There have been many famous and legendary pugilists. And, there have been many famous and legendary bartenders and bar scribes. As a whole, I’d say that the pugilists could probably take the bar folk in a back alley brawl, but wouldn’t hurt them much, as then who would pour the punchers the drinks? Anyway, one guy who fits nicely into both categories is Andrew Bohrer, of Cask Strength and the book The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried, in which you’ll find this tasty shot, a fine pick-you-up either before or after watching a boxing match.
1 ounce white rum (or try Sun Liquor’s aged rum here)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 whole egg
2 dashes hot sauce (your choice)
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything. Shake well.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a shot glass. Drink quickly, and always go down swinging.
As anyone knows, a week on this blog equals, usually, three posts (sue me if that seems wrong—my lawyers are at the bar). Which means, sadly, Shot Week is already coming to an end. Be sure you read Shot Week Day 1 and Shot Week Day 2 to get the full story. But the basics are thus: cocktail genius and genuinely nice fella Andrew Bohrer has a delicious new book out, called The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried. It’s bringing the idea of the shot, a shorter drink, to a higher plateau. Instead of shots thrown down the throat rapidly so-as to avoid tasting them, the shots in his book are ones to savor and share. So, quit pussyfooting around—buy the book. If Shot Week so far wasn’t enough to sway you, check out the below recipe for the diabolical Diablita, which you should consume rapidly to ensure the devil doesn’t enter your mouth.
Great, now that we’re all on the same shot page (so to speak), I’m going jump right into Shot Week’s second shot, one with history and cooking. But hey, to give you a better feel for the book’s personality—which is wonderful—I’m gonna back out of the way and let Andrew talk, via the headnote from the book:
“The Carthusian Shrub
Plums and cocktails don’t really mix. Even the ripest plums must be mashed into oblivion to get any play into a cocktail. The Carthusian Shrub takes fresh plums and roasts out their sweet juices into, well, a shrub. What is a shrub? A type of colonial era, prebottled cocktail consisting of cooked fruit and vinegar. It may sound crazy, but this type of boozy gastrique was a mainstay of drinking culture long before the cocktail was invented.”
Makes 2 Shots
1 de-stoned plum
2 ounces Green Chartreuse
1 ounce water
.25 ounce balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 ° F.
2. Cover the de-stoned plum with Green Chartreuse, water, and balsamic vinegar in a roasting pan.
3. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes.
4 . Allow mixture to cool and strain into a separate vessel.
Wait, before you start, let me say that I know what you’re going to say. “Shot?” you would have said if I hadn’t stopped you, “aren’t shots just something you throw down to ingest quickly, not worrying about the taste just the result?” Luckily, I stopped you, cause you would have been 100% wrong.
Well, maybe not 100%, as you, like me, may have grown up throwing down cheap tequila and gawd-awful mixes in shot glasses, and so may have been trained to think about “shots” a certain way. But shots can be wonderful: smaller packages of lovingly mixed together drinks. These shots are ideal for when you want a quick taste, for when you want to send a little special drink to that little special someone, for when you just need a rapid fling with a drink and not a full on affair, and for many other situations. More well-thought-out shots are showing on many snazzy bar menus, but the trend of better shots has really been kicked off by the new book The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried, by Andrew Bohrer.
Full disclosure: I know Andrew Bohrer (as anyone—meaning: you—who has read this blog for a while knows). I’ve had some of his drinks in my books and am a fan, as you should be, of his cuddly-curmudgeon cocktail-and-bar blog Cask Strength. But even if I wouldn’t recognize him even if I was sitting next to him at the bar, I’d still suggest picking up his new shots book cause it’s packed with great drinks, great charm, great booze history, and great drinks (said twice cause it matters most). I’m gonna highlight a few drinks from the book this week to prove my point, starting with the below number, The Wing Beneath My Wings, which will positively make you sing.
TheGinger Bliss and the Violet Fizz Rob Roy release party is only 4 days away (it’s happening, if you’ve been in the outback, on 10/8, from 2 to 4), and I’m already twitching with excitement about having one of the wonderful drinks bartender supremo Andrew Bohrer will be whipping up with penultimate panache. He’s doing two from the book, the Bitter Handshake and the Bruja Smash, the latter of which I’m going to tempt you with today. It’s an kind-of-crushed-ice-y affair, using one of my all-time favs, Italian spicy (as in, using spices like saffron) and gold liqueur Strega, alongside tequila and some fruity goodness all mixed up with balance, care, and craft. And muscles. Jeez, if that’s not enough to start mouths a-watering, then I suppose I’ll put the recipe here, right now:
7 fresh mint leaves
7 fresh raspberries
1-1/2 ounces white tequila
1 ounce Strega
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 mint sprig, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with crushed ice. Add the mint leaves, raspberries, tequila, Strega, and lemon juice. Shake really well.
2. Dump the contents of the shaker (no straining here) into a large tulip-style beer glass or other good-sized pretty vessel.
