August 4, 2017

What I’m Drinking: The SPF (or, Silver Port Fizz)

Suns out! You know what that means? Sunburns. Okay, it means other things, too, like summer drinks and summer fun and summer romance and summer reading-in-the-back-yard-with-one-of-those-drinks. But I do pick up sunburns pretty quickly, which is why I always have sunscreen with a good SPF (sun protection factor). And also why I always have a nice chill SPF, too. For the latter, I mean a Silver Port Fizz.

Jump back! I can hear you saying (you do say that, right?), and loudly, what do you mean drinking port in summer? Isn’t port a winter, or fall at least, drink that you have indoors after a meal, say, or with some tasty cheese? Sure, it is that, but now-a-days, port is actually showing up on a lot of summer sipping menus, too. It makes sense (I think, when you think about it), because port in its various forms does deliver a lot of flavor, and doesn’t weigh one down too heavily, so when mingled with the right ingredients, I believe it’s a natural for the days when the sun is high in the sky and the temperature is also rising. Lucky for me, a bottle of Sandeman Tawny Porto 10-year-old version, showed up in the mail the other day, so I could test the port theory I’m expounding.

And while making up a new summer-y drink with port being a main player is very, very attractive (I’ll probably do it soon!), I decided to start by putting port in as a player in a classically-minded mix, the fizz. I love a nice, simple fizz, and the frothier silver fizzes (though sometimes today you see the silver slipped out of the monikers, which is okay, but here it fit perfectly), which adds egg white. And that’s what I did here, and the result is ideal for August, refreshing, fun, and full of the Sandeman Tawny’s nutty, fruit, rich-bodied brilliance. Try it, and test the theory.


Cracked ice
2 ounces 10-year-old Sandeman Tawny Porto
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 egg white

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Porto, juice, sugar and egg white.

2. Fill a Collins or comparable glass with ice cubes. Strain the mix into the glass.

3. Fill glass with club soda. Stir briefly. Chill out.

June 16, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Baltimore Bracer

It’s morning, and nearly the beginning of summer, which means I (as I always do) am going to sit myself down and have a Baltimore Bracer and read Thomas Osborne Davis’ “The Sack of Baltimore:”

The summer sun is falling soft on Carbery’s hundred isles,
The summer sun is gleaming still through Gabriel’s rough defiles;
Old Innisherkin’s crumbled fane looks like a moulting bird,
And in a calm and sleepy swell the ocean tide is heard:
The hookers lie upon the beach; the children cease their play;
The gossips leave the little inn; the households kneel to pray;
And full of love, and peace, and rest, its daily labor o’er,
Upon that cosy creek there lay the town of Baltimore.

Well, at least that first stanza. Hmm, I sorta think I may be reading at least one word differently than he meant it.

baltimoreBaltimore Bracer

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces brandy
1-1/2 ounces anisette
1 egg white, preferably organic

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the brandy, anisette, and egg white. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

October 24, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Underlined Passages

underlinedpassagesSomehow I came up with this when reading J. Robert Lennon stories. And it’s a darn good drink. A wee sweet, but well-balanced by the richness of the egg and the kick of the brandy. Dang, that’s sorta like Lennon. Maybe? Maybe. You read him and find out and let me know. One thing that’s totally for sure (like, for sure), is that if you want to create a drink this amazing, you’d better delve into the J. Robert Lennon oeuvre. You’d better.
Underlined Passages, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces brandy
1 ounce Navan vanilla liqueur
1/2 ounce Dumante Verdenoce pistachio liqueur
1 egg white, preferably organic

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the brandy, Navan, Dumante, and egg white. Shake exceptionally well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

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December 20, 2013

What I’m Drinking: Hays at 7 AM

Following up on the even earlier-in-the-morning drink created for superstar Kansan Eric Norris (writer-librarian-by-day, detective by night – well, that’s my dream, anyway), who was looking for a coffee-based libation, is the following. Since it’s for 7 AM, instead of 6 AM, I thought I’d need to add some protein, in the form of an egg white, to this drink. It also makes it deliciously frothy, without sacrificing a good coffee taste. A little gin and a little simple syrup balance everything out beautifully. Eric, drink up pally! Oh, the rest of you drink up, too – this time of year, everyone may need a good morning cocktail, or two.


Hays at 7 AM

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce chilled espresso
1/2 ounce simple syrup
One egg white

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, espresso, and simple syrup.

2. Carefully add the egg white. Shake really really well, for a good 5 to 10 seconds.

3. Strain into a cocktail glass.

January 4, 2013

What I’m Drinking: The We Have to Be in Bed by 10 P.M.

Back when I was younger (this was before things like cocktail blogs – really, before electricity. Ba dump bump), there was a drink called The We Have to Be at Work by 10 A.M. It was all about mornings and how sometimes you need to pack breakfast, juice, and a pick-you-up into one glass, and was printed first in that award-winning cocktail cuddler, Good Spirits. Recently, though, I re-visited the drink, thinking about how it’s more often now that I’m thinking of a pre-going-to-bed drink, and that I now have to go to work much earlier than 10 A.M. I didn’t want to change its nature too much, cause it’s a fun drink. First, I thought I’d make the switch from vodka to gin, cause gin’s a bit more of a refined evening number. Then, though, to make things a bit easier (it’s evening, remember, and we’re winding down) and because it’s tasty, I moved to the Bitter Truth’s new Pink Gin, which is a gin-aromatic-bitters mix, served in a beautiful bottle (if you don’t see it in your store, try Astor Wine & Spirits). It has a florally-juniper-y taste underlined by  and mingled with spice notes. Yummy. I also, when, updating the recipe, added a little simple syrup, because before bed one likes some sweetness. I kept the orange juice and part of the egg (the white), though, because healthiness is good any time of day.

The We Have to Be in Bed by 10 P.M.

1-1/2 ounces Bitter Truth Pink Gin

1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

1 egg white

1/2 ounce simple syrup

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Pink Gin, orange juice, egg white, and simple syrup. Shake really well (it’ll wear you out for bed).

2. Strain (through a fine strainer if you have one) into a cocktail glass. Drink. Sleep. Dream dreamy dreams.

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