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    Barnum Cocktail

    Barnum Cocktail

    For the past few days, my palette has been awash with dismay, and nothing has seemed to entice it. I guess you could call it the writer’s block of consumption. I had been trying to find a cocktail to bring me out of my dark cave with no luck. Sipping a bit of Chartreuse the other night, it seemed that my lust for researching and drinking cocktails had gone on vacation and left me nothing but a note. The note said this:

    Dear Rick,

    Make yourself some damn quesadillas.

    That’s it, no apology for leaving me to wallow in a McDonald’s and Funyuns lifestyle, no freshly made bottle of grenadine with a “I hope this will tide you over” note. Nothing.

    Well, bitch, I’ve cancelled your plane ticket. I wish I could see your face when the stewardess addresses you. She’ll cock her head just so, and say “Oh, Mr. Lusty Motivation, it seems that your plane ticket has been cancelled by a third party.” Your eyes will blink in awe as you disintegrate. Thank you Barnum, you’ve made me whole again.

    Barnum Cocktail

    • 2oz gin
    • 1oz apricot brandy
    • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
    • 1/2oz lemon juice

    From: Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails, Dr. Cocktail


    The bitters play a huge role in this cocktail, bringing all of the other ingredients together. It borders on being too sweet, but then the gin smacks you at the end. Pervading throughout is the calm and delicate flavor of the apricot brandy.


    If ever you doubt your joy of cocktails or find yourself in a pool of sludge, make yourself a Barnum. Or make yourself four. I am confident that you will crawl out of your cesspool of despair and shed the crusted and broken skin that has clouded your vision.

    4 Responses to “Barnum Cocktail”

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    4 Comments to “ Barnum Cocktail”
    1. Stone-Lord JoeNo Gravatar says:

      I’m glad your lusty motivation has returned…

    2. EricNo Gravatar says:

      I leave mental notes to myself too. They’re usually something like this:

      Dear Eric,

      Get your lazy ass out of bed.


    3. MariaNo Gravatar says:

      Excellent! I’m drinking it, or at least a possibly suspect version, right this minute.

      I made a lovely cocktail last night, from the Stork Club Bar Book, called “The Cuban”– 1 1/2 oz brandy, 3/4 oz apricot brandy, 1/2 oz lime juice. I did throw it back into the shaker with about another 1/4 oz of lime juice, but wonder if my need for further lime had to do with the fact that I used Lejay Creme d’Abricot rather than actual apricot brandy… I’ve never been able to bring myself to buy a bottle of actual apricot brandy, as it always looks so cheesy and generally fakey and suspicious. I guess if Bols were available around here (Mpls-St. Paul), or Marie Brizzard, I’d go for it.

      What’s your experience with apricot brandies? Are some typically found in US liquor stores better than they look?

      Meanwhile, I love the Barnum as made with this lovely Creme d’Abricot, which I otherwise use to make a delectable aperitif out of cheap white wine (like a kir). Maybe you could give the Cuban a try– raise a toast to the ailing Castro!

    4. RickNo Gravatar says:


      The Cuban sounds quite tasty. I must confess that my only experience with apricot brandy has been Marie Brizard. Maybe some of the other readers can chime in with suggestions.

    Leave a Reply





    Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

    Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

    It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.

    Contact: rick@kaiserpenguin.com