One of my favorite aspects of the Imbibing Mr. Boston project is hearing the stories behind the drinks from their creators. Bobbo’s Bride has a rich history involving Gary & Mardee Regan, the Drinkboy cocktail forum and a couple from down south. I’ll let Robert and Laurel Semmes tell the story in their own words.
Robert: “I am “Bobbo” and Laurel is my bride of 22 years. Laurel created the drink the night of August 18, 1999 while I was away in Atlanta. Gary’s then wife Mardee called me Bobbo for some reason on Robert Hess’ online cocktail community called DrinkBoy. (He may have all that archived somewhere. I can’t remember how Mardee got to Bobbo as a nickname from Robert.) There may be some discussion on the drink as well in that archive. That is where Gary got it for his (David) Embury-inspired book, “The Joy of Mixology”. He included my “Big Pine Key” as an example of a New Orleans Sour and Laurel’s drink as an Orphan. The drink is actually called Bobbo’s Bride Straight-Up, which is allusion to “Senora Baker Gin Bride-on-the-Rocks” from Baker’s South American Gentleman’s Companion. That drink is also a bit of an orphan and was created by Baker’s wife. Laurel mostly drinks Manhattans and isn’t particularly fond of citrus juice in her cocktails so the myriad sours that you make up on-the-spot don’t really work for her. We had experimented quite a bit with using other things besides citrus to balance out the sweetness of liqueurs and weak bitters like Campari work well. The Campari also goes really well with the peach. I think she probably got the vodka/gin mix from the Vesper. The thing works well with other liqueurs. Gary modified it some for drink size, etc. The original was really specific:
1.5 oz Boodles gin
1.5 oz Skyy Vodka
0.5 oz Mathilde peach liqueur
0.25 oz Campari
Stir with cracked ice and strain to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of fresh peach (Laurel likes the white-fleshed ones for this).”
Laurel: “All that Robert said is a good reflection of the process. I’ll say that when I read Embury, I related most closely with the aromatics. I am not big on the drinks that hide the liquor – I’m ok with a mixed drink (G&T or something like a Planters Punch), but I HATE modern sour mix. And, would truly rather sip on an aromatic than fuss with a tall drink. Hence my preference for a good Manhattan.
We truly love this drink, though. Proof is the fact that we morphed it into a champagne drink, opening it up to a morning beverage. We modified the proportions some, mixed it with a good cava, and named it the Gypsy Song after a (Jimmy) Buffett tune called Bring Back the Magic (with lyrics saying “red sky at night, oh such a sailor’s delight; red sky at dawn, gypsy’s song comin’ on”).
Originally, Bobbo’s Bride (as a champagne cocktail) (26 June 2000), the drink then was modified into the Gypsy Song (15 October 2006). Note that we later reversed proportions of the Campari and liqueur in the champagne drink. The Regans seem to have upped the Campari over time as well in the Bobbo’s Bride (I suspect that is because their receipt calls for snapps, which is decidedly sweet compared to a good French liqueur.)
Bobbo’s Bride Champagne
2 bar spoons gin
2 bar spoons peach liqueur
1 bar spoon Campari
Top up with Cava in a hollow-stem champagne saucer
1 Regan’s Bitters No. 6-soaked sugar cube
1 tsp orange brandy (like Grand Marnier)
2 tsp Campari
Build in a 6oz frozen champagne flute and top up with cold cava (brut).
Twist fresh lime peel over drink and dip to remove oils and discard.
Much credit to my husband, the consummate cocktail master. I’m good at shooting in the dark, but he is the master at research and laying the foundation for classic elements and proportions. I just know what I like! ;-)”
And here, is the recipe as published in the Mr. Boston 75th Anniversary Bartenders Guide.
0.5oz peach liqueur
garnish: fresh peach slice
Stir with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with peach.