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Tuesday 20 March 2012

The boy and his poison: Burnt Brandy

I'm going to file Burnt Brandy under 'non-prescription analgesic'. The annual mother's day visit with its six hours of inventive story spinning in response to the usual questions about marriage, kids and why I haven't delivered on either had left me jaded and desperately in need of drink, it seemed a perfect opportunity to try out the converted Booking Office Bar at St. Pancras Station.

Leafing through the menu had the day's tension evaporating after a few pages but the standout drink I was still raving about in the morning was Burnt Brandy. In character it's a lot like a cognac based sazerac but the real allure to me was the process of making it which seemed to borrow a lot from the bohemian method of serving absinthe. What can I say, I'm a sucker for anything that involves flames and puncturing lemons. That said it looked a little precarious so I've also included a safer method from Tom Bullock's 'The Ideal Bartender' below. It's a fantastic 1917 cocktail book full of pre-prohibition drinks which is free to download.

You'll need:
  • 50ml brandy
  • A sugar cube
  • A lemon
Make it the Booking Office way
  • Take the top third of the lemon off and hollow out the inside
  • Pour the brandy into the lemon and add the sugar cube
  • Light the brandy and stir until the sugar cube has dissolved then extinguish the flame with a saucer.   
  • Puncture the lemon above a brandy glass and allow the contents to drain into the glass
Make it the Tom Bullock way
  • Put your sugar cube in a small shallow dish and pour over 75ml of brandy. 
  • Light the brandy and allow to burn until dissolved before covering with a saucer to extinguish
  • Pour into a small glass to serve 

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