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Pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail: pickle fix-up

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Pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail is a pickle pineapple twist on gin Fix recipes using pineapple syrup, such as that found in the Official Hand-book and Guide of the Bartender’s Association of New York City (1895: 24). This pineapple style Fix is a fancy variation on the Fix, which sweetens the drink with a pineapple syrup and sours it with lemon juice, adding a fancy fruit garnish and straws. I have swapped out the pineapple syrup and lemon juice for a pineapple shrub spiced with cinnamon, coriander and ginger and preserved with coconut vinegar for a seasonal pickle twist on this classic pineapple Fix variation. The Fix is a less well known drink closely related to the Sour and earlier Punch recipes and later evolution of the fancy style Daisy. I love the mountain of crushed ice that the pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail is served over – it reminds me of sherbet and the style of the Fix is very refreshing because of all this ice – which is enhanced by using a shrub with the refreshing sourness of coconut vinegar and delicious tart pineapple, sweetened with cinnamon and a little low GI cane sugar and made complex by coriander and ginger. The pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail is garnished with slices of pineapple, pineapple leaves, slices of blood orange, coriander leaves and blueberries, served in a metal pineapple cup with reusable metal straw. It’s a fancy recreation of a less well known vintage recipe that is beautifully refreshing and exotic with roots in the punch formula of sour, sweet, strong, weak, spice – I have reintroduced the spice element with cinnamon, coriander and ginger and played on the elaborate garnish to create a refreshing and exotic pineapple pickle cocktail – a pineapple pickle fix-up.

What is a Fix or Fix-Up?
David Wondrich (2015: 113) in Imbibe writes that the ‘Fix’ or ‘Fix-Up’ along with the closely related ‘Sour’ is first documented in 1856 and he describes it as a ‘short Punch with fancy fruit garnish’. The Fix became more complex over time with additional ingredients and spirits used. The Fix recipe provided by Jerry Thomas (1862: 178) in his Bar-tender’s Guide offers a formula for Brandy that is then identical for Santa Cruz rum and Gin – including the spirit, sugar, water and lemon juice over crushed ice with a fruit garnish. Curacao is added to the Brandy Fix and raspberry syrup to the Gin Fix, and a Whiskey version of the drink is provided in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bar-tender’s Guide (Thomas 1887: 781-799; Wondrich 2015: 114). In later variations in the 1880’s pineapple syrup was added as a flavouring and sweetener to the Fix (Wondrich 2015: 114). This pineapple style of Fix is a later fancy variation of the Fix recipe featuring pineapple syrup, crushed ice, an elaborate fruit garnish and straws. I am really interested in the Fix as related to the Sour with links to older Punch recipes and have previously posted a pickle version of a Gin Fix using a raspberry and lime shrub syrup.

Since reading Wondrich’s (2015: 113-4) account of the Fix I became fascinated with the later pineapple variation of the Fix and went in search of a vintage recipe for a Fix using pineapple syrup. I first looked at Jerry Thomas’ 1862 and 1887 Fix recipes although these do not use pineapple syrup, they provide the Fix formula and show how it evolved over time. I then stumbled on an 1895 recipe for a ‘Gin fix.’ in the Official Hand-book and Guide of the Bartender’s Association of New York City which uses pineapple syrup (Bartender’s Association of New York City 1895: 24). It is simply called a ‘Gin fix.’ and uses pineapple syrup following the formula outlined by Wondrich (2015: 114) and it fits the time scale, being after 1880. Wondrich (2015: 113-4) relates that the Fix is a little known drink with few surviving experiential accounts to flesh out it’s significance to imbibers, only the recipes survive. The obscurity of the Fix continues today with there being few examples of online recipes or photography for this drink except for those of Frederic from Cocktail virgin slut blog’s Firenze fix which has a split base of equal parts, gin, vermouth and Campari paired with an equal amount of pineapple syrup and less lemon juice and Simon Difford’s rum version of the Pineapple fix which uses rum, lemon juice, pineapple syrup and sugar syrup. It is my hope that the recipes and photographs I provide here for a fancy pineapple shrub gin fix and in my post on a raspberry lime gin fix based on the earlier simpler versions of this vintage recipe offer a re-imagining of the obscure vintage Fix recipe so that it can be enjoyed again – maybe through experimenting with flavours we will re-discover or discover the Fix anew.

How to make a Fix? From build in the glass to shake & strain
The original Fix recipe was built in the glass with crushed ice and garnished with fruit – it could be made with various spirits. In contemporary accounts such as those of Frederic from Cocktail virgin slut in his Firenze fix and Simon Difford’s rum Pineapple fix and Wondrich’s (2015: 114) interpretation of the Fix, the method is shaking with ice and straining into an a glass prepared with ice.

