Hop Toad Cocktail

Hop Toad Cocktail:

1. 5 oz. Dark Rum (Ron Zacapa Centanario 23)
1 oz. apricot brandy (Rothman and Winter)
.5 oz lime juice
Angostura bitters to taste

Shake with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. 

The recipe listed above is from Gary Regan's classic "The Joy of Mixology", which itself is an adaptation from A.S. Crockett's, "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book" (Gary adds bitters), which is most likely an adaptation from Tom Bullock's Ideal Bartender, where it was called a Leaping Frog* (recipe below) before rum was added. How's that for evolution of a cocktail? Provided you start with high quality ingredients, all variations are delicious and it will take a bit of experimenting to find the version that suits your taste. Many fine classic cocktails call for apricot brandy making it a great addition to any home bar. Cocktail Historian David Wondrich insists that a true Hop Toad* (recipe below) is made with Hungarian Apricot Brandy, but Rothman and Winter is a fine choice, a blend of a true apricot eau-de-vie sweetened with apricot fruit juices harvested at their peak ripeness in Austria.

The cocktail is a bit on the sweet side, and we fluctuated back and forth between using 3/4 oz. to 1 oz. of apricot brandy from Gary's recipe based on our mood. The nose is a fruity and oak heavy with the lime citrus adding a tropical touch. The cinnamon richness of the Angostura plays very well with the delicious (almost too good to mix) Ron Zacapa, resulting in a flavor that is akin to caramelized apricots. The lime helps to cut the sweetness and give the cocktail a bit of crispness (it should not taste like a sour, if it does, you added too much lime juice). The cocktail is very similar to the Barnum Was Right Cocktail (made with gin instead of rum), and a great option for rum lovers looking to experiment with Apricot Brandy. What's your take on the best version of the Hop Toad?

*Hop Toad (David Wondrich)

2 oz. Apricot Brandy 
.75 oz lime juice

Shake well with ice. Strain into cocktail glass.

*Leaping Frog:

1 jigger Hungarian Apricot Brandy 
Juice of 1/2 lime

Fill glass with lump ice. Shake well and strain into stem glass.