The 20th Century Cocktail at Jackson's Steakhouse. / Tony Gibersonemail@example.com
Iíve been glued to the television (or ďtelly,Ē as they say in London), watching the best of the best compete for precious pieces of gold, silver and bronze. Iím really not much of a sports fan, but just like any other special event, a proper gentleman gives full attention to the guest of honor and celebrates the occasion with gusto (and preferably Champagne).
So that got me to thinking: What cocktails did they celebrate with over there in jolly old England? Iím sure there was many a pint passed, and thatís good for a bronze. A Pimmís Cup or a Pimmís and lemonade are a likely pick for silver. But I want the gold. I turn to my trusty cocktail books for the answer.
The obvious book of choice here is ďThe Cafe Royal Cocktail Book.Ē Written in 1937 by William J. Tarling, it is a compilation of drinks from the bars of London that were popular at the time. Tarling was the head bartender at the historic Cafe Royal, which was located in the heart of London. The cafe first opened its doors in 1865, and by the 1890s had become the place to see and be seen.
The guest list since then has included (but not been limited to) Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Princess Diana. With that kind of lineup, Iím sure to find a winner.
As I thumb through the pages of the book, one recipe immediately attracts my attention: the Twentieth Century Cocktail. It is the underdog of the cocktail Olympics. It may appear a bit odd on the outside, with its unseemly combination of gin and chocolate, but the addition of Lillet Blanc and lemon juice gives this superstar the finesse, balance and poise of a finely tuned gymnast. And just like in a soccer game, the herbal notes of the gin are passed from tastebud to tastebud, mixing with the dry Lillet before being passed to the tart lemon.
Lemon takes it downfield to his teammate creme de cacao, who shoots and scores, winning the game and taking the gold!
20th Century Cocktail
1Ĺ ounces gin (London dry, of course)
Ĺ ounce white creme de cacao
Ĺ ounce Lillet Blanc
ľ ounce fresh lemon juice
Pour all ingredients into a martini shaker filled with ice.
Shake and strain into a well-chilled martini glass.
Garnish with your favorite athlete.
Jacksonís Steakhouse, 400 Palafox Place. 469-9898, or visit jacksons.goodgrits.com.