‘Fix.’ Recipe – Jerry Thomas Bar-tender’s Guide 1862, 1887
Jerry Thomas’ 1862 recipe (Thomas 1862: 178; Wondrich 2015: 114) for a Fix called for ‘1 tablespoonful of sugar’ (Wondrich interprets this as a teaspoonful), ‘1/2 a wineglass…of water’, lemon juice and a wineglass of spirits – it could be made with brandy, gin and Santa Cruz rum. By the printing of the 1887 version of Thomas’ (1887: 781-799) book a recipe for a Whiskey Fix is included and additional ingredients are added with Curacao in the Brandy Fix and Santa Cruz Fix and raspberry syrup in the Gin Fix, the water is reduced to ‘a little’ – enough to dissolve the sugar in. The sugar in the 1887 edition is now measured as ‘1 large tea-spoonful’. The later 1887 edition (Thomas 1887: 781-799) features more specific instructions on the garnishes for each spirit – Brandy Fix is to be garnished with ‘slices of lemon or lime’, Gin Fix with ‘berries in season’ and Santa Cruz and Whiskey Fix with ‘half a slice of orange and small pieces of pineapple’. It is interesting that pineapple is added as an ingredient in these later variations for the rum and whiskey versions of the Fix.

1862 – In Thomas’ 1862 method (Thomas 1862: 178) he states that the fix is built in the glass using a ‘tumbler’ or ‘small bar glass’ which is filled with crushed ice, the ingredients added and then stirred and garnished with seasonal fruit:

“Fill a tumbler two-thirds full of shaved ice. Stir with a spoon, and dress the top with fruit in season.”

1887 – In the 1887 version of the Fix recipes the instructions are very much the same – except that the garnishes are specified by type of spirit – lemon and lime for brandy, berries for gin, pineapple and orange for rum and whiskey. Thomas (1887: 791) writes of the method for the later style fancier Brandy, Gin and Santa Cruz Fix – build in the glass stirring with crushed ice in a tumbler – and the inclusion of the spirit specific garnishes, importantly the pineapple:

Brandy Fix.

“Fill the glass two-thirds full of shaved ice. Stir well and ornament the top with slices of lemon or lime.”

Gin Fix.

“Fill up the glass two-thirds full of shaved ice, stir thoroughly, and ornament the top with berries in season”

Santa Cruz Fix.

“Fill up the glass two-thirds full of shaved ice, stir well, and ornament the top with half a slice of orange and small pieces of pineapple.”

‘Gin fix.’ Recipe with pineapple syrup – Official Hand-book and Guide 1895
I am very grateful to Tales of the Cocktail and Simon Difford of Difford’s Guide for their listing of the EUVS Vintage Cocktail Books online library – this is such a fantastic resource for looking up old drink recipes and after searching through a few manuals I found a recipe for a ‘Gin Fix.’ that used pineapple syrup – it dates from 1895 and appears in the Official Hand-book and Guide of the Bartender’s Association of New York City (see page 24).

This version of the Gin Fix is built in the glass but uses a ‘large bar glass’ filled with ‘fine ice’ and calls for ‘2 teaspoonfuls of sugar’ dissolved in a little ‘mineral water’, ‘1/2 pony of pineapple syrup’, ‘juice of ¼ of a lemon’, ‘1 wineglass of gin’ (1895: 24). The recipe is very similar to that described by Wondrich (2015: 114) although it adds slightly more sugar and mineral water, as well as the pineapple syrup – in addition the use of a large bar glass for serving suggests this was perhaps a longer style of drink or at least used more crushed ice. There is slightly more sugar in this version than in Jerry Thomas’ 1887 recipe – 2 teaspoons rather than 1 – and even more than in other recipes from the 1880’s which halved the amount of sugar when using pineapple syrup, such as the recipes both dating to 1888 in The Police Gazette Bartender’s Guide by Richard Fox (Fox 1888: 21) and Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Guide (Johnson 1888: 82). The method for the 1895 version of the ‘Gin Fix.’ with pineapple syrup features dissolving the sugar in the mineral water, adding the pineapple syrup and ‘mix[ing] well’ and then the drink is built in the glass with crushed ice:

“Fill the glass [large bar glass] with fine ice. 1 wine glass of gin. Mix with a spoon, trim with fruit, serve with straws.”

How is the pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail different?
The pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail offers a seasonal pineapple pickle variation on the pineapple variation of the Fix recipe where the lemon juice and pineapple syrup are replaced with a spiced pineapple shrub syrup drinking vinegar that adds a pineapple and spice flavour and acts as a souring agent for the drink. The pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail uses measures, ingredients and a method inspired by Jerry Thomas’ 1887 Gin Fix appearing in his Bar-tender’s Guide and the 1895 Official Hand-book and Guide of the Bartender’s Association of New York City Gin Fix recipe with pineapple syrup with help from David Wondrich’s interpretation of Fix recipes in Imbibe.

