Cocktail Confections Part 1
A while ago at work, Chris my fellow bartender came up with an idea. Fisherman’s Friend syrup. Fisherman Friend syrup!? We both knew that it had to happen. Chris’ idea was to mix the syrup in an old fashioned with a nice salty Single Malt Scotch, Genius.
For anyone who’s never tried a Fisherman’s Friend before, it’s a throat lozenge with a fantastically strong cooling menthol deliciousness. The Original Extra Strong lozenges contain sugar, liquorice extract, menthol, Eucalyptus Oil, tragacanth, and capsicum tincture.
To me that Sounds cool. But back to that later.
I’ve also being playing around with making sugar cubes recently. I watched this video here and saw how stupidly easy they where to make. The first batch I made I used Peychaud’s bitters instead of water and got some actually quite pretty pink, anis tasting cubes. Almost like Sazerac sugar cubes.
That’ll be fun, Cocktail Sugar Cubes. You could even add dehydrated liqueurs. How about Campari dust Sugar Cubes!? Or mix Cointreau dust and sugar, add Absinthe instead of water when making the cubes…Improved Cocktail cubes, just add spirit! Once formed you could pass them on to friends, sell them, take them to Glastonbury, take them on flights to add to your complimentary spirits…the possibilities.
So what about a Fishermans Friend sugar cube? They turned out great. To make the cubes I added a 25g pack of ground up Fishermans Friend to 200g of sugar, added a small amount of water, mixed and then dehydrated the mix. To dry them out I used the chefs heat lamps at work to excellent effect, but I’ve also had the same success by leaving the sugar to dry at room temp for a day or two.
Once dried I mixed the cube with some good jenever (I’m planning on using this concept for my Bols Around the World entry, which ask entrants to conceive the next big trend, a tough competition for sure.), stirred and strained. It had lovely soothing cooling effect. It was sweet, but it was also wonderful. To solve this I added some tartaric acid, first however a little history on sugar cubes and confectionary.
So the throat lozenge can be dated back to 1000 BC, but far more interestingly back in the nineteenth century throat lozenges contained Heroine and Mophine, until as late as 1879. During this period lozenges started to appear, with Pharmacist James Lofthouse founding Fishermans friend lozenges in 1845. Interesting the sugar cube wasn’t patented until 1843, with Henry Tate, the guy behind the Tate museum, getting involved with a new patent for a different way of formulating cubes in 1872.
What I find fascinating about this era of sugar formulation and creation of modern confectionary is the fact that this is Jerry Thomas era, the Golden Age of bar-tending. How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion was published in 1862, the undisputed mother of all cocktail books. Cocktails and confectionary where growing up together.
I needed to tie this altogether some how, so I’ve come up with a concept (this is also going to help me in the second round of Bols around the world competition, if I get through the first round that is. The second round will be a menu design based on your new trend, a cool competition in its own right). So the year is 1868 and physician/local druggist Raymond Smith has just opened his new pharmacy/apothecary/drug dispensary R.M. Smiths & sons. Within This pharmacy Raymond serves up the best cure all tinctures, essential oils and lozenges, but what Raymond is most famous for is his new Cocktail Confections served with a pony of spirit. Using new formulation techniques, Cocktail Confections can be administered for all sorts of ailments, simply add your choice of spirit. Raymond was taking on the bitters market, this was the new way to make a cocktail.
So here’s the first drink to fit in this Cocktail Confection concept…
R.M. Smith & Sons
Moltzer Cocktail Confections
For cough, cold and all irritations of the throat
1 Moltzer cocktail cube
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist
Moltzer Cocktail Cube
25g ground Fisherman Friend lozenges
1/8 teaspoon tartaric acid
Add a small amount of water until the sugar starts to clump together, shape as desired and dry. Much the same way as the sugar cube in the video linked earlier. If you haven’t tried tartaric acid, it can be best described as sour and tasteless. Imagine sucking a lemon when you have cold. Or may recognise this sensation better as the sour sherbet you ate as a kid (sherbet being a mix of super fine sugar, tartaric acid, and bicarbonate of soda). This acid gives the cubes their balance, stopping the drink becoming too sweet as there is no bitterness helping here.
So that’s it, part one of my Cocktail Confections. I’ve just brought some sarsaparilla boiled sweets, but I’ll save that for more experiments later on.