Sunday, January 31, 2010

Calling Doctor Bombay . . . Emergency, come right away!

How the Bombay Cocktail Becomes the Bombay Emerald

The Bombay Emerald glows a deep rich green. Pair with samosas dipped in mango chutney for a simple cocktail party hors d’oeuvre.

In the salad days of our cocktail experimentation, we came across a recipe in the 1988 Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide for the Bombay Cocktail. I think we were looking for a drink that used both dry and sweet vermouths, but the details are fuzzy as they often are when cocktails are involved. The recipe is as follows:

Bombay Cocktail
(adapted from 1988 Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide)

1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce brandy
1/4 teaspoon Anis
1/2 teaspoon triple sec

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass.

❤ ❤ ❤

It’s a relatively low-alcohol drink, smooth with hints of licorice (from the Anis, or anisette liqueur) and orange (from the triple sec). The 1968 edition of Mr. Boston has the same recipe, though “absinthe substitute” stands in for Anis, and curaçao for triple sec. You can even find a similar recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book from 1930 for the Bombay Cocktail (No. 2).

Memory can be a trickster, especially so if alcohol is involved (didn’t someone just say that?), but one thing we do remember from that night of inchoate mixology is the discovery we made when we added blue curaçao for the triple sec. The cocktail glowed a deep gold. We must have been munching on something spicy that night because we were not content with the dryness of the Bombay. So we bumped up the amount of blue curaçao and, lo and behold, the gold transformed into a deep golden green [see photo above]. Not only was the color an improvement, the elevated sweetness made the drink eminently more sippable.

Herbsaint is a terrific absinthe substitute (we made the drink before the reintroduction of absinthe in the U.S.) and we use it all the time in our Sazeracs. You can either rinse the glass with a little bit and empty it out, or you can add a dash to the mix before stirring. Either way, the slight licorice buzz will dance on your tongue with every sip. (The extra ounce of brandy will also add to the buzz making you even happier.)

If you want to pair the Bombay Emerald with something simple and tasty, and you don’t feel like going to a lot of trouble, buy some classic Indian samosas from your local restaurant and serve them with some chutney for dipping, such as mango chutney. Just make sure to up the blue curaçao to 1/2 oz. (or even more) to increase the sweetness. This will also deepen the emerald green [see photo at top of post].

Samosas with mango chutney, plus a Bombay Emerald, will keep your guests happy at your next cocktail party.

Bombay Emerald
(adapted by Cocktail Buzz)

2 ounces brandy
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/4–1/2 ounce blue curaçao (the more, the greener the cocktail)
dash of Herbsaint

Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

You can read a little tale about the Bombay Cocktail (No. 2) from our friend Erik Ellestad at the e-bar, Underhill-Lounge.

photos © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz

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