Don't Wait for 2012 to Shake Up a Batch of Leap Years

The Leap Year might just make you put a ring on it.
​A few weeks ago we made mention of The Savoy Cocktail Book, Harry Craddock's seminal bar guide published in 1930. Craddock, a willing refugee from Prohibition-era America, presided over the lobby bar at London's Savoy Hotel, a place synonymous with wit and elegance, and his cocktail book is ribboned and gilded with the man's insouciant spirit. "Shake the shaker as hard as you can," he writes. "Don't just rock it: you're trying to wake it up, not send it to sleep!"

The brandy blazer cocktail, he notes, "can be drunk whilst still alight if so desired," while another drink, the Loud Speaker, "gives radio announcers their peculiar enunciation. Three of them will produce oscillation, and after five it is possible to reach the osculation stage." As for the Quelle Vie cocktail, "The brandy gives you courage and the k├╝mmel makes you cautious, thus giving you a perfect mixture of bravery and caution, with the bravery predominating." Summing up, he proclaims that the best way to drink a cocktail is "quickly, while it's laughing at you!"

Craddock also invented several of his own libations, including the Leap Year cocktail, "responsible for more proposals than any other cocktail that has ever been mixed." Shake together four parts gin, one part Grand Marnier, one part sweet vermouth, a dash of lemon juice, and plenty of ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, add a twist of lemon peel, and consume. Repeat. Have an engagement ring handy, even if you're a man and it isn't 2012 yet.

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