Charlotte Russe – Recipe from David Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’

One-half teaspoon sugar syrup, i dash each Angostura and orange bitters to each drink of gin. Shake with cracked or crushed ice. Rinse pre-chilled cocktail glass with a few drops of absinthe and strain the gin mixture into it. 

Not a bad drink despite the gooey-sounding name.

Earlier this year we decided to launch a couple of drinks for the Chelsea Flower show, mostly as a PR exercise, but things like this are always a good idea to force a little creativity out of the bar team here at Goat. Knowing a good name is often the trickiest thing I scouted ‘plant of the year’ and found Charlotte Russe hiding in 2017, which worked perfectly as we’d just got hold of Mulberry gin, and a Charlotte Russe is a variety of Mulberry.

We launched the drink, Mulberry gin, Rose, Grapefruit vodka, elderflower and pink peppers with a Tonka spray on top, and its proven popular enough to stay on the list. What I should’ve done prior to this was actually have a look and see if anyone had used the name of the drink before, and I must admit I blushed a little when I turned a page in Embury much later to see this hiding halfway down one of the pages.

It would appear the name comes from a cake invented about 250 years ago by a chef in the employ who did the rounds of royal kitchen in Europe for a stint, and married a previous employers daughters name (George IV and princess Charlotte) and his then employer Czar Alexander (Russe for Russian) and came up with a cake ringed with ladyfingers and filled with custard.

I can’t see any relation between the above drink and the names history, it’s a punchy dry gin drink, it has no fruit in the flavour profile, and is, as Embury puts it, not a bad drink.