The Broken Spur appears to mix an odd group of ingredients together. I feared this 1935 experience may turn out as poorly as Mr. Boston’s Brazil Cocktail recipe due to the use of strong flavored spirits.
While the instructions note the use of “Mr. Boston Dry Gin,” I thought I’d give it a go with our homemade batch of compound Gin. I figured this recipe would need a Gin that could stand up to the botanical forward Antica Formula Italian Vermouth and the complex flavor of Port wine.
The oldest Broken Spur Cocktail recipe I was able to hunt down was published in ‘Barflies and Cocktail’ in 1927. Just when I think I’ve consulted all of the cocktail books, a new one pops up!
Both the 1927 and 1935 are consistent on ingredients and quantities. Neither gives any clues as to what 1/6 means in ounces. As such, I decided 1/6 was the percentage of a jigger measurement and thus 1/4 ounce seemed appropriate to fit the 4 ounce cocktail glass described in Mr. Boston’s book.
After converting all the ingredient quantities, I came up with this mix:
- One egg yolk
- 1/4 ounce Gin
- 1/4 ounce Italian Vermouth
- 1 ounce Port
- 1 Teaspoon Anisette
Curious to know how these ingredients worked sans egg yolk, I took a quick sneak sip before adding the yellow goo. I was pleasantly surprised that the strong flavors all played very nicely with one another. The port was strong, as to be expected, but the botanicals in the Gin and Vermouth enhanced the sweetness of the wine and the anisette was a light note at the back. The color of the pre-egged cocktail was a lovely warm red. Unfortunately, that changed considerably with the addition of the yolk.
Like me, you may have expected the yellow from the yolk to transform the red hues into an orange tone. It seems the red variant errs on the blue side of the spectrum. Instead of being an appetizing shade, my Broken Spur Cocktail was a muddy brown. Honestly, I found the new color palette to be less than appetizing. It wasn’t until sitting down to write today’s post that I discovered the recipe from 1927 calls for White Port.
Call me a novice but I had no idea that White Port existed until this afternoon. I admit that Port hasn’t been a huge part of my drinking though I do really enjoy it. In an effort to improve my Port knowledge, I looked into the difference between the varietals and here is what I found out…
Port is crafted in the Northwestern Valley of Portugal. Using methods similar to other wine types, the grapes are harvested, pressed and the juice is fermented until the alcohol level reaches around the 7% mark. Next the wine is fortafied with Brandy to stop the fermentation process and retain the sweetness of the wine. Finally, the Port is aged in an oak cask for 18 months or longer.
Until now, I had been most familiar with Tawny Port which is apparently the sweeter Port variety. The White Port is described as being dry to semi-sweet with a fruit forward palate. It is also as expected, white in color.
Now that I know about White Port, I may have to remake this cocktail to see what the white color and semi-sweet flavor do to the recipe. Other than the color itself, I really enjoyed the Broken Spur Cocktail. It was a nice balance of ingredients: the perfect sweetness and the yolk added a creaminess to the mouth-feel. I do think I preferred the drink before the egg. The fruit and botanical notes lost their refreshing qualities once the “creamy” yolk took hold.
All and all, I’d drink this one again perhaps, without egg and maybe served as a built drink… hummmm