The Savoy Project Day One – The Abbey Cocktail
The Savoy Project is an online chronicle of Cocktails, 365 editor Mark A. Vierthaler’s quest to make every single cocktail in The Savoy Cocktail Book. Each recipe contains the original recipe as it appeared in the book, as well as which brand Mark used in parenthesis next to the ingredient.
- 1/2 Dry Gin (Bluecoat American Dry Gin)
- 1/4 Kina Lillet (See Mark’s Note Below)
- 1/4 Orange Juice (Fresh Squeezed)
- 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. (Although the original does not call for it, I have added an orange peel garnish.)
Like many of the cocktails featuring in the Savoy Cocktail Book (and many post-Prohibition cocktails), the Abbey Cocktail is simple and spirit-forward. The biggest challenge in making a classic version of the Abbey Cocktail is tracking down the Kina Lillet.
Unfortunately, Kina Lillet (so-called because the original herbal mixture contained quinine as its core bittering agent), has been defunct since 1985 when Lillet removed the cinchona bark liqueur. The result is that the current Lillet lacks the same bite and bitter of the original formulation.
My solution is perhaps a bit basic, but is trying to be as close to the original as possible.
I simply took a bottle of the current Lillet Blanc, let it infuse 24 hours with 2 grams of cinchona bark and then simply added .5 oz of rich simple syrup to give it the sweeter, heavier mouthfeel commonly attributed to Kina Lillet. Filter the Lillet through a fine mesh strainer before mixing.
(If you don’t have access to cinchona bark and/or you’re impatient, adding two dashes of Angostura Bitters into the cocktail will somewhat simulate the heavier Kina Lillet. Cocchi Americano Aperitif is also a pretty accurate replacement.)
The result is a heavier, silkier and peppery apéritif for your cocktail. This compliments the usage of the drier American gin, as well as the sweetness of fresh orange juice.