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Chicago Classic Cocktails?

Chicago Classic Cocktails?
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  • Chicago Classic Cocktails?

    Post #1 - June 22nd, 2007, 4:30 am
    Post #1 - June 22nd, 2007, 4:30 am Post #1 - June 22nd, 2007, 4:30 am
    The Mai Tai was invented in Los Angeles. The Rob Roy was invented in New York. The sidecar was invented in London. Are there any "classic" cocktails associated with our fair city, or have we always been a shot and a beer kind of town?
  • Post #2 - June 22nd, 2007, 7:09 am
    Post #2 - June 22nd, 2007, 7:09 am Post #2 - June 22nd, 2007, 7:09 am
    d4v3 wrote:The Mai Tai was invented in Los Angeles. The Rob Roy was invented in New York. The sidecar was invented in London. Are there any "classic" cocktails associated with our fair city, or have we always been a shot and a beer kind of town?
    The southside cocktail originated in Chicago (on the southside) during or about the time of prohibition. The flavoring was invented to assist the drinker in the harsh taste of bathtub gin:

    - 2 oz gin
    - 1 oz simple syrup
    - 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
    - 3 - 4 oz soda (7-up, sprite)
    - 2 mint sprigs
    - 2 pieces limes

    Muddle the simple syrup, lime, and gin all together to infuse the syrup. fill a rocks glass with ice, pour the muddled syrup over the ice. Add all other liquids starting with gin and then adding soda + lime juice. Stir until the glass is cold, garnish with mint sprigs.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #3 - June 29th, 2007, 7:36 pm
    Post #3 - June 29th, 2007, 7:36 pm Post #3 - June 29th, 2007, 7:36 pm
    jpschust wrote:The southside cocktail originated in Chicago (on the southside) during or about the time of prohibition.

    Very interesting. Though I've spent some years living on the South Side, and a bit of that time in bars, I never heard of a Southside Cocktail. A quick Google search confirmed the Southside is indeed real (not that I had any doubt). This NPR story explains that the drink is now associated more with Long Island country clubs than with Chicago. I'm curious to know at which Chicago bars is the Southside still commonly served? I don't drink a lot of cocktails but I've resolved to have at least one Southside this summer.

    The first Chicago-associated cocktail that came to mind was Cohasset Punch, the specialty of Ladner's (a/k/a Cohasset Punch), a fixture at Madison & Wells until it was torn down in 1986. Ladner's didn't originate the concoction but they certainly popularized it in Chicago. I never tried a Cohasset Punch myself but haven't heard much praise for it from those who used to frequent Ladner's.

    While not a cocktail, Jeppson's Malört has real Chicago roots. A type of Scandinavian bitters, it was made in Chicago for many years and is still marketed here exclusively. Mark Brown recently wrote an interesting Sun-Times article about this cult beverage.
  • Post #4 - June 29th, 2007, 7:47 pm
    Post #4 - June 29th, 2007, 7:47 pm Post #4 - June 29th, 2007, 7:47 pm
    Rene G wrote:While not a cocktail, Jeppson's Malört has real Chicago roots. A type of Scandinavian bitters, it was made in Chicago for many years and is still marketed here exclusively. Mark Brown recently wrote an interesting Sun-Times article about this cult beverage.


    Very intriguing info about Malört, a name that suggests "bad," and so I guess it's not surprising that people have very little good to say about it.

    Some critiques I found online:

    "It tasted, let us not beat around the bush, like ass."

    "Bug spray, with Robitussin."

    "It's a little sweet, you know like they add that scent to nail polish remover."


    Image
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #5 - July 18th, 2007, 6:01 am
    Post #5 - July 18th, 2007, 6:01 am Post #5 - July 18th, 2007, 6:01 am
    Rene G wrote:I'm curious to know at which Chicago bars is the Southside still commonly served? I don't drink a lot of cocktails but I've resolved to have at least one Southside this summer.

