East India – Recipe below from David Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’
1 part Curacao
1 part Pineapple Juice
8 parts Cognac
1 or 2 dashes Angostura to each drink
Shake well with cracked ice. Decorate with a cherry and a twist of lemon. Maraschino may be substituted for the pineapple juice.
The first mention of an East India cocktail is in Harry Johnsons bartender manual from 1882, around about when Solon started tending bar at the Waldorf.
Now I’m not sure if the East India in this drink refers to the place, or is an abbreviation of the British East India Company. The latter may have been a little topical prior to Harry penning his book, inaugurated in 1600 by 1803 they had a private army of 260,000, controlled India and half the world before becoming absorbed by the crown and finally dissolved as an entity in 1874. Its that final date and its proximately to the book which could be where the name comes from, but charmingly, short of having a targeted séance there’s no chance of finding the true name origin for this drink.
Friends of mine have just opened the Little Blue Door in Fulham, and I was down for the opening night, and found the tables inspirational for this drink.
We actually have this drink on our list at Goat in the Chelsea Prayer Room, it’s the ‘E’ in our cocktail A-Z. To be honest I wasn’t sure of it when it went on the list, but there’s a shortage of good ‘E’ drinks so it made it on.
I’m still not sure about it, it’s a little on the sweet side, I’m not sure Cointreau is the best supporting actor, and it almost needs a little citrus to even it out. As a drink I think the concepts good, Cognac should go with pineapple, it just needs a little finesse to be a great drink.