B here. It’s hot today here in the Central Valley of California, and I assisted M while he changed the oil in our truck. After that it was cocktail time. But what to have? I wanted something light but not overly summery. I wanted to go into my air conditioned living room and pretend it was September. I picked up Esquire Drinks and headed to the chapter on Tall Drinks. There I found the Harvard Fizz. David Wondrich of Esquire Drinks describes the Harvard Fizz as “an elegant little brain tonic.” My brain tends to misbehave, so I thought this drink just might be the ticket. M agreed to give it a go. I assisted by washing our Mikasa Windlass highball glasses, which had collected a fair amount of Central Valley dust. Too much time had passed since we last used them. Such a shame.
The recipe for the Harvard Fizz is simple, and a soda siphon proves a great boon to making it right:
Stir well with cracked ice:
1.5 oz brandy
0.75 oz Italian vermouth
Dash of orange bitters
Strain into chilled small Collins glass and fizz to an inch or so from the top.
M thought it thin and light, but he would drink it again. For today, for me, it was what I wanted and needed. The flavors of more serious cocktails minus the heft. The seltzer lightened the brandy and vermouth to a drink suitable for a summer afternoon when one wants to dream about autumn: the burnished leaves and crisp breezes, the chill in the air and that Manhattan made with Sazerac Rye that warms the blood.