Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Peach Bitters for Happy Days

When I bought peach bitters, I was excited on account of a vague idea that they were used in drink recipes of some bygone era when they really knew what a drink was. It’s not clear now at what point I started wondering what to do with them, but they were really exciting all the same. Eventually it occurred to me that maybe there was a recipe that called for peach bitters—a recipe I could use them in. Maybe I might look for one that sounded good, and even enjoy tasting it.

The recipe for Happy Days in the CocktailDB appears with a note that it was invented by E.L. Horton. OK, I said, I’ll bite. So I looked up old E.L. too, and found the recipe for Happy Days on page 93 of The Café Royal Cocktail Book. This still told me nothing about Horton except that he was probably an English bartender working between the wars. Beyond that, the scent seemed to be totally cold. Maybe he could’ve been something awful, like an axe murderer, but it doesn’t seem too likely since he invented such a swell cocktail. (He could’ve poisoned you instead.) It also has tangerine liqueur, and I was hunting around for something else to do with that too.

Happy Days

  • 1 1/4 oz London dry gin
  • 1 oz Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
  • 1/2 oz Van der Hum (Mandarine Napoléon)
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 dash peach bitters
The recipe says to shake. I stirred. (Sorry, E.L.) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This is nicely balanced: lightly sweet and fruity without being cloying, and you can detect both the gin and the peach. Sort reminiscent of the Barnum but milder. If anybody has more info about Horton, let me know.

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