Fantastical Mixology
March 2, 2011 9:43 AM   Subscribe

In Mark Helprin's book "Winter's Tale", there is a beverage called Antwerp Flinders. Is this a real thing?

It's a gin drink, and when it's ordered the following instructions are given: "Heavy on the cinnamon, heavy on the lemon, heavy on the cream, lots of minced plum."

This sounds like it might be the most delicious thing ever, so even if it's not "real" per se, how would I go about making one?
posted by davidjmcgee to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I always thought he made it up. Both lemon and cream in a drink would tend to make the cream curdle, no? But perhaps a hot gin toddy with lemon, cinnamon, and plum jam would benefit from a float of vanilla ice cream.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:59 AM on March 2, 2011

You could use lemon zest instead of lemon juice to impart flavor without curdling the cream. The minced plum will add a bit of tartness on its own.
posted by jedicus at 10:43 AM on March 2, 2011

Best answer: This sounds like a delightful opportunity to make a layered drink! Here's how I'd probably do it:

- Dice up some lil' bitty plums (Italian prune plums are nice). Toss with a generous helping of sugar and leave 'em in the fridge overnight. This will help draw out their liquid and concentrate their flavor.

- Grate some lemon zest into some light cream, then put THAT in the fridge to steep overnight, too (you'll want to strain it through cheesecloth when you remove it).

- The next day, take out your plums, drain off any excess juice and stir in a pinch of salt and some cinnamon.

- To put it all together: deposit a scoop of cinnamon-plums at the bottom of a small glass. Carefully pour an ounce or two of Hendrick's Gin on top of 'em. Then, using the pousse-cafe "pour over the back of a spoon" method, sloooowly add a layer of lemon-infused cream.

Damn, now I want to make one of these. I'm imagining rich, creamy lemon flavor... then the burst of Hendrick's herbal, cucumbery goodness... then a warm, fruity hit of plum.
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:21 AM on March 2, 2011 [13 favorites]

Best answer: It looks more like an eggnog or punch drink, than a cocktail to be served layered. The rest of the drink mentioned it arrived "boiling hot." Or almost like a hot "Ramos Gin Fizz."

I'd imagine you would bring the heavy cream to a boil, add some real cinnamon, the minced plums, little lemon juice, then pour hot into a 6oz glass with about an ounce of gin. Top with lemon zest and a cinnamon stick.

For the gin, I would imagine it would be something like a dutch gin (given Antwerp's location to the Netherlands), and possibly using Old Tom if you didn't want to go with a sweeter Dutch Gin.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:26 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Awesomely, I received a MeFi-Mail from Mark Helprin's daughter!
I just called him to ask about the Antwerp Flinder, and he told me that it is not real and that he's never made one. His advice is to follow the recipe and hope for the best.

He is extremely fond of made-up recipes in general, and he actually does make some. These creations were absolutely infamous in our home, and thankfully he only cooked when my mother was away or indisposed. He called one particularly awful dish Circumpolar Pasta. It involved pasta, sardines, and pistachios, and would have at least been edible had he not neglected to shell the pistachios before adding them to the pasta.
posted by davidjmcgee at 11:21 PM on March 2, 2011 [77 favorites]

That's awesome! I bet that pasta would have been even better with the breadcrumbs I made in my new food processor before I remembered to remove the plastic coating on the blade.
posted by Madamina at 12:08 PM on March 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: As I own exactly none of these ingredients, I imagine it'll be a bit of time before I attempt this.

If anybody gives it a shot in the meantime, please let us know how it goes!
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:15 PM on March 4, 2011

Response by poster: A friend of mine with an epically well-stocked bar has this alternate suggestion:
Yes. I'd say that this would be best as a gin fizz with plum compote on top. So that's lemon juice, not cream infused with zest (Which sounds good but better for a dessert topping). But def cream. And egg whites. And some sugar. What else? Cinnamon. But that's not going to mix in with the liquids well so I think probably some whiskey barrel bitters. They have really great cinnamon flavor. And then grate a cinnamon stick over the top so you smell it as you drink. So that would be on top of the plum compote. A fizz has some seltzer in it too but I'm not so sure about the seltzer here. Something about the cinnamon is telling me no.

The other way to go would be in the style of egg nog except with gin. But those drinks often have the cinnamon and/or nutmeg vibe to them.

I have no idea if either of these would taste good. It would def be an interesting combination. We'd have to just try it and see.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:58 AM on March 8, 2011

Best answer: eek! I only noticed this question now!

I just want to add that there is apparently a traditional Antwerp plum tart called a "pruimentaart," the ingredients for which include prunes, cream, lemon juice, cinnamon, and cognac (or dark rum), so I vote that our Antwerp Flinders use cognac! The cream in this recipe is really only a garnish, so the drink could do the same -- a hot mulled mixture of plums (or prunes), cognac, lemon, sugar and cinnamon, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and dusted with nutmeg.

Also "Winter's Tale" is one of my favorite books ever.
posted by taz at 11:04 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

« Older Solving the imaginary puzzle and winning millions   |   help me travel the world! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.