October 4, 2022

Cocktail Talk: Kill and Tell, Part III

kill_and_tell_rigsbySorry, after last week’s Kill and Tell Cocktail Talk (read that one for a little more information on the book by Howard Rigsby), I realized I had to have at least one more, while I could still type – before the Martini kicks in. It’s not actually as drinky a book as some from the era, and the PI star isn’t as hard-drinking as others (he turns down a number of drinks), but hey, it’s not like he isn’t gonna drink at all!

“What would you like to drink?” I asked. “I can make a fair Martini.”

She had begun to look worried again, but she seemed to shrug it off. She smiled. “A Martini sounds grand.”

I made it five to one, and when she had tasted it she rolled her eyes upward. “While I can still talk there’s something I’d like to tell you,” she said.

I came back with a bourbon and soda and sat down.

 

–Howard Rigsby, Kill and Tell

July 1, 2022

What I’m Drinking: The Whizz Bang

It’s the first of July, which means that the fourth of July is only days away (poor first of July, always in the shadow – at least here in the US – of its holiday sparkling calendar sibling). On the fourth of July, people tend to have picnics, think (one hopes) about what makes this country the country it’s been for the last few hundred years, and blow things up with brightly-colored mini booms. The latter of which, between us, I’m not too fond of, as I’ve always had pups that don’t like it. So, if you’re in my neighborhood, keep it down, ya hear! But to balance things out, let me offer you this explosive (in taste!) firecracker of a drink, the ideal drink for the day of fireworks (though don’t have too many and then get around matches – a deadly duo if ever there was one), one so ideal I believe I’ve proposed it before as a fourth favorite. The bourbon, vermouth, Pernod (a nod to the revolutionary French), grenadine (homemade if you love your country – check out the homemade grenadine recipe here), and orange bitters combo is a tasty holiday treat. I use Scrappy’s Orange bitters below, and Woodinville Whiskey Co. bourbon, because A: they are both awesome, and B: supporting your local makers is about as patriotic as it gets. Now, don’t forget what we said about keeping the noise down for dogs!

whizz-bang

The Whizz Bang

 

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. bourbon

3/4 ounce dry vermouth

1/4 ounce Pernod

1/4 ounce homemade grenadine

2 dashes Scrappy’s Orange bitters

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, vermouth, Pernod, grenadine, and orange bitters. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink up.

March 15, 2022

Cocktail Talk: Killer Take All, Part I

deadly-pick-up-killer-take-allJust a week ago I talked about the double book book I’d recently picked up, talked about in The Deadly Pick-up Cocktail Talk post, that is, and therein mentioned the second book of the one-book duo, Killer Take All, by James O. Causey. And you know what? Today we are Cocktail Talking from that very book. It’s a swell piece of pulp pleasure, too, hitting the same pace and at least near the style of longtime fav Day Keene (read more Day Keene Cocktail Talks while you’re here why dontacha). By that I mean, our hero/narrator (who happens to be a golfer! Of all pulpy things) gets into trouble, then more trouble, then trouble piles on another layer of troubles, and troubling on and on until you feel there is no way he can get outta the trouble hole. Plus: some mobsters and ex-mobsters, an ex-girlfriend who may be untrustworthy, a cop who may be the opposite, loads of other shady intriguing figures, and (if that wasn’t enough) an old master painting playing a big part. Plus booze! And bars! A dandy, dandy read.

Stephen reached into his jacket pocket and brought out a pint of bonded bourbon. “Open it, Tony? We could both stand some anti-freeze.”

I took a deep slug. It was good whiskey. Stephen kept his eyes on the compass as he reached for the pint and downed almost half of it.

“Hey, you’re driving, remember?”

He took another slug and grinned, showing even white teeth. “Breakfast, man.”

–James O. Causey, Killer Take All

August 3, 2021

Cocktail Talk: To Catch a Thief

catch-a-thiefA bit of a departure for many fans from his more tense thriller-ific films, To Catch a Thief is still, I believe, a wonderful Hitchcock film. The glamour of the setting and the leads (Cary Grant and Grace Kelly of course), the movement of the lens, the pace, the light suspense and banter, all of it comes together in a summery kind of way that lends itself to repeat viewings. If you haven’t seen it, well, you should. And if you have, but not recently, give it another viewing. It is, in one word, charming. But why (I hear you asking) am I blathering a bit on about it? Well, it was released on this day exactly in 1955! So, that deserves a Cocktail Talk, and the below quote is a dandy one.

 

“Bourbon’s the only drink. You can take all that champagne stuff and pour it down the English Channel.”

 

–John Michael Hayes (screenwriter), To Catch a Thief

July 23, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Class of the Race

Once, I, and some athletic and newsworthy and hilarious and thirsty and running pals made a very silly Class of the Race video, which you should watch cause you like fun, and you like drinks (or why would you be here). But you can watch it without a pen in hand to write down the recipe for the drink had in the video, The Class of the Race that is, because I have the recipe directly below. It’s a swell sipper, too, one worthy of any race winners, and, though bourbon-based (well, bourbon and bubbly-based), one that I believe can be had in summer, due to said bubbly, chilled. A little simple syrup, to sweeten things up, a little Benedictine, to add those monastically-herbal notes, and a little Peychaud’s bitters to underline it all, round the drink out and make a worthy finishing line for your July Friday.

 class-of-the-race

The Class of the Race, from Dark Spirits

 

Ice cubes

2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce Benedictine liqueur

1/2 ounce simple syrup

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, Benedictine, simple syrup, and bitters. Shake well (but not so well that you expire from the effort).

