2 DASHES ORANGE BITTERS
½ JIGGER [1 ½ OZ] SCOTCH WHISKY
½ JIGGER [1 ½ OZ] ITALIAN VERMOUTH
Stir and strain into cocktail glass.
SOURCE: JOHN APPLEGREEN, APPLEGREEN’S BARKEEPER’S GUIDE, 1899.
Notes on Ingredients: Although the early recipes all agree that the Rob Roy contains Scotch and vermouth, after that they’re about as harmonious as a Glasgow pub at last call on a Saturday night. Proportions, brand of bitters, garnish, and kind of vermouth are all very much in play. Personally, I find French vermouth and Scotch to be a nasty combination, so I chose a recipe that agrees with me (it also has the advantage of being the very earliest printed for this drink). If the proportions began at fifty-fifty, as was usual with vermouth drinks, before long they had gravitated to two‑to‑one. With an 80‑proof blend, I prefer the latter; with a 90‑proof one, the former. Of the various bitters suggested, I find orange bitters—and particularly Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6, with its complex bite—to work the best, although Peychaud’s is also pretty good. And while you’re at it, a twist of orange peel is rather nicer than lemon peel here. Dash of absinthe? As long as you’re asking . . .
Notes on Execution: Stir. Strain. Twist.
CLOVER CLUB COCKTAIL
JUICE ½ LEMON
½ SPOON [1⁄8 OZ] SUGAR
½ PONY [2 TSP] RASPBERRY [THAT IS, SYRUP]
¼ PONY [½ OZ] WHITE OF EGG
1 JIGGER [2 OZ] GIN
Shake well. Strain.
SOURCE: ALBERT STEVENS CROCKETT, OLD WALDORF BAR DAYS, 1931 (CROCKETT WAS THE WALDORF’S PRESS AGENT, AND WHEN PROHIBITION CLOSED ITS BAR, HE RECEIVED CUSTODY OF ITS HANDWRITTEN BAR BOOK).
Notes on Ingredients: Paul E. Lowe, in his 1909 Drinks: How to Mix and Serve, suggests swapping out half the gin for French vermouth; that’s also how Harry MacElhone, who worked at the Plaza in the early 1910s, made his. This is a truly transformative suggestion, turning a serviceable drink into an ambrosial one. MacElhonealso suggests lime juice instead of lemon, which is worth trying; in either case, ½ ounce should do. Beverages De Luxe, a 1911 drink book that prints a Clover Club recipe its authors picked up from the Hotel Belvedere in Baltimore, agrees about the lime and the vermouth and suggests replacing the raspberry syrup with actual raspberries, if in season. This is a fine suggestion, but if adopted, it will require more sugar: say, half a dozen berries and ¼ ounce of superfine sugar, depending on the tartness of the raspberries. If you lightly whip the egg white—here to add froth and body—with a fork, you can divide it; otherwise, use one white for every two or three drinks. Whichever formula you use, float a leaf of mint on top and you’ve got a Clover Leaf.
Notes on Execution: If you use fresh raspberries, muddle them with the sugar and the citrus and double-strain the drink—that is, use the Hawthorne strainer in the shaker and put a Julep or tea strainer over the glass to catch the raspberry seeds. Like all drinks using eggs, this one will have to be shaken extra hard.
Revue de presse
"David Wondrich is a such an envy-producing polymath that it drives me to drink. Brilliant historian, beautiful writer, former punk rocker, absinthe-maker, mixological marvel, and perhaps, yes, even WIZARD. Plus he can grow an amazing beard. There are few people in the world I rely on to be so authoritative and so entertaining all at once, and to mix an amazing cocktail at the same time. And those few people are DAVID WONDRICH."
—John Hodgman, author of The Areas of My Expertise
"[Jerry] Thomas finally gets his due in Imbibe!....Mr. Wondrich puts the drinks in context, with their ingredients explained, their measurements accurately indicated, and their place in the overall cocktail scheme clearly mapped out. At the same time, Thomas himself appears, for the first time, as a living presence: a devotee of bare-knuckle prize fights, a flashy dresser fond of kid gloves, an art collector, a restless traveler usually carrying a fat wad of bank notes and a gold Parisian watch. A player, in short."
—William Grimes, The New York Times
"This book will leave you shaken and, I hope, stirred. Wondrich, one of the top spirits writers in the country, delves into the rich and fascinating history of mixology in America."
"Imbibe brings back the delicious forgotten cocktails created by a pioneering American bon vivant....This book is a model for food history writing....[Wondrich is] always an enjoyable writer, curious, eager, mildly opinionated and with a taste for the amusing."
—The Los Angeles Times
"Cocktail connoisseurs and history buffs will find this book an essential addition to their reference libraries."
—The San Francisco Chronicle
"Wondrich offers what amounts to a history of industrial-age America writ in booze, covering everything from punches, fizzes, and sours to toddies, slings, and juleps."
—Saveur, Top Ten Reads
"How and why America rose to world preeminence in mixology is explained zestfully in Imbibe!."
"With Imbibe!, David Wondrich's biography of 19-century mixologist Jerry Thomas, cocktails do the time warp."
—New York Daily News
"Wondrich delivers a well-researched chronicle of "Professor" Jerry Thomas's life and times as late 19th-century bartender extraordinaire...a lovely homage to Thomas's indomitable spirits."
"David Wondrich has drunk his way through two centuries of American cocktails and other mixed drinks. He emerges to tell us, with clarity and wit, what he encountered, how it was made. and how to make it now. In his recreations of the drinks of yesteryear, he stops at nothing, even growing his own snakeroot to make Jerry Thomas' Bitters. Thomas was called "the Professor" in his day. If this title belongs to any living expert on the cocktail, it belongs to Wondrich."
—Lowell Edmunds, author of Martini, Straight Up