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Classic Cocktails: Brush Up on Your Gin-ealogy

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Who knew that mixology could be a lot like genealogy?

Yet that’s what happens when a classic cocktail begats generations of variations, each designed to make you happy whenever you want to shake up something new yet familiar.

Daisy

Daisy

So, look at the following list as a miniature history of gin cocktails in recipe form. Each section starts with the standard bearer, such as the Tom Collins or the Negroni, and then proceeds to enumerate the variations that remake each in a new light and flavor profile. A Bee’s Knees, for example, is a descendant of the gin sour, except that honey is used instead of simple syrup in a mix that also features gin and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

This list was offered in a class on Forgotten Gin Cocktails that occurred during the second San Antonio Cocktail Conference, hosted by Michael Madrusan of The Everleigh in Melbourne, Australia. In that country, as in England, gin is revered, as it should be here, especially during the summer months, because of its powers to refresh. (That’s the reason why it makes more sense to run in these dog days of summer instead of back in January.)

So, all you gin-ealogy fans, get ready for some liquid adventure as you trace these branches of gin cocktails through the years. But don’t just study this list; enjoy it with a Perfect Lady or a Floradora at your side. Who knows what new favorite you’ll discover?

Most every recipe includes the source, the author, if known, and the date it was printed. Most also mention the suggested glassware, such as the coupette, the highball or the fizz glass, for traditional presentation.

It also takes into account various presentations of the drink, such as the gin sour, which you can make with an egg white or without. The difference is largely in the texture of the finished drink, which becomes richer with the addition of the egg white. You shake your cocktail differently if you’re using an egg white, too: Give your mixture a vigorous shake without ice, then add the ice and shake it even harder; one source said to shake it at least 24 times with ice, no matter how frozen your fingers feel by that point. This lets the egg white emulsify and become even frothier. (If you’re worried about the safety of egg whites, you can buy pasteurized egg whites; just read the label to make sure that’s all that’s in there.)

Gin Sour (non-traditional)

Fitzgerald (“Craft of the Cocktail,” Dale Degroff, 2002)

2 ounces gin
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Bee's Knees

Bee’s Knees

Iris (“Lifetime Collection 688 Recipes,” 1934)

4 mint leaves
2 ounces gin
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounces simple syrup

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Bee’s Knees (“Artistry of Mixing Drinks,” Frank Meier, 1936)

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce lemon juice
¾ ounces honey syrup (3:1 honey:hot water)

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Bebbo (“Jones’ Complete Barguide,” Stan Jones, 1977)

2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 ounces gin
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce honey syrup
½ ounce orange juice

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Barnum Was Right (“Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide,” 1948/Pendennis Club)

2 dashes Angostura bitters
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce apricot liqueur
1 ½ ounce gin

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Havana/Serpents Tooth (“Jayne’s Bartender’s Guide,” 1933)

¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce peach liqueur
1 ½ ounces gin

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Aviation No. 1

Aviation No. 1

Aviation No. 1 (“Recipes for Mixed Drinks,” Hugo Ensslin, 1916)

¾ ounce lemon juice
3/8 ounce maraschino liqueur
3/8 ounce crème de violette
2 ounce gin

Shake and strain into a coupette. Garnish with a cherry.

Aviation No. 2 (“The Savoy Cocktail Book,” 1930)

Was it a mistake on the part of the authors of “The Savoy Cocktail Book” that crème de violette was left out? Or did the Savoy’s cocktail masters simply prefer it that way? Who knows, but this violette-free version has become it’s own acceptable concoction. And it has spawn its own spinoffs. It also was the default recipe cocktail lovers had to use for years, because no one was making crème de violette. But, thank goodness, it’s back in production.

¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce maraschino liqueur
2 ounces gin

Shake and strain into a coupette. Garnish with a cherry.

Casino (“The Savoy Cocktail Book,” Harry Craddock, 1930)

Aviation No. 2 with 2 dashes orange bitters.

Betty James (“Jones’ Complete Barguide,” Stan Jones, 1977)

Aviation No. 2 with 2 dashes Angostura bitters.

Spring Feeling (“The Savoy Cocktail Book,” Harry Craddock, 1930)

Aviation No. 2 with 4 mint leaves in the shaker.

