June 16, 2009

What I’m Drinking Right Now: The New Orleans Buck

What the heck–it’s the 16th of June already? And I’m only just having my first “buck” drink? And it’s not even an Orange Buck, but the sultry-cousin-who-sits-in-a-loose-dress-on-the-porch-driving-the-neighbors-mad-with-desire-while-at-the-same-time-barely-perspiring-and-looking-all-kinds-of-languid New Orleans Buck? And I’m using the Nicaraguan-made Flor de Cana Grand Reserve 7-year-old dark rum (which, I have to admit, so you don’t think I’m some kind of un-admitting flunky, was sent to me in the mail not too long ago from someone in New York–who I’m thanking right now, cause really, it’s tasty rum)? All of this probably leads many old Kansans (pals KT and Markie Mark, for two) to saying one thing: “that’s bucked up.”


But really, my old Orange Buck brethren, forgive me. The New Orleans Buck is darn refreshing, and is a very close relative of the O.B., and part of that legendary Gin Buck family that traces back, oh, to at least the 1920s. And if you’re new to this whole “buck” thing, let me promise you: you’ll be happy to dive in here, because this is a happening and cheery summer drink, one that fits backyard kick-backs remarkable well. You can slim the rum down a snitch if you must (I like the umph, but wife Nat thinks a little less booze bring the refreshment factor up a notch. Take your pick pals, and let me know what you think), to say, 2 ounces. But don’t you dare mess with the ratio of ginger ale to orange juice. That has to stay at 1:1. Or the universe will implode. Which is a messy situation anytime, but especially sticky in summer.


Ice cubes

3 ounces dark rum (or a little less, as mentioned)

2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

2 ounces chilled ginger ale

Lime wedge for garnish

Lime slice for garnish


1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the rum.


2. Carefully add the orange juice and the ginger ale at the same time. Stir briefly.


3. Squeeze the lime wedge over the glass, then let it join the mix. Garnish with the lime slice.



A Variation: For an Orange Buck, substitute gin for rum, and for a Nordic Buck, sub in vodka. For a classic Gin Buck, make it with gin and no orange juice.


PS: Hopefully this isn’t too mercenary a mention, but this here drink is featured in a book called Dark Spirits, which doesn’t hit the shelves until fall of ’09, but which you could, if you wanted, pre-order right now, so as to insure you’re the first on the block with it in your pretty little hands.

June 2, 2009

What I’m Drinking Right Now: The Panther’s Paw

I wanted to call this post “Drinking Cats” as a balance to the below two cats drinking, but then I figured I’d get all kinds of weirdo traffic flowing in (instead of the regular weirdo traffic–ba-dump-bump. I kid, I kid). And who knows if that weirdo traffic would enjoy this newly minted (or, at least, fairly newly shaken) combination of gin, absinthe, pineapple juice, and a touch of simple syrup, accented by a lemon twist if you’re feeling it. And I’m feeling it, so you should be too (said in my drunken-two-year-old voice). I say hit up the Aviation gin here if you can, cause House Spirits rocks the party. Oh, and it tastes freaking great, like a springtime daydream. I used Lucid absinthe, which is pretty darn swell, too. But if you want to play around with other gins (Bluecoat might be interesting, and Dry Fly) or absinthes (like the mighty Marteau) then start experimenting with your Panther’s Paw. It won’t bite. Though after a couple, you may feel slightly paw’d. But maybe you like that? Wait, I know the answer to that question already.


Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounce Aviation gin

1 ounce Lucid absinthe

3/4 ounce pineapple juice

1/4 ounce simple syrup

Lemon slice, for garnish (optional)


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, absinthe, pineapple juice, and simple syrup. Shake well.


2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon slice if that’s what makes your panther purr.


March 3, 2009

What I’m Drinking Right Now: English Martini (Winter Style)

So, right, I tend to dislike lack of originality in naming drinks. I’m upfront about it. I think drinks are imaginative little mixes that drive us to better conversations as well as transporting us from the mundane and providing us with flights of fancy and joyous silly-ness and good spirits (hah). And sure, I’m flowery, but that’s all right, right? With that said then, my take is that if you come up with a really good drink then you should come up with a really good name to match (such as Mrs. Solomon Wears Slacks), and to bring the whole creative process full circle. Which is why just adding “ini” or “olitan” to something and calling it a fine moniker bores me, even when the drink’s scrumptious. But, in the case of the English Martini, I’ll put up with it, cause that’s the way I heard it when first sampling the particular combination, and if I change it now I’ll get confused (which happens so often, why increase the possibilities?). If this all sounds a touch hypocritical to you, well, I’ll buy your next drink in penance. Anywho, the reason I’m now calling it “English Martini (Winter Style)” is that when I had one last night I used Pimm’s # 3 Winter Cup, which is based on brandy (instead of gin, like Pimm’s # 1 Cup) in a ménage with orange and spices. I don’t believe it’s available stateside (he says, like a yank), but I picked some up when on a U.K. trip last fall. It was pretty good in this drink, but I think I’ll try orange juice, instead of lemon juice, when making it again. And maybe up the Pimm’s a bit. And maybe then come up with a new name. Still, it warmed me inside and out, and got me dreaming about strolling along one of those green-as-green-can-be English hillsides, with white puffy sheep frolicking on every side. Nice stuff, isn’t it?


