The Cornell Gin Cocktail
Turns out Jacques Straub was a teetotaller. At least according to an article published by Gary Gillman this April and Jacques’ own 1920 Obituary which noted that:
“Notwithstanding Mr. Straub’s knowledge of wines and liquors, he never drank.”
I discovered Mr. Straub’s rumored sobriety while looking for clues about tonight’s Mr. Boston’s cocktail, the Cornell. I had assumed to find out that Jacques was an alumni of Cornell University but rather learned a little more about the man behind the 1914 cocktail manual ‘Drinks.’
During his lifetime, Jacques was renowned as “one of the foremost wine experts in the world.”
As a boy, Jacques father operated a distillery in Switzerland and was known for making apple, cherry, plum and various other fruit brandies/cordials.
The biggest question I have is, how does one become a liquor expert without having tried any spirits?
I can only guess that Jacques was not always opposed to alcohol. His lack of drink could easily be blamed on his proximity to the still growing up. I know I’ve overindulged in a few high proof offerings that continue to haunt me today. It’s been 17 years since Captain Morgan made me sick and I still can’t drink it!
If he had made himself ill from over doing the hard stuff, it doesn’t explain why he would devote his career to it…. hummm
Nevertheless, rumor has it that the “dry” wine expert managed to work by sense of small and color alone. Armed with this new knowledge, I searched through my previous cocktail experiments from the ‘Drinks’ book and discovered that one of the cocktails to make our favorites list, The Beauty Spot, was a recipe crafted by Jacques. In fact many of the drinks we have enjoyed thus far were published in his 1914 book. Very interesting indeed!
I fell into the rabbit hole that is the mysterious Jacques Straub as his book appears to hold the oldest Cornell titled cocktail of all the books I’ve been referencing. In fact the Cornell Cocktail published in 1914 is rather basic consisting only of:
- 1/3 jigger French Vermouth
- 1/2 jigger Dry Gin
The recipe is nearly identical to that of the Dry Martini Cocktail found two pages away from the Cornell. The only difference is a touch more Vermouth.
Jacques’ Cornell recipe appears to have fallen out of favor and was “improved” by Harry Craddock as the Cornell Special Cocktail in 1930. Different still is that which Leo Cotton decided to put to paper in my Mr. Boston’s book circa 1935.
Honestly, the Savoy recipe sounded the best of the three options, but I stayed true to my goal and mixed up the 1935 recipe instead.
The Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, lemon juice and white of an egg didn’t tickle my fancy by glance alone. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Normally, egg white cocktails tend to be a wee bit boring. The sweetness of the drink tends to get lost in the resulting foam but for some reason, this was not the case for the Cornell. As Ryan noted, I think we finally found a way to tame the oddness of Maraschino – egg whites!
After procrastinating yet again, the Cornell Cocktail turned out to be a damn good drink. For my go around I used 1 jigger of Old Tom Gin by Haymans, 3 dashes of Maraschino Liqueur, two dashes of lemon juice and half an egg white. Next time, I think I’ll give it a try with our Bathtub Gin No. 6