The Clover Club

Clover Club

Montreal Sour (traditional) (“Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,” David Embury, 1948)

1 small egg white
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces gin

Dry shake, then ice shake and strain into a coupette.

Silver King (“Jones’ Complete Barguide,” Stan Jones, 1977)

2 dashes orange bitters
1 small egg white
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces gin

Dry shake, then ice shake and strain into a coupette.

White Lady (“Savoy Cocktail Book,” Harry Craddock, 1930)

1 small egg white
½ ounce lemon juice
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ½ ounces gin

Dry shake, then ice shake and strain into a coupette.

Perfect Lady (Sidney Cox, 1936)

1 small egg white
½ ounce lemon juice
1 ounce peach liqueur
1 ½ ounces gin

Dry shake, then ice shake and strain into a coupette.

Grand Bretagne (“Gentleman’s Companion,” Charles Baker Jr., 1939)

2 dashes orange bitters
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce apricot liqueur
1 ½ ounces gin

Dry shake, then ice shake and strain into a coupette.

Clover Club

1 small egg white
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce raspberry syrup or grenadine
2 ounces gin

Dry shake, then ice shake and strain into a coupette.

Clover Leaf

Clover Club with a mint sprig garnish.

Pink Lady

Clover Club with 1 ounce gin and 1 ounce Applejack.

Royal Smile (“Artistry of Mixing Drinks,” Frank Meier, 1936)

Pink Lady without egg white.

Fizz

Brush up your bartending vocabulary. A silver fizz is made with an egg white. A golden fizz is made with an egg yolk. And a royal fizz is made with the whole egg. No matter what you’re in the mood for, it’s always time to get fizzy.

¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces gin
1 egg white, 1 egg yolk or 1 whole egg

Dry shake, then ice shake and strain into fizz glass. Top with soda.

Southside

Southside

Electric Current Fizz (“Flowing Bowl,” William Schmidt, 1891)

Silver fizz with the yolk served on the side with Tabasco, salt and pepper.

Alabama/Bootleg Fizz: (“Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,” David Embury, 1948)

Silver fizz with mint in the shaker.

Diamond Fizz (“Lifetime Collection 688 Recipes,” 1934)

Silver fizz topped champagne instead of soda

Galvez Fizz (“Lifetime Collection 688 Recipes,” 1934)

1 small egg white
Dash of orange flower water
¾ ounce lemon or lime juice
¾ ounce grenadine
¾ ounce cream
1 ½ ounces gin

Dry shake, then ice shake and strain into fizz glass. Top with soda.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces gin

Shake, then strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda.

Garnish with an orange wedge and cherry.

Stay Up Late (“Stork Club,” 1946)

Tom Collins with 1 ½ ounces gin and ½ ounce Cognac. Lemon wedge garnish.

Dr. Fink (“Trader Vic’s Bartenders Guide,” 1947)

Tom Collins with a dash of absinthe in the shaker. Garnish with lemon wedge.

Texas Fizz (“Art of Mixing,” Wiley & Griffith, 1932)

½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
1 ½ ounces orange juice
2 ounces gin

Shake and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda. Garnish with an orange wedge.

Ramos Gin Fizz (“Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em,” Stanley Clisby Arthur, 1937)

All this talk of fizzes made me think of the Ramos Gin Fizz. Is it a descendant of the fizz or the Tom Collins? It has touches of both. There might be an earlier variation of this New Orleans classic, but probably not a better one.

1 tablespoon powdered sugar
3-4 drops (not dashes) orange flower water
Juice of 1/2 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 jigger (1 1/2 ounces) dry gin
1 egg white
1 jigger (1 1/2 ounces) rich milk or heavy cream
2 drops vanilla (optional)

Dry shake, then ice shake into a Tom Collins glass. Top with a squirt of soda.

The Gimlet

Gimlet

Gimlet

1 ounce lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounce gin

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Garnish with a lime wedge.

Southside (21 Club House drink)

4 mint leaves
1 ounce lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces gin

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Garnish with a mint leaf.

Eastside (Milk & Honey)

Southside with a slice of cucumber in the shaker.

Garnish with a cucumber slice.

