Friday drinks: 20th century

Welcome to Friday! We have a crazy, wonderful cocktail for you this week, the 20th century. Plus, I’d like to invite you to drinks – TONIGHT at the Great American Pitchfest! See details at the bottom of the post.

A 20th century cocktail mixed by director Jeff Stewart. Photo by Kam Miller.

If you haven’t met music video and commercial director Jeff Stewart, please check out my post dedicated to our resident mixologist. He has been so gracious to share some amazing cocktail recipes over the past few weeks. Little did he know when he served me the 20th century, he’d hit on my true weakness: chocolate. More on that soon.

The drink was named after the 20th Century Limited, a train that ran between New York City and Chicago starting in the early 1900s. The 16-hour train ride was the pinnacle of luxury at the time. A crimson carpet was rolled out for passengers as they boarded and disembarked, prompting references to “red carpet treatment.” Hollywood quickly adopted the 20th Century Limited custom for movie premieres and awards ceremonies. (The next time you’re standing on the red carpet, you’ll know how the royal tradition was adapted for modern times.)

[New York Central Twentieth Century Limited st...

New York Central Railway’s Twentieth Century Limited steam locomotive 5453.Photo courtesy of SMU Central University Libraries.

Cover of "North by Northwest"

One-sheet for Alfred Hitchcock’s film “North by Northwest” starring Cary Grant. Photo courtesy of MGM.

This wasn’t 20th Century Limited’s only connection to Hollywood. The train was used in the film Alfred Hitchcock‘s masterpiece “North by Northwest,” starring the coolest of cool Cary Grant and the complex Eva Marie-Saint.

If you want a drink that’s cool and complex, the 20th century just might be to your liking, or loving. When Jeff served up the light colored cocktail, I was surprised and delighted by the taste of chocolate! It was white créme de cacao. Before you dismiss this drink as a sweet confection, it’s shaken with gin, Lillet Blanc, and lemon juice. I prefer dark chocolate, so the balance of sour and bitter with the créme de cacao makes this cocktail a perfect blend of flavors for me.

Jeff suggests Plymouth or Bombay Sapphire Gin. He used Bombay in his mix for mine. And he recommends Marie Brizard Créme de Cacao, though other brands are similar. As always, Jeff only uses fresh squeezed lemon juice.

1 1/2 oz.  gin
1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz. white créme de cacao
1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice (If the lemons are SUPER sour, use 1/4 oz. of lemon juice instead of 1/2 oz.)

Shake vigorously with ice in cocktail shaker for 25-30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Jeff suggests tasting your 20th century before serving. The exact sweetness of the lemon matters quite a bit. If your cocktail tastes too chocolate-y, return it to the shaker and add very small amounts of the fresh squeezed lemon until the flavor is balanced.

Keep your glass half-full. Drink responsibly.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, come have drinks with us tonight, June 1st! I’ll be at the Drinks with Jen Grisanti mixer in conjunction with the Great American Pitchfest! Click here for details.