February 23, 2018

What I’m Drinking: Mercurio Punch

I wish I could say with certainty that this drink was named after Mercurio, the 4-D Man, a fella from the planet Gramos who fought Thor and the wacky Warriors Three, as well as a bunch of other heroes and such in the mighty Marvel universe, utilizing both fire and ice powers. However! I don’t know that this drink was named after said alien, or the Mexican wrestler of the same name, or the Chilean newspaper. My guess? A misspelling of a Willy S character, or after the planet Mercury. When all is said and done, though, does it matter? This is a swell sipper for around 10 folks, one that’s a bit bubbly, a bit brandy, and a big grape-y. Great for the end of February, when you’re just starting to feel spring might someday happen, but still chilly. Heck, they even like it on Gramos.

mercurio
Mercurio Punch, from Dark Spirits

Block of ice, or ice cubes
16 ounces brandy
16 ounces purple grape juice
8 ounces Bénédictine liqueur
8 ounces simple syrup
One 750-milliliter bottle red wine (go for a Cabernet here, one with robust body)
One 2-liter bottle chilled club soda

1. Add the block of ice to a large punch bowl, or fill the bowl halfway full with ice cubes. Add the brandy, grape juice, Benedictine, and simple syrup. Stir well.

2. Add the red wine to the cast, and stir again.

3. Smoothly add the club soda, and stir a final time (or maybe a few final times—you want to get it good and combined). Serve in punch glasses.

March 31, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Ognam

It’s spring right? I mean, according the calendar and all, spring started way back on the 20th. You’re frolicking right? In a meadow? Please tell me you are frolicking. FROLICKING! It’s spring, after all, when meadows should be begging to be frolicked in, as well as various other springtime spring-y-nesses. If you haven’t started your frolicking engines, then I suggest you drink a couple Ognams. They start the spring frolicking in a perfect way. Try it out – but be sure you have your frolicking clothes on.

ognam
Ognam, from Dark Spirits

Ice cubes
1 1/2 ounces brandy
2 1/2 ounces mango juice
1/2 ounce Aperol
Chilled club soda
Lemon slice for garnish

1. Fill a highball or comparable glass with ice cubes. Add the brandy, mango juice, and Aperol. Stir well.

2. Fill the glass almost to the top with club soda. Stir again, well. Squeeze the lemon slice over the glass and drop it in. Frolic!

March 24, 2017

What I’m Drinking: The Rosé Squirt

You’ve probably noticed, spring has sprung. And I’m probably going to be, or already have been, talking springtime talk, and springtime drinks, and frolicking in meadows. But today, instead of that, I’m just cutting right to the chase: this is a dandy, refreshing, light-on-its-feet drink, which you should make for yourself, your friends, and then yourself again. It’s springy.

rose-squirt
The Rosé Squirt, from Wine Cocktails

Ice cubes
1 ounce maraschino liqueur
3 ounce dry rosé wine
Chilled club soda
Maraschino cherry, for garnish

1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the maraschino liqueur and rosé. Stir briefly.

2. Fill the glass almost to the top with chilled club soda. Stir again, a bit more than briefly. Drop a cherry on top and serve.

July 22, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Mike Collins

mike-collinsSometimes, it’s good to keep things simple, tall, refreshing, and the lesser-known cousin of a better-known drink. At least that’s what I’m doing today. Because hey, I’m a simple person, at heart. And that’s why I’m keeping this short. No long speeches today, or talks about this booze or that booze, this writer or that writer, this awful person or that awful person that leads me to really desiring a tall, simple, refreshing drink on a Friday. Oh no, none of that. You feel the same way? Mix this up, friend, and think of me, and your favorite Mike. Mine is, um, Mike Caine (if that isn’t too informal). Here’s to you, Mike!

Mike Collins

Ice cubes
2 ounces Irish whiskey
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Chilled club soda
Lemon slice for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the whiskey, juice, and simple syrup. Shake well.

2. Fill a Collins glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mix over the ice. Fill almost to the top with chilly club soda. Garnish with the lemon slice (stirring briefly if you want Mike mixed more).

September 4, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Summer Near Puebla

So, it’s September I suppose, and like the very earth itself I can sense the approaching Fall in my bones, and in my drinks too – though admittedly, I’m still leaning in those drinks towards summer-ish mixers. But the drinks know the weather is changing! And the drinks themselves are changing, with new ingredients showing up on my shelves (which are sturdy, I must say). A recent addition which I’d been pining for, and which is now almost in need of restocking, is Ancho Reyes. A lovely, perhaps the lovely, chile liqueur, made of course from Ancho chilies. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying it, I can hear you, in my mind, muttering to yourself about how most spice-ily flavored booze-y items are either just freaky hot or taste like chemical fire. Hold on to your chairs, though – Ancho Reyes is different. Full-bodied, rich, holding an underlying spice that isn’t bite-y, but flavorful, with cinnamon, chocolate, fruit, and herbs mingling with the chili, Ancho Reyes is to be savored, solo or in cocktails.

