This one appears to first, uh…appear…in The Savoy Cocktail Book, but shows up again in revised and presumably much better form in A. S. Crockett’s The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book of 1935. In the Savoy, the Hop Toad is simply a 3:1 mixture of apricot brandy and lime juice. Which doesn’t sound very good. Crockett features a “Hop Frog” drink that is 2:1 brandy to lime juice (apricot brandy not being specified, so presumably he’s talking about regular brandy). And his Hop Toad calls for the following:
The juice of half a lime
1/3 Jamaican rum (gold)
1/3 apricot brandy
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Huh? 1/3 and 1/3 and,,,what? That doesn’t add up. So I followed David Wondrich’s estimates from his forward to the reprint edition of Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 book, wherein he suggests 1/3 means one ounce. Fair enough.
Simple enough, and remarkably well-balanced. This is quite similar to several gin-based cocktails with apricot brandy, particularly the Pendennis Cocktail (2:1 gin to brandy, plus bitters and lime juice) and the Dick, Jr. (1:1 plus an equal amount of French vermouth and the juice of a whole lime), and, like those drinks, is thoroughly enjoyable. It’s on the sweet side, but there’s enough tartness from the lime to keep it from going over the edge, and the rum, if anything, works even better with the apricot brandy than does the gin. I used Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot, by the way, which is even a step or two above Marie Brizard’s quality Apry. Five livers.