 

2. Strain the mix into a Champagne flute. Top with the bubbly.

 

A Note: Pheidippides was the original marathoner, running from Marathon to Athens after a battle in 490 B.C. without stopping once, announcing, “We have won,” and then reportedly dying. I feel this is something you should know when having this, but don’t let it flatten your bubbles.

 

June 18, 2021

What I’m Drinking: Summer Dream

Well, honestly, this one sells itself: summer starts in two days. This tangy-but-umphy-but-herbally-but-a-smidge-sweet-but-fruity-but-bitter-in-a-good-way-but-delicious drink is called Summer Dream. This recipe serves 2, because summer isn’t a season to spend alone. And this base spirit, bourbon, is a fine base for a drink, even in summer no matter what anyone says. Finally, fruit. So, I don’t know that I need to say anymore, cause I’d just get in the way of you making this drink, and also get in the way of my making one.

summer-dream

Summer Dream, from Dark Spirits, Serves 2 (because of reasons mentioned above)

 

3 orange slices

2 peach slices

Ice cubes

4 ounces bourbon

2 ounces Campari

1 ounce simple syrup

1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

1. Add the orange and peach slices to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle well.

2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, Campari, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Shake really well, if a little wistfully, for at least 15 seconds.

3. Strain the dream through a fine strainer equally into two cocktail glasses.

April 23, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Tennessee Colonel with Bib & Tucker Bourbon

Not too long ago in the scheme of things (depending on your scheme!), I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of Bib & Tucker bourbon (along with some swell glasses and such – it was a very lucky day!). Coming in one of the more memorable bottles I’ve seen in some time – lovely glass shape and glass lettering and overall aesthetic set up – Bib & Tucker isn’t just a pretty package. Made in Tennessee in a hearkening to the 1880s as they say, the time of “boldness and refinement,” it’s a bourbon aged 6 years in low char white oak barrels (there are some older siblings, too, on the years-aged front) and has won a fair amount of awards. Deservedly so, me thinks, as it’s very smooth, very drinkable. Starting with a nose of vanilla, caramel, and spices of the pastry variety, it flows into a vanilla, cinnamon, spice flavor, with a hint of nuttiness, pecan style, and then finishes with a little oaky caramel spice-ness. Made from 70% corn, 26% rye, and 4% malted barley, it’s a swell number to sip solo, with or without a cube of ice.

However (as you might have guessed!), it’s also a really fine base for cocktails in my humble opinion, as the people say. If going the mixing route, I’d suggest a recipe that lets the bourbon shine, with only one or two other liquid pals along for the ride. Which is what we’re doing here, in the way of the classic Kentucky Colonel cocktail, which I was reminded of when browsing the old The Art of Mixing Drinks, 1961 edition (not to be confused with the also venerable and perhaps more well-known The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. The lack of “Fine” volume I have comes in a little box, with plastic cover and ring binding, and is fun if you can find it). We’re altering the title a bit here, cause our Bib & Tucker is from TN not KY, but keeping the basic combo of bourbon and monastic herbal liqueur Bénédictine. You see this cocktail with various ratios of our two players, and with the addition of bitters (a good plan, though not used here as this book’s recipe didn’t have it and I wanted to pay homage properly), served up instead of with a big cube (but the big cube felt ideal) and with different twists – I’ll admit, at first the lemon felt off, but its bright citrus notes worked a treat above the bourbon and liqueur intertwining flavors. Delicious.

 Tennessee-colonel

The Tennessee Colonel

 

Cracked ice

2-1/2 ounces Bib & Tucker 6-year old bourbon

1 ounce Bénédictine

Ice cube/s

Lemon twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add our two darkly-spirited pals. Stir well.

2. Add a large ice cube or a few smaller ones to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Strain the mix in. Garnish with the lemon twist.

 

March 12, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Manhattan, with Early Times Bottled in Bond Bourbon

There are days when you want to unbury a drink from an old book or pamphlet, a drink that hasn’t been sipped for many years, and other days when you want to make up a whole new drink, one that you’ve created for your very self for the very first time, and then other days when you want to try and recreate a drink you had out (or as take-out, in currant circumstances) at a local watering hole, made by a talented drink-slinger, and then other days when you just want to have a classic Manhattan, one made with Early Times Bottled in Bond bourbon. Today is that day! For me, at least, as I recently received a bottle of said Early Times bourbon – lucky me! – making it all possible. Early Times Bottled in Bond bourbon has a long and interesting history, including being lost to all from I believe the 1980s until a slow re-release that started in 2017. Aged 4 years, and at 100 proof, this tipple treads an approachable path, with some umph beneath, swirling a sweetness on the nose that lingers through a citrus, caramel, vanilla flavor with spice hints popping up, and then popping up more and more through the finishing moments. Overall, just a delicious, friendly bourbon that everyone I know enjoys sipping slow as the sun goes down. But that approachability also means it’s a dandy cocktail base, too, and the Manhattan is a swell cocktail to base on it. As it has that little sweetness, I went with Punt e’ Mes as the vermouth, because it’s a little drier with beauteous bittery herbal notes – a good choice, I have to admit! And for the bitters themselves, I picked Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters, which is an ideally-balanced spice and herb bitters in a classic style, superb here.

manhattan

The Manhattan

 

Cracked ice

2-1/2 ounces Early Times Bottled in Bond bourbon

1/2 ounce Punt e’ Mes sweet vermouth

1 dash Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters

Cherry (I used a Rainer cherry I’d had mulling with mates in some bourbon, but a good Maraschino would work a treat, too)

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the bourbon, vermouth, and bitters. Stir well.

 

2. Add a cherry (or two!) to a cocktail glass. Strain the mix from Step 1 into said glass. Enjoy.

 

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