Friday, January 30, 2009

Derby Fizz Tasting

One of our more enjoyable tasks at the HCAR offices is cocktail tasting and testing. In the past this research has ranged from our house bartender’s own maple syrup spiked infusions, to rounds of Purple Titty Twisters, a demand often made while perusing the “shots” section of a fairly updated Mr. Boston’s Bartender’s Guide.

To bring a new life to the exploration, however, we were sent a tattered copy of Patrick Gavin Duffy's The Standard Bartender's Guide by our sponsor and superior, Colonel J.R. Harmon. The drinks within hearken back to days when Galliano flowed the streets like gold, and requesting a Wild Turkey Mist with a Twist, would not yank forth looks of disdain from your bartender. This is the inaugural article in a feature series recording our pursuits.

This week I had the pleasure of serving as bartender as we encountered the cocktails that contain, not just the egg white, but the whole egg.


1 1/2 ounces scotch whiskey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 whole egg
3 dashes curaƧao or grenadine
3 or 4 ice cubes
Club soda

Tasting Roster:
The Masked Drinker
Faux-Bee June (your author)

Double B
Angel Tit
The Beej

Two drinks were mixed, but they were served in 8 2oz. rock glasses so that each taster could have their own experience. In the interest of transparency, it should be noted that the soda water was splashed over the top of each rocks glass.

As sumptuous as the actual drink looked, (cream colored and foamy, described by Mega as a “latte foam with a scotch flavor”) it indeed fell flat, as a number of tasters had suggested it might. In a word, repeated over and over, it was bland. A number of us felt that we would only drink this in a decade preceding the Second World War, or, more often, to be polite (although Mega, again, committed that she would drink it if it fell on someone else’s tab).

The Masked Drinker, who was most taken by the drink according to response from the group, said that it showed hints of vanilla and was “airy, almost marshmallowian [which is, of course, not a real word].” He did, however, mention that he was most likely to drink it while trying to impress someone, and that it would likely be improved by more whiskey, which reverberated well through the crowd, as no one felt like there was enough alcohol to classify it as an actual cocktail. (The Original Juicy thought that it would be best situated on the non-alcoholic section of a fancy cocktail menu).

The general blandness of the drink left everyone suggesting that it be more flavored, but agreement was scattered. While the MD and Juicy argued for more alcohol, Ladyboy thought something could be done to enhance the already existing vanilla taste by adding the similar and cutting down on the lemon. The Beej agreed that there should be “something with a little more zest”, while Double B and I suggested more sugar or cointreau. (Angel Tit had to admit that she disliked the drink so much, that she didn’t know where to begin improving it, but that under certain desperate situations, she could be tempted to drink anything. Even theDerby Fizz).

For my own part, I felt that the musty taste it brought forth was quite a bit off putting. I, as I mentioned, argued for more cointreau or sugar, which says a lot, because I categorically dislike drinks that have even the mildest hint of simple syrup sweet. As the bartender charged with making this drink as a one-off, one-try deal, I must say that I probably over served the soda water, which was added to each serving individually, and undoubtedly was far too much to allow the more subtle tastes to shine through, should they have had the power.

As a team, we hope that tasting off the beaten path cocktails helps us narrow down our palates, and perhaps, one day, try a cocktail that actually tastes good. In the meantime, this exercise offers a wonderful training experience for the HCAR office bartenders, and, as a good drinking experience should, a friendly atmosphere and lively discussion.

A toast to you all.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you using the book I sent! I had wondered if you would try some of the egg drinks. You've made me proud, though your use of that poor scotch causes me to shake my head . . .