The Pennsylvanian is the traditional Cocktail of The University of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvanian History and Ingredient Significance
The creation date of the Pennsylvanian is unknown. What has been passed on over time, however, is the significance of each ingredient to the University itself.
The Calvados refers to the distilling and cider-making tradition of colonial Pennsylvania, which was the era in which the University was founded (1740). Applejack may be substituted in a pinch, but Calvados is used in a tip of a hat to the French, of whom Benjamin Franklin, the founder of the university, was known to have great affection for.
Madeira wine was Franklin's favorite drink, and beloved by the members of the constitutional convention as a whole. It's inclusion is mandatory:
From the bar bill for one night of the 1787 constitutional convention: "54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 22 bottles of porter, beer, hard cider and 7 bowls of spiked punch. In the same spirit (spirits?), the 16 musicians played their way through 7 more bowls of punch, 5 Madeira and 16 bottles of claret."
The use of an egg white is a tribute to Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac, in which the well-known quote appears:
“An Egg to day is better than a Hen to-morrow.” Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac, (1734)
Additionally, the egg white, when shaken, lends a celebratory, creamy frothiness, one of the trademarks of the drink.
Glassware and Service
Service in a highball glass is critical for this drink. The glassware is actually referred to in the school's pep song:
"Drink a Highball at nightfall Be good fellows while you may For tomorrow may bring sorrow So tonight, lets all be Gay!
Tell the story of Glory Of Pennsylvania Drink a highball And be jolly Here's a toast to dear old Penn!"
The lemon peel adds a pleasant briskness, but no significance is known. Its inclusion, however, is accepted practice.
The Pennsylvanian Recipe
Shake all ingredients hard with cracked ice, and serve, with ice, in a highball glass. Squeeze the lemon twist to release the oils, and place on top.
Note: Some bartenders prefer to dust the cocktail with nutmeg. It should be noted that this is not traditional, and a cause of debate.