Mystery: Quarter-Deck Cocktail

rum
#1

Hello all! I’m so happy that this forum now exists!

Attempted tonight to mix the “Quarter-Deck Cocktail” out of Martin’s Index app, which reads as follows:

1 1/3 oz jamaican rum
2/3 oz fino sherry, oloroso sherry, or amontillado
1/3 oz lime juice

Used Doctor Bird for the Jamaican rum, and some La Guita Manzanilla in place of the fino sherry. As directed, the final product was… bracing, to say the least. I’m not saying I couldn’t see the use for it on a very hot day, but between the funk of the rum and the acidity of the lime and dry sherry, it was somewhat overwhelming.

Has anyone had luck with this recipe or tried to monkey with it? Martin & I suspected that the proportions might be off (and, indeed, the Savoy recipe from the same year dials back the lime) and also figured that using PX in place of a fino/manzanilla might make a difference. When all was said and done, I added about two bar spoons of simple (1:1) syrup to the finished cocktail to make it slightly more palatable and ended up with something resembling a sherry-infused daiquiri. Not unpleasant but I wouldn’t seek it out again.

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#2

Considering the original source of the drink, Harry’s ABC of Mixing Drinks from 1922, written in London before Harry went to Paris, it’s possible that the lime juice here would be Rose’s, especially given the naval theme of the drink (he calls for “1 teaspoonful lime juice”). Even if that’s not the case, it’s likely also that the sherry would be a sweet, blended type. I’d try this with something like the Lustau East India, or even Harvey’s Bristol Cream.

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#3

From p. 59 of the earliest ABC on EUVS (they say 1923, but I’m not sure which edition it exactly is; the recipes are numbered to 292; it seems to be a special printing):

04%20AM

McElhone has a couple pages about sherry in the front matter, but then fails to apply any of its specificity. Meanwhile, his Gimlet recipe specifies “Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial”. Shoddy editing, Harry! No cookie!

Aside: this edition has the Grand Marnier promo at the back with recipes including the “Brandy Gobbler”, which I really, really wish wasn’t a typo.

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#4

Yes, the book was really poorly edited. It basically reads like a straight printing of his notebook, typos included. You have ‘lime’, ‘fresh lime juice’ ‘half a lime’, ‘the juice of half a lime’, ‘lime juice’ and ‘Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial’. No consistency at all. Same with sherry: he ‘specifies’ the type for the Bamboo (‘Dry’) but not for the Adonis. :expressionless:

To be sure, Daiquiri style drinks with a hint of fino can be things of beauty but I don’t think that’s what they were looking for here.

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#5

All great suggestions. I’m more partial to cream sherry as a sweetener over Rose’s, so I’ll probably try something out in that direction and report back.

#6

I have the 1922 London edition, which lacks all the stuff about wine that was shoehorned into the 1923 printing that’s on EUVS, but has all the sloppy editing you would want. Despite his indifference to editorial consistency, McElhone still did a great job in my opinion, seeing as his book presents a great many drinks for the first time that would go on to become standards.

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#7

The last thing I would use in this cocktail is a Fino or Amontillado! They add to the sour (acid) quality of the drink. A simple reading leaves the impression that the Sherry is there for sweetness, ergo Oloroso should work better. Also, there are heavier and lighter Olorosos available, so that needs to be taken into consideration as well.