I love a good cocktail as much as the next gal, but did you know some cocktails can be good for you? Taking a cue from the elixirs, tinctures, and tonics of yesterday, and putting a new twist on them, the new book Apothecary Cocktails delves in to the history of some restoratives libations, and creates new recipes for today’s trendy bartender. When we look at some of the key ingredients in the modern bar, we can see behind the bourbon, vodka and other liquors to the mixers that were traditionally used as medicine. Love a gin & tonic? Tonic (real tonic, not this corn syrup flavored water that passes today) is made with quinine, a well known remedy for influenza. Love to use bitters to flavor your cocktails? Bitters were created as a digestive aid, originally in Angostura, Venezuela, as a tonic. Brandy has long been carried by St. Bernard mountain dogs in the Swiss Alps for warmth and revival in the cold winter nights. I love to experiment with cocktails and flavors but Apothecary Cocktails categorizes their recopies by aliment:
- Have a digestive issue? Try a Sazerac. The Peychaud’s bitters from New Orleans was originally used to heal stomach problems.
- Cold to the bone? Try some Navy Grog. With Scurvy being a critical issue in sailors, this winter warmer with rum and lemon juice was used in the 17th & 18th centuries.
- Sweltering in a sticky summer? Almond Pastis is your cure. Pastis is the cool drink of southern France, with cold anise flavored liquor that turns white when mixed with ice water.
- If you’ve had all of the above and are feeling a bit green, restoratives hair of the dog cocktails like the Corpse Reviver, full of Caribbean flavors as well as spices and alcohol it will help you to forget.
- Hot toddies have long been used to relax you after a long day. How about Mexican Sleep Cure for your insomnia? That Mescal will certainly help you sleep.
- When I have a cold, I make my own Nyquil: 3 oz whiskey, healthy squeeze of lemon juice, 1 TBSP of brown sugar, cloves, and hot water. Stir with a cinnamon stick. You could also try a Lemon Balm Gin & Tonic. Lemon Balm has been a popular herban pain killer for centuries, and is used in many digestives such as Amaro and Chartreuse.
- Finally, if you’re in a bad mood – snap out of it! Cheer in a glass, the Milk Thistle Spritz takes a commonly used herbal elixer detoxifies the liver and is a tasty treat.
Apothecary Cocktails also includes several recipes for syrups and infusions used in the cocktail creations, like Cardamon simple syrup, and Shrubb simple syrup. I’ve tried, twisted, and tweaked several of these recipes and it’s a great addition to any bar. Enjoy!
The book was provided by the publisher for consideration but all cocktails were created from my own hooch!