My mind works in curious ways. I really should be writing about some warm winter drink this week. Granted, if you've been playing along at home, your egg nog from a few weeks ago should be ready to serve any day now, so there's your winter cocktail for this week. And if you haven't been playing along, if you start a batch of egg nog today, it will be ready just barely in time to serve alongside presents on Christmas.
See Also: How to Make the Best Egg Nog (Start it right now if you want it for Christmas!)
So what happens to me this week? Naturally, someone at work was in the mood for something sort of like a Moscow Mule. Never mind that the Moscow Mule is as summery as drinks get; cravings are cravings, and I was glad to oblige. I made a twist on it by making it with gin, and they loved it. After the shift, as I was looking through my books of drinkable historical curiosities, I found a similar drink with a most amusing history, the Floradora.
The drink was named for Florodora, one of the first big Broadway musicals at the start of the 20th century. There was something of a plot, and there were some decent musical numbers, but what really drew the crowds was the sextet of Florodora Girls. They were a comely set of lasses, identically costumed brunettes who measured exactly five foot four inches and 130 pounds.
The gals wouldn't get anyone to bat an eyelash these days, but back then, they were the sexy, scintillating talk of the town. Rumor has it the original six Florodora girls managed to land themselves quite well-to-do husbands.
The recipe for a Floradora cocktail (why the musical was Florodora and the cocktail is Floradora is beyond me, but them's the breaks) is pretty straightforward, except for one little oddball ingredient: raspberry syrup. It's fairly easy to make your own.
To make your own raspberry syrup, thaw some frozen raspberries; they're cheaper than fresh, and usually loads better too. Put them in a fine-mesh strainer, pressing to separate the juice from the solids. Discard the solids. Mix equal parts raspberry juice and sugar, stirring well until the sugar has dissolved. Store the resulting syrup in the fridge. It should keep for a week or two; you can get more lifespan by adding a tot of vodka.
If you don't feel like getting messy, modern technology does a very decent job with commercial raspberry syrup. It's almost to the point that you're better off buying it instead of making it. The one to get is good ol' Smuckers, despite the presence of high fructose corn syrup in their recipe. About the only grocery store around these parts to carry their raspberry syrup is Safeway.
Or, there's another raspberry possibility: framboise liqueur, better known to many as Chambord. Certainly nothing wrong with that substitution.
If you are making these to impress a 5-foot-4 brunette (or whomever you prefer), you may wish to make a Floradora Imperial. The reasoning behind the variation is simple: Cognac was much more expensive than gin back in those days, so the Imperial uses cognac instead of gin. When I make these, I might also switch out the lime juice in favor of more cognac-friendly lemon.
Floradora If you substitute raspberry liqueur for the raspberry syrup, you might want to reduce the gin by a corresponding amount. Or you might want to keep it the same.
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2 ounces London Dry gin 1/2 ounce lime juice 1/2 ounce raspberry syrup (or raspberry liqueur such as Chambord) Spicy ginger ale to fill
Shake gin, lime juice, and raspberry syrup with ice cubes. Pour unstrained into a Collins glass. Top up with ginger ale, stirring gently to combine. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Variation: To make a Floradora Imperial, substitute cognac for the gin.