There's a big trend these days for revamping antique cocktails, particularly recipes from Colonial America where the beginnings of the modern cocktail got its start. Being a huge fan of the history of cocktails I ventured into modernizing retro recipes a while back, starting with the Rattled Skull, my Sleepy Hollow inspired rendition of the colonial Rattleskull cocktail, then venturing into Shrubs aka Drinking Vinegars and Flavored Simple Syrups.
For our Forefathers the mixing of libations was born from necessity, whether it be medicinal or palatable, for us it is a matter of the enjoyment of new combinations of tastes and textures, born out of a love of new experiences. The art of cocktails, like the art of cooking, is having a renaissance and exposing happy hour to the past as well as the future of mixology.
From infusions, bitters, syrups and shrubs, evolved from ancient herbal remedies and preservation techniques, the cocktail has passed through the ages to a rebirth of exciting new and reimagined liquid enjoyment. It's probably the best time for cocktail enthusiasts in drinking history as even the most pedestrian establishments feature signature cocktails made with fresh, quality ingredients and bartenders embrace craft cocktails by venturing into new flavor combination horizons. For someone like me it's a chance to bring my cooking skills and food knowledge to my bar as well as my kitchen, aided by my love of history.
Inspired by Ulysses S. Grant's Meringue and Roman Punch, recreated by Leo Robitschek for Vanity Fair, this cocktail is my modern Tiki Bar take on those vintage Presidential libations. Robitschek's original ingredients were the juice of 2 oranges, 8 ounces of champagne, 8 cups rum, 2 ounces orange liqueur, 1 quart lemon sherbet, 2 egg whites, 5 drops lemon juice, 3 cups powdered sugar and featured a baked meringue topping. His recipe makes a full punch bowl, I adjusted the measurements to make one cocktail. I also played with the flavor elements to take advantage of ingredients I had on hand. Then I made lemon flavored meringue cookies instead of creating a baked meringue topping. The Blue Curacao I use as the orange liqueur gave my cocktail a distinct Bimini blue color and the meringue cookies were like a little floating islands so ...
MERINGUE ISLAND PUNCH
1 Oz. Dark Rum
1 Oz. Champagne
1 Oz. Blue Curacao
1/2 Oz. Orange Juice
1/2 Oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 C. Pineapple Sorbet
1 Pasteurized Egg White
1 Tsp. Powdered Sugar
Lemon Meringue Cookie
Bake (or buy) the meringue cookies. If you're baking plan ahead. They take a few hours to bake.
Add the rum, Blue Curacao, orange juice, lemon juice, pasteurized eggs white and the pineapple sorbet to a blender and blend - without ice* - until foamy. Pour this mixture into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled.
Pour the cocktail mixture into your glass, top off with champagne, stir.
Place your meringue cookie on top and garnish with the orange twist and serve.
* Blending or shaking without ice is referred to as "dry shaking".