Manila “Leap Frog” Cocktail

Okay! Let’s get this show on the road.

I thought I’d start with a drink that is in many ways the prototypical Charles H. Baker, Jr., cocktail:

  1. It comes from a colorful location—in this case, “Baguio, back in the Igorote Country of Luzon.”
  2. The recipe is presented in narrative form, rather than as a handy list.
  3. It has a good idea at its core but is more or less undrinkable as written.
  4. It comes with some suggested modifications from Baker, Jr., that still leave you with a pretty foul drink.

Unlike many of Baker’s cocktails, though, this one doesn’t come with a long shaggy-dog story about the circumstances under which the drink was consumed, or a mildly racist description of the bartender who served it to him.

Anyhow, let’s look at the recipe. This is translated from Baker-ese and incorporates his suggested changes to the original, with notes about how I made it in italics:

  • 1 jigger Bacardi (1 1/2 oz Cruzan Dark Rum)
  • 1/2 pony dry apricot brandy (1/2 oz Orchard Apricot Fruit Liqueur)
  • Strained juice of 1 small lime (generous 1/2 oz lime juice)
  • 1 tsp grenadine (homemade)

Shake with ice and strain into a champagne saucer.

This sounds pretty decent, right? And yet drinking it is not unlike taking a big slug of apricot brandy.

One problem is that I’m never quite sure what Baker means when he writes “dry apricot brandy.” Does this mean an apricot liqueur that isn’t a total sugar bomb? Or does he really mean to say “apricot eau de vie”? Beats me, man.

I haven’t tried making this drink again, but I’m thinking this would be better with either less apricot brandy or an apricot eau de vie. Some Angostura bitters might not hurt, either.

(P.S. Apologies in advance for the quality of the photography. It will improve…eventually.)

Manila "Leap Frog" Cocktail: ★★☆☆☆ 

One Response to “Manila “Leap Frog” Cocktail”

  1. throgers says:

    Does sound like it’d be better with an apricot eau de vie, although were those in general circulation back in his day? Whatever St. George’s Spirits told me about the history that type of liquor on our tour has been lost to the fogs of time…

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