Here’s an oldie (by that I mean, not very old at all, but one that has been on the blog before, which may make some run in horror, but really, those folks probably aren’t all that cool, anyway, which means run away, by all means, while the rest of us sit here drinking it up, and laughing at your antics), but a nice goodie of a refreshing and classy number. It’s hip, too, as it feature rosé, which seems to be the star of this year’s summer, in a number of ways (meaning, everyone’s talking about it). A good summer to be rosé, especially the sparkling version of rosé in this drink, as it gets to play which such a fine array of summertime stalwarts: rum, lime, ginger. Together, they manage to deliver the yumminess and the chic-ness, without any of the sometime accompanying annoying-ness. Try it, and see.
It’s hard being the conquered. Stinks, even. Whether you’re Gaius Flaminius at the battle of Lago Trasimeno, or at the less-happy end after a re-org in a big company, or destroyed by a hated rival during the NFL playoffs on national TV, being in that position doesn’t tend to lead to happy days. However! The nights at least can be better when you drink the below, instead of feeling the literal whips. Maybe not much better, but a little better.
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
2 ounces Vida Mezcal
1-1/2 ounces Ancho Reyes
1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
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.
I’m a strong proponent of the non-violent approach. So don’t think this drink is in honor of using the back of your hand in some attempt at masculinity or femininity through smacking folks around (unless it’s like Hydra, or the Nazis, or something). Oh no. This drink is in honor of the actual backside of the hand – a space on your body that you should always take care of, since it’s what shows when you’re holding a drink. This drink has a bit of a beachy lean, too, featuring 3 Howls Navy Strength rum, as well as pineapple and lime, and on the beach every single inch of skin is important, and seen. And, as people tend to gaze at your hand most (even if it’s a beach, right? Right?), especially when you’re holding said drink, that hand backside becomes very important. So important that I thought it needed a drink named after it. This is that drink!
The Back of the Hand
2 ounces 3 Howls Navy Strength rum
3/4 ounces pineapple simple syrup (see Note)
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
3 ounces club soda
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, pineapple simple syrup, and lime juice. Shake well.
2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the above mix over the ice. Top with club soda. Stir well. If you feel this needs a garnish, try a lime wedge.
A Note: To make pineapple simple syrup, add three cups fresh chopped pineapple, 3 cups sugar, and 2 -1/2 cups water to a medium-sized saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil over a medium-high heat. Lower the heat a bit, keeping the mixture at a low boil for five 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the syrup cool completely cool in the pan. Strain and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Argh, shiver me timbers, and yo-ho-ho. If the Captain’s Blood is flowing across the mizzenmast, it may be time to give up the ship. Or invite the marauders over, where you can splice the mainbrace in proper fashion–eye-patches, peg-legs, cutlasses, and black hats required. And if you think I know what that means, you are a very tipsy pirate. Which, I suppose, is the only way to be.
Oh, also, this makes a good drink if you’re watching any pirate movie, taking a bath with some sort-of floating ships in the bath with you, or watching BATTLESHIP, BATTLESHIP, BATTLESHIP. Heck, it’s just a good drink.
So, the other night I was reclining in the big comfy chair, trying to decide what to have for my evening libation while paging through a pocket-sized book called The Standard Cocktail Guide: A Manual of Mixed Drinks Written for the American Host by Crosby Gaige, published in 1944. It’s a handy little book, if not as exuberantly fun at Mr. Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion. But well worth picking up if you ever see it. I knew, before deciding on a drink, a couple facts. One: I wanted to make a drink using iced crushed in my new McSology Lewis bag (a dandy Lewis bag made here in Seattle out of 100% cotton canvas, and available for $48 for the professional-sized model and $26 for the home-bartender version, if after reading this you want one). Two: I wanted to make a drink I didn’t know. Three: I wanted to make a drink out of this book. Four: I wanted to use the last bit of mint from the mint plant out back. I ended up with the Santa Cruz Daisy, though admittedly I modified it perhaps nearly out of Daisy-dom, cause I went with a mint instead of fruit topping, and I used crushed and not shaved ice. But it was still massively delicious.
The Santa Cruz Daisy (Sort Of)
2 ounces white rum
1/4 ounce maraschino
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Fresh mint sprigs
Splash of soda water
1. Add the rum, maraschino, simple syrup to a mixing glass and stir well.
2. Crush a bunch of ice in your Lewis bag and revel in the crushing.
3. Fill a goblet or other swell glass with ice, and strain the mix gently over it, topping with more ice as needed.
4. Add a splash of soda and garnish with mint sprigs.
Yesterday (which means, at least for this moment, Valentine’s Day) was the day for hearts, flowers, chocolate, unicorns, and mooning under the moon. Today, well, it’s still the day for all that. But it’s also the day for Stockholm Tar, which, to me, seems almost like it could be the name of a grungy drug gotten by scraping the barnacles off a ship and then boiling them down with a mixture of formaldehyde, corn starch, and Juicy Fruit gum. This drink, however, contains none of that, and while it is strong and all, well, between us, it’s probably closer to the whole flowers and romances mentioned first. So, have one with your favorite sailor and stretch the heart-iest holiday out another day. This recipe’s from Dark Spirits.
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
Lime slice for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, lime juice, cranberry juice, simple syrup, and maraschino liqueur. Shake well (you want to ensure it doesn’t get a tar-like appearance).
2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime slice.
The time is now! This is the time! This time it is time for the time being now! All of which is to say, the sparkling new season of A.J. Rathbun’s Cocktail to Cocktail Hour (starring me, A.J. Rathbun) starts today. And what a start it is: in this first episode I’ll teach you how to make the Supersonic cocktail, named after my favorite NBA team of all time, The Seattle Supersonics. Yeah! It’s a delicious mix, which should be enough to woo you to watching and making, but to make things even more exciting, the episode has a very special guest: the Glove, the best defensive point guard in history, Gary Payton! You have to watch it to believe it folks. So what are you waiting for – hit play already!
PS: As always, the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour was directed, co-wrote, edited, produced, and gaff’d by Dr. Gonzo and is an Artificial Khaos production.
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