Tigers and bears and juniper…

Having spent the better part of the weekend in and around the Brown U. campus, what better time to discuss a quaff named for another Ivy League school, Princeton. One or two of you might recall that in my previous post, I lamented that… well, let me just quote myself:

For my part, this became another MxMo post from the Department of Fall-Back-and-Punt.

I just finished mixographer David Wondrich’s book, Imbibe!, and I found a great drink idea in there–one that combines ingredients I’ve never mixed before. I was excited to try it, but I was missing a key ingredient, Plymouth gin….My instinct told me that my gin on hand, Tanqueray, probably wouldn’t work well in the cocktail I had in mind, so I came home to consult my cocktail books and find a Plan B.

My Plan A for MxMo was the Princeton cocktail, from page 262 of M. Wondrich’s fine book–the unfamiliar mix being gin and port.

Lemme just quote D.W.’s source:

A mixing-glass half-full fine ice, three dashes orange bitters, one an a half pony Tom gin. Mix, strain into cocktail-glass; add half a pony port wine carefully and let it settle in the bottom of the cocktail before serving. [George J. Kappeler, Modern American Drinks, 1895]

Wondrich advises that for the Tom, you should take some Plymouth and add half a teaspoon of gum or simple syrup, “to round the edge off and add texture.” That’s the interesting part. Plymouth isn’t what I’d call an edgy gin. And even if it is edgy, I think we can all agree that it’s still smoother than Tanqueray.

So as I said earlier, I had an instinct that Tanq just wouldn’t quite work here. And just before hopping the Amtrak to Providence, I had the chance to find out. I picked up some Plymouth and mixed a side-by-side comparison.

And just as I thought, the Tanq really competed with the port. The flavors battled each other in the glass, instead of melding as smoothly as the Plymouth did. I’m glad I didn’t mix the Tanq version for MxMo, because it clearly wouldn’t have worked.

4 thoughts on “Tigers and bears and juniper…

  1. Scott,

    A pony is an ounce. Have you seen those cocktail jiggers where there’s a larger side and a smaller side? Here’s a picture of what I mean:

    The larger side is a jigger, or 1-1/2 ounces. The smaller side is a pony.

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