Rule 37: The Million Dollar Cocktail

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

I desperately need a cocktail.
Seizing a random cocktail recipe book (the New York Bartender’s Guide by Sally Ann Berk, a Goodwill find) I started flipping through looking for some sort of inspiration. Since I just happened to have acquired a big jug of Tanqueray (on super duper secret probationary sale), that’s the direction I was heading in. Now, there are several ways one can arrange a recipe book: alphabetically, chronologically, by primary liquor, or with seemingly no method whatsoever. Almost all are alphabetical, but this one happily goes the extra step and sorts everything by the base spirit, making it easier to find, say, a gin cocktail specifically. Also, the recipes are listed by parts (2 parts this to 1 part that), by ounces (oh yes thank you), and by milliliters, which I’m told is something used by people who don’t speak English, and therefore are of little importance to me. While perusing the pages (nice photography as well), I found myself stopping at the Million Dollar Cocktail. It seemed tasty enough, so I’ll give it a whirl.

Allegedly, this drink was invented by a dude named Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore around the early 20th century. This is right in Singapore Sling territory, also invented by Boon. A lot of recipes I’ve come across use egg white, but I’m using the book version, and passing on it. Also, many others suggest serving it as a highball, though again, I’m going to stick to the book and use a chilled cocktail glass. Moving away from the printed recipe however, I will add a dash of Angostura bitters, as that seems like a good suggestion from some of the other sites.

It’s good to be the king.

The Million Dollar Cocktail
From the New York Bartender’s Guide

– 2 oz gin (Tanqueray)
– 1 oz sweet vermouth
– 1 oz pineapple juice
– 1 tsp (dash) grenadine
– 1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake it up, serve in a chilled cocktail glass.
Other versions add egg white for extra body and frothiness, and serve as a highball.
It’ll allegedly make you feel like a million bucks.

It’s going to take a hell of a cocktail to make me feel that fantastic. Let’s see what happens.

Give it a whiff: yup. Gin. Though somewhat subdued. The pineapple doesn’t really have much of an aroma, but it does tame the juniper, and the mixture just winds up smelling like sweetened gin. Not a bad thing. Also, I double-strain my cocktails (strain through a Hawthorn strainer AND a tea strainer) to get rid of ice shards and pulp, but it also cuts down on the frothy foam that most shaken pineapple drinks will have. I just don’t like bits of ice in my drinks.

Now the taste: first impression is, again, gin, though the pineapple fruit sweetness comes washing right in behind it. There’s a vermouth grapey roundness, and a hit of the cinnamon spice from the Angostura in the finish. I only used one dash of bitters, where in most drinks I’ll use several, but here it’s perfectly suited to the solo spike. A little hint of the flavor without overwhelming the gin botanicals or the pineapple. The gin and pineapple play together very nicely; what is it about juniper and pineapple that works so well? I think it’s a sweet vs. spice quality that sets your tastebuds all a-quiver. See also: Royal Hawaiian.

The Lady Friend’s take: “GIN.
Half a moment later: “Oh, it’s not that bad though. Juniper right off the bat, but then it mellows out with the pineapple sweetness. Not bad.

Yeah. That’s a decent summation. Gin, but it’s not that bad.
I think it works rather nicely. Try one.

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