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Art of Drinks

In the beginning Art of Drink was a mere instrument to document bartending and cocktail knowledge, without much expectation of developing a loyal readership. As the weeks ticked by, the daily readership grew from 3 people to 10 and then 20. Exciting times. Then the idea of transcribing and publishing Jerry Thomas' book occurred, which was picked up by the likes of Ardent Spirits and bar and drink related sites - introducing the world to Art of Drink.

1. Bitters

The juggernaut that is bitters will continue unabated. At the very least more bartenders will accept that bitters go into a Manhattan.

There are now dozens of new bitter formulations on the market, making Angostura look downright utilitarian. And with the continued growth of quality cocktails, so goes the growth of bitters. The two are inexplicably linked.

Bitters seems to be the defining ingredients for the professional bartender.

2.Hot Chocolate (1911)

December 12th seems to be National Cocoa day in the US. Why? I don’t know, but I’ll jump on this bandwagon because I came across an old and interesting recipe from an article in the Kansas City Star (December 1911) entitled “Hot Holiday Drinks to Serve”. This particular drink peaked my interest because it was titled “Cocoanut Milk Chocolate”. Coconut in hot chocolate? That I have to try. You can find the complete article and recipes after the click.

There is a time and place for hot chocolate. It’s not my “go to” beverage of choice, but there is something about the holiday’s, a heavy snowfall, and a lazy day when you don’t want to leave the house that makes it appropriate.

The other consideration is finding a good recipe. The powdered stuff just doesn’t cut it, even if it comes from some haughty boutique food store. If you are going to make real hot chocolate, you need a vintage recipe from the days when housing had a constant 10 knot draft and indoor plumbing was sparse. That’s when hot chocolate really served a purpose.

3.Eggnog Recipes (1898)

‘Tis the season to drink the egg and cream concoction called eggnog. And what better way to make a batch, because everyone should, than to look back at old newspaper articles and find a centuries old recipe to sample from, like White House Eggnog and a British Hotpot which incorporates ale and gin. Now if eggnog isn’t your thing, there are some punch recipes in this newspaper article including “A Famous Xmas Punch” which have neither eggs nor cream, and that will be a follow-up post. For now enjoy the eggnog before it is gone.

These recipes come from 1898 and there are a few things to note. First, a “wineglass” is about 2 ounces (60 ml), so if a recipe calls for 8 wineglasses of brandy, then it is asking for 16 ounces. Also, the type of rum would have most likely been barrel proof so if possible use a rum like Wray & Nephew Overproof. And if you can’t find “Tom gin” (Old Tom gin) you can use most other gins, but you might need to add a touch more sugar to the punch.


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