    They are serving a variation made with passion fruit puree called the "South Side Passion" at The Gage. Very refreshing.
      The Gage
      24 S Michigan Ave.
      (312) 372-4243
    Some drink manuals list the Chicago fizz, a highball made with rum, port, lemon, powdered sugar, egg white and seltzer, but I've never seen it on a menu and I bet you'd get shrugs if you tried to order it anywhere -- not that I'd want to. This article dates it to the turn of the last century, along with the somewhat better-known Chicago cocktail.

      Chicago cocktail

      Lemon slice
      Powdered sugar
      2 ounces brandy
      1/4 teaspoon orange curacao or triple sec
      Dash Angostura bitters
      Cracked ice

      Rub the rim of an old-fashioned glass with the lemon and dip in the powdered sugar. Stir the brandy, bitters and curacao over cracked ice. Pour into the prepared glass, garnish with the lemon and serve.

      (Recipes seem somewhat divided as to whether you should strain the ice out.)

    Absolut has invented the frozen Chicago, from whole cloth, as far as I can tell.

    Also, a mixture of gin and scotch is sometimes called a Chicago martini.
  • Post #6 - August 20th, 2007, 12:49 am
    Post #6 - August 20th, 2007, 12:49 am Post #6 - August 20th, 2007, 12:49 am
    jpschust wrote:The southside cocktail originated in Chicago (on the southside) during or about the time of prohibition. The flavoring was invented to assist the drinker in the harsh taste of bathtub gin

    In this weekend's Wall Street Journal, Eric Felton disputes this origin, crediting the cocktail to the Southside Sportsmen's Club on Long Island.

    Eric Felton wrote:How did the drink come to be the property of New York's country clubbers and the hunt-club crowd of Maryland's Baltimore County? A few years ago, NPR's "Day to Day" featured an elaborately produced and wildly improbable segment on the history of the Southside. The drink came from Chicago, the story went: Notorious South Side gangsters Joe Saltis and Frankie McErlane invented the cocktail to mask the taste of the dubious bootleg gin they were selling. Nonsense. There is no evidence that the Southside was ever served in Prohibition Chicago. And Saltis and McErlane focused on strong-arming saloons into selling their beer and their beer alone. Beyond such pesky details, the story makes no sense: Why would a drink from louche Chi-town speakeasies find its way east to be embraced by lock-jawed Locust Valleyites. One might just as well imagine the Astors inviting Big Jule over to shoot craps.

    There have also been claims that the drink began at Jack and Charley's speakeasy in New York City, later the "21" Club, which is still known for its Southsides. But I suspect the drink had its origin on Long Island, at a retreat so exclusive that few people even knew it existed -- the Southside Sportsmen's Club.

    His arguments make sense and explain both the spelling disparity ("Southside" vs. the Chicagoese "South Side") and the lack of any local bars known for serving the cocktail.
  • Post #7 - August 20th, 2007, 5:07 pm
    Post #7 - August 20th, 2007, 5:07 pm Post #7 - August 20th, 2007, 5:07 pm
    LAZ wrote:In this weekend's Wall Street Journal, Eric Felton disputes this origin, crediting the cocktail to the Southside Sportsmen's Club on Long Island.

    Thanks for pointing out that article (I rarely look at the WSJ). The explanation sounds reasonable to me. I was initially skeptical about the Southside's origins and became more skeptical the more I looked into it. Some knowledgeable Chicago bartenders were unfamiliar with it and I was unable to find it on several old Chicago cocktail menus (at least one from the south side). In 1931 John Drury wrote a chapter on cocktails in Chicago in his remarkable Dining in Chicago and the Southside isn't listed. Normally I wouldn't place much weight on the lack of a mention but Drury was such a good reporter and so familiar with the Chicago drinking scene (this was during Prohibition, mind you) that I feel confident if the Southside Cocktail was common at that time he would have included it.

    I tried my first Southside a few weeks ago, at the Violet Hour (I believe the cocktail menu was put together by a New Yorker). While I liked Violet Hour a lot, the Southside was by far my least favorite of the 8 or so cocktails I sampled. The mint totally overwhelmed the other ingredients, and I'm not a big mint fan to begin with. NY can keep this one as far as I'm concerned.

