The Colonial Cocktail from 1914

Oct 1, 2017

I’m not sure how tonight’s Mr. Boston’s cocktail recipe gained its name but the recipe appears to have originated in Jacque Straub’s 1914 cocktail guide ‘Drinks.’

While Harry Craddock and Leo Cotton published an alternate version of the 1914 recipe, I thought that I’d give the older cocktail a go first and compare the two.

Entitled “Colonial Cocktail, or Miller Cocktail (for two persons), Jacque’s script goes like this:

  • 1/2 Jigger Maraschino
  • 1 Jigger Old Tom Gin
  • 1 Jigger Grapefruit Juice

Shake well and serve in a Claret glass

Not wanting to make a trip to the grocery to fetch Grapefruit Juice, I dared to juice the remaining Grapefruit that have resided in my fridge for nearly a year.

As I write this, I realize that having held onto these pieces of citrus sounds rather gross. I assure you that I don’t normally keep produce for this long. Other than a few brown spots on the peel they hadn’t aged enough for us to notice them hiding out in the back. After cutting open the first fruit, there was no mold or sign of decay. The juice still tasted fresh. I was shocked to find they were still in edible shape after this long. One would think they might have fermented by now but oddly enough, they hadn’t…

The recipe published in my 1935 Mr. Boston’s cocktail book cuts the juice by half and opts for 3 dashes of Maraschino rather than 1/2 a jigger. Leo Cotton also added a note to garnish with an olive which is lacking in both of the older versions I found. He also replaced the Old Tom Gin with Mr. Boston’s Dry Gin but that is to be expected.

Rather than simply mixing up the Mr. Boston’s version and then upping the ingredients to compare the two, I decided to try the 1935 recipe with Beefeater 24. I used Luxardo Maraschino in both recipes.

After mixing them both and taking tonight’s glamour shot, I rather liked the 1914 recipe. The 1930 / 1935 did not yield the same result.

I think the main reason I preferred the older recipe is the Old Tom Gin worked well to sweeten up the tart Grapefruit Juice. I may have scaled back the Maraschino but found that 1/2 a jigger was much more enjoyable than the 3 dashes.

Using a dry Gin made the tartness unpalatable for me. I didn’t care for the bitter notes and am very glad I opted to mix the second round as a mini size. Ryan has a bad headache and it appears I will be enjoying the Colonial Cocktail alone. The second round may end up down the sink though 🙁 Maybe I’ll try adding that olive Leo suggested and see if that improves things… hummmm