I have no idea who Miss Joan Ketchum was – probably some damn flapper – but apparently she had good taste in cocktails. This is another from Bar La Florida Cocktails (1935). It calls for Old Tom Gin, a specific type that, somewhat like Tanqueray Malacca, is a bit sweeter and more floral than your standard London Dry gin. I picked up a bottle of it a few weeks ago, and this is its inaugural run around these parts.
Most of the recipes from Bar La Florida Cocktails, like most from the Savoy Cocktail Book, use fractions rather than specific measurements. But this one, as happens from time to time, also has specific measurements for some ingredients, which leaves one wondering exactly how much should equate to the unspecified “1/2.”
1/2 Old Tom Gin
1/2 pineapple juice
1 teaspoon apricot brandy
1 teaspoon grenadine
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The cherry was not specified; I improvised.
I decided on 2.5 ounces for the gin and pineapple juice. I think it was a good choice; nothing seems overpowered. The Old Tom gin is not quite as fruity/floral as the Malacca, but definitely has a sweeter flavor profile than London Dry. It combines nicely with the pineapple juice. The apricot brandy makes a noteworthy contribution, despite its minor quantity. The grenadine doesn’t make much of an appearance on the palate, but I feel like it’s working its magic in the background. Like good cocktails tend to do, this one achieves something new out of its constituent ingredients. While there’s definitely an overarching pineapple-y thing going on, there’s more to it than that. Imagine, perhaps, pineapple upside-down cake fermented and liquified. Er…no, don’t do that. Sorry. It’s actually reminiscent of the Mary Pickford, one of my all time favorites, which is equal parts rum and pineapple juice, plus a little Maraschino and grenadine. So I guess that makes sense. Anyway, this is another winner. Five livers.