    Back to real Chicago cocktails. Here are a few Drury mentions:

    The Gilbert: To one jigger of Gordon gin, add one-half jigger of French vermouth and one-half jigger of Italian vermouth, a touch of Absinthe, and strain into cocktail glass. Concocted by Paul Gilbert, of the Chicago Evening Post, and a favorite of Ring Lardner, when both rested their weary reportorial feet on the brass rail at Stillson's.

    The Pink Lady: To one jigger of Gin, add orange syrup to color, a dash of Apollinaris, and one-half a lime. Ice, stir well, and serve. Another Paul Gilbert creation, now become a standard cocktail. Said to be Walter Winchell's favorite.

    The Ticonderoga: To one jigger of Dubonnet, add a dash of Italian vermouth, a dash of Grenadine and a touch of lemon. Emil Rutz, manager of the extinct Vogelsang's, concocted this—and the Loophounds liked it.
  • Post #8 - August 20th, 2007, 6:40 pm
    Post #8 - August 20th, 2007, 6:40 pm Post #8 - August 20th, 2007, 6:40 pm
    Rene G wrote:The Pink Lady: To one jigger of Gin, add orange syrup to color, a dash of Apollinaris, and one-half a lime. Ice, stir well, and serve. Another Paul Gilbert creation, now become a standard cocktail. Said to be Walter Winchell's favorite.
    There you go. That is what I am talking about. A well known cocktail with a Chicago genesis. I guess a Pink Lady doesn't exactly embody the manly swagger of NYC's Rob Roy, but if Walter Winchell could order one without blushing, then it is good enough for me.

    Does a "dash of Apollinaris" refer to the German sparkling mineral water?

    I just realized that a modern Pink Lady is nothing like the recipe listed above. It is a creamy drink made with gin, grenadine, cream and sometimes egg whites. It is indeed pink, whereas the drink described above would likely be orange in color. I found another recipe described as a 1960s pink lady that is made with gin, lime, apple brandy, genadine and egg whites (but no cream), then shaken with ice and strained, a sort of frothy pink colored martini.
  • Post #9 - August 21st, 2007, 12:47 pm
    Post #9 - August 21st, 2007, 12:47 pm Post #9 - August 21st, 2007, 12:47 pm
    I saved the most interesting for last. Drury lists the Martini of course.

    The Martini: Into a shaker half-filled with cracked ice, pour two-thirds of a wine glass of Gordon Gin, one-half wine glass Italian Vermouth, and add a dash of Orange Bitters. Shake well, and serve with a piece of orange peel or an olive.

    This is similar to most early 20th century recipes in that it includes sweet vermouth and bitters. Drury then goes on to mention the Mission, strikingly similar to a modern day Martini.

    The Mission: To two-thirds Gordon Gin, add one-third French Vermouth; stir well and strain into cocktail glass into which a stuffed olive has been placed. This was a great attraction to the boys at the old Mission Bar in West Madison Street before Mr. Volstead appeared.

    As far as I can tell the Mission is not mentioned in any of the many histories of the Martini (look here for a particularly informative one). It should be.
  • Post #10 - July 21st, 2008, 9:18 am
    Post #10 - July 21st, 2008, 9:18 am Post #10 - July 21st, 2008, 9:18 am
    I have an Oak Park reader looking to buy Cohasset Punch, preferably by the case. does anyone know if this drink was ever bottled and, if so, is it still made?

    Here's a mention of cohasset punch in this thread:

    "The first Chicago-associated cocktail that came to mind was Cohasset Punch, the specialty of Ladner's (a/k/a Cohasset Punch), a fixture at Madison & Wells until it was torn down in 1986. Ladner's didn't originate the concoction but they certainly popularized it in Chicago. I never tried a Cohasset Punch myself but haven't heard much praise for it from those who used to frequent Ladner's. "

    Any information or advice would be much appreciated. And was there really a peach in the bottle of the glass?

    thanks,
    Bill Daley
    Chicago Tribune
    Bill Daley
    Chicago Tribune
  • Post #11 - July 21st, 2008, 11:49 am
    Post #11 - July 21st, 2008, 11:49 am Post #11 - July 21st, 2008, 11:49 am
    billdaley wrote:I have an Oak Park reader looking to buy Cohasset Punch, preferably by the case. does anyone know if this drink was ever bottled and, if so, is it still made? . . . Any information or advice would be much appreciated. And was there really a peach in the bottle of the glass?