3. Fill the glass with crushed ice, garnish with the mint sprig, and serve with a straw.
PS: In the actually GBVF version of the Bruja Smash, I talk a lot about ol’ greenskin, the Incredible Hulk. How? Why? Well, you’ll have to get a copy, friends, to find out. And you can, this Saturday. See you there.
Stopped in with pal Andrew (he of the mighty Cask Strength) and wife Nat to Oliver’s Twist the other night, and had a few fine tasting drinks courtesy of English gin. See, Andrew (when he’s not mixing drinks) is an evangelist of sorts for English Gins (a group consisting of Plymouth and Beefeater gins I believe), an English Gins Connoisseur if you want to be formal, and so he was happy to buy us a few drinks if we’d listen to him talk up the gins. Heck, we’d probably listen to him talk about anything from the Misfits teevee show to the blue-eyed idol of millions if he’d buy us drinks. Especially when the drinks were as tasty as these’uns. I started with a drink of his own making called the Signal to Noise:
It had Plymouth gin, a smooch of lime juice and a smooch of orgeat and a dash of Angostura. It really allowed the gin to shine, which I dug immensely. Nat started with something off the house board, the Jasmine (which in this incarnation I believe combined gin with Cointreau, Campari, and lemon):
We both followed up with a drink created by Robert, who was our handy bartender. I believe it had gin, Aperol, and a few other choice ingredients, but know for a fact it was very icy and refreshing and sippable:
Nat had another of those un-named beauties for her final cocktail, while I headed back in time to a recent un-buried favorite (which is in this cocktail book that comes out soon-ish), the Bijou, which brings together sweet vermouth and green Chartreuse with gin and a twist:
All-in-all, my thanks to the dedicated men and women who make English gins, plus thanks to Andrew and Robert, too, for providing us with a delish evening.
Seattle’s finally in a patch of sunny, summery, weather, which means one thing to wife Nat and I—we go inside to a dark, shady bar to have some drinks. We don’t want any of that sun by golly. No sir-ee. Give us the jazzy (and I don’t mean bubbly, here, but more 1932 jazz den of iniquity) insides of any bar serving them up with either a sneaky grin or a snarl. Cause that happy sunshine is just too much.
Okay, the above paragraph was a kidder, kids. We love the Seattle sunshine. But we also love having cocktails at Seattle’s Rob Roy, which does have a small deck in the sun when it’s sunny, but hey, the seats outside aren’t as comfy. And the inside of the Rob Roy is so groovy, that we decided to sit inside even with sun outside recently, sipping our drinks with pals Rachel and Jackie, and talking to pal Andrew Bohrer (he of the muscular and mighty Cask Strength blog) when he wasn’t making us drinks. The drinks, by the by, we mostly delicious. To start, I had a Pimm’s Cup (which I like to have when in the midst of a patch of sunny days, even when I’m inside):
It was pretty darn good (if maybe a tad too mint-packed for me. But then again I’m vain, and always worrying about getting mint in my teeth). Nat started with one off the Happy Hour menu (she’s deal-oriented), the Oahu Gin Sling (which had gin, Cassis, Benedictine, lime, and soda):
Nice-y nice. For Nat’s second drink, she had Andrew make her an old favorite (of hers, but heck, it may be one of his favorites, too), the Diablo. Tequila, cassis, ginger ale and deliciousness. In this pic, the drink’s a bit blurry, but he, it gives you a sort-of paparazzi view of Rachel and Jackie (who also had nice drinks, but I’ve forgotten what they were. Sue me) as well as showing the sun for those who think I was kidding about Seattle and sunshine:
My next drink was an Andrew special, and for the life of me (honestly, if you held a gun to my classic cocktail book collection I could not remember) I can’t remember the name. But it was cracked ice, gin, a lovely vinegar, lemon, and I think something else. Maybe he’ll come by the ol’ Spiked Punch and let us know the name and if that was, actually the list of ingredients. But isn’t it a looker of a drink:
We had another round, but I put the camera down and focused on the conversation, as that’s more important than taking pics. I did, however, try to snap a snap of bar-tending Andrew actually behind the bar, working, but didn’t have any luck (he’s a blur back there). Instead, here is a final shot of his home-carved tool of ice destruction, his bartender’s Mjölnir if you will (and if you’re not afraid to admit you’re a geek and know what that means):
Be very careful when he’s swinging that hammer around. We don’t want any casualties at the bar.
It’s the second appearance this season from imbibing magician Andrew Bohrer, who makes his newest special guest manifestation to teach you to make the Bitter Handshake, a Fernet Branca-based cocktail Andrew created (and one that’s become a huge hit).You’ll also see hypnotic ice ball carving, hear about Andrew’s mystical spirit animal, view Andrew’s enchanted locks, and enjoy more supernatural shenanigans in this episode of the new season of the show about cocktails and drinking and good times, the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour.
The Man Behind the Evening's PlansA.J. Rathbun is a freelance food and entertainment writer, poet and author, a frequent guest on the Everyday Food program (Martha Stewart Living/Sirius satellite radio), and is a contributor to culinary & entertainment magazines such as Every Day with Rachael Ray, The Food Network Magazine, Real Simple, Wine Enthusiast, and many others. Of course, there's so much more to it than that...Read More