Country Gentleman – David Embury

1 part Sugar Syrup 

2 parts Curacao 

2 parts Lemon Juice 

8 parts Apple Brandy 

Shake with cracked ice. 

Note that the Country Gentleman merely adds the curacao to a plain Applejack Sour without omitting the sugar. With a base liquor as pungent as applejack and with a liqueur as sharp as curacao (or with any aromatic liqueur such as Benedictine or Chartreuse), such addition may be possible within certain limits without rendering the cocktail too sickish-sweet. With a bland liquor, such as gin or white label rum, and with a heavy fruit liqueur such as peach or apricot, this would be wholly impossible. 

I’m not sure he’s right.

I’m also beginning to wonder, across all the books, just how much liqueurs, spirits and bitters change over time. It makes sense, as much as anyone would want to preserve the way people have made a particular product before them I can’t help but think that over time progressive master blenders and distillers will make little improvements. It could be as simple as adding a touch more sugar, or slightly more of one botanical, to highlight freshness, or make it more inline with tastes of an era, and they get drier or sweeter. Over time these little changes would add up and you’d be left with something, potentially quite different.

I wonder in this case as I’m not sure I’d call the applejack I’m using pungent, its brash when compared with a more elegant calvados, much the same way Trump compares with Macron, but not pungent. I also don’t think I’d call curacao ‘sharp’, I’m using Cointreau, but this is pretty similar to most curacao’s on the market, it has sweetness, and power, but I wouldn’t call it sharp.

But its not a lack of sharpness or a pungent note which spoils this drink, instead its just a little bit to much sugar. Not much, but it deviates from Embury’s 8-2-1 ratio a lot and the result, although passable isn’t as good as it would be with less Cointreau. And considering how pedantic Embury is about balance, the drink is a little unusual. In fact returning to his comment about the Manana (03-02-2018), the sweetness makes this drink a little ‘insidious’