May 17, 2019

What I’m Drinking: Within the Week

Okay, don’t be upset, but this drink (which is delicious, a smidge sweet, a hint botanical, a miniscule citrus-y, fragrant, all that) uses a homemade ingredient which I’m not providing the recipe for. Because I sorta forgot it! See, I was making some basil-lemon simple syrup as one does, but I didn’t actually write down exactly how much basil I used. It was let’s say a decent-sized bunch and a half. And I didn’t write down the exact amount of lemon juice used, but let’s say it was the juice of half a lemon. Can that get you there if you add it to a regular simple syrup recipe that delivers like three cups or thereabouts of syrup? I think it can (don’t forget to let it seep awhile and strain the basil out and all that)! If you are brave, and resourceful, and heroic, which you, I believe, are!

And it’s one wonderful syrup, which here goes wonderfully with gin. I used Sipsmith London Dry gin, which I like lots, and not just cause of the cool swan art on the bottle. But also cause of the lovely juniper, lemon citrus, and orange marmalade, dry-ish profile. It’s a yummy gin if you haven’t had it. And, speaking of yummy, our third ingredient here is Carpano Bianco vermouth, a light, wine-citrus-mineral-fruit treat that should be a part of any respectable set of liquor shelves. Altogether, this drink delivers in a manner ideal for a spring day or summer evening – now you just need to be a little heroic and make it.

Within the Week

Ice cubes
2 ounces Sipsmith London Dry gin
1/2 ounce Carpano Bianco vermouth
1/2 ounce basil-lemon simple syrup
Basil leaf, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the leaf (beleaf it!). Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and now add the leaf. Leaf it up!

June 29, 2018

What I’m Drinking: What I’m Drinking: The Sicilian Sling

This should be your go-to this summer (or one of them, at least), as it’ll transport you all over Europe without you having to leave the yard, while at the same time serving as a cool cooler, just as you want when the temps are tempting the higher digits. It was created by an old pal and bartending legend, Jeremy Sidener (who owns the Eighth Street Taproom in Lawrence, KS), who was genius enough to bring together the herbally Italian amaro Averna (which is about in the middle of the bitter scale when looking over the amaro family) and French herb-y Bénédictine, along with cherry brandy, lemon juice, and soda. I myself said in Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz that “the result will break any hold a dusty, hot summer’s day has on you.”

sicilian-slingThe Sicilian Sling

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Averna
1/2 ounce cherry brandy
1/2 ounce Bénédictine
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Chilled club soda
1 or 2 fresh basil leaves, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Averna, cherry brandy, Bénédictine, and lemon juice. Shake well.

2. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mixture into the glass. Top with chilled club soda, filling it almost to the top. Gently smack the basil leaf or leaves and let them rest on the drink’s top.

July 28, 2009

What I’m Drinking: Tareva’s Tipple

Not too too long ago (I mean, I am a bit tardy on this, but not, say, a year behind, or even three months, and if we didn’t have the interweb and the telephone and whatnots, and communication came via Pony Express, I’d be totally on time), pal Becca from the tasty Key Notes with Becca was talking up her newly planted basil in a post, and thinking about all the dishes she might make with it, and generally giving a big “yay!” at the thought of fresh basil. A sentiment I second. But (and you knew that “but” was heading your way), none of her ideas had anything to do with a basil drink. Which is a shame, cause she’s a boozehound. No, no, I kid. She’s not hitting the bottle at the break of day, but neither is opposed to a nice cocktail and, knowing this, I said we should try to come up with basil drinks. Which leads to Tareva’s Tipple.



A friendly mystical kind of a mix (when you remember that basil has had a few theoretical–as far as I know–mystic connotations in the past), Tareva’s Tipple is good for a summer’s evening when you’re sitting on the deck reading a few issues of your favorite comic (and yeah, you have one, even if you don’t admit it) with the pups frolicking around you. It probably shouldn’t be too hot, cause there’s some muddling during the making and you don’t want to sweat. And you probably shouldn’t be planning on driving to the drive-in after having three of these, because there’s a double-delicious-whammy of sorts, due to the combo of gin and grappa (balanced out in the grand scheme of things by the basil and a bit of simple syrup). I used Aviation gin cause its floral notes play well with the basil, and Soft Tail Reserve grappa because it’s got that get-up-and-get-at-it underlying umph as well as some plays-well-with-others flavorings. The end result might not actually be a potion, but might leave you spellbound (if I can wax magically for a moment). Fresh basil’s the key, naturally, and best if just plucked before using.


6 or 7 fresh basil leaves, plus one for garnish

1/2 ounce simple syrup

Ice cubes

2 ounces gin

3/4 ounce grappa


1. Add all the basil leaves minus that last one and the simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, muddle well.


2. Fill the shaker halfway full with ice cubes, and then add the gin and grappa. Shake well.


3. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the remaining basil leaf. Enjoy.


A Note: Wife Nat thought I used a bit too much grappa, when I was using 1 full ounce, so I scaled it back. But you can scale it up if you’re feeling frisky.


PS: If anyone can tell me right now without using the Googler who “Tareva” was, in decent detail, then I will buy you a drink that can cost up to $15. So, a fancy-pants drink.


PPS: If anyone can tell me after using the Googler who “Tareva” was, I still might buy you a drink, but not if you’ve consulted this guy, who would obviously know. And yeah, that’s a serious hint.


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