by Darcy O'Neil on September 2010
A good drink can often be considered "moral suasion". A good one keeps you in your seat, but not by force, and a really good one can persuade you to happily open your wallet and order a second. When I came across this cocktail, in the 1873 Daily Picayune (New Orleans), it piqued my curiosity, partially because this was the very early years of the cocktail art, and it actually looked like a legitimate flavour combination. But like all vintage cocktails, some things are not so easy, like finding real Peach Brandy.
This drink was quoted as being created by Prof. Mapes and Mr. E. F. Barry at the Everett House bar in New York. However, it seems the name has a more entertaining history, which comes from the Lights and Shadows of London Life (1867).
"Come along then," exclaimed he with vivacity and snatching up the nearest hat; "you have something to live for yet, my Smith, though you have lost the Brownes of Piccadilly. Let us go to the American Bar--not that to which Mr. Edwin James has gone, but where there is every kind of Fancy Drink on draught--Private Smiles and Silent Nods, Yankee Whispers, Ladies Blushes!"
"Sir," said I, not without some dignity, "I am a person of good morals; what is it you mean?"
"I mean The Neverfailing Sodawater Cocktail; 'Smashes' and 'Slings' of all kinds, and especially Moral Suasion."
"And what is that?" inquired I, for the name sounded respectable among so many hideous appellations--an oasis of good English in a desert of Slang.
"When the Main Law fanatics carried that iniquitous Liquor measure," explained Jones, condescendingly, "they boasted that it had been accomplished by moral suasion. Whereupon, the other party, to restore the balance of power, invented an enchanting drink, and called it by that identical name, that Moral Suasion might be upon their side also. It is, therefore, well worthy of our attention, if only for historical value.
The hard part is getting real Peach Brandy, which at one time was seriously popular in the United States. Today, Peach Brandy more closely resembles Apricot Liqueur or other fruit flavoured, sugar laden, cordial liqueur. Original Peach Brandy was a distilled product similar to Applejack, or brandy. Since I lack this key ingredient, I made an off-the-cuff substitution using Applejack and a dash of Peach Schnapps. Yes, I do have a mickey of Peach Schnapps in my inventory, but getting the screw top off needed some effort, since it's been sitting around for a long time.
1 Wineglass Peach Brandy
"A Little" Curacao
1 Tbls Benedictine
1 tsp Sugar
Squeeze of Lemon juice
Instructions: Put a teaspoon of sugar in a tumbler and moisten with lemon juice. Add the Peach Brandy, Curacao, Benedictine, stir and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with strawberries, slices of lemon, orange and pineapple.
Because I lack some of the components (like real Peach Brandy) I made a few substitutions and modifications.
Moral Suasion (Modified)
1¾ oz Applejack
¼ oz Peach Schnapps
1 Tbls Benedictine
¼ oz Curacao
1 tsp Sugar
1 Tbls Lemon Juice
Is the Moral Suasion a good drink? Actually, it's very good. As long as you use enough lemon juice and lots of crushed ice, the drink comes out very well balanced. The combination of flavours works, with nothing standing out, singing solo, and nothing acting as filler. The Moral Suasion ranks pretty high on my scale of tasty, sophisticated, cocktails. A definite must try.
My first sip reminded me of my first Sazerac, oddly. Not that this drink has much in common with a Sazerac, but for some reason it just has a flavour that sparks that memory. Anyone wish to confirm?