    Yes, Cohasset Punch used to be sold by the bottle. Here's an old ad for it from shortly after Repeal.

    Image

    I don't think it's marketed any longer but it doesn't sound difficult to make. There are many recipes available on the internet. I believe Ladner's served each glass with a piece of canned peach.
  • Post #12 - July 21st, 2008, 7:24 pm
    Post #12 - July 21st, 2008, 7:24 pm Post #12 - July 21st, 2008, 7:24 pm
    i believe that a class of drinks called "Bellringers" was invented by a James Maloney (no relation as far as I know) in Chicago.

    The story is something like this. James was a poor bartender, so he got in the habit of rinsing all of his cocktail glasses with Apricot Brandy, to mask the flavor of his hideous concoctions. When he held a coupe in each hand and discarder the excess it looked like he was ringing bells, thus the name. These days any cocktail with a rinse of Apricot liqueuer is refered to as a "Bellringer" Just try to make one without the "Laa-laa-la-ring my bell" song getting stuck in your head.

    Toby Maloney, The Violet Hour
    WRECHED EXCESS IS BARELY ENOUGH

    HEAT
  • Post #13 - October 4th, 2008, 10:45 pm
    Post #13 - October 4th, 2008, 10:45 pm Post #13 - October 4th, 2008, 10:45 pm
    LAZ wrote:
      Chicago cocktail

      Lemon slice
      Powdered sugar
      2 ounces brandy
      1/4 teaspoon orange curacao or triple sec
      Dash Angostura bitters
      Cracked ice

      Rub the rim of an old-fashioned glass with the lemon and dip in the powdered sugar. Stir the brandy, bitters and curacao over cracked ice. Pour into the prepared glass, garnish with the lemon and serve.

      (Recipes seem somewhat divided as to whether you should strain the ice out.)

    In the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), the drink is given more or less as above but strained into a cocktail glass and topped off with champagne.
  • Post #14 - December 22nd, 2008, 11:52 pm
    Post #14 - December 22nd, 2008, 11:52 pm Post #14 - December 22nd, 2008, 11:52 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    billdaley wrote:I have an Oak Park reader looking to buy Cohasset Punch, preferably by the case. does anyone know if this drink was ever bottled and, if so, is it still made? . . . Any information or advice would be much appreciated. And was there really a peach in the bottle of the glass?

    Yes, Cohasset Punch used to be sold by the bottle. Here's an old ad for it from shortly after Repeal.

    Image

    I don't think it's marketed any longer but it doesn't sound difficult to make. There are many recipes available on the internet. I believe Ladner's served each glass with a piece of canned peach.

    Cohasset Punch is hot these days, probably getting more press in the past few months than anytime since Ladner's closed.

    Classic Drink Lives On Through Internet, Chicago Tribune

    Drinking the Chicago Way, Wall Street Journal
  • Post #15 - August 7th, 2009, 1:56 am
    Post #15 - August 7th, 2009, 1:56 am Post #15 - August 7th, 2009, 1:56 am
    LAZ wrote:
      Chicago cocktail

      Lemon slice
      Powdered sugar
      2 ounces brandy
      1/4 teaspoon orange curacao or triple sec
      Dash Angostura bitters
      Cracked ice

      Rub the rim of an old-fashioned glass with the lemon and dip in the powdered sugar. Stir the brandy, bitters and curacao over cracked ice. Pour into the prepared glass, garnish with the lemon and serve.

      (Recipes seem somewhat divided as to whether you should strain the ice out.)


    I've been doing some more research into the Chicago cocktail, talking to mixologists, and come up with not very much except some educated speculation that it may or may not have originated here. Drury makes intriguing reference to Nice and London, and of course it's also in the Savoy Cocktail book, another pointer to Europe. On the other hand, the drink definitely predates the 1930s, and Drury, writing during Prohibition, was no doubt being circumspect.

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