Ingredients for the pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail
The ingredients I have selected for the pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail offer a very flavourful seasonal low sugar cocktail that works with the natural refreshing qualities of coconut vinegar and crushed ice to create a unique and delicious pickle cocktail with a complex pineapple and spice flavour. This pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail is easily adapted to become a very delicious mocktail, or alcohol free cocktail, with the addition of a small amount of mineral water rather than gin.

Agave syrup – I’ve swapped out the sugar and water for agave syrup for a lower sugar cocktail – using a teaspoonful of agave syrup for each drink. This is slightly less than called for by the New York Bartender’s Association 1895 recipe which called for 2 teaspoons of sugar and a little more than the 1888 recipes that reduced the sugar by 1/2 when using pineapple syrup, it is in line with Jerry Thomas’ 1887 formula for the Fix without the pineapple syrup variation. The agave is needed to help balance the sourness of the shrub syrup – the vintage pineapple syrup variations of the Fix replaced part of the sugar with pineapple syrup using a sweet syrup rather than a shrub which is both sweet and sour.

Spiced pineapple shrub syrup – The lemon juice which is used as a flavouring and souring agent along with the pineapple syrup used to flavour the pineapple Fix are replaced with a spiced pineapple shrub syrup drinking vinegar made using in season fresh ripe pineapple, cinnamon, coriander seeds, fresh ginger, coconut vinegar and low GI cane sugar. The use of a shrub in the Fix in place of lemon and pineapple syrup allows for a more flavourful and lower sugar cocktail – the shrub is low GI and has sweetness from the pineapple and the cinnamon, spice from the coriander and heat and zest from fresh ginger, the lightness and sweet-sour flavour of coconut vinegar complements the pineapple and works well with the botanicals in the gin. I have used 1\2 a shot of spiced pineapple shrub. The use of cinnamon, coriander and ginger in the shrub syrup adds a complexity and depth of flavour to this drink that speaks to origins in the punch formula where spice was an important element lost in these later variations. Using a shrub also simplifies making this drink as there are less ingredients to mix – although a little preparation is required beforehand.

Gin – Following both vintage recipes – Thomas and the New York Bartender’s Association – I have in this recipe for a pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail used 2 shots of gin. I chose to use a Maria River Distillery Gin which features finger lime – this works wonderfully with the pineapple – offering a tart lime flavour.

How to make a spiced pineapple shrub syrup
The pineapple shrub syrup was made using a cold slow process infusion following Dietsch’s (2016: 1307-1313) method outlined in his book Shrubsthe flavour pairing using cinnamon, coriander and ginger and a low GI cane sugar for a lower sugar shrub and cocktail are my own contribution. The pineapple is mashed using a muddler, sugar and spices added, allowing them to infuse overnight in the fridge,  before the coconut vinegar is added, the resulting shrub syrup is then stored in the fridge. For more tips on how to use pineapple in shrubs see my previous post on pineapple fennel shrub syrup which is delicious in margaritas or served with fizzy water for a non-alcoholic drink that still has amazing depth and complexity. Shrubs are a fantastic way to add sourness and intense flavours to cocktails and to non-alcoholic and very refreshing drinks made simply by adding mineral or soda water to the shrub base and serving with ice.

How to make a pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail: Stir & strain
The pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail is made by a hybrid method – incorporating Jerry Thomas’ stirring with ice method but doing this in a mixing glass or cocktail tin prior to straining into a glass prepared with crushed ice, rather than building in the glass. The agave syrup, pineapple shrub syrup and gin are added to a cocktail tin or mixing glass with ice and stirred well with a bar spoon to combine. The resulting drink is strained into a prepared glass filled with crushed ice. This method allows for more finesse in the presentation of the Fix which features a fancy garnish.

