Drink like a suspect on The Orient Express with this classic cocktail recipe.
“Hemlock in the cocktails, wasn’t it? Something of that kind.” -The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
Poirot and his sweet tooth enjoy crème de menthe and sirop de cassis, while Miss Marple primly prefers tea. But the passengers on the Orient Express sipped Champagne (preferably Veuve Clicquot) and cocktails.
By the year 1934, when the story of Murder on the Orient Express takes place, American Prohibition has just been repealed and although they did not suffer through Prohibition, the changing alcohol tastes in America influenced English and continental drinking habits.
The Jazz Age was a time of creative concoctions to mask the harsh edges of illicit bathtub gin—of mixed drinks like the Bee’s Knees, Sidecar, Southside, Tom Collins and Gin Rickey. As head bartender at London’s Savoy Hotel, Harry Craddock was one of the most famous cocktail makers and the publication in 1930 of his The Savoy Cocktail Book popularized and codified many now-familiar classics like the Corpse Reviver.
Fast forward a century: mixology subscription service Shaker and Spoon developed several custom cocktails inspired by Murder on the Orient Express in collaboration with celebrity bartender Russell Davis, co-star of Spike TV show Bar Rescue.
Celebrity bartender Russell Davis of Spike TV’s mixes “The Valet” cocktail
As the historic Orient Express sped from Paris to Reims in February Davis mixed a round of “The Valet,” a refreshing astringent cocktail inspired by the Amber Moon hair-of-the-dog served to Mr. Ratchett in the 1974 film adaptation. Sip as you watch Murder on the Orient Express, out on blu-ray and DVD February 28.
Davis and Danny Ronen collaborated on this recipe. With bold bergamot, serrano pepper and brine, it’s a modern take on the classic Gibson and something Mr. Ratchett’s valet might bring him to relax during the night’s journey through the mountains.
Stirred cocktail, serves 1 in a coupe
2 oz gin (because it’s the Orient Express, try Ophir spiced gin)
1/2 oz Shaker & Spoon bergamot tea elixir (or make your own simple syrup: equal parts sugar and water infused with Earl Grey tea and a serrano pepper)
1/2 oz Filthy Onion brine (from the jar)
2 Filthy pearl onions
1 hand-cut lemon peel
Fill coupe glass with ice to chill and set aside.
In a dry mixing glass, combine the gin, elixir and brine.
Fill the glass with ice and stir with bar spoon until mixing glass feels ice cold, 20-40 seconds.
Remove ice from chilled coupe.
Skewer the onions onto a cocktail pick and placed into chilled coupe.
Strain the mixing glass content into the coupe over the onions.
Gently express the lemon peel by writing it over the drink to release its citrus oil, then discard.