Early 20th century cocktails are quite often based on brandy, viciously alcoholic and pretty straight-forward. This one, made from a recipe from 1913 for “Brandy Cocktail” found in a book called “Bartenders’ Manual” published by the American Bartenders’ Association, is pretty typical.
The recipe calls for gum syrup; i.e. syrup with gum arabic. It’s a must when making old fashioned cocktails because it adds a silky texture you won’t get from ordinary syrup, and it softens the flavour of the raw alcohol (which, let’s face it, old fashioned cocktails mostly consist of). It’s especially good with darker spirits like whisky or brandy. Monin, among others, still makes it, but you can also make it yourself.
Stir well and strain into a cocktail glass (or whatever kind of glass you prefer).Dizzyingly potent, but astonishingly good, and deceptively easy to drink.