Tonight’s Drink: The Millionaire!
This one comes directly from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails, accompanied by the maxim, “Recipes are not sacred.” Indeed. Everybody from David Embury on down has realized this fact at one point or another. Mix a drink to your taste. In fact, mix this drink to your taste, though it’s already an excellent one:
Millionaire (#4, Dr. Cocktail’s Variation)
1 1/2 ounces Myers’s Original Dark Rum
3/4 ounce Sloe Gin (Plymouth)
3/4 ounce Apricot Brandy (Rothman & Winter)
1 ounce of Fresh Lime Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Well, it’s very good, but I think it needs a bit of tweaking. Haigh’s recipes and proportions often work, but sometimes strike me as a bit odd. I most frequently agree with Robert Hess…as long as I substitute 1:1 syrup for rich syrup in his recipes. Still, it’s important to establish a baseline for comparison and modification. What would I do? Keep the ounce of lime juice, drop the sloe gin to a 1/2 ounce, and keep the apricot the same or increase to 1 ounce depending on the sloe gin. Also, the Myers’s is incredibly strong in this drink; of course, its a beefy rum selected for standing up to the liqueurs. I might try a light rum and a gold rum just to see what happens.
Haigh discovered this variation in The How and When, from 1937; it was titled the Millionaire #4 and contained, “Juice of one lime, 1 dash grenadine, 1/3 part sloe gin, 1/3 part apricot brandy, 1/3 part Jamaica rum.” Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book lists it as a Millionaire #1. The other variations are quite different! Embury gives a mixture containg grenadine or raspberry syrup, orange curaçao, whiskey, and egg white, suggesting that lemon juice be added while dismissing the sloe gin version as not being a “true cocktail,” since it uses a liqueur as a base. Completely understandable, Mr. Embury, completely understandable.
A highly recommended drink to tinker with. A quick Google search yields some interesting results. Cheers!
P.S. In another experiment tonight, I mixed a Tip Top with Lillet Blanc. Excellent, excellent, excellent!
Photo by IJL.