Bennett (“Drinks,” Robert Vermiere 1922)

Gimlet with 2 dashes of Angostura bitters in the shaker.

aviation rickey2

Rickey

Debutante (“Jayne’s Bartender’s Guide,” 1933)

2 dashes of orange bitters
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce grenadine
2 ounce gin

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Garnish with a lime wedge.

Professor (“1700 Drinks for the Man Behind the Bar,” R de Fleury, 1934)

2 dashes of absinthe
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce grenadine
2 ounce gin

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Garnish with a lime wedge.

Rickey (Shoemaker’s, 1890s)

1 ounce lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces gin

Shake and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda.

Garnish with a lime wedge.

The Chelsea Sidecar

Chelsea Sidecar

Chelsea Sidecar

½ ounce lemon juice
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ½ ounces gin

Shake and strain into a coupette.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

Hocus Pocus (“Jones Complete Barguide,” 1977)

Chelsea Sidecar on crushed ice in a double rocks glass.

Harvard Veritas (“Gentleman’s Companion,” Charles H Baker, 1939)

Chelsea Sidecar with a dash crème de cassis added to the shaker.

Fine & Dandy (“Savoy Cocktail Book,” Harry Craddock, 1930)

Chelsea Sidecar with 2 dashes of Angostura bitters.

Queen Elizabeth (“1700 Cocktails for the Man Behind the Bar,” R de Fleury, 1934)

Chelsea Sidecar with 2 dashes of absinthe added to the shaker.

Loud Speaker aka Announcer or Winchell (“Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide,” 1947)

Chelsea Sidecar with ¾ ounce gin and ¾ ounce Cognac.

Gin Daisy (“Bartender’s Guide,” Jerry Thomas, 1862)

¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce orange curacao
1 ½ ounces gin

Shake and strain into a coupette. Top with a dash of soda.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Negroni

Negroni

Negroni

1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce gin

Build in a rocks glass with ice.

Garnish with an orange twist.

Quill (“Harry’s ABC,” Harry McElhone, 1919)

Negroni with 2 dashes of absinthe.

Gloria (“Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide,” 1947)

½ ounce Cointreau
½ ounce Campari
½ ounce dry vermouth
1 ½ ounces gin

Stir and strain into a coupette.

Garnish with an orange twist.

Tunnel (“1700 Cocktails for the Man Behind the Bar,” R de Fleury, 1934)  or Fascinator (“Along the Wine Trail,” 1937)

½ ounce dry vermouth
½ ounce sweet vermouth
½ ounce Campari
1 ½ ounces gin

Stir and strain into a coupette.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

Cardinal (“Jones’ Complete Barguide,” Stan Jones, 1977)

¾ ounce dry vermouth
¾ ounce Campari
1 ½ ounces gin

Stir and strain into a coupette.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

John Perona (“Bottom’s Up,” Ted Saucier, 1951)

Dash of Campari
1 ¼ ounces sweet vermouth
1 ¼ ounces gin

Stir and strain into a coupette.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

Bucks/Highballs

London Buck, Mamie Taylor’s Sister, Fog Horn (“The Cocktail Book,” “A Sideboard for Gentlemen,” 1900)

½ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce ginger syrup
2 ounce gin

Shake with a very small piece of ice, empty into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda.

Garnish with a ginger candy.

Favorite Cocktail (“Jack’s Manual,” J. A Grohusko, 1908)

4 mint leaves
1 ounce lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce ginger syrup
2 ounces gin

Shake and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda.

Garnish with a ginger candy and mint sprig.

Bulldog Cooler (“Lifetime Collection 688 Recipes,” 1934)

½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce ginger syrup
1 ounce orange juice
2 ounces gin

Shake and strain into a highball with ice. Top with soda.

Garnish with an orange wedge and a ginger candy.

Florodora (“Drinks,” Jacques Straub, 1914)

½ ounce lime juice
½ ounce grenadine
½ ounce ginger syrup
2 ounce gin

Shake and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda.

Garnish with a ginger candy.

Invisible Gin (“South American Gentleman’s Companion,” Charles H Baker, 1951)

1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce ginger syrup
1 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur
1 1/2 ounces gin

Shake and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda.

Garnish with a ginger candy.

Photos courtesy of Aviation American Gin.

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