September 20, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Whiskey Sour

Fall officially starts in three days, and I can feel it (this happens when you get to be my age – it could also just be a good thing to say) deep inside. And what does one sip when the fall is about to start and you can feel it, and winter behind it, always, coming? Well, a Whiskey Sour seems like a good choice, with that heft of whiskey and the citrus zing underneath, and then an echo of sweet (to remind you and spring, also always, follows winter). At least that’s the route I’m running today!

 whiskey-sour

The Whiskey Sour

Ice cubes
2 ounces Four Roses straight bourbon
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Lemon slice, for garnish

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

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon slice.

March 22, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Atomula

As spring continues shaking off winter, and the world continues its slow movements, various plants are springing up and blooming and peeking through the cold and snow (if you still have snow) and such. One of which – which really, toughs it out pretty well throughout the earth’s whirls – for me is rosemary. I have, as do lots up here, lots of rosemary. And while it’s fragrant and a nice herb to have around, sometimes, you have to think outside the box to decide what to do with it all. So: rosemary simple syrup! Or making a giant rosemary robot. I tend to go for the former, but if you go for the latter, okay! So, rosemary simple, which goes perfectly with rum and herbal-sipper Becherovka from the Czech Republic. So, if you have a little rosemary happening, now you know what to do with it.

atomula-2

Atomula (with the recipe from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz)

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce Becherovka
1/2 ounce rosemary simple syrup (see A Note below)
Rosemary sprig, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, Becherovka, and rosemary simple syrup. Shake well.

2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the rosemary sprig.

A Note: To make rosemary simple syrup add 1 cup fresh rosemary leaves, 2½ cups water, and 3 cups sugar to a medium-size saucepan. Stirring occasionally, slowly bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat. Then lower the heat a bit, keeping the mixture at a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the syrup completely cool in the pan. Strain through cheesecloth or a very fine strainer, and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

March 1, 2019

What I’m Drinking: Genever Julep

Generally, as a rule that most who have interacted with me know, probably cause I tend to mention it all the time, and sometimes stand on the corner on a soapbox talking about it, generally, I like all drinks to have their own individual names, even if the drinks has just been changing the number of drops of bitters in a drink. Creativity is a good thing! So, you might be surprised to find what looks, at first, to be a drink here where I have a variation of a well-known drink without a new name. BUT! At one time there was a whole list of Juleps consumed, not just the mighty Mint Julep, and “Julep” was nearly a category of drinks, with the Gin Julep being an especial favorite. And, when “Gin Julep” was ordered by drinkers who drank long before us, it was often genever, the progenitor of gin, in the drink. If you’re not a genever fan, well, do you have some tasting to do. First as a medicine and then as a drink, it’s been consumed happily since the 1500s, stories say. Made from malt wine, it tends to have a malted whiskey combo’d with an herbal and juniper-y gin-ness. All of which makes it intriguing in a Julep, delicious, even. And – because of all of the above – fine to just call this a Genever Julep.

genever-julepGenever Julep

Crushed ice
Fresh mint leaves (4 or 5)
3/4 ounce Wilks & Wilson gomme syrup (you can go less if you want, and you can go with plain simple syrup, but Wilks & Wilson is a fine maker of cocktail ingredients from Indiana)
3 ounces genever (I like Bols Genever)
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

1. Take one mint leaf and rub it over the inside of a metal julep cup (if you have one) or a highball glass. Be sure the mint touches each inch of the glasses inside. Drop the leaf in the glass when done.

2. Add the remaining mint leaves and the syrup to the glass. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle the leaves and syrup. You want to be strong, but respectful.

3. Fill the glass half way with crushed ice. Add the genever. Stir well.

4. Fill the glass the rest of the way with crushed ice. Stir once. Garnish with a mint sprig.

A Note: To be traditional, you must crush the ice in a cloth bag. But if this is too much work, just start with crushed ice.

February 8, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Mojito with a Rainbow Unicorn Straw

Sure, you’ve had Mojitos (I hope, and if not, you know, it’s a minty-rum-y delight of course so where have you been, dear)? In the summer, when they are one of the ruling drink class. Or in the spring, when you’re pretending it’s summer in your short shorts, even though you’re chilly. I see you. And even in the fall once, when you were thinking about Cuba. I sorta like them also in the winter, to deliver a summer dreamtime as the cold air nips noses. You may like that, too. But have you ever had a Mojito with a rainbow unicorn straw? I did, recently, and let me assure you – it’s better. The Mojito? Great drink. With a unicorn rainbow straw? Better. Maybe it’s this way with any drink? Here, though, trust me. Good times, with rum, and unicorn. Run with that, my brave and wonderful friends.

mojito-unicornThe Mojito

7 or 8 mint leaves
2 of more lime wedges
1 ounce simple syrup
Crushed or cracked ice
2-1/2 white rum
Club soda
Mint sprig, for garnish

1. Add the mind, lime wedges, and simple to a highball or comparable glass. Muddle well with a cool muddler.

2. Fill the glass most of the way with cracked or crushed ice. Add the rum, then nearly to the top with soda.

3. Smack the mint a bit to get the oils flowing, then let it float atop the drink. And don’t forget to add your unicorn straw!

