Noble Failures

Jungle Bird cocktail in an old fashioned glass

We have shared what's on our top shelves, our major discoveries. In the interest of science and preventing unnecessary loss of brain cells here's what didn't make it. There are two categories: lower shelf and pour it down the sink. The drinks on the lower shelf were okay but lacked something. Maybe we'll try working on the recipe sometime. All of the recipes we tried are exactly as found in the book The New Cocktail Hour.

Lower Shelf

Boulevardier: (bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth) A Manhattan with Campari added. A little sweet with a taste like cough medicine. It's okay, but I prefer a Manhattan.

Champs-Élysées: (brandy, green Chartreuse, lemon juice) Drinkable but the ingredients do not blend well.

Clover Club: (gin, dry vermouth, raspberry syrup, lemon juice) I am yet to be convinced of the combination of vermouth and lemon or lime juice.

Deshler: (whiskey, Dubonnet, orange curaçao) A Manhattan with Dubonnet. Not much of a distinctive taste. A Manhattan is better.

Douglas Fairbanks: (gin, apricot brandy, lime juice, egg white) Nice mouth feel but no bite. If you are mixing lime juice and egg white make a Pisco Sour.

Japanese Cocktail: (brandy, orgeat, lime juice) Too much orgeat, the Mai Tai is better.

Martinez: (Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur) Descended from the Manhattan and possibly the origin of the Martini. A little sweet and not an improvement on the Manhattan.

Martini: (gin, dry vermouth) The King of Cocktails has no clothes. No matter how hard I try, it just tastes like a glass of cold gin. It reminds me of the Randy Newman song, "Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong."

Mexican Firing Squad: (tequila, lime juice, grenadine, bitters) Nice fruit taste but didn't go well with tequila in the background.

Napoleon: (gin, Dubonnet, orange curaçao) Pleasant but not much there there.

Paper Plane: (bourbon, lemon juice, amaro, Aperol) Not unpleasant but the sour and the bitter don't go well together.

Pegu Club: (gin, orange curaçao, lime juice) A little sweet, similar to a Mai Tai but not as good. It is strange that adding orange curaçao to a Daiquiri creates a Mai Tai, a great improvement. But adding it to a gin sour (a Bennett Cocktail) is disappointing.

Queen's Park Swizzle: (rum, lime, mint) The mint does not complement the rum.

Salome: (gin, Dubonnet, dry vermouth) Continuing our exploration of the uses of Dubonnet—we didn't find any.

Saratoga: (brandy, rye, vermouth, bitters) Not unpleasant but no particular taste—not an improvement on the Manhattan.

Sazerac: (rye or cognac, Absinthe, bitters) Tried with rye, bourbon and cognac but none of them a winner.

Scorpion Bowl: (rum, brandy, lemon, orange, orgeat) Okay but too alcoholic with a fairly bland taste.

Test Pilot: (rum, Cointreau, falernum, Herbsaint, lime) Insipid, not bad but not good either, no particular flavor.

Toronto Cocktail: (rye, Fernet-Branca, bitters) Not bad, the Fernet-Branca was hardly noticable, but not great either.

Three Dots and a Dash: (rum, allspice, falernum, lime, orange, honey) The components combine well but the allspice flavor dominates.

Vesper: (gin, vodka, Cocchi Americano) Not bad for a Martini-like recipe but still too close to a glass of cold gin.

Vieux Carré: (rye, brandy, vermouth, Benedictine) Pleasant, not too sweet, but no particular taste came through—not an improvement on the Manhattan.

Whiskey Sour: (bourbon or rye, lemon juice, egg white, bitters) Not unpleasant but a Pisco Sour is better.

Down the Sink

Art of Choke: (rum, Cynar, green Chartreuse, lime juice) It got better as you drank it but it was hard to detect a taste.

Betsy Ross: (brandy, orange curaçao, ruby port) Medicinal, not worth trying again.

Blood and Sand: (scotch, cherry liqueur, vermouth, orange) The ingredients do not blend together—just unpleasant.

Brandy Crusta: (brandy, orange curaçao, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice) No one should do that to good brandy.

Bronx Cocktail: (gin, vermouth, orange juice) Taste of orange juice but lacks a sour bite and not sweet enough—just nothing there.

Colony Cocktail: (gin, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice) Far too sweet from the maraschino liqueur.

Doctor Cocktail: (Swedish punsch, rum, lime juice) Just unpleasant, not enough there there.

Dubonnet Cocktail: (gin, Dubonnet) While the Queen Mother may have been partial to this one we found it a little sweet with no particular flavor.

East India Cocktail: (brandy, orange curaçao, maraschino liqueur, pineapple juice) Swapping the lemon juice for pineapple juice in a Brandy Crusta does not improve it. The verdict stands: no one should do that to good brandy.

Jasmine: (gin, Campari, Cointreau, lemon juice) Slight medicinal flavor with a great color but not much flavor.

Jungle Bird: (black rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice) Black rum with Campari should have been a give-away. It has a heavy taste of molasses—drinkable but not a pleasure.

Leap Year: (gin, sweet vermouth, Grand Marnier, lemon juice) Sweet vermouth and Grand Marnier just don't go together.

Martinez: (genever, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur) Made with genever this drink was truly awful. I really didn't like the malty taste of genever and Kathy wouldn't go near it.

Mary Pickford: (rum, pineapple juice, maraschino liqueur) It needs citrus juice for the acid. The pineapple is not prominant. The result is just bland.

Pendennis Club: (Old Tom gin, apricot brandy, lime juice) Drier than a Mai Tai—not convinced.

Sidecar: (brandy, Cointreau, lemon juice) No particular flavor. There are better ways to combine spirits with citrus juice.

Stork Club Cocktail: (Old Tom gin, Cointreau, orange juice, lime juice) Too alcoholic with a fairly bland taste.

Straits Sling: (gin, cherry brandy, Benedictine, lemon juice) Dominated by the lemon juice and not sweet enough. As a precursor to the Singapore Sling you can tell why they kept working on it.

Trinidad Sour: (whiskey, orgeat, bitters, lemon juice) Drinkable but not much alcohol, too much syrup, and the large quantity of bitters leave an unpleasant aftertaste.