If you’ve never been to the Sydney bar Maybe Sammy, you may not realise that the name derives from an old Las Vegas billboard from the days when the Rat Pack were on the scene in the 1960s.
The sign read, “Dean Martin, maybe Frank [Sinatra], maybe Sammy [Davis Jnr]”, which was an ‘in’ joke that referred to the singers’ reputations for arriving unannounced at Dean Martin shows.
If you do go to Maybe Sammy, there’s nothing unscheduled or unexpected, it is as the name suggests, the epitome of vintage glamour, with that definite sense of cool.
And nowhere can it be better seen than in their Lady Luck Cocktail. Light and tropical, but in no way too sweet or overpowering, it is a drink that lives up to that reputation of sophisticated fun that the Rat pack always radiated.
This drink, like all the others on the menu, is named after some of “the boys” favourite haunts on the Vegas strip. Casinos such as Silver Slipper, Circus Circus and The Flamingo Capri are all referenced.
Talking to the bars Creative Director, Andrea Gualdi, you a real sense that this is a drink that is not only an experience but also extremely easy to replicate at home. All the ingredients are relatively simple to find and execute, as are the techniques used to make it.
The one thing that Gualdi points about the drink is to take care of the amount of Soda Water used. The Highball glasses that Maybe Sammy uses are small, so with this in mind, he suggests that if the drink is too short for a larger glass that you might be using, it’s better to strain it over ice to give it more volume.
“The important thing is not to use too much Soda water, or you will kill all the flavours. And if you do that it just becomes a watery, fruity cocktail. So watch out with the Soda. Add a little bit, enough to froth up the drink.”
Gualdi points out that infusing the Vodka is probably easier than you think. He suggests buying dried Mango (the ones that look like mango chips) from the supermarket, and the best part is that because it is mainly alcohol, it will last practically forever.
“We do 1 litre of vodka for 100g of Mango. We usually cut the Mango into thin strips with scissors, and we leave it overnight in a glass or plastic jar and give it a bit of a shake occasionally.”
If you can’t get hold of Dry Orange Curacao, Gualdi says that any Orange Liqueur, be it Grand Marnier or Cointreau, will work in this drink. But he does stress that the use of Maraschino is quite important.
“If you use another sort of Cherry Liqueur, it possibly could work, although it would be sweeter and quite a different taste. It’s just better if it’s Maraschino.”
The Lady Luck uses a dry shake, but Gualdi uses a slightly different method to achieve this. Rather than just shaking the contents in a shaker without ice, he uses a hand blender to achieve the same effect.
“For us, it’s the fastest way to dry shake,” he says. “It’s easier, and it’s much more powerful than what you can do with a shaker, but the final result is pretty much the same.”
30mls (1oz) Mango-infused Vodka
30mls (1oz) Pink Lady Apple Juice
15mls (0.5oz) Dry Orange Curaçao
15mls (0.5oz) Maraschino Liqueur
15mls (0.5oz) Lemon Juice
Top with Soda Water
Add all ingredients except for Soda water to a shaker tin and dry shaker (preferably with a hand blender), then add ice and shake. Fine strain into a highball glass, then carefully add Soda Water to top.