November 23, 2018

What I’m Drinking: The Gizmo

Hey, guess what – yesterday was Thanksgiving! Wait, you knew that? Then perhaps what I’m about to be telling you is something you’re already aware of, as it’s as much as Thanksgiving tradition as turkey. That’s right, I’m talking about the post-Thanksgiving (either day of, or day after, that being today) Gizmo, which utilizes the leftover cranberry sauce. This one (you probably know this, too, as it’s part of the legend of Thanksgiving) comes from Jeremy Holt, from way back to the 1600s, or thereabouts.

gizmo-2The Gizmo

Ice cubes
2-1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce homemade cranberry sauce
1/2 ounce simple syrup (optional)

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin and cranberry sauce, and syrup if using (I like the syrup, but I also like second helping of dessert). Shake exceptionally well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink up around bites of leftover stuffing.

October 26, 2018

What I’m Drinking: Sleepy Hollow

Here’s a haunting favorite I hadn’t made recently – which was foolish of me, because it’s a Halloween hit that’s good year round. But, especially due to the headless nature of the eerie moniker, it’s a chillingly good choice this time of year. Luckily, it’s not scary to make, and the taste isn’t scary at all, and your spooky party pals will love it. Heck, they might even say it’s boo-tiful. Hahaha!

sleepy-hollow-1
Sleepy Hollow, from Good Spirits

Ice cubes
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
2-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur

1. Add the mint, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or hefty wooden spoon, muddle well.

2. Fill the cocktail shaker or glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin and apricot liqueur. Shake well, but don’t lose your head.

3. Strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a swizzle stick topped with a plastic head. Or other appropriate Halloween fun.

May 4, 2018

What I’m Drinking: The Mint Julep with Clyde May’s Straight Bourbon

Some days are difficult. Take tomorrow, for instance. It’s a tasty kind of difficult, because two solid drinking days are happening tomorrow, the fifth of May, 2018. First, it’s Cinco de Mayo, a fantastic day for having Mexican-inspired drinks, in celebration of the Mexican Army’s win over the French at the battle of Pueblo and Mexican-American culture. If you’re having sippers for Cinco, I dig it. However! It’s also the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, a day when more Mint Juleps are consumed than any other day, and a day when many fine hats are worn. I’m going the  Julep route tomorrow (admittedly, I may have a National Arms tomorrow, too). And one today, cause, well, I wanna make sure I have things right.

Why the Julep route this 5th? Well, a lot of the reason is because I received a bottle Clyde May’s Straight Bourbon in the mail the other day, and I’ve been itching to try it in a julep, and, well, the circumstances seemed too fortuitous to miss! Boasting a swell-looking bottle with visuals harkening back to the inspiration of the name, Clyde May that is, who legend says was a “moonshine icon who made the best whiskey Alabama ever tasted” starting back in 1946, and made by the Conecuh Ridge Distillery, this bourbon’s a nice 92 proof, is non-chill filtered, and aged for 5 years (hey, another 5 on 5/5!) in heavily charred American oak. Its aroma features vanilla, dried fruit, oak, and spice all playing together, and a taste that mirrors the vanilla and oak, but also delivers brown sugar, nuts, and more spice, including a peppery, near-peppermint-ness on the back end. Nicely balanced all around, and worth sipping solo, but also a solid cocktail bourbon that can provide flavor and backbone.

Especially in a Mint Julep, one of the older mixes bourbon pals around within. You love Mint Juleps, right? You’re a good person, so I’m thinking you do. It’s such a swell combo, not just for Derby day, but all spring long. Just remember, as S.B. Buckner, Jr. said in a letter to General Connor, 1937 “A Mint Julep is not the process of a formula. It is a ceremony and must be performed by a gentleman possessing a true sense of the artistic, a deep reverence for the ingredients, and a proper appreciation of the occasion.”

mint-julep
The Mint Julep

Crushed ice
Fresh mint leaves (4 or 5)
3/4 ounce simple syrup (go lighter to taste, if that’s your desire)
3 ounces Clyde May’s Straight Bourbon
Fresh mint sprig for garnish

1. Take one mint leaf and rub it over the inside of a metal julep cup (if you have one) or a highball glass. Be sure the mint touches each inch of the glasses inside. Drop the leaf in the glass when done.

2. Add the remaining mint leaves and the simple syrup to the glass. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle the leaves and syrup. You want to be strong, but respectful.

3. Fill the glass half way with crushed ice. Add the bourbon. Stir well.

4. Fill the glass the rest of the way with crushed ice. Stir once. Garnish with a mint sprig.

A Note: To be traditional, you must crush the ice in a cloth bag. But if this is too much work, just start with crushed ice.

December 29, 2017

What I’m Drinking: The Happy Youth

Let’s face it – we’re not getting any younger. Really, nothing is, I suppose. But wait, as the year rolls out into the sunset, and as a new one rolls in, let’s not get all down-in-the-mouth, and think about getting older. But instead, remember all the many wondrous days, and all the ones happening now, and how we can be youthful all year round, and many other things one might find on a card – hahaha! Or, skip all that, and sip a Happy Youth instead.

happy-youth
The Happy Youth, from Champagne Cocktails

Ice cubes
1 ounce Cherry Heering cherry brandy
1 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Chilled extra-dry rosé sparkling wine

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cherry Heering, the orange juice, and the simple syrup. Shake youthfully.

2. Strain the mixture equally into a four flute glasses. Top each with the sparkling wine.

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