Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Scream in Soho with a White Cargo

A Scream in Soho by John G Brandon is the book, a White Cargo is the cocktail, though both sound like pulp fiction titles, or suitable names for this kind of drink. The recipe comes from 'The Savoy Cocktail Book' and dates back to the 1920's. I first came across it on a tag attached to a Sipsmiths Gin bottle and have made variations of it a few times at work for customer tastings.

It's not a cocktail I like, or would particularly recommend, but it generally gets an enthusiastic reception and it fulfils the criteria of being easy to make and only including ingredients you're likely to have around. If you like Baileys (I don't, too sweet and sticky) ignore my opinion on the White Cargo and try it - you might like it very much indeed.

All it calls for is equal amounts of good quality vanilla ice cream and gin (the gin can be quite ordinary) shaken together until smooth. Cut the ice cream into smallish chunks or you'll be shaking it for what feels like forever. If you do like it, experiment further with rum or vodka and any ice cream you like the sound of (I'm not judging) we had particular success with rum and a coconut lime ice cream. The upside is you don't need ice, the ice cream is providing all the cold you want. Definitely drink it quickly though, and mix fresh if you might want another.

'A Scream in Soho' has an impressive line up of Soho Italian gang members (which is what made me think of the White Cargo - or at least it made me think of Glasgow's ice cream wars and organised crime generally.) cross dressing German spies, duplicitous Austrian countesses, and dwarves all running around in the black out getting up to no good (published 1940). There is nothing politically correct about it, but it's authentic vintage pulp with a certain camp appeal, and fast paced enough to carry the reader along. If you like melodrama and period detail, as well as details of period paranoia, you probably want to read this.

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