The Brandy Special & Toddy

Jul 6, 2017

Sometimes you have to stop and enjoy some family time. You never know how long you’ll have with those you love and since my Mom and Step Dad were in town one more night, I decided to forgo Mr. Boston for a day.

We had a good visit which included Mai Tai’s, Bourbon Bloody Mary’s, craft and domestic Beer plus our homebrewed spirits. There were even two trips to Total Wine 🙂

The Bacon Bar's Bourbon Boar Bloody Mary

The Bacon Bar’s Bourbon Boar Bloody Mary was a delicious combination of Bulleit Bourbon, Mary mix and Bacon – a little sweeter than my usual Bloody’s but I liked it a lot!

I intended on keeping up with the posts but decided work could wait. I’m afraid that over the course of the next 118 pages of cocktail recipes, breaks will be necessary from time to time. I do feel oddly guilty about it though.

Since I was planning on putting the pen to paper last night, I asked Ryan to mix up the recipe for me while I put a pot of Gumbo together for dinner. Having the drink ready to enjoy and the photos taken was so nice! Sometimes setting up the photo is the hardest part of this blogging process.

Ryan took care of business before I was able to finish dinner and decided to turn lemons into lemonade (aka, transform the Brandy Sour from the previous night.)

Neither of us enjoyed the Brandy Sour enough to finish the drink. This particular cocktail was way too tart and the sweeter Brandy we picked up did not have the oomph to cut through the bitterness. My Mom doesn’t care for spirits in general, however she does like a fruity cocktail from time to time. In an effort to reinvent the sour, Ryan added gum syrup, Orange Curacao, Grenadine and Apricot Brandy to the once overtly tart concoction. The result was a nice, fruity Tiki style beverage that got Mom’s stamp of approval! (If you met my Mom you’d know that isn’t always an easy thing to do 😉 Love you Mom!)

Brandy Sour Reinvention

With a little tweaking and sweeter ingredients, the Brandy Sour transformed from tart to tasty!

I was surprised that the Brandy Special didn’t call for Mr. Boston’s brand Apricot Nectar. Wouldn’t it make sense to promote your product in “special” recipes as a way to boost their value? Strange…

In addition to a “Wine Glass Brandy,” Leo Cotton published a recipe for the Brandy Special which includes:

  • 1 or 2 Dashes of Cuaraco
  • 3 or 4 Dashes of Gum Syrup
  • 2 or 3 Dashes of Bitters

I believe Ryan opted for the maximum of all the ingredients on the list.

Despite using 1-1/2 ounces of Brandy, the Bitters were front row center for me and my Mom. Ryan noticed the Cuaraco first… Funny how we all perceive taste so differently!

Not surprisingly, Mom didn’t like the Brandy Special. The three remaining judges (Ryan, Ronnie and myself) thought it was really good. As the one sharing this drink with all of you, I was the proud recipient of the remaining cocktail. Ryan and Ronnie graduated to Vieux Carre’s and Mom sipped on the repurposed Brandy Sour. Everyone was satisfied.

While the Brandy Special was enjoyable, I agree with my Mom that the Bitters were a bit overpowering. I felt like upping the Cuaraco and bringing the Bitters down a drop or two would have made for a better balance of flavors.

Since I’m a day behind, today’s post will be slightly longer as I share the next recipe, the Brandy Toddy.

Currently, my outdoor thermometer is reading 115 degrees. Needless to say I’m less than interested in downing a hot cocktail. The combination of the heat and coming down from the excitement of the last few days has left me feeling exhausted. Physically and mentally wiped out. Seriously, I’m ready for a long afternoon nap. But first, the drink…

The Brandy Toddy

The Brandy Toddy is pretty straightforward. Dissolve a lump of sugar, add an ice cube, jigger of Brandy and fill with boiling hot water. Adding an ice cube seemed strange when this is supposed to be served with boiling water. I suppose it was the best way to ensure the right drinking temperature for the time. Now a days, we are spoiled with electric tea kettles to perfectly heat our water.

Mr. Boston’s didn’t specify the size of the ice cube. I was curious how our giant sphere cubes would work for this recipe. A little cooling to a hot drink on a 115 degree day can’t be all bad.

The flare of the hot whiskey glass kept my ice ball from reaching the bottom. It perched above the Brandy / Sugar mixture as if to resemble the giant rolling stone ball in the Temple of Doom.

I added 2 ounces of hot water over the cube. Miraculously, the sphere did not crack! It did however shrink just enough to splash into the spirits below. As the ice continued to melt it created this lovely lava lamp effect. The differing temperatures and viscosity levels of the elements inside the glass caused the liquid to appear as though it was dancing. Sort of like an Absinthe louching with water without the color change.

Melting Cube of Ice

If you look closely, you might be able to make out the dancing shapes created as the cold water mixes with the Brandy and hot water.

As the temperature cooled from the dilution of the cube, the drink changed and the nutmeg I’d sprinkled on top of the ball sank to the bottom of the glass. It is a nice sipper even with the Summer swelter.

I’m not 100% sure I crafted my Brandy Toddy to plan but I like how it turned out! The recipe doesn’t specify that this is strictly a hot beverage from start to finish. Plus, the show that resulted was a lot of fun to watch. All and all the last two Brandy cocktails have been lovely. Tomorrow marks the last of the Brandy themed cocktails – WOO HOO!