Every week, we tackle the weirdest recipe we can find in Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide. Turns out they did things differently back then.
Recipe #165 in the Bartenders Guide is described as a “delicious French café drink.” Cafés, apparently, used to be a lot different back in the 1800s, because after making it and drinking it, we can safely say that you won’t be seeing it at your local Starbucks any time soon.
The first step was to “fill a small wine glass halfway full with Maraschino liqueur.” If that doesn’t seem shocking to you, just mention the notion to your local bartender and watch him or her squirm. We’d never seen a cocktail recipe that called for more than an ounce of the sticky sweet liqueur, which is typically used only as a modifier. This recipe called for approximately three ounces. But we put our faith in Mr. Thomas and filled three Champagne flutes (one for each staff member who volunteered to drink the finished product) halfway as instructed.
Next, the recipe read: “Put in the pure yolk of an egg.” While we have no problem with raw eggs in cocktails—we love a Ramos Gin Fizz or a Rum Flip as much as the next imbiber—we usually like to mix them into the drinks rather than simply plop them in whole. But before we could crack an egg, we hit a snafu.
Reading ahead we saw that Thomas instructed us to, “surround the yolk with vanilla cordial.”
Alas, there was no vanilla liqueur in sight. We decided to improvise and make our own.