The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Suffering Bastard

I have wanted to write about this cocktail for quite a while purely because it has such a great name, but it is also a great drink. I am not sure exactly why, but this cocktail came to mind the morning after my son’s first birthday party. But I realized that the name was the perfect description for the way I felt. I have never used this as a hangover cure, but if you could stomach it, I think it would do wonders for you.

This is another drink with some vague details about the original recipe, even the creator seems to contradict himself, but the history seems to be consistent. This fine drink was born in the 1940s at the Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo Egypt by bartender Joe Scialom. The story goes that it was originally called the Suffering Bar Steward, but was slurred by regular patrons into its current designation. I have always made this drink with bourbon, but in researching another drink I found some variations that call for rum, most of those are poor modern bastardizations. There is some evidence that brandy was used in the original recipe, which would make sense; I doubt bourbon was highly prevalent in Egypt in the 1940s. I turned to Robert Hess, one of my favorite resources to see what he uses; he also uses bourbon so I have stuck to my original recipe.

Do not be scared off by the first two ingredients, it is an interesting combination that works well together. Start with an old fashioned glass full of ice, add an ounce each of bourbon (Maker’s works well here) and gin (Plymouth is my preference), pour in thee ounces of ginger ale, top it off with a dash of Angostura bitters and a wedge of lime. Prepare to silence your doubters with a perfectly executed “don’t question my cocktails” look.

Suffering Bastard
1 oz bourbon
1 oz gin
3 oz ginger ale
dash of bitters
Construct this in an old fashioned glass, pour all ingredients over ice, add a lime wedge and stir.

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