East India Cocktail
“This drink is a great favorite with the English living in the different parts of East India.” Thus spake Harry Johnson in the 1888 edition of his bartender’s manual or How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style. Every bartender should be required to read Johnson’s book, both for the historical background to their profession and the sound advice he offers for being a good bartender. His rules and suggestions are as applicable today as they were one hundred and twenty-odd years ago. Ok, one could probably skip the section on covering bar fixtures with mosquito netting in the summer, but otherwise….
This drink is an extension of the Fancy Brandy Cocktail by the addition of Maraschino liqueur and a bit of pineapple juice (do pineapples grow in India? A quick inter-google search reveals that pineapple is, indeed, grown in India, but only since the 1970s).
2 oz Brandy
1 tsp Curaçao (Grand Marnier)
1 tsp Unsweetened Pineapple Juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Maraschino Liqueur (approx. 1 tsp)
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an expressed lemon peel.
Ok, so the sporting gents living in East India probably didn’t drink this cocktail. It is, however a nice diversion from the usual lemon or lime sour. Your brandy should be a good one as it is definitely the star of this show, though the supporting players are no hacks, either. You can try to muddle your own pineapple juice since so little is required and/or up the maraschino slightly for added sweetness if that is your inclination. Express the lemon peel over the drink before dropping it in. That little touch of lemon oil will spark the drink right up, sending it flying over the sands of Rajasthan to soar above the Hawa Mahal and the battlements of Mehrangarh before turning south and alighting upon the red domes at Mysore. It’s in the details, my friends, it’s all in the details.