Friday, September 12, 2008

The Trolley Dodger

Nascently, I am a whiskey man. More specifically, I am a Rye and Bourbon man. As such, a theme that may well come to show itself in The Hard Shake (insofar as I am its author) is a keen interest in experimentation on cocktails featuring Rye or Bourbon as their primary alcoholic element. I recently saw an episode of Anthony Bourdain - No Reservations, in which Tony went to Japan, asking each chef or mixologist along the way if s/he had ever been able to attain perfection in the pursuits to which these culinary experts applied themselves.

As each of them said, so say I: perfection is always something to be sought, never to be attained. Yet, as seemingly illogical as pursuing that which is unattainable might be, we must asymptotically pursue perfection nonetheless, always coming closer, yet with our elusive goal always just out of reach. In this case, my medium will be my signature, go-to drink: The Manhattan.

My most recent "invention" is something I am calling The Trolley Dodger. It is a riff off a classic Brooklyn cocktail. And, as is customary when riffing off a Brooklyn, I chose to name it after a section of Brooklyn. I thought "The Schwick", after Bushwick, would be appropriate. But then my mind went back to the Ken Burns "Baseball" documentary that I have been watching recently, and my mind went to Midwood, the site of the former Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers, later shortened to just the Dodgers. And thus was The Trolley Dodger born.

The Trolley Dodger

  • 2oz Rye Whiskey (I used Jim Beam Rye)
  • 1/2oz Sweet Vermouth (Punt e Mes is preferable)
  • 1/2oz Dry Vermouth
  • 1 capful Luxardo Marachino
  • 1/2 capful Fernet Branca
  • 5 generous shakes Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Combine all ingredients (in order) in a metal shaker. Add ice and apply the hard shake to the mixture. Strain into a cocktail glass, making sure to collect as much froth from the shaker on the top of the cocktail. Add one brandied cherry, if desired. Top with 2 shakes Fee Bros. Orange Bitters for aroma. Inhale deeply, taking in the aroma fully, before tasting.

Enjoy the complexity of the spicy, bitter Fernet blending with the sweetness of the Whiskey and Bitters. Surprisingly smooth and delicious. Here's to Torre and his Dodgers!

The Hard Shake

The Hard Shake will be an infrequently updated forum in which to post newly invented cocktails, cocktail and bar news, and other interesting EtOH-related tidbits. I'll primarily use this as a place to post the drinks I "invent", and any readers should feel free to add to them, comment, tweak, and make their own inventions.

My intended audience consists primarily in amateur cocktail enthusiasts with a penchant for experimentation. It is not my intent to compare myself to the many excellent established cocktail blogs, nor to any of the excellent mixologists plying their trade in New York City and elsewhere. I do not have a categorical knowledge of cocktails or spirits, nor do I have the kind of budget that would enable me to stock my home "bar" with the myriad arcane spirits that the cocktail blogs discuss at such length and with such expertise.

As such, to quote Wittgenstein in a perhaps ungermane application of his thoughts:

"How far my efforts agree with those of other[s] I will not decide. Indeed what I have here written makes no claim to novelty in points of detail; and therefore I give no sources, because it is indifferent to me whether what I have thought has already been thought before my by another. I will only mention that to the great works of [Petraske and Thomas] I owe in large measure the stimulation of my thoughts."

J.D.S., New York, 2008