Cocktail #21: Suffering Bastard

As my core readers (all 10 of you!) will know by now, this blog and its drinks are heavily influenced by the books and classic recipes relayed by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry and Martin Cate, authors of the Grog Log (JB), Potions of the Caribbean (JB), and Smugger's Cove (MC). The recipe for this week's drink, the Suffering Bastard, appears in all three books above, and each time it's a little different. It wasn't until today, after I had gone shopping, that I absorbed Jeff Berry's recipe in Potions that I realized a) it is the definitive version of the recipe and b) I bought some of the wrong stuff.

In Potions Berry has published the recipe from the private papers of globetrotting bartender extraordinaire, Joe Scialom, most famously of the Shepherd's Long Bar, Shepherd's Hotel, Cairo, 1940s (which makes an appearance in one of my favorite films, the English Patient). Apparently devised as a hangover cure for the 11th Hussars - British troops stationed in Egypt during the Second World War, there are many versions of this drink floating around, and Berry himself published a different version in his Grog Log. What seems to be the definitive version, from Potions:

1.00 oz. gin
1.00 oz. cognac
4.00 oz. ginger beer, chilled
0.50 oz. Rose's Lime Juice Cordial
2 dashes Angustura bitters

Shake everything - except ginger beer - with ice cubes. Stir in ginger beer. Pour unstrained into a double old fashioned glass (I used my double old fashioned mai tai glass I bought at the fabulous Foundation Bar in Milwaukee). Garnish with an orange slice and mint sprig.

My version, cobbled together from the three above books:

1.00 oz. London dry gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
1.00 oz. brandy (I used Pierre Duchene Napoleon V.S.O.P. which I got for cheap at Trader Joe's)
4.00 oz. fancy ginger ale
0.50 oz. fresh lime juice
0.25 oz. Demerara sugar syrup
2 dashes Angustura bitters

Same method as above. I garnished with an orange wheel, three pineapple leaves, speared with a home made maraschino cherry. My one misstep that keeps my version from being the same as Cate's in Smugger's is I used ginger ale instead of ginger beer. So it goes. Nevertheless, the result was fabulous.

Refreshing, yet with a small kick from the brandy, this cocktail goes down easily. The bitters and the nose from my homemade maraschino cherry lend a hint of spiciness to the cocktail which is amplified by the ginger.

Surely, had I used ginger beer, the result would have been even better. This is without a doubt one of my favorites out of 21 cocktails I've made over the last 21 weeks. Perhaps it's because fall is just on the horizon, but I find myself being drawn more towards this type of tiki drink lately - more dry, more spicy, less sweet. At Foundation in Milwaukee - easily one of the best tiki bars I've ever been to - I had their "Martinique" cocktail - rhum agricole, lemon, grapefruit juice, falernum, Chartreuse, and anise - and it was my favorite drink of the night. I need to cobble together some dough to buy a bottle of Chartreuse to try to recreate it. Anyway - the Martinique's flavor profile was more on the spicy, dry side, than sweet. And it was wonderful!

As I mixed up this drink, I put on an LP I recently bought used at Vintage Vinyl in Evanston, IL - Ellis In Wonderland by Ray Ellis and his Orchestra. I admit without embarrassment that I bought this solely on the merit of it's cover. As it turned out, it's a really pleasant 1950s instrumental - some would derisively call it "elevator music" - but I love it. You can check it out, of course, on YouTube:

Cheers and thanks for reading!

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