To be taken in the morning, this cocktail is smooth, yet acts as a sort of reviver cocktail, awakening the imbiber while calming the nerves.
Scotch is a spirit with which most people tend to avoid mixing. However, like a Blood and Sand, this is one drink, and one of the early and successful drinks, that were attempts at mixing with Scotch; the cocktail most likely was created by Harry Johnson, who is known for the Bijou cocktail, but other than that, little is known about the drink (Wondrich 114-115). However, while it does appear in 1882 in Johnson’s book, it also appears in O.H. Byron’s book, slightly different ratios of course, which would be published in 1884 and entitled Modern Bartender’s Guide (Ibid 115; DeGroff 123).
What we do know is that the cocktail is meant to be consumed in the morning, and falls under the classification of a reviver cocktail, similar to other fizzes, a Bloody Mary, or other drinks which are meant to awaken, or “revive” the body of the imbiber. Regardless of whether or not a cocktail acts medicinally, as is the case of the Morning Glory Fizz, all drinks can be said to be reviver cocktails, seeing as a drink is supposed to lift the spirits of the person consuming it. Many alcohols are called the “water of life” for a specific reason, id est it uplifts the spirits and vitality of the drinker, and Scotch certainly in any instance is deserving its’ that title: uisce beatha.
The Scotch used in the drink can vary rather drastically, giving off many different flavors. While most people would use a blended, because of price, to make the cocktail similar to the style of the original bartenders of the nineteenth century, one should probably utilize a single malt, or another type of malt Scotch, such as a vatted malt, since malt Scotches were the only type in production or available at that time (Ibid). Albeit, there is a minor point of contention on this, as Wondrich notes that blended Scotch was beginning to make an appearance on American shores, and could very well have been the type of Scotch utilized for this drink (Wondrich 116). For reference, a vatted malt is a Scotch that is a blend of up to perhaps a dozen single malts, and contains no grain whisky; in the case of a blended malt, it may contain upwards of forty different malts, and a few grain whiskies (Jackson 115-116). The blended and vatted malt Scotches are created in order to tame the flavors, or balance them, much like a cocktail would balance or achieve a new flavor through the combination of various spirits and ingredients (Ibid 115).
So the main ingredient providing taste in this drink is the Scotch, and changing or varying which one you utilize will create drastically different tastes overall in the fizz. However, if you look at modern recipes, they contain only lemon juice, while everything else contains both lemon and lime juice, in varying proportions: DeGroff lists O.H. Byron’s recipe, which is 3 parts lime to 5 parts lemon, while Wondrich notes 1 part lime to 2 parts lemon as the ratio given by Johnson (DeGroff 123; Wondrich 115). I think that the mixture of the two juices adds a little more depth and complexity to the cocktail, giving it a bit more kick, but if you were to lean to something specifically, remove the lime juice and just utilize the lemon. Furthermore, the drink utilizes just a little bit of absinthe in both cases to provide minor anise notes to the drink. So depending on how much absinthe, how you use the absinthe, and what type, it will influence the cocktail overall. In the case of absinthe, I’m using an atomizer, spraying the inside of the glass to just give that nice aroma and minor flavor component to the fizz. While the absinthe may add flavor, it will certainly not overwhelm everything in such a small quantity.
Other minor touches to the cocktail include adding a dash or two of bitters, which while, this would produce a different cocktail in many cases, does lend a little something to the drink. This is suggested by Ted Haigh on the Cocktail Database (CocktailDB). Even Wondrich somewhat advocates utilizing Angustora bitters to liven up the cocktail (Wondrich 116). Furthermore, since texture is a part of the drink, on account of the egg white, you want to make sure the drink is shaken thoroughly so that the texture is satisfactory and provides something actually to the drink, since texture comes into play and assists in helping to make this drink smooth. As with any cocktail that has soda water or an egg white, or just any drink in general, I would suggest using your lips rather than a straw when quaffing it (and this is a drink, like all fizzes, which is meant to be quaffed), since the straw ignores the important aspects of effervescence and texture.
One final note, it seems that Harry Johnson suggests that the drink can be used as an aperitif (Wondrich 115). He writes that the cocktail, besides calming nerves, stimulates the appetite, and as such, functions rather similarly to many other cocktails, such as other types of fizzes. Personally, I find that the fizz can be really good appetite stimulant, especially those of the gin variety. As such, imbibe one of these in the morning, and you will be ready to tackle the problems that arise during the day. After a hearty meal of course.
The Morning Glory Fizz:
1 1/2 ounces Scotch (choose a blend or single malt that best fits your tastes)
3/4 ounces lemon/lime juice mix (I am doing 1/2 ounce lemon, and 1/4 ounce lime, but choose a ratio that works for you)
1/4 ounce simple syrup (I’m using a rich syrup in most of my drinks)
An egg white
Do a dry shake of the egg white alone, or with the syrup and juice mixture. After which, add the remaining ingredients, sans Absinthe, to the shaker, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Use an atomizer to coat the inside of a Delmonico, also known as a fizz glass, and then strain the cocktail into the glass. Top with a tad bit of soda water (no more than two ounces).
CocktailDB: The Internet Cocktail Database. “Morning Glory Fizz.” CocktailDB.com. http://www.cocktaildb.com/recipe_detail?id=34173 (accessed April 28, 2010).
Craddock, Henry. 1999. The Savoy Cocktail Book. Originally published 1930. London: Pavilion Books.
DeGroff, Dale. 2008. The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers.
Jackson, Michael. 1995. Michael Jackson’s Bar and Cocktail Companion: The Connoisseur’s Handbook. Originally published 1979. Philadelphia: Running Press.
Wondrich, David. 2007. Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar. New York: Penguin Group.