The Yachting Club Cocktail

Yes, but which Yachting Club? Or is this drink applicable to any Yachting Club? What about Yacht Clubs? Sadly, these will forever be among the unanswered mysteries of life. What we can answer is that this drink first appeared in Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 book Recipes for Mixed Drinks. Actually, no, I can’t even say that for sure, because maybe it appeared earlier somewhere else. In fact, considering it calls for Holland gin, or genever, it probably did, since that was a far more common and popular ingredient in the few decades prior to the publication of Ensslin’s book. In any case, it’s a pretty early drink. Although not an especially good one.

The Recipe:

2/3 Holland Gin

1/3 French vermouth

2 dashes gum syrup*

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

1 dash absinthe

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Yachting Club Cocktail

It’s pretty to look at, at least. Peychaud’s bitters usually does that to a drink. I followed David Wondrich’s advice in his intro to the reprint of Ensslin’s book, wherein he suggests using a barspoon (1/2 tsp.) as a dash, except for with bitters, when a dash is just whatever comes out of the dasher bottle with a flick of the wrist. So I used 1 tsp. of the syrup, and 1/2 a tsp. of the absinthe. And even this was too much absinthe, as the anise flavor took over the drink, which ended up tasting something like malted black licorice. With bitters. Drinkable, barely. Well, ok, it’s not that bad. Maybe with a more traditional 1/8 tsp. dash of absinthe, this would be quite good. As it is, it just gets into three liver territory.

Gum, or sometime gomme, syrup, is basically simple syrup with gum arabic in it to thicken it up and give drinks in which it is used a silkier mouthfeel. You can buy gum arabic and whip up a batch yourself, although apparently this can be tricky, or you can buy it from Small Hand Foods. I suggest the latter.


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