And savoring it is what we’ve been doing, here at the home bar, as the weather begins to think about changing. I’ve made a number of cocktails with it, but Summer Near Puebla, the cocktail below, is ideal for this time of year – still refreshing in a summer way, but with enough flavor and umph to fortify you for the following fall and winter-y months. And the taste! I am going to be a little obvious here (I mean, Ancho Reyes is made in Puebla, Mexico, from local chilies, in a handcrafted manner that’s rather swell, and award-winning Vida Mezcal, another key ingredient here, is from San Luis del Rio), but this drink goes awfully well with Mexican food. Or by itself, as you soak in some of that sunshine while you can.

summer-near-puebla

Summer Near Puebla

Ice cubes
2 ounces Vida Mezcal
1-1/2 ounces Ancho Reyes
1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Cracked ice
2 ounces chilled club soda
Lime wedge, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker up halfway with ice cubes. Add the mezcal, Ancho Reyes, curaçao, and lime juice. Shake well.

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters up with cracked ice. Strain the mix into the glass.

3. Top it off with the club soda. Stir briefly. Garnish with a lime wedge.

August 28, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Behold, The River

behold-the-riverA late summer number if there ever was one – Behold, The River is refreshing, full of summer-y flavors without being near treacly, a nice color, and not too hard to make. If you’re actually having it alongside a river, well, you get bonus points for that! Not sure what the bonus points get you however, except a good time, and some undying gratitude from those you make the drink for, and my high esteem. Which may be worth something?

Behold, The River

Ice cubes
1-3/4 ounces vodka
1 ounce Sidetrack Distillery blackberry liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Four ounces chilled club soda

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, liqueur, and lemon juice. Shake well.

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into the glass. Top with the soda. Stir carefully, but thoroughly.

A Note: Having trouble finding Sidetrack Distillery blackberry liqueur? Well, you may need to take a trip to Washington, oh intrepid one!

May 9, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Lalla Rookh

If you are someone who is adventuresome, who isn’t afraid of, say, wearing a velvet jacket, or making out with someone in an elevator, or drinking a drink that would cause most people to say “jumpin’ Jehoshaphat, what is that,” then you are probably up for trying this drink. The name dates back to a poem by Thomas Moore, first published in 1817. The poem is about the daughter of a Mughal emperor (her name is Lalla Rookh) who’s engaged to some prince, but who meets a poet who sweeps her off her feet with poems and poetic-ness (those poets are so tricky, especially this one, as he turns out to be—spoiler alert—the prince). The drink is old, too, but maybe not that old? I’m not 100% sure. Famous cranky drink writer David Embury said of this drink, in 1948, “This relic of the Gay Nineties is a syrupy-sweet and wholly deceptive concoction.” Which means it can deliver a wallop under all the coo-ing it does.

lalla-rookh

The Lalla Rookh (from Dark Spirits)

Ice cubes
1 ounce Cognac
1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce vanilla liqueur
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1/2 ounce heavy cream
Chilled club soda

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cognac, rum, vanilla liqueur, simple syrup, and cream. Shake poetically (which here means shake a lot, rhythmically).

2. Fill a highball glass halfway full with ice cubes. Strain the mix into the glass. Top with club soda and stir well (again, poetically).

May 17, 2013

What I’m Drinking: Coney Island Baby

Okay, this one looks pretty un-2013, with its pairing of out-of-favor-with-snooty-bartenders favorites crème de caco (perhaps the finest drink ingredient to say out loud, if you say it with the right ending emphasis) and peppermint schnapps. Between us, I haven’t consumed as much peppermint schnapps in the last 28 years as I did 29 years ago. Maybe there’s a correlation there? Who knows? However, with the sun starting to shine and the temperature starting to go up, it’s good to get the Coney Island Baby into your repertoire, because it’s an ideal thirst quencher for the summer months. Refreshing, minty, and working well with white outfits, and from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, forget about your schnapps bias and stock up for summer. You’ll thank me later.

Coney Island Baby

Cracked ice

2 ounces white crème de cacao

1 ounce peppermint schnapps

Ice cubes

Chilled club soda

Fresh peppermint sprig, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the crème de cacao and peppermint schnapps. Stir well.

2. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mixture over the ice. Fill the glass almost to the top with club soda. Stir, and garnish with the peppermint.

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