May 22, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Iollas’ Itch

If you aren’t up on your ancient Greek history (shame on you – or, on us, as my memory keeps getting worse, too, making my ancient Greek, not to mention last week, a little hazy at times), Iollas was the son of a Macedonian general, and a royal youth at the court of Alexander the Great. Heavy. The story goes, when Mr. Great (as he was called) was murdered, many wanted to ascribe it to poisoning, and writers (as they’ll do) laid that serious poisoner-of-Alexander tag on Iollas, who carried the royal sipping cup during the emperor’s last sickness. How does that all tie into this drink, which isn’t poison at all, but a nectar of deliciousness? Well, for one, it utilizes mint, which was a favorite of the Greeks (still is, I suppose), and used to help folks transition into the afterlife. So, that’s a tie in. But also, I tend to think (as many do, nowadays) that Iollas wasn’t actually a poisoner, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Which means he deserves a strong drink in his honor, and this beauty is that drink.

iollas-itch

Iollas’ Itch, from Dark Spirits

3 fresh mint leaves, plus 1 fresh mint sprig for garnish
Ice cubes
2 ounces rye
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce apricot liqueur

1. Rub (carefully but firmly) the 3 mint leaves all around the inside of a cocktail glass. Then discard them.

2. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rye, apricot liqueur, and vermouth. Shake well.

3. Strain into the minty glass from above. Garnish with the mint sprig.

May 31, 2013

What I’m Drinking: Summerjulashation

This is sort-of like a Julep in some ways, and like a Smash, and probably identically close to another classic recipes that use a booze, sweetening, crushed ice, and mint that I’m forgetting at this moment. None of that bothers me (does it bother you? Perhaps you’re at the wrong blog?), as the end result no matter what is a super refreshing, slightly spirituous, a wee bit sweet, flavorful icy drink that will make your summer parties sing. It can take some arm power to bust up ice into crushed ice, but you know what? I think you’re tough enough. And as mentioned, the end result is, well, smashing.

Summerjulashation

Summerjulashation

15 mint leaves, plus a couple mint sprigs

1/2 ounce simple syrup

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces gin (I used Bluewater Halcyon organic gin, and it was perfect)

1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand orange curaçao

Cracked/crushed ice

1. Add the mint leaves and the simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Muddle well.

2. Fill the shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin and the curaçao to the shaker. Shake well.

3. Fill a goblet or other snazzy glass with the cracked or crushed ice (this is a summer frothy delight, so pack that ice in there).

4. Strain the goods over the ice. Garnish with some mint sprigs. Put your feet up. Drink up.

PS: If you don’t think “Summerjulashation” is the best name for a summer drink ever, well, you suck.

October 12, 2009

Me & Mint

“Me & Mint” sorta sounds like a kids book, where you learn about life in a very colorful manner. Mint in that book is either an older relative or a sick friend, or maybe a dog that’s not friendly at first, or a monkey that eats your baseball cards. In a very other sense, it’s one of my favorite herbs, and one that (luckily) is usually available, and so, so delectable in drinks. It’s also profiled in this week’s iSpice column on the Washington Post site, following either the first link in this sentence or this link. In that column, I rhapsodize a bit about mint, along with some others, and also talk about how to use it in drinks (and no, I’m not going to tell you here what I said there–that’s not what the interweb is about, people). They also have my recipe for the Iollas’ Itch in the column, which is from my new book Dark Spirits, a book I’m gonna write more about soon. Here’s the recipe (though this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t click to the column, just that you should have a drink while reading it).

 

3 fresh mint leaves, plus 1 fresh mint sprig for garnish

Ice cubes

2 ounces rye

3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce apricot liqueur

1. Rub (carefully but firmly) the 3 mint leaves all around the inside of a cocktail glass. Then discard them.

2. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rye, apricot liqueur, and vermouth. Shake well.

3. Strain into the minty glass from above. Garnish with the mint sprig.

PS: Happy Friday to you, too.

 

 

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