Mandarin pickle Hoop la! Cocktail is a seasonal pickle twist on Harry Craddock’s 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book recipe for the Hoop la! Cocktail using a mandarin tarragon shrub syrup drinking vinegar, with equal parts Brandy, Cointreau and Lillet. Mandarin and tarragon are both in season now and they lend their beautiful orange colour and bright citrus and anise flavour to the Mandarin pickle Hoop la! Cocktail for a bright flavourful pick me up – Hoop la!
Hoop la! etymology, cocktail recipe and related recipes, sidecar, corpse reviver no. 2
Hoop la! etymology – The Hoop la! Cocktail is not well documented outside of Craddock’s (1930) The Savoy Cocktail Book. Merriam-Webster dictionary relates that the word hoop la! was first used in 1877 with the meaning of ‘bustling commotion’ and later ‘sensationalist hype’, it also refers to a carnival game played by throwing rings over prizes and an exclamation ‘houp-la’ made in French when someone has fallen over in parallel to the English expression ‘upsy-daisy’. These meanings would have been in common usage by the time of the publication of The Savoy Cocktail Book recipe in 1930.
Savoy Hoop la! cocktail recipe
The Hoop la! cocktail recipe as appearing in the The Savoy Cocktail Book (Craddock 1930: 1140) is an equal parts cocktail using lemon juice, Kina Lillet, Cointreau, Brandy. The original recipe calls for ‘¼’ of each ingredient without a specified measure.
Related drinks – sidecar, corpse reviver no. 2
Simon Difford’s interpretation of the Hoopla features the addition of egg and Vermouth and he explains that the hoopla recipe is similar to a Sidecar cocktail featuring cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice. Not cocktail of the week #77: Hoop la! points out that the Hoop la! cocktail is similar to the Corpse Reviver No. 2, being equal parts, but uses a brandy rather than a gin base.
Hoop la! cocktail as a pick me up
I wonder if the Hoop la! was intended as a pick me up, in the same vein as the corpse reviver cocktails – playing on the meanings of action, spin, pick yourself up again when you have fallen down ‘houp-la’ and carnival associated with the word hoop la! and embodying these in the recipe which calls for a combination of boozy brandy with bright citrus flavour of Lillet, sweet orange liqueur and lemon juice. These bright citrus flavours, boozy base and sweet-sour balance do seem to afford a pleasant transformation of the senses to wake them up or pick them up.
How is the Pickle Hoop la! cocktail different?
The mandarin pickle Hoop la! Cocktail uses a shrub syrup drinking vinegar made from fresh in season mandarins and tarragon leaves, as a souring and flavouring agent in place of the lemon juice called for in the The Savoy Cocktail Book recipe. The shrub syrup lends the Mandarin pickle Hoop la! Cocktail a gorgeous orange colour and intense bright and uplifting citrus mandarin and anise tarragon flavours.
Interpreting the equal parts ratio
The pickle mandarin Hoop la! Cocktail offers a delicious winter cocktail that features sweet citrus mandarin and anise tarragon flavours that complement the equal parts of Cointreau, Brandy and Lillet blanc. I have, following Sam Ross referred to in Not cocktail of the week #77: Hoop la!, used ¾ of a shot of each ingredient remaining faithful to the equal parts ratio. The original recipe does not specify a measure but only the ratio to be used in this cocktail.
Creating a more complex flavour profile using a shrub
The cocktail features a strong citrus mandarin and anise tarragon flavour, the citrus is delicately echoed in the Lillet , that then rides on top of the boozier warmth of the brandy and Cointreau. The cocktail is garnished with a fresh tarragon flower from my cocktail garden which adds anise perfume and a pop of bright orange colour. These flowers are edible and are a lovely way to finish the cocktail with a burst of fresh anise flavour and perfume.
Seasonal, sustainable cocktail
The pickle mandarin Hoop la! Cocktail offers a modern pickle twist on Craddock’s 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book recipe with in season mandarins and tarragon for citrus and anise flavour paired with coconut vinegar as a souring agent that is balanced with a little low GI raw cane sugar in the shrub syrup. This seasonal sustainable cocktail uses local in season ingredients to create a unique flavour pairing that complements the equal parts of brandy, Cointreau and Lillet adding a depth and complexity of flavour to the cocktail and a very aesthetically appealing imbibe with a beautiful orange-yellow colour, garnished with a fresh tarragon flower. The brightness of the citrus and anise flavour, sourness of coconut vinegar, sweetness of orange liqueur and boozy base note from the brandy combine to make a perfect modern seasonal twist on this vintage pick me up – Hoop la!
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Mandarin pickle Hoop la! CocktailPrint Recipe
- ¾ shot Brandy
- ¾ shot Cointreau
- ¾ shot Lillet blanc
- ¾ shot Mandarin tarragon shrub syrup drinking vinegar
Add all ingredients to a cocktail tin with a handful of ice
Seal the Boston tins or shaker and shake for 10-15 seconds until the ingredients are well combined and very cold
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a fresh tarragon flower and an optional sprig of tarragon
Harry Craddock (1930, 2018 Dover reprint). Savoy Cocktail Book Dover: New York. Constable: London.
Hoop la! cocktail recipes
Simon Difford (2019). Hoopla in Difford’s Guide.
Michael Taylor (2008). Hoopla in Washington Post