August 1, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Ponce de León

This refreshing number with a kick will not make you younger, or provide you (after you drink, say, three) with a vision that takes you to the fountain of youth. However, however, however, if you do consume three, with a good friend or two, my guess is you’ll start acting a bit more youthful, and feel perhaps more youthful, and have a generally awesome time. Maybe we shouldn’t ask for more?


The Ponce de León, from Dark Spirits

Ice cubes
1 ounce Cognac
1/2 ounce white rum
1/2  ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cognac, rum, Cointreau, and grapefruit juice. Shake well.

2. Strain the elixir into a cocktail glass. Fill the glass not quite to the top with the Champagne. Serve with a youthful grin.

January 25, 2013

What I’m Drinking: The Temporary Getaway

In late January, many of us are starting to dream about June. We’ve had just long enough of the cold weather that we crave the warm weather – and heck, many travel to find a summerlike setting right about now. But, many others can’t take the time to take the trip. This drink is for those folks (hmm, I may just be one of those folks), and the recipe’s from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz.

The Temporary Getaway

3 apple slices

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

Ice cubes

1 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur

4 ounces chilled brut Sekt or other sparkling wine

1. Place 2 of the apple slices, the orange juice, and the lemon juice in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle well.

2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the St-Germain and, using a long spoon, stir well.

3. Pour the chilled Sekt into the cocktail shaker. Using that same reliable spoon, stir briefly, being sure to bring up the fruit on the bottom when stirring.

4. Strain into a flute glass or cocktail glass (in this instance I like the way the latter breathes, but a flute’s more traditional). Garnish with the remaining apple slice, putting a little notch in it if needed for rim balancing.

November 16, 2011

What I’m Drinking: The Erikecca

Earlier this week (see below) I talked about building a better Gin and Tonic (though the world didn’t beat a path to my door–yet) for pal Erika’s birthday. But we didn’t solely serve G&Ts at the birthday party, though they were quite fantastic. We also whipped out a new-old drink, or old-new, in honor of the occasion. See, I had some homemade blackberry liqueur around that was begging to be consumed in something bubbly and some nice recently-released local vodka begging for the same. I couldn’t resist the call, and so fashioned a drink based on one created for another pal, Rebecca (a recipe for The Rebecca, the drink, can be found in either Good Spirits or Champagne Cocktails, both of which I hope you have, cause we’re pals, right?). The Erikecca combines the two ingredients touched on above, Skip Rock vodka–a smooth, berry-friendly, potato vodka made in Snohomish, WA–and blackberry liqueur with a demi sec sparkling wine to lovely, and tasty, effect. It’s a drink worthy of a serious birthday celebration, or any old celebration. And, as some philosophers say it’s right to celebrate every day, that means you should have this drink every day. At least that makes sense to me.

1-1/2 ounces Skip Rock vodka

1-1/2 ounces blackberry liqueur

Chilled demi sec sparkling wine

Frozen blackberry, for garnish

Ice cube (if needed)

1. Add the vodka and the blackberry liqueur to a flute glass. Stir once or twice.

2. Fill the glass about three-quarters full with sparkling wine–carefully, though, so it doesn’t bubble over. Stir again, carefully, briefly, to introduce the vodka and the liqueur into the bubbly.

3. Garnish with the blackberry by dropping it into the glass. If your sparkling wine isn’t good and chilled, feel okay about adding one ice cube to keep this cool.

A Note: Not sure about making blackberry liqueur? Luckily, there’s a great recipe for one, called Always Bet on Blackberries, in Luscious Liqueurs. And yep, I’ve managed to link to three books in one post. Amazing.

December 29, 2009

Was Champagne Created by the Devil?

Everyone is asking it: was Champagne created by the devil (providing your belief system has a devil in it–if not, just fake it for now) to entrap people into getting loopy and lustful as the old year ends? I mean, we do consume a lot of Champagne and bubbly (and Champagne and bubbly cocktails, one hopes, to get away from the mundane-ity) this time of year, and it is sort-a like the death of the year, and the devil is on people’s minds when they think of death. And drunken revelry has mistakenly been touted as evil before (when, in actuality, it is really full of goodness a full 87.463% of the time). What do I think about the whole “Champagne was created by the devil” rigmarole that’s being tossed around so much on TV news shows and talk radio? Well, let’s see what the ads say, because advertising is the most trustworthy business there is (after used-car selling, prostitution, and the NBA). First, check out this ad, from way back in 1908 (I think):



You see the devil is, actually, involved, using the bubbly to entice a lovely young maiden and a dancing, prancing (romancing), satyr. Or is it a faun? Or just a drunk kid? I get those confused. Wait, what’s that you say? The woman is pouring the bubbly for the devilish character? That makes it less probable that he created it. But wait, though, wait (again), what about this ad from a little later in history:



Here, mean ol’ scratch is pouring it out with an evil grin. No doubt about it. Well, maybe a little doubt. I mean, he is pouring it a long way–why would he want to potentially spill what he created? It almost seems like he’s showing off his bar skills, maybe looking for a new gig behind the stick, and not trying to drunky up the masses at all. Maybe, just maybe, the devil didn’t create Champagne in the least bit (and maybe, just maybe, I’m just devil’d up from reading too many pre-code devilish horror comics during The Horrors of It All’s Devilcember). Wait, though, wait (again): this last ad below definitely points to the possibilities of the devil at least being associated with Champagne. Because if this isn’t a minion of the devil pushing the Champagne in the ad, I don’t know my religious cosmology:



Okay, wait, though, wait (one last time): I think I get it, finally. The devil is only responsible for Champagne or bubbly in a can. I think I can believe that. Now, go stock up for New Year’s Eve, devilish ones, and don’t forget to save a glass of bubbliciousness for me (as long as it’s poured from a bottle).

December 30, 2008

Cocktail Video: The Valencia

Take your New Year’s Eve party up a notch (if that’s possible–knowing the readers and pals I have, your New Year’s Eve parties are already notched up so high the belt might break. But even so, you still might like a new New Year’s bubbly beauty) with the Valencia, a drink I think sounds like it refers to an old, but somewhat shadily classy, apartment house, probably a brick brownstone, where the serious parties have happened, are happening, and will continue to happen as long as we’re lucky to walk and drink on this earth. Valencia the drink contains a captivating combination of apricot brandy, orange juice, orange bitters, and Champagne or sparkling wine (the latter being why it’s so fitting for the last day in December). In the below video, which is posted via the fine folks at How2Heroes (a site you should check out if you like drinking and cooking videos) you can see me making one of these sparklers.


If that’s not enough, and if you really want to start your New Year right (or oddly), check out this video of me (also from How2Heroes) talking about how I got into cocktail love and booze-writing and all that liquor madness. I’m also wearing a pink tie and straw hat and name dropping the Essential Dr. Strange Volume I.

And if that’s not enough, know that I’m wishing you, from a distance, if not in person (though I wish I was), the happiest and most wonderfulest 2009 imaginable. And then some. Cheers!

Rathbun on Film