Friday, September 30, 2011

Green-Eyed Monster | 37 down 238 to go

“I'm the Green Fairy... The hills are alive, with The Sound Of Music!”

The Partner is working late again tonight.  So given his notorious dislike of all things licorice, it was an opportunity to sample a Pernod bev.  I know I’m one of only a handful of peeps who actually like – no, love – the movie, Moulin Rouge.  IMHO an entire course could and should be taught on the literary and sociological aspects of the film.  It is a film of a particular moment that was soon obliterated by 9/11.  For myself, its appeal rests in the fact that it drew together so many of my interests – framed storytelling, literary conventions galore, popular music, Broadway music, it is a musical, iconic actors who actually sang themselves -- ahem --  sans Auto-Tune -- whatever you want to say about their quality, the amazing Christine Anu as Arabia, and (...wait for it...) one of my oh-so guilty pleasures – Ms. Kylie Minogue – was the embodiment of Absinthe herself as the Green Fairy!  Could Homo ask for more?

Huh?  Oh, yes, the drink!  The Green-Eyed Monster is a mouthful o’ licorice.  The fact that it only takes a quarter ounce of Pernod makes no difference.  All the other liquid in the tipple serves only to dilute the syrupy aromaticity of the Absinthe.   If you like this kind of thing, go for it.  But this is such a strong flavor, it’s very much a one note wonder – unlike Nicole, Ewan, John, Jim, Richard, Christine, aaaand … **sigh** …  Kylie.

Green-Eyed Monster
2 oz. Irish whiskey
½ oz.sweet vermouth
¼ oz. Pernod
1 dash Angosturas

Shake with cracked ice and serve in a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon twist.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cassis | 36 down 239 to go

Meh.  That’s the most there really is to say about the Cassis.  It just seemed a generic whiskey drink….  Even after you get the proportions right.  The first round my mixing was slightly off and the ratios were out of balance.  I didn’t even finish the first round, preferring to dump it and start fresh.  Breaking out the ol’ shot glass, I measured this time around (I’ve put pourers on our liquor bottles and have taking to counting to measure.  Tom Cruise ain’t got nothin’ on me!). 
The second time around the effect was much lighter and brighter.  But all-in-all, it came off as a poor riff on a Manhattan, which, now that I think about it, might be why The Partner finished his first and had a second.  Though he did move on to an actual Manhattan afterwards. 
When it’s all said and done, the best thing that I can recommend for the cassis is that it gives you a reason to use your cassis.  Though I’d just assume have the champagne cocktail by the same name.

2 oz. bourbon
½ oz. dry vermouth
¼ oz. cassis

Shake over cracked ice and serve in chilled cocktail glass garnished with a lemon twist.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Derby Fizz | 35 down 240 to go

Finally, an opportunity to draw in some of the interesting facts with which H & M pack the front of the bible.  In order to broaden the reading (and drinking!) experience, they included recipes for other drink families beyond the holy cocktail.  These include tall drinks, punches, grogs and toddies, pousse-cafés, and pick-me-ups.  H & M group fizzes and Collinses together in the tall drinks family, with the distinctions between them centering on 2 factors:  ice and, once upon a time, glassware.  Collinses have ice, fizzes do not.  If you have the bar bounty that is a diversity of glassware, Collinses should be served in a 10-14 ounce glass.  Fizzes go in something smaller than 9 ounces.

To the bev!  In appearance, a Derby Fizz has a distinctly Weiss-like appearance.  It also reminds of an old-fashioned egg cream…but with waaaay more kick!  I have to admit, the DF was a little challenging in that the egg whites and simple syrup give it a distinctly creamy, mellow aroma more akin to a milkshake or egg cream.  But the flavor has all the strength of an alcoholic beverage.  That being said, it’s not harsh or sharp but light, bright, with hints of vanilla and citrus.  Don’t think milk punch or eggnog though.   This is something very distinct.

H & M, in describing the sours category of the tall drink family, say they are closely related to the fizz.  Compare the DF recipe with a sour base: distilled spirit, sugar, lemon juice (sometimes a dash of OJ), shaken with cracked ice.  So a fizz could be a “sodaed” sour ?  Seems like.
With the dissonance between the nose and the flavor this fizz is an acquired taste.  But it will grow on you if you let it.   Be warned:  As with so many of the Alchemist’s cocktails, one gets your toes atinglin'.  Two and it's time for dinner!

Derby Fizz
2 oz. bourbon
½ oz. lemon juice
2 t. egg white
¼ oz curaçao

Shake all the ingredients, save the seltzer.  Pour into a chilled wine glass.  Top with seltzer and garnish with lemon twist.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Buster Brown | 34 down 241 to go

Anyone out there remember Buster Brown shoes?  Yes, I’m dating myself.   But my point is this.  Find yourself an old pair of Buster Browns from when you were, like, four.  Drop them in some grain alcohol with a lemon and a little sugar.  Let them hang out overnight.  For happy hour the following day, strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and you’ll have all the pertinent flavor notes of the Buster Brown.

If ever there was a cocktail so clearly concocted for desperate Prohibitionees to get drunk off some bad, backyard hooch, this is it.  Now granted, I didn’t use Willet’s.  But frankly, I don’t know that it would have mattered and it would have been a waste of some very nice bourbon.  So luck was with us there.

The concoction was thin, sweet, and smokey with all the negative connotations of the latter.  The citrus and sugar combined to bring out more burnt char than smoke.  Not a pleasant combination.  I only made one round of this, to be fair.  Perhaps a second would have helped, as it often does.  But I was flying solo tonight and just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

As usual, the recipe follows.  Perhaps you’ll have better luck than I did and find something redeeming in this bev.   If you do, please drop a comment below.

Buster Brown
2 oz. bourbon
¾ oz. lemon juice
½ t. sugar
2 dashes orange bitters

Shake with cracked ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  A maraschino in the garnish.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bee’s Knees | 33 down 242 to go

Labor Day came to Chicago and the Universe threw a switch.  Ever since, it’s been nothing but fall weather.  When I did the food shopping Thursday, the display that greeted me upon entering the grocery store was a huge display of nothing but apple cider.  In a pique of sadness, this child of summer even posted a rather mercurial haiku-cum-status update on Skype:  “Mercury struggles. Days are shorter, sun lower --  Summer's death throes come.”

So it’s in this spirit, on a rainy Friday afternoon as the photo shows, that I felt compelled to try the Bee’s Knees -- an attempt to cling to the last echoes of the halcyon days....  A simple cocktail with the flavors and spirit of summer.  And if you need any further encouragement to try it, The Partner reports that after the Abbey, the Bee’s Knees so far is his favorite of the more traditional cocktails from the bible.  Salut!

Bee’s Knees
2 oz. gin
½ oz. lime juice
1 bar spoon of honey

Shake with cracked ice; strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with a lime wheel.