, Neil, had made her some time before. Neil’s a great bartender; his Queen Bee is still our best-selling cocktail, the token vodka drink on my menu of rye and aquavit concoctions. He left me most of his recipes, but he didn’t leave me all of them. This apparently was one of the ones I missed.
All she knew was that the drink was made with Cognac and allspice. On another night I might have convinced her to try something else, but the drink sounded delicious and I was a sucker for her British accent so instead I decided to improvise something. That’s how the Erica’s Impulse was born:
- 2 oz brandy
- .5 oz allspice dram
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .25 oz rich simple syrup (2:1 sugar:water)
- 1 dash Regan’s orange bitters
Shake over ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. I like it. More importantly, Erica liked it. She liked it even more when she returned and found it on our menu. Make one for yourself or come into Carlyle during these fall and winter months and you may like it too.
Notes and a bonus cocktail: Allspice dram can be hard to find but is no longer totally unobtainable. It used to be known unappetizingly as pimento dram, which might be one reason that it fell out of use (allspice berries grow on the pimento tree). It’s once again available in the US branded as St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, and it’s an incredibly aromatic and delicious liqueur.
The cocktail above is inspired by an old and tasty drink called the Lion’s Tail, originally published in the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book and reprinted in the excellent Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. Here’s the recipe I use:
- 2 oz bourbon
- .5 oz allspice dram
- .5 oz lime
- .25 oz rich simple syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake over ice and strain. It’s a refreshing cocktail with unusual flavors that are sure to catch a drinker’s attention, definitely worth trying if you pick up a bottle of allspice dram.
A BORSCHT-IN 2009