Like the Bunny Hug, this was another drink I was fully expecting to be awful. But cocktails are rarely so simple – recipes that sound amazing can turn out to be anything but, while recipes that make you want to avoid them wind up quite delicious. This fortunately falls into the latter category.
Even more so than other recipes in the Savoy Cocktail Book, the Ping Pong Special comes with rather vague measurements, at least to a modern audience. While “wineglass” as a measurement is common enough (2 oz. in these old recipes, although today it means 4 oz.), this recipe just calls for “glasses.” On top of that, it’s for six people. So I just used common sense, and made the drink as follows:
2 ounces sloe gin
2 ounces Italian (sweet) vermouth
4 dashes (1/2 teaspoon) Angostura bitters
2 dashes curaçao
Shake (the book says “carefully”) with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry and a slice of lemon peel.
Beautiful! Just about the color of fresh blood, although more transparent. Wait, was that creepy? I got a little bit of foam, I guess from the sloe gin and the fact that I shook regularly instead of carefully…oh well.
The lemon twist is definitely essential in this drink; it’s still pretty sweet, given its two main ingredients, but the lemon adds a nice hint of tartness as well as some lovely citrus notes. It’s not very strong, being made entirely with liqueurs – this might best be served as an after-dinner drink. In any case, quite delightful. Four livers.