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Jockey Club Cocktail – A Bit Like Spiked Hawaiian Punch

Posted by Reese on 2010-02-13 @ 09:13pm

I started the week with the classic Savoy recipe for the Jockey Club Cocktail and found it be mediocre at best.  The flavor of the creme de noyau was completely lost to the gin and bitters.  The lemon juice shined through, but only dimly.  Finally, there was nearly no sweetness at all.  It was okay, but definitely not one that I’ll be mixing for myself or others again.

Jockey Club Cocktail

Looking further I found that the current recipes changed the Savoy formula drastically.  Of this new breed I first mixed up the recipe from Difford’s Guide #8.

Jockey Club Cocktail (Difford's Guide #8)
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Amaretto
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Orange Bitters

This is much better!  Fair level of sweetness, could be a touch more.  The bitters are a bit too light, though.  I think two dashes would serve this drink better.  From there, my search continued and I landed on the Joy of Mixology recipe.

Jockey Club Cocktail #2 (Joy of Mixology)
2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Amaretto
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
Angostura Bitters to Taste

You’ll note that for his recipe Regan has changed up the name.  He felt that his reformulation was sufficiently different from the original as to necessitate a different name.  While I agree in principal, I don’t think anyone will be drinking the Savoy version of this drink.  So, in that light, I think it would be safe to simply call it the Jockey Club Cocktail.  Another few interesting points.  First, Regan bumps up the amaretto and lemon juice to 3/4 oz.  I think this works well.  It increases the sweetness slightly but he also ups the sour to compensate.  Second, you’ll note that he’s stayed with amaretto rather than creme de noyau.  More on that in a bit.  Finally, Regan has dropped the orange bitters entirely.  I agree with this move as well.   With the other flavors being bold the orange flavor was completely lost in this drink.

As I mentioned, this recipe is a bit sweeter, but that additional sweetness truly is balanced well with the sourness.  As for the bitters, for my taste two dashes provided the perfect level of flavor.  Next, the gin.  For my first mix I used Tanqueray 10.  It was too light and its flavors were completely lost to the other ingredients.  Switching to regular Tanqueray solved that problem wonderfully.  Tanqueray has a bold enough flavor that it’s able to compete with the other ingredients but still not be overwhelming.  Finally, the amaretto and the source of the subtitle for this post.  I decided I wanted to mix up this recipe using creme de noyau instead of amaretto.  The resulting color was certainly more interesting.  The flavor, on the other hand, was not.  My tasting notes read “Tasty, but slightly off flavor.  Not sure if I like this one.”  Colton was over that night so I asked for his input.  His comment? “Tastes like someone spiked the Hawaiian Punch.”  And thinking about it, it truly does.  The net of it all?  Stick with amaretto, you’ll be much happier.

Jockey Club Cocktail (Cocktail Hacker)
2 oz Gin (Tanqueray)
3/4 oz Amaretto
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

This drink is a tasty one, at least with the later recipes.  I learned a good lesson from this drink though.  Just because a drink is an old classic doesn’t mean it’s going to be good.  Spam is also an old classic, after all.