Ok, here we go! Tonight we tried the first recipe from the Professional Mixing Guide, the Palisades Cocktail. We chose it because we actually had all of the ingredients on hand, and it used bitters which we got in the mail today. The fact that we live near the palisades of the Hudson Valley was just a happy coincidence!
The recipe is as follows:
2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters, 1/2 dry gin, 1/2 cider. Shake well with cracked ice, strain into cocktail glass.
We used a local hard cider, from Warwick Valley. Just the plain apple stuff (though they told us they'll have a currant cider this week at the farmer's market! I love the seasonal ciders they've recently started; the cherry one was excellent).
Notes: What the hell is a dash, anyway? The Guide insists, rather sanctimoniously, that its instructions should be followed precisely, and that "When it says DASHES, use dashes not drops", however, it fails to actually explain what a dash is. So we just guessed. The first try didn't seem to have enough bitters, but a second try at least gave the drink a noticeable flavor.
Overall: A good, not great drink. As written it was too strong for my taste (Robert wonders if my super smeller status makes me that much more sensitive to stiff drinks), but Robert sipped his way through one. He add more cider to mine, which made it at least acceptable to drink if not actually delicious. Robert reports that as written the recipe produces something similar to straight Calvados, though "not as good".