Thanks to everyone who joined us live for Food History Happy Hour! We made the 1917 Belmont Cocktail and chatted about January holidays, including the Russian/Soviet Novy God, Twelfth Night, the Swedish Tjuegondag Knut, Robbie Burn's Day, random National Food Holidays, including National Fig Newton Day (today!), National Peanut Butter Brittle Day (my birthday!), and how on earth all those National whatever days got to be decided. Plus, since my birthday is coming up, we discussed birthday history and birthday cake history, as well as some general cake history.
Belmont Cocktail (1917)
As those of you who have been following Food History Happy Hour for some time know, I often end up making pink drinks accidentally. But this time, in honor of the new year, and my upcoming birthday, I went looking for something that would be specifically pink! And the Belmont Cocktail came to mind. It's featured in Recipes for Mixed Drinks by Hugo R. Ensslin, published in 1917 and one of my favorite cocktail recipe books.
The directions aren't super clear. For instance, 2/3 of WHAT of gin? But I've decided that this is likely a ratio - 2 parts gin to 1 part raspberry syrup, and given that the sweet cream measurement is a pony (1 ounce, usually the other side of a jigger, which is 1.5 ounces), here's what I decided to use.
2 ounces gin
1 ounce raspberry syrup
1 ounce cream
Shake with ice, strain, and serve in a pretty cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh or frozen raspberry if you are so inclined.
Sadly, this drink was NOT very good. I've since looked up other recipes, which say to use 2/3 of a GLASS of gin and 1/3 of a GLASS of raspberry syrup, which sounds like way too much. I found that while gin and raspberry probably would have been nice together, and raspberry and cream are definitely delicious, the gin was just too overpowering in this cocktail. It would have been much better as a gin fizz with cream. The addition of club soda or seltzer would have smoothed out the flavors.
I think this was probably my least drinkable cocktail ever for Food History Happy Hour! I was so sad, especially since I had such high hopes. SIGH. Must have been my ratios were off, but even other published recipes, it seems like way too much gin and syrup. Oh well. I'll have to track down something more palatable for February!
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Sarah Wassberg Johnson has an MA in Public History from the University at Albany and studies early 20th century food history.
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