Around my house, the Knickerbocker is a regular summer favorite. A very old drink, it was published in 1862 by Jerry Thomas and reappeared in books of the time until Harry Johnson’s 1888 manual. I have adapted the recipe here from Wondrich’s Imbibe! (Thomas) and Haigh’s Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails (Johnson). Quoting Wondrich, “With it’s rum and its lime juice, its syrups and liqueurs, the Knickerbocker is the spiritual progenitor of the Tiki drink. Think of it as an 1850’s Mai Tai–similar drink, different island.”
- 2 oz Santa Cruz rum (Virgin Islands rum, ie Cruzan)
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz raspberry syrup
- 1/2 oz Curaçoa (orange curaçao)
Build over crushed ice and stir or shake to cool thoroughly.
The combination of raspberry, curacao, lime and dark rum is a real winner. I really like the woody edge of a nice, dark Jamaica rum in this one, so I’ve been known to replace 1/2 oz of the rum with Coruba. Or float it on top of the drink for an old-fashioned touch. A recent variation with blackberry syrup also turned out well.
If you go with the recipe listed in Imbibe!, I would disregard Wondrich’s adapted amount of curaçoa in brackets. Neither the 1/2 tsp in the recipe nor the 2 tsp in the notes equal the 1 oz in brackets. However, some drinkers may prefer it with the full 1 oz, especially if the lime is extra tart.
A note on the raspberry syrup – I’ve been working my way through a commercial bottle of the stuff for quite some time, but if the berries happen to be in season, they quite readily yield their flavor to a syrup. For those of us that like recipes: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/19/dining/192wrex.html