The Hoskins Cocktail and Amer Picon

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For no apparent reason beyond it seeming like a good idea, today’s Drink of the Day is the Hoskins cocktail, a drink developed to feature the flavor of the French bitter orange aperitif Amer Picon.  Never heard of Amer Picon?  No surprise.  It hasn’t been available in the US for decades, and even in Europe the recipe was changed sometime in the 1970s.  The proof was cut in half and apparently from those in the know it’s a shadow of its former self.  How sad….like Campari, but we’ll deal with that tragedy another day.

This may all sound terribly deflating – but stay with us – there is hope.  Perfectly acceptable substitutes for Amer Picon exist that fall into the category of ordinary household supplies you probably already have:  Torani Amer or Bigallet China China.  The former is readily available at your local Bevmo or other liquor emporium and the latter does not refer to a nation but instead to its quinine content.  It’s pronounced “kee-nah”.  Come to think if it, there may be malaria prophylactic effects there, so drink early, drink often.  But we digress.

So on to our cocktail:  the Hoskins.  Nothing odd, and damned tasty.  The Hoskins was invented around 2003 by Chuck Taggart.  In his blog, gumbopages he notes that it was created to feature the bitter orange flavor of Torani Amer and was also featured in the September 16, 2004 edition of the late Gary Regan’s column, The Cocktailian.

Hoskins cocktail

The Hoskins Cocktail

While it would be outstanding if you have a grandmother with an old bottle of Amer Picon, either Torani Amer or Bigallet China China will do the trick and deliver the bitter orange flavors so essential to this drink.
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Equipment

  • Nick and Nora or coupe glass

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz Gin Any of your selections of London Dry gins will work but if you’ve got it pull out the Plymouth.
  • ¾ oz Amer Picon Torani Amer, or Bigallet China China
  • ½ oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • ¼ oz Cointreau
  • 1 dash Orange bitters
  • 1 Orange peel about 1 x 1.5 inch piece
  • One match and a way to light it.

Instructions
 

  • Assemble all ingredients other than the orange peel in your trusty mixing glass
  • Add ice, stir until frosty cold.
  • Strain into your pre-chilled cocktail glass
  • Now the excitement: it’s time for a flamed orange peel garnish, and here’s what you do: Take the piece of orange peel described above and which you’ve obviously prepared before you put your frosty-cold cocktail into the glass.
  • Hold the peel gently by its edges, light the match, and hold the match between the peel and the drink.  In one motion squeeze the peel while moving it closer to the flame such that a spray of orange oil passes through the flame and ignites, leaving a little slick of caramelized orange oil floating atop your drink.  Discard the peel, it has given its all.
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