20 January 2012

Benito vs. the Cocktail: The Suffering Bastard

On the hour-long drive home from work (rain, Memphis traffic, and construction) I dreamily thought through the ingredients in the old home bar and mentally flipped through a few recipes I'd read recently. One popped to mind, and thus upon arrival at the house my butler I began to combine the ingredients for a restorative beverage. The Suffering Bastard is an old cocktail with a lot of variations. It was invented as a hangover cure in late 1940s Cairo. Think a Casablanca-style bar catering to westerners in post-war North Africa.

There are many versions of this involving some crazy substitute ingredients, but I settled on this one from Robert Hess because it had a kind of Sidecar vibe that I was liking. And about halfway through the cocktail, I introduced the ginger ale to try that style.

The Suffering Bastard

1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Lime Juice
¾ oz. Bourbon
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Ginger Ale to taste

Combine ingredients in glass and stir. Garnish options include all or some of the following: maraschino cherry, orange wedge, sprig of mint, and cucumber peel. Go crazy if you're making it for something else, but a young bachelor making a cocktail for himself after work might want to stick to those ingredients that can be poured from bottles or pulled from jars (though he will squeeze fresh lime juice, because he is not an uncivilized wretch).

The list of ingredients seems insane, but this works amazingly well. It somehow ends up tasting more like fresh squeezed orange juice than a Screwdriver, and you can't detect the presence of either Bourbon or gin. The citrus and bitters combine with the aromatic liquors to produce a strangely balanced new flavor. WIth ginger ale, it moves from a tart and powerful cocktail to a refreshing icy sipper that would be great in the summer. I'd say mix up a pitcher of this and serve it at a party before you tell folks what's in it. They should be pleasantly surprised.


Michael Hughes said...

We need to have a garnish making party. Gotta get you away from those hyper-pink maraschino cherries!

Benito said...


In my defense, I got the jar of cherries a few weeks ago and emptied out the nuclear red corn syrup, rinsed the cherries, and replaced the liquid with good bourbon. Now, they're not artisanal cherries from Croatia preserved in clear plum liquor, but they work a little better in cocktails and are pretty tasty on top of ice cream.

I actually like quality garnish, but it's better with a group of friends rather than by yourself.