Recently one of the drinks industry magazines was praising the work that Galliano has done in recovering its original flavours, and how the ‘new’ Galliano L’Autentico had raised the Harvey Wallbanger back from the depths of Disco. The resurgence of prohibition-era classics over the last 5 years has meant that drinks from the Tom Cruise school of bartending have largely been shunned, but as with the Harvey Wallbanger, when made properly, there are some that are worth revisiting.
First up, that recipe from CLASS magazine:
Shake 50ml vodka, 12.5ml Galliano L’Autentico and 90ml fresh orange juice over ice. Pour over fresh ice in a highball glass and garnish with orange segments.
The key to all these is fresh juice, but your choice of spirit or liqueur can play an important role – as with the Galliano in the recipe above – the old version is just too sickly sweet and artificial to work. Another case in point is the Tequila Sunrise – fresh orange juice and home-made pomegranate syrup lift this from the realm of sweet & sickly to refreshing and multi-layered. Personally I like to add a little Meyer lemon to balance the syrup, and would recommend a good blanco tequila for its light, grassy notes. I’ve also never seen the point in layering a highball drink, so mine is shaken (and can even be served ‘up’ in a cocktail glass it’s such a great colour):
Shake 50ml good blanco tequila (Ocho or Tapatio for me) with 15ml grenadine syrup, 15ml Meyer lemon and 75ml fresh orange juice over ice. Pour over fresh ice in a highball glass and garnish with orange segments.
Where fresh juice is not an ingredient, premium products can also do wonders. When asked for a vodka Red Bull, I tend to politely steer people towards Espresso Martinis (or a rum and coke), but the Espresso Martini is really just an extension of the Black Russian, dating back to the late 1940s. Here the quality of the coffee liqueur is the most important feature. I prefer to use Coffee Heering for a drier drink or Toussaint for a sweeter one. The key is getting all the ingredients very cold – almost a frozen coffee vodka shot.
Stir 50ml pre-chilled good (Russian) vodka with 20ml coffee liqueur over ice; strain into a chilled rocks glass with fresh ice.
The Blue Hawaii falls more into the Tiki period rather than that of Disco, but it was one of the standards of the latter, where (like the Singapore Sling) it was bastardised with additional ingredients. The original was put together in 1957 by Harry Yee at the Hilton resort in Waikiki, having been asked to create something using Bols Blue Curacao. Again, with fresh juice and the right rum, this is a great drink. The original called for rum and vodka, but I prefer two light rums to give more character. Colourless (young or filtered) rums work best as darker liquids will give the finished product a more murky green colour.
20ml light (dry) rum (e.g. Havana 3 year old), 20ml light (sweeter) rum (e.g. El Dorado 3 year old), 15ml Blue Curacao, 75ml fresh pressed pineapple juice, 15ml fresh lime juice, sugar syrup to balance (the sugar/acid balance of fresh pineapple can vary widely with ripeness, so best to taste and gauge what’s needed). Shake all ingredients hard over ice, then strain into an ice-filled hurricane glass. I find the colour means this doesn’t really need a garnish…
Anyway, there are plenty more ‘classics’ where those came from, but you get the idea. Happy experimenting!
(a prize of some description if you can name all the bottles behind Mr Cruise in the pic. Some great 80′s branding there!)