Fancy styling – elaborate fruit garnish, metal pineapple cup, crushed ice, metal straw
For the pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail I have created a fancy styling that I imagine speaks to the evolution of this drink into the territory of the Daisy but with roots in punch and older style Fix recipes. I have served the pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail in a metal pineapple cup that is copper plated and about the size of a small bar glass and created a fancy garnish that sits on top of a mountain of crushed ice over which the finished drink is poured. Once the drink has been poured in I added a small cap of crushed ice to finish it and then garnished with slices of blood orange, pieces of pineapple, pineapple leaves and fresh blueberries, along with coriander leaves. I’ve borrowed the orange and pineapple pieces from the Santa Cruz Fix and the berries from the raspberry syrup version of the Gin Fix. The pineapple leaves are fresh from my cocktail garden where I grow the spent heads of pineapples for just this purpose. I  have included fresh coriander leaves to highlight the pairing of pineapple and coriander and add a fresh pop of green colour and flavour. Following the Brandy Fix recipe and at David Wondrich’s (2015: 114) suggestion I’ve added a lemon twist that is bent over the finished drink to express the oil and passed around the rim of the glass before being placed on the top of crushed ice to add a fresh uplifting lemon oil finish. The mountain of crushed ice really complements the use of coconut vinegar in this version of the Fix – vinegar has a refreshing effect due to the sourness and acidity – this works amazingly with ice to create a very delicious tart pineapple and spice flavoured drink with zest from fresh ginger and sweetness from low GI cane sugar, agave and cinnamon and fresh spice from coriander, complemented by the finger lime in the gin. The pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail looks exotic and delicious with bright colours and is served with a reusable metal rose gold coloured straw that matches the copper plating of the cup. The photographs of the pineapple shrub gin fix are in bright sunlight and feature deep shadows and bright colours – the tropical and exotic refreshing nature of this drink is highlighted, a pineapple pickle fix-up with roots in the punch formula of strong – gin, sweet – agave, sour – pineapple shrub syrup, weak – crushed ice, and spice – cinnamon, coriander, ginger.

Pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail: pickle fix-up

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 cocktail, 150 mls shrub syrup Cooking Time: 10 minutes, Shrub syrup: 12 ½ hours (15 minutes preparation, 15 minutes sterilise jar, 12 hours cold infusion)

Ingredients

  • Pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail: 2 shots gin, I used Maria River Distillery Gin
  • ½ shot spiced pineapple shrub syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup
  • Ice to stir the drink with, crushed ice for serving
  • Garnish: slices blood orange, pineapple pieces, coriander leaves, pineapple leaves, fresh blueberries, lemon twist, reusable metal straw
  • Glassware: metal pineapple cup or small bar glass, tumbler
  • Spiced pineapple shrub syrup: ½ cup peeled and mashed pineapple
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 small knob unpeeled ginger, washed and grated
  • ¼ cup low GI cane sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut vinegar

Instructions

1

Pineapple shrub gin fix cocktail: Prepare tumbler or metal cup by filling with crushed ice – crush in a tea towel with a rolling pin - and add to glass with an ice spoon, reserve a little crushed ice to add after the drink is strained into the glass

2

Place handful of ice, agave syrup, spiced pineapple shrub syrup and gin in a cocktail tin or mixing glass

3

Stir until well combined and very cold

4

Strain into a prepared tumbler or metal cup filled with crushed ice

5

Add a cap of crushed ice if the ice has subsided with the addition of the liquid

6

Garnish with blood orange slices, small pieces of pineapple, pineapple and coriander leaves, blueberries and a lemon twist. Gently bend the lemon over the finished drink and pass around the rim of the glass to express the oils. Finish with a metal reusable straw

7

Spiced pineapple shrub syrup: Add the pineapple pieces to a non-reactive container and mash with a muddling stick

8

Add the sugar and spices and stir to combine

9

Allow pineapple, sugar, spice mixture to sit in the fridge overnight to infuse

10

Meanwhile, sterilise your jar by washing in hot soapy water and rinsing thoroughly, place the jar on a cookie sheet in a 110 C oven for 15 minutes or until completely dry, boil the lid in boiling water on the stove top for 5 minutes and allow to air dry – for more information see Resources

11

Add the infusion to a fine mesh strainer and catch the syrup in a bowl

12

Pour the coconut vinegar through the remaining pineapple pieces and press to release the juices

13

Decant into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge

14

Use in cocktails, refreshing drinks with fizzy water and desserts

Notes

Online fix recipes using pineapple syrup

Frederic (2019). Firenze fix. In Cocktail virgin slut.

Simon Difford (2019). Pineapple fix. In Difford’s Guide.

Shrub recipes and resources

Michael Dietsch (2016). Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, Second Edition. Countryman Press: New York.

Cocktail manuals and history

Jerry Thomas (1862, 2018 reprint). The Bar-tender’s Guide: Bon-vivant’s companion. Dick & Fitzgerald: New York, reprint by Thomas Majhen.

Jerry Thomas (1887, 2016 reprint). Jerry Thomas’ Bar-tender’s Guide: How to mix all kinds of plain and fancy drinks. Dick & Fitzgerald: New York, reprint by Dover Publications: New York.

Bartender’s Association of New York (1895). Official Hand-book and Guide of the Bartender’s Association of New York City. Bartender’s Association of New York: New York. Available online in EUVS Vintage Cocktail Books library.

Richard Fox (1888). Police Gazette Bartender's Guide Available online in EUVS Vintage Cocktail Books library.

Harry Johnson (1888). Harry Johnson's new and improved bartender's manual Harry Johnson: New York. Available online in EUVS Vintage Cocktail Books library.

David Wondrich (2015). Imbibe. Perigree: New York.

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