Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cachaça and the Missing Links

There’s a place where the Sidecar-Margarita sours all get together to chatter and take time out from the customers and the other drinks. I can see them in front of the mirror or flopped on a chair or bench, some straightening garnishes or fixing a salt rim. Maybe they’re gossiping about the G&T one of ’em is going out with for a couple in the corner. Or there’s a party of six that ordered the same all around, and the drinks are all giggling in the same way, hoping to meet a pig in a blanket or two later in the evening.


Cachaça Sidecar
  • 2 oz cachaça
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Gaz Regan calls the rum interzone of this style of sour the Missing Link. Cachaça is another superb cane spirit for the purpose: delicate, herbaceous, green, vanillic, subtly oceanic all at the same time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Jitters and Bitters

Ever shake up pineapple juice? It’s kinda odd. There’s this foam that looks good on the top of the liquid in the tin, yet when you get to the bottom of the drink, the glass is coated with residual crud. Unappetizing. No wonder all those Tiki things come in ceramic idols full of crushed ice.

But I’ve learned that this can be avoided if you shake gently. Shake well, but shake very gently with plenty of ice. Pretend you’re about to begin the beguine with that someone you always wanted in high school. Smile like Burt Reynolds and shake to last you all night. You can double strain through mesh too for an additional step of refinement, though if there’s pulp in the mix, it’s kind of a pain in the behind.

Bourbon Beguine
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Jerry Thomas’ Decanter Bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Ginger beer (Fever Tree)
Shake (gently) all but ginger beer with ice and strain into an old fashioned. Add a couple of ice cubes and top with ginger beer. Lemon twist.

I sometimes try the bourbon sour special drinks in bars but never care for them. They’re too candy-like and seem to have no complexity. I find that the missing thing that brings it all together is bitters.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Two at a Time

Till the break of day we’re gonna set ’em up
Two at a time
Just be’s better that way when you set ’em up
Two at a time
Set up till the morning
Don’t say boys we don’t give you no warning
Till the break of day were gonna set ’em up

Two at a time
—Andy Bean, Two at a Time

We had some people over from work for a classic cocktail session, tasting lots of things in miniature portions—a fun evening. As someone who makes drinks primarily for guests at home, I often find myself mixing rounds of the same drink in quantity. Maybe I ought to get me some of that fancy vintage home bar gear that was designed for this purpose—big mixing vessels with fun decorations and ingenious pouring spouts, matching cocktail glasses, serving trays that look like carousels—but I never seem to get around to it. Maybe next time.

Anyway, I’d like to have the folks from work over again. They were a game crowd. The runaway hit that party was the Jack Rose, a favorite here at the Lounge. Seems funny that folks order these faddish pomegranate syrup things lots of times without realizing that it’s just good old grenadine. Here’s something similar.

Demerara Rose
  • 4 oz Demerara rum (El Dorado 8)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz grenadine (Small Hand Foods)
Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glasses. Makes two.

My own current favorite variation of the rum and grenadine sour. My guests who liked the Jack Rose might try this one. Where the Jack Rose is snappy, this one’s rich and velvety.
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