Created in 1860 by famed barkeep Jerry Thomas, this cocktail was a pre-Prohibition standard. It was named to commemorate the first Japanese legation to the United States, which occurred in the same year. It began life as an on-the-rocks drink, but by the late 19th century it was served neat.
Orgeat is an almond-flavored syrup. You can make it yourself; seek out a craft-made orgeat, such as the one from Small Hand Foods (highly recommended); or use one of the widely available brands, such as Fee Brothers or Torani.
- 1 tablespoon homemade or store-bought orgeat syrup (see related recipe)
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 ounces cognac or armagnac
- Lemon peel twist
Combine the ice, orgeat syrup, bitters and the cognac or Armagnac in a mixing glass. Stir to combine, then strain into a chilled cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the twist of lemon peel.
Adapted from "Imbibe," by David Wondrich (Perigee, 2007).
Tested by Jason Wilson and Bonnie S. Benwick.
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