It amuses me to no end to watch local news outlets treat summer in Phoenix like a newsworthy event. The Sonoran Desert gets hot in July? The hell you say!
Give me something else to think about besides an oppressive climate. Give me a tropical cocktail by a pool surrounded by tiki torches. Better, give me something tangy so I don't feel leaden and languid after just one too-sweet umbrella drink. Give me a Samoan Fogcutter.
The Fogcutter is one of the earliest Tiki drinks, likely going all the way back to the 1930s. As with many tropical cocktails, there's some contention as to its provenance. We know it's from somewhere in California since tiki bars hadn't found their way out of the state yet.
Several places claimed that they're the originators of the Fogcutter. The most likely suspect is none other than Victor Bergeron, known much better as Trader Vic.
Bartenders develop a signature style that you can often detect in their drinks. It's much like how authors often have a way of writing that indicates who penned a piece even when you don't know the writer for fact.
Vic had enough of a signature style that it almost became a template. If he used rum it was going to be light rum, and there was almost always a blend of orange and lemon juice, with some kind of flavored syrup to keep the drink from being an ordinary stone sour. The Fogcutter fits the Trader Vic leitmotif perfectly, and then tops it with a healthy splash of cream sherry.
Something of note with the Fogcutter is the mixing style. Instead of being shaken like most other drinks that include juice, the Fogcutter gets a quick whirl in the blender. After a couple of seconds of blending, the ice is a little bit broken up, but the texture isn't quite into slush territory. I wish more drinks got this treatment. Alas, bartenders tend to despise blenders behind the bar (for a number of good reasons, I admit), so I doubt my wish is going to get granted any time soon unless I'm at a poolside bar.
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But where did it get the name? A fog cutter is a type of diving knife. But as ol' Trader Vic said of the drink, "Fog cutter? Hell, after two you can't even see the stuff."
Samoan Fogcutter 2 ounces orange juice 1 ounce lemon juice 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup 1-1/2 ounces light rum 1/2 ounce gin 1/2 ounce brandy 1/4 ounce cream sherry for garnish
Pour everything into a blender with 1 heaping cup crushed ice. Blend for 5 seconds on high speed. Pour into a Tiki mug or a tall glass. Float the sherry on top.