Antiquarian Beverages, take two.

December 30, 2006

For those interested in the history of the cocktail, I highly recommend Tom Standage’s A History of the World in Six Glasses. In this curious work, Standage traces the likely origin of the cocktail to Admiral Cockburn. When Cockburn was not busy razing parts of the Northeastern Seaboard, he ordered that every sailor in the British Navy be given daily rations of rum and lime; the admixture of which with sugar became known as the cocktail, ostensibly in his honor. Standage also attributes this switch to a lime-based beverage with drastically lowering rates of scurvy in the royal navy… which he also correlates with the total ascendancy of British naval forces over those of the scurvy-ridden French. Whether the theory holds, it is certainly amusing to speculate upon whilst enjoying a good cocktail.

However, given that there is no exact recipe for the original cocktail of the British Navy, here is a recipe for a cocktail that is nearly as old, courtesy of the wikiproject cocktails endeavour.

“To make a Sazerac, mix 3-4 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters (Angostura bitters is not an acceptable substitute, although some people will add a dash of Angostura to the Peychaud’s) and 2 to 2.5 ounces of cognac or rye whiskey(the Original recipe calls for Rye). If you’re a traditionalist, before adding ice to the mixing glass add a sugar cube and about a tablespoon of water, then the bitters, then muddle until the sugar is dissolved as much as possible. Or you can use simple syrup in place of sugar cubes for convenience and to avoid any undissolved sugar in your drink: Mix the bitters and cognac/rye, fill the glass 2/3 full with cracked ice, stir for thirty seconds, add one teaspoon of simple syrup; stir, strain and serve.”

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