Monday, October 28, 2013

Dorothy Parker-Collins

I recently saw a bartender (who shall remain nameless and for the record they weren't the first I saw make it this way) make a Tom Collins in a very different way than I am used to. In his cocktail, they made the Collins with Sprite and a little Sour Mix instead of Fresh Lemon, simple syrup and soda water. Now this is not the way I like to make a Tom Collins. I go into the possible origins of a Tom Collins and how it is made in my post about Mr. John Collins from July 17, 2012.

Why use those ingredients instead of the fresh ones? Time. I can see if a bar is three deep making a cocktail like a Collins can take a few extra seconds to squeeze the lemons but to be honest, making it with Sprite and Sour is not doing the cocktail (or customer) justice. To the uneducated drinker, they wouldn't know any better but I would think that to someone who has had a few Collins in their day it would be a shoddy cocktail. Rest assured I wouldn't go that route. Fresh for me when it comes to a Tom Collins is my motto.

For my version, I decided to do my best Minister of the Peace impersonation and marry two beautiful people: Mr. Tom Collins and Ms. Dorothy Parker. Who is Dorothy Parker you might ask?

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was a famous author, poet, screenwriter and playwright who was quoted as saying “I like to have a martini, Two at the very most. After three I'm under the table, after four I'm under my host." (which can be found in her anthology The Collected Dorothy Parker). Parker was a founding member of the famed Algonquin Round Table which met daily for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel, 59 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036.

Starting in 1919, the round table was made up of writers, columnists, comedians, actors and critics. Here is how the Algonquin Round Table was described on the American Masters page for the Algonquin Round Table from
The period that followed the end of World War I was one of gaiety and optimism, and it sparked a new era of creativity in American culture. Surely one of the most profound — and outrageous — influences on the times was the group of a dozen or so tastemakers who lunched together at New York City’s Algonquin Hotel. For more than a decade they met daily and came to be known as the Algonquin Round Table. With members such as writers Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross (founder of THE NEW YORKER) and Robert Benchley; columnists Franklin Pierce Adams and Heywood Broun, and Broun’s wife Ruth Hale; critic Alexander Woollcott; comedian Harpo Marx; and playwrights George S. Kaufman, Marc Connelly, Edna Ferber, and Robert Sherwood, the Round Table embodied an era and changed forever the face of American humor.
Parker, with Algonquin Round Table members and guests (l–r) Art Samuels (editor of Harper's Bazaar and, briefly, The New Yorker), Charles MacArthur, Harpo Marx, and Alexander Woollcott
It all began with an afternoon roast of the NEW YORK TIMES drama critic, Alexander Wollcott. A number of writers met up at the Algonquin Hotel on 44th street and had such a good time that the event was repeated the next day, and the day after that, until the lunch table at the Algonquin was established as a ritual. The core group of friends was sometimes joined by others who attended for short periods or drifted about the periphery of the group, including such notables as actress Tallulah Bankhead and playwright Noel Coward. The Round Table was made up of people with a shared admiration for each other’s work. Outspoken and outrageous, they would often quote each other freely in their daily columns.
When the Round Table broke up, Parker went to Hollywood and became a successful screenwriter. Her caustic tongue and wit was her trademark up to the date of her death of June 7, 1967. The New York Distilling Company decided to name their new American Style Gin after her since she was "An iconic enthusiast of gin and an unconventional woman, no one could have been a more interesting drinking companion".

For this cocktail, I decided to wed both Tom Collins and Dorothy Parker into the following libation:
Dorothy Parker-Collins
2oz Dorothy Parker Gin
1oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 packet of Splenda/sugar or 1 tsp of Simple Syrup
Club Soda to top
Cherry Garnish

Add a little water to the Splenda/sugar and give a quick shake to dissolve (or the simple syrup if you have some handy). Add lemon juice, half a glass of ice and Dorothy Gin and Shake well. Add ice leaving glass 3/4 full and top with soda water. Give a quick stir and add a cherry.
I like how the properties of the Dorothy Parker Gin works with this cocktail. The New York Distilling Company describes it as being "a blend of traditional and contemporary botanicals including juniper and elderberries, citrus, cinnamon, and hibiscus". I find it to be a lighter gin than some of your classic juniper rich gins like Bombay Sapphire. It was a very light and refreshing cocktail. The kind of cocktail you'd have on a hot summer day or when you just want to take it easy while out drinking.

It is a shame that the Dorothy Parker Gin doesn't do as well as I think it chould at the bar. I think that its an issue of it not being very well known by the general populace. I try to shed a light on it when someone orders a gin based cocktail. Most people are surprised at how tasty it is. It certainly ranks as one of my favorite gins.

Have it as I made it and if you see someone making it with Sprite and a Sour say "No thanks".

For my next entry, I wanted to post a short story of Dorothy Parker's that was published in the New Yorker on February 23, 1929 entitled You Were Perfectly Fine which is about a man's waking up with a hangover and asking his companion about what he did the night before and her attempts to reassure him that he wasn't behaving that badly.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla