by Darcy O'Neil on October 31, 2010
Having a good name for a cocktail is essential, especially if you want to get it into a bar or publication. Part of the fun, if you can call it that, is creating a name with a meaning. The problem with that is people just don't get the connections and then the name gets lost to time.Well the Internet has fixed that, so creatively is a must. Here is an example of how I named a recent accidental cocktail discovery.
The name for this drink came to me while resting at the Ace Hotel in Seattle. I was thinking about Ted Haigh's Art of the Cocktail session and the gin martini I was whipping up for Frank Deiter. Because we were all grouped around talking about oddball ingredients, including Acid Phosphate, we decided to add a couple dashes to the Martini to see what would happen. Well, it was interesting, and people did notice a positive change. The Acid Phosphate was said to “brightened the flavours” and seemingly enhanced the flavour of the martini.
While lying in bed, at the hotel, my mind some how went from Martini to Acid Phosphate to phosphoric acid to acidity to free hydrogen nuclei to protons. This in itself isn’t so interesting, and might seems a tad weird (science brain, sorry can’t control it and that’s why most evil villains are scientists) except it's what led me to the name "protonic".
Acid Phosphate was once an extremely popular tonic for all manner of ailment, which makes "pro tonic" an interesting name for this drink. Gin and vermouth were both considered tonics when they were invented. Pro also means "in favour or favourable" so this makes for a favourable tonic. Now for a warning, the next paragraph gets a little geeky in the science department. [insert maniacal laugh]
Protonic is also a chemistry adjective for a solvent which can donate hydrogen ions to solute molecules. Or in English, a solution with free hydrogen ions which is by definition an acid. [more maniacal laughter]
Now the problem was that the first iteration of the Protonic Cocktail was a random occurrence, where I actually made the drink without any bar tools. Yes, odd glassware, stirring straw (bent in half for structural enhancement), soup spoons as a dual purpose ice scoop and cocktail strainer. Basically, I think it tasted better ghetto style then when I recreated it properly at the Mixoloseum Drink.Write bar.
So, before sending out a bad cocktail, with a good name, I decided to try a different formulation, based on the Aviation.
2 oz G’Vine Nouaison Gin
½ oz Maraschino
¼ oz Creme de Violette
½ tsp Acid Phosphate
So how does it taste? Well as Eric Castro described the use of acid phosphate: zingy! The gin and Maraschino come through loud and clear, while the Acid Phosphate balances the sweetness very nicely, which gives the drink a slightly acidic finish. It is pleasant, but more on the manly side of the drink equation compared to the Aviation.
Consider this cocktail a work in progress. If you have a bottle of Acid Phosphate give it a try and post a comment. What? You don’t have Acid Phosphate, and you call yourself a bartender / mixologist. To complete your collection you can order some here: Buy Acid Phosphate.