Featured Cocktail: The Moral Suasion
This episode’s featured cocktail is the Moral Suasion. It was featured in a seminar at last year’s Tales of the Cocktail led by historians David Wondrich and Jeff “Beach Bum” Berry, where they covered the evolution of the cocktail menu through the ages. We’ll cover the story of the Moral Suasion in just a minute, but first, let’s talk about what’s in it. To make one, you’ll need:
2 oz. peach brandy
1 bar spoon each of Maraschino liqueur, orange Curaçao, and honey syrup
½ oz fresh lemon juice
½ bar spoon rosewater
½ oz. Cognac or Armagnac (VSOP or XO) (floated)
Combine all these in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until it’s chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over cracked ice and garnish with a lemon wheel, half an orange slice, and a few seasonal berries.
The Moral Suasion sits somewhere in between a cobbler, a julep, and that collection of “fancy” or “improved” cocktails that trailed after the old fashioned. When this drink got popular in the United States, a gentleman named Joseph Dubonnet had just invented a quinine-infused, aromatized wine aperitif called Dubbonet, which played a major role in the development of the Aperitif hour in European culture.
But back in the States, things weren’t totally rosy in the 1840s and 50s. The powder keg of southern secession was about to ignite, abolitionists clashed with states rights proponents, and temperance activists were up in arms about the taverns, public houses, and saloons that served fancy, seductive beverages that turned their drinkers toward a life of vice. The moral suasion was invented by Boston saloon owner Peter Bent Brigham after temperance crusade Charles Jewett wrote a scathing hit piece on his joint, describing all the awful libations he was using to corrupt the population.