The Cocktailian: The goldfish cocktail.
The cocktail recipe book on my laptop contains more than 113,000 words, but not all of them are in the correct order, so I've set myself the task of editing this monster.
The document contains trivia and essays and quotations and all sorts of odds and ends that I've accumulated over the years, and I'm thinking that one day I might be able to get it published if I can just whip it into shape.
I'm up to the G's in this alphabetical file, and when I came across my recipe for the Goldfish Cocktail, a man by the name of Michael Batterberry sprang to mind. I first came across this drink in "On the Town in New York," a fabulous book that was penned by Michael and his wife, Ariane.
The Batterberrys, who this year were given lifetime achievement awards by the James Beard Foundation, have founded two fabulous magazines - Food & Wine and Food Arts, a prestigious restaurant trade magazine. Michael was the man who gave me my first-ever professional writing assignment in 1990. Thereby hangs a tale.
I was managing the North Star Pub in New York's South Street Seaport at the time, and because we had a huge collection of single-malt scotches at the pub, I'd been delving into that subject so I could chat about them with our customers.
Michael Batterberry thought it might be a good idea for me to write a piece on single malts for Food Arts, and after chatting to him in his office for nigh on an hour, he gave me two assignments - one for a piece on British pubs in America, and another on single malts.
"Write the single-malt piece first, please," he said. "How many words do you think it will be?"
I had no concept of word count at the time, so I looked him in the eye and told him that I had absolutely no idea what he meant. Michael smiled slightly and said, "Then write the article, and we shall count the words." Michael Batterberry is a true class act, and I've never gotten around to thanking him for giving me that break.
The Goldfish Cocktail detailed in the Batterberrys' book was served during Prohibition at the Aquarium, a New York speakeasy where "the bar itself was a mammoth tank of fish indirectly illuminated," and the drink was made of equal parts of Goldwasser, gin and French vermouth.
Goldwasser is an herbal liqueur that's peppered with 22-karat gold flakes that serve to represent the goldfish in this drink. I favor using different ratios than the Aquarium so that the Goldwasser, which sports a lovely caraway element, doesn't take over the whole cocktail. Either way, this is a darned fine drink, and the gold flakes add a fabulous eye-catching dimension.
Here's to Michael Batterberry. Without his help I might have had to work for a living.
Makes 1 drink
2 ounces dry gin
1 ounce dry vermouth
3/4 ounce Danziger Goldwasser (see Note)
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Note: If you can't find Goldwasser, try substituting Goldschlager.
The Cocktailian is reprinted with the kind permission of The San Francisco Chronicle. Gary Regan is the author of The Joy of Mixology, and co-host with Mardee Haidin Regan, of ArdentSpirits.com, and the Worldwide Bartender Database. You can reach him at email@example.com