Ice cubes

2 ounces gin

1 ounce Pimm’s No. 3 Cup

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

Lemon twist, for garnish


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the twist. Shake well.


2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass, and garnish with that lemon twist.

February 25, 2009

What I’m Drinking Right Now: Mrs. Solomon Wears Slacks

I was looking through my library (which isn’t like the booze Library of Alexandria or something, but which is an agreeable little stack of books about drinks, drinking, and more drinking) the other night for recipes for the Betsy Ross, because my pal Andrew had asked about it (for his new bar, which I talked about below. Really, this is turning into the Andrew Bohrer admiration society). Anywho, the flag-making patriot-in-liquid form as far as I found goes back to 1941 (and by the way, history buffs, I’m not saying I made a complete search of every known record and microfilm and microfiche, but just that I looked through the books in the above mentioned library), to a recipe in one of my favorites, the jolly Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion. Which was published in 1941, as you might have surmised. Now, this is a winding road way of getting here, but while tracking down the info, I re-noticed another drink, across the page from Betsy Ross, a drink with the enticing and intriguing name, “Mrs. Solomon Wears Slacks.” Which is one of the top twenty-five drink names. Or, at least, that’s what I’m saying today. In honor of Mr. Gaige’s (or whomever’s) naming prowess, I made the mix, a brandy-based affair, and it was pretty swell. I even sugared the Champagne flute’s rim, as suggested, getting sweetly jiggy with it. I mussed around with the Slacks some (gawd, that’s fun to say), but the basic ingredients stayed the same (I went a snitch higher on curaçao and bitters, and brandy for that matter). I suggest serving it up at those affairs where slacks are worn, or anytime you want to be a bit daring (which slacks were in 1941. And that’s how I’m wearing it).


Ice cubes

Super-fine sugar

2 ounces brandy

1/2 ounce orange curaçao

3 dashes Angostura bitters

Lemon twist


1. Put a good helping of sugar (but not a mound or anything) on a saucer. Wet the outside rim of a Champagne flute (I used a lemon slice, but you could also rotate it through water on a saucer–just don’t get any water in the glass). Carefully rotate the outside rim of the glass through the sugar–but you don’t want to get any sugar on the inside. No, no, not a grain. So, be careful.


2. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the brandy, curaçao, and bitters. Stir well.


3. Strain the mix into the flute. Garnish with the lemon twist (making sure now, that you get that swoosh of lemon oils from the twist into the drink and not into the atmosphere at large). Now, dance!







February 3, 2009

What I’m Drinking Right Now: The Sweet Dreams

Get ready for some Valentine’s Day hugging, kissing, and drinking (you don’t really want to have a Valentine over for a little romance without the right drink, right? I mean, you aren’t that caddish, are you? And, speaking of “caddish” is that a phrase that applies to both ladies and gentlemen? Or is a “cad” only a dude? Cause I in no way want to imply that not serving a good drink on Valentine’s Day is okay if you’re female. It’s bad no matter what. So, put that in your shaker and shake it) with this lovely mix (from Good Spirits, if you wanna relay a little information to your amorous other when serving up the cocktail). I used Washington State’s own Dry Fly gin when making it, and liked it lots, and also suggest using Tillen Farms Merry Maraschino cherries (from good ol’ WA as well), which are yummy and clean, sweetened with pure cane sugar instead of goopy high fructose junk, and which don’t contain artificial dross. Which of course you don’t want to serve up alongside the kisses. That’s just gross.


Ice cubes

1 1/2 ounce gin

3/4 ounce sweet vermouth

3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur

1/2 ounce simple syrup

Maraschino cherry for garnish


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, sweet vermouth, and maraschino liqueur, and simple syrup. Shake well.


2. Add the cherry to a cocktail glass or pretty cordial. Strain the mix into the glass.

December 3, 2008

What I’m Drinking Right Now: Saint Nick’s Rosy Cheek

This holiday helper was created for a winter parties class I’m teaching tomorrow and Friday at the wonderful and worthy Dish It Up (if you’re in the Seattle area, or visiting, be sure to check them out not only for a wide range of kitchen gear, and kitchen classes, but also for their selection of wines). The class was featured in the most recent issue of Traditional Homes (cause we all know for a real traditional home, you need lots of booze), and I had to make up some new mixes (and snacks) for the occasion. Funny enough, when the creation took place it was summer (ah, those long-lead mags) and I was drinking and mixing with rosé quite a bit (a good dry rosé, like one from those madcap vintners at Trio, is a dandy mixer), which led to the rosé-backed Saint Nick’s Rosy Cheek.


Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces rosé wine (be sure to get an actual rosé and not a blush wine)

1 ounce citrus vodka

1/2 ounce simple syrup

2 dashes orange bitters

Maraschino cherry, for garnish


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rosé, vodka, simple syrup, and bitters. Shake well.


2. Add the cherry to a cocktail glass, interesting cordial glass, or anything you won’t drop. Strain the mix over the cherry. Kiss Santa’s cheek.


I used Regan’s orange bitters here, and it worked wonders. I suggest you do the same. I like the little ting the citrus vodka brings, but think straight vodka would be good as well, and would be interested to try this with gin (I mean, I tend to like gin better anyway, but for some reason reached for the vodka originally. Now I feel sorta bad, like I’ve let gin down. Gin, I love you. Forgive me).

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