Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Lion's Tail

I had posted a few weeks ago that I had gotten a travel pack of Bitters and a few bottles of some liqueurs and drams in the mail from Germany courtesy of The Bitter Truth. For this cocktail, I was recommended by Google+ user Pontus Rååd to make a Lion's Tail using the Pimento Dram that I received. Since I had never heard of a Lion's Tail, I decided to research it.

After checking out a few websites, one name seems to come up when it comes to the Lion's Tail. That name is Ted Haigh aka Dr. Cocktail who is the author of the book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie... Now in his book, Haigh states that the cocktail was first found listed in Café Royal Cocktail Book by William J. Tarling which was published in London in 1937. Haigh describes the name of the cocktail as so:
Since "the twisting of the lion's tail" was American slang for character distinctly British, we might assume that the author of the Lion's Tail was a Prohibition refugee from the States.
Here is the recipe that is listed in Ted Haigh's book:
The Lion's Tail
2oz (1/2 gill, 6cl) of Bourbon
3/4oz (1/6 gill, 2cl) of Pimento Dram
1/2oz (1/8 gill, 1.5 cl)of Fresh Lime Juice
2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
1/2 (7ml) tablespoon of Simple Syrup.

Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a 5-ounce (1-1/4 gills, 15cl) cocktail glass.
Now looking at this cocktail, let's compare the one that I got from Pontus Rååd:
The Lion's Tale
6 cl (2oz) of Bourbon
1.5 cl (1/2oz) Pimento Dram
1.5 cl (1/2oz) Fresh Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1/2-1 tsp. of simple syrup (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and shake until very cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve without a garnish.

Since I'm not fond of too sweet drinks I don't use any syrup in it.

Now herein lies the rub. Since I originally made the recipe that Rååd recommended (as compared to the one in Haigh's book), you can see that it is somewhat a different recipe. Just at quick glance, Rååd's cocktail looks like it will be something not as sweet as the original recipe. I'm not sure if the difference in measurement of the simple syrup (1/2-1 tsp in Rååd's to 1/2 tablespoon in Haigh's) was a typo but I figured that since Rååd's cocktail recipe would appeal to someone who is not fond of sweet drinks that the lower simple syrup measurement was accurate.

Now mind you, it isn't a bad cocktail in the least. It is a tart cocktail that Momma-San would scrunch her face to. LOL. I actually like the way the spiciness of the Pimento Dram plays with the tartness of the lime juice and the bitterness of the Angostura bitter. The Bourbon (I used Jim Beam) added another layer of spiciness to the cocktail. Perhaps a sweeter Bourbon such as Maker's Mark might change the profile of this cocktail somewhat. On to making the original recipe.

There really is a difference between Rååd's Lion's Tail and the one described in the Haigh book. The cocktail based on the original measurements was one that seemed to be much more balanced. The added Pimento Dram and extra simple syrup give the cocktail a spicy sweetness that seems to drown out some of the tartness that I found with the first cocktail I made. Though I am not particularly fond of sweet cocktails, I have to say that this is a cocktail that I wouldn't mind having again with another Bourbon. Perhaps Bulleit or Jefferson's Bourbon.

Any of you out there ever had a Lion's Tail? If so, what do you think. Let me know.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

FYI:
I came across this blogpost: Classic Cocktail of The Month: The Lion's Tail from the Spirit of Imbibing blogpage. In Mackenzie Wheeler's post, a recipe for not only making your own Pimento Dram is listed, but also how to make you're own version of Highland Bitters and a variation of the Lion's Tail called the Dragon's Den. Enjoy.