I began a series of posts began a while back, when I made the announcement that I was going to make all one hundred or so cocktails in the book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh. This is one of the first books which really thrust classic cocktails onto the scene and started what might be called as an obsession with the rest of us. Now in it’s second edition, the book is simply enchanting. I think I’ve waited long enough to start mixing these concoctions, so here goes! Without further adieu, from recesses of time, comes forth The Alamagoozlum Cocktail.
According to the text, this drink first appeared in Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask by Charles H. Baker, Jr. in 1939. Purported to be the creation of one illustrious banker, J.P. Morgan, it packs a wallop but with a sophistication unparallelled in many drinks out there. The recipe is as follows:
- 1/2 egg white
- 2 oz Genever
- 2 oz water
- 1 1/2 oz Jamaica Rum
- 1 1/2 oz Green or Yellow Chartreuse
- 1 1/2 oz gomme syrup
- 1/2 oz orange curacao
- 1/2 oz Angostura bitters
This drink calls for some hard-to-find ingredients, but thanks to some enterprising minds out there spirits like Genever are now readily available. The most difficult ingredient for me to locate was the gomme syrup. In the book, it suggests using a very rich 2:1 or 3:1 simple syrup. However, gomme syrup is a simple syrup made with the addition of gum arabic, which gives it a silky feel on the tongue. There are several good recipes for gomme syrup on the internet. At A Mountain of Crushed Ice, Tiare Olsen demonstrates a great recipe which I found to be easy to follow and replicate. The only difference from Tiare’s recipe and the one we made was the addition of a little grain neutral spirits (vodka) to serve as a preservative.
The Alamagoozlum is a strong drink. This was my first time using Chartreuse in a cocktail. I was delighted. The two ounces of Chartreuse and the healthy dose of Angostura bitters gives this drink a strong herbal bite which gently warms as it goes down. Perhaps the drink would serve well as a winter drink because of its warming properties. The spiciness reminds me of winter. The recipe above made two decent sized drinks, perhaps 6 oz each, instead of the three mentioned in the book.
Another first was the egg white. There are many drinks which call for egg, but I’ve never been brave enough to do it. I keep going back to memories of the film Rocky, when Sylvester Stallone’s character gulps down a breakfast of raw eggs. However, through some encouragement from Dr. Cocktail, I went for it. Never again will I leave egg out of a drink. Never. The egg white not only gave this drink a nice ring of foam on top, it also gave it a silky feel in the mouth.
While I tried to be as true to the book and the recommendations that it gives in regards to spirits, I will admit that I did not use Jamaican Rum. I decided to forego another trip to the liquor store and use Don Q Gold Rum in its place. I’m not sure if using a true Jamaican rum like Myers or Appleton Estate would have made a significant difference in the taste, however, because of the herbal intensity of this drink. This question will have to go unanswered for now.
I suppose you are wondering what’s next. If you have the book, which you should definitely get (see my previous post on the book), you know the answer. For those of you who don’t, shame on you. You’ll just have to hang around awhile.