14th February 2010 marks the start of the year of the Tiger. If you’re based anywhere near China (or most of Asia for that matter), you’ll know that. Sitting in Beijing surrounded by fireworks, I’d imagine most of the world knows it – or can at least hear that something’s going on!
To mark the beginning of 虎年, I thought I’d post a couple of Tiger cocktails. Firstly one classic, but often overlooked drink, the White Tiger’s Milk.
This version of the recipe is taken from Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide (2nd, 1887 edition).
White Tiger’s Milk.
(From a recipe in the possession of Dr. Thomas Dunn English.)
Take ½ gill of apple-jack.
½ gill of peach brandy.
½ tea-spoonful of aromatic tincture
(see Index,”Aromatic Tincture “).
Sweeten with white sugar to taste. The white of an egg beaten to a stiff foam. 1 quart of pure fresh milk. Pour in the milk to the mixed liquors, gradually, stirring all the while till all is well mixed, then sprinkle with nutmeg.
The above recipe is sufficient to make a full quart of “White Tiger’s Milk;” if more is wanted, you can increase the above proportions. If you want to prepare this beverage for a party of twenty, use one gallon of milk to one pint of applejack, etc.
The aromatic bitters can be replaced with Angostura or any other good aromatic bitters currently available. I personally advocate using Calvados rather than Applejack as it gives a much richer, more complex drink – and it’s a great one (although definitely one for the end of a night)!
There is an alternative recipe for the White Tiger’s Milk that’s found more widely, but in my opinion, a much inferior drink:
25ml Dark Rum
100ml full-fat milk
25ml sugar syrup
Shake all over ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice.
To my mind, a little confused and not that interesting.
The second drink to post is one I’ve put together for New Year. I’ve been playing around with some Baijiu (Chinese white spirit) cocktails, and this seemed an appropriately light and breezy one to start the list off with. It’s an aperitif-style (seemingly fitting for the start of the year), and uses the lightest possible baijiu, Erguotou (二锅头), a 56% a.b.v. Sorghum-based spirit, very widely consumed in Beijing as it’s almost free (a few £/$/€ a litre at the more expensive outlets…). 二锅头 is a really good introduction into the world of baijiu as it’s reasonably neutral and mixes relatively easily. Review coming soon.
Hair of the Tiger
25ml Erguotou baijiu (a high a.b.v straight shochu would approximate in Europe/US if baijiu is unavailable)
30ml fresh pink grapefruit juice
15ml Triple Sec
5ml simple sugar syrup
5ml fresh lime juice
dash of citrus bitters
Shake hard and single strain into a coupette glass, add another spray of citrus bitters to the surface of the drink. The baijiu has an interesting earthiness that follows the citrus, making for a reasonably bitter, but interesting aperitif.