Harry Craddock's 1930's The Savoy Cocktail Book, lists three different Apricot Cocktails. One of the recipes calls for apricot brandy, an actual distillate from apricots and grapes, for the base spirit. Most of today's "brandy's" are usually just brandy infused with artificial apricot flavorings. Clear Creek makes an great "eau de vie" derived from apricots, but I prefer to use high quality apricot liqueurs such as Rothman & Winter and The Bitter Truth. Both companies use real apricots to make their liqueurs and they don't taste like a jolly rancher. The other two cocktails utilize either fresh apricots or jam, and use gin as the base ingredient. I think the gin makes for a better, more balanced cocktails vs the brandy.
An well made apricot cocktail is a great way to introduce newbies to the wonderful world of gin, without making them think they are drinking a grandpa's drink (no offense grandpas). Still, part of crafting a great cocktail is sometimes being able to create something that appeals to a wide variety of people's tastes, and not always focus on a particular palate. High quality liqueurs are the best way to accomplish this when they are carefully mixed with other stronger components, like gin. I wanted to take this idea and create a more modern interpretation of Harry's Apricot Cocktails utilizing a couple great local ingredients. Cheers!
Apricot Cocktail (Harry Craddock)
2 Apricot Pits, Broken in Half
4 oz Gin
4 oz Dry Vermouth
3 oz Cognac
2 tsp Peach Bitters
Soak the apricot pits in the cognac for at least 2 hours. Add remaining ingredients, shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glasses.
Note: This recipe is measured for the equivalent of 6 cocktails back Harry's time.
Improved Apricot Cocktail
1 1/4 oz Gin (Counter gin is a fine choice)
3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Simple Syrup
Dash of Peach Bitters
Dash of Scrappy's Lavender Bitters
Combine with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lavender leaves or a sprig. Enjoy.