Befitting the hazy, illusory world of cocktails, the book American Bar by Charles Schumann (described by its publisher as ‘the most authoritative cocktail book ever published’) has scant association with America. Mr Schumann’s bar is in Munich and his guide was originally written in German. However, it is one of few bar books to venture into the realm of philosophy. In his section on ‘Understanding of the effect and ‘hour’ of a cocktail’ (a phrase that Kant might have coined if he’d been fond of the odd Sidecar or Daiquiri), Mr Schumann writes: ‘Bartenders and bars have often gone down in history for having created the ideal cocktail for certain occasions.’ In Fallen Leaves, Mr Schumann created a cocktail for an entire season. Limpid amber in colour, the taste is a Keatsian compote of spicy autumnal fruits. Just the ticket for sipping in front of a log fire. Mid-way through this rich, satisfying and undeniably potent concoction, my tasting panel opined, ‘Strong, isn’t it? Makes you want to hibernate.’ We settled for just the one. Christopher Hirst
40ml vermouth rosso
15ml dry Noilly Prat
Stir liquids in a mixing glass with plenty of ice cubes, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a good-sized sliver of lemon peel over the drink and drop into the glass before serving.