Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Classic Cocktails: the Artist's Special

This drink comes to me from the Savoy Cocktail Book via the Cocktail Database and Erik Ellestad's Savoy Stomp project. According to the Harry Craddock, the book's author, the recipe was developed in Paris.

This is the genuine ‘Ink of Inspiration’ imbibed at the Bal Bullier Paris. The recipe is from the Artists Club, Rue Pigalle, Paris.

Artist's Special
1 oz bourbon
1 oz sherry
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.25 oz grenadine

The nose is redolent of amontillado sherry, with savory hints. The sherry is bolstered by the wood of the bourbon, while hints of raspberry peek around. The sip begins without a lot of sweetness. A bit of acidity from the lemon comes in, but is quickly superseded by the sherry and bourbon. The finish goes out with sharp fruitiness from the raspberry syrup.

While a little bit thinner than I expected given the fairly high proportion of booze, this is a very nice cocktail with good evolution. All of the ingredients make themselves present at various points, weaving in and out. I was fairly surprised by how much the bourbon hides itself, especially as I used Bulleit, which tends to be pretty assertive.

Like Erik, I took a few liberties with this recipe. Since it's what I had in the fridge, I went with TJ's amontillado sherry, which is just off-dry. Since I don't have any grenadine or red current syrup, I made the drink with homemade raspberry syrup, which I think fits quite well. Overall it's a very pleasant drink that would do very well year round.


  1. Luckily, I had a friend in town who made up a large batch of red currant syrup so that she could give out small portions to her cocktail friends (I think Dave Wondrich was in town since she gave some to him). I'd put it somewhere between grenadine and raspberry; different but not all that unique.

  2. I have just made this cocktail, and after 4 or 5 sips, I am very pleased with it! I also used Bulleit bourbon, but I used grenadine and TJ's Fino sherry. The extra dry nature of the Fino makes it a bit more astringent. To my mind, this makes the cocktail a very fine aperitif. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. Glad you like it! How's the TJ's fino? I've only tried the amontillado, but at $5 a pop they all seem worth the risk.

    2. To be honest, I'm not at all familiar with sherry, aside from having enjoyed several sherry cask-aged single malts. I thought the Fino worked quite nicely in the cocktail, though, and this just reinforced the fact that I need to become more familiar with sherry, especially since it would broaden my palate with respect to Scotch. There's just so much alcohol to enjoy! Are there any sherries you would recommend?

    3. Lustau Don Nuño Oloroso was quite good. Rich, but still bracingly dry. I have a few more waiting to get opened up and I'll review them as I work through my backlog.