We are the proud yet ashamed owners of cocktail recipes scribbled across stacks of mismatched scratch papers, napkins, business cards, index cards, menus, and the ubiquitous Post-Its. We call them strays. As winter approaches, we decided to shed ourselves of things that do not or no longer give us joy. Scraps of paper are those things. So before tossing them into the wastebasket of thwarted dreams, we decided to publish a few recipes that actually sounded good.
Both of us were alive in 1969, albeit as toddlers. There was so much happening in the news that year - the moon landing, Woodstock, the Stonewall Riots - a lot for a young mind to even begin to comprehend. But these events greatly affected those around us and the vibes they gave off shaped the way we perceived the world, the way we matured, and even the way we ate.
As we grew up gay, we poured over books that would lend credence to our existence and provide a historical context for how we came to be. We learned about the Stonewall Riots, the angry drag queens who had enough from the police and decided to stand up for themselves and be heard. The closet door flung wide open.
Try this experiment: Ask someone tending bar to make you a brandy old-fashioned. What may get placed before you will most likely be an old-fashioned made with brandy (or cognac) instead of the iconic rye. Not necessarily bad (a complex brandy would make all the difference), but if the bartender handed this drink to a Milwaukeean, and told them what it was, she would take a sip then look at the bartender quizzically.
Suntory makes an incredibly smooth whisky, 12-year Yamazaki. According to its Web site, it's a medium-bodied whisky with the aromas of dried fruits and honey. It has a delicate, mellow taste with a lingering, woody, dry finish. We agree. If you are not a scotch drinker, but you like the mellowness of some Irish whiskeys, give this unique and excellent single malt a try.
Summer winds down, temperatures start to dip a little, yet we still crave Margaritas. Pondering this craving, we've come to the conclusion that the balance of sweet, sour, and that one-of-a-kind complex fruity earthiness that we encounter from the moment we open a bottle of tequila until the last sip is the cause of our happy addiction.
We've been infusing spirits for years with ripe fruit, fresh vegetables, and piquant herbs and spices. Now it's all the rage. Recently, we taught ourselves how to prepare a bunch of Korean dishes and, looking for a perfect pairing, decided that soju would be the ideal partner.
If you want something not so boozy this summer, try a Remsen Cooler. This refreshing elixir made with Old Tom gin (a slightly sweet version of London dry gin that goes way back) and soda was putatively created in the mid 1800s by one William R. Remsen, a retired navy officer, who made them for the men of the private Union Club in New York City, of which he was an imbibing member.
Now that summer is officially here according to our social calendars, gin is in. Every gin drinker has a favorite way to make a gin and tonic. For some, substitutions will not do. We have several ways of making this refreshing cooler, and they all have the same 2:1 ratio of tonic to gin. One of our readers wanted to know about tonics and how they interact with different brands of gin.
Cinco de Mayo (the Fifth of May) commemorates the Mexican army's defeat of the French in Puebla in 1862, and is celebrated today primarily by Mexican-Americans, prideful of their rich heritage. You can bet that Kahlua will be involved in the festivities, especially when served with desserts such as those Mexican doughnut rods known as churros. Kahlua, as you probably already know, is one of the most popular coffee liqueurs on the market.
What a long winter. Time to bid an overdue farewell with a slightly sweet and puckery friend, the Whiskey Sour. Just smelling the whiskey hit the lemon juice brings back memories of our parents mixing them for friends to grand acclaim. We've been perfecting our Whiskey Sour recipe for what seems like years. Sometimes we like them more sour than sweet, sometimes more sweet than sour—you get the idea.
This is the time of year when we think of maple trees, dormant now, but getting ready soon to release their sap as the temperature rises. Maple syrup is a blessing from our northern neighbors and Upper New England cousins. We came up with a cocktail that uses a seductive maple liqueur from Canada.
Deep in the heart of winter, February rolls around with a promise of love to warm you up. Another perfect way to warm up is with the cocktail we truly love, the Manhattan. It's the perfect antidote to a bitter-cold winter evening. It evokes age-old cocktail glamour and satisfies like nothing else.
The Season of Good Cheer has come to an end. You overdid it? Welcome to the club, Sister Maria. Perhaps you'd like to take things a bit slower as 2011 starts to come a little more sharply into focus. The hills may no longer be alive with the sound of Santajesusdreidel music, but don't let that stop you from enjoying something tasty to imbibe.
The final fifteen minutes before your guests are scheduled to arrive are always fraught with trepidation. We curse ourselves with nonstop invective. It's at these moments, when we all turn into whining teenagers, that we must take a deep breath and rise to the occasion. You threw this cocktail party because you are awesome and your friends rock, and you wanted to share with them some cocktail and party-food pairings that will be remembered forever (and not in a bad way).
Back in the Eighties, when big hair and shoulder pads ruled supreme, as did Ronald Reagan in all his numbingly myopic splendor, I tried my first Rusty Nail. I remember the first sip like it was yesterday. The scotch was fine and I really took a shine to Drambuie.
Nothing says 'Cocktail Party' quite like a Champagne Cocktail. The sound of the bubbles rippling to the top of the glass, breaking the surface in gentle, aromatic huffs entices you instantly. Draw it to your lips and you can smell the slightly sweet brandy mingle with the spicy redolence of the Angostura bitters. Take one sip and let the giddiness ensue.
A Negroni is an acquired taste. You either love the bittersweet bliss of Campari or despise it if the number of taste buds on your tongue are off the charts. Regardless of where you lie in the spectrum of love/hate, the Negroni has withstood the test of time and has reemerged as one of the must-have before-dinner cocktails in this new millennium.
I just love watermelon at its peak during the summer, when one bite into a slice sends pink juice dripping down your chin. When its sweetness reminds you instantly how much you loved it last summer. I definitely wanted to make a cocktail with watermelon, but in a way I had never heard of before.
Perfect as a brunch alternative to a Bloody Mary, the Adam will tempt you with its fresh tomato taste and off-the-vine aroma.
If you haven't heard yet, the Mint Julep and the Kentucky Derby are inextricably linked. Well, since 1875, anyway. That's when their marriage at Churchill Downs began.
Spring has arrived and although it can still be a bit chilly, we're getting a glimpse of what's to come - clear blue skies, mild days, and refreshing cocktails.
Irish eyes are smiling this month with a forgotten classic, the Paddy Cocktail. Paddy is an Irish nickname for Patrick, and what better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than a cocktail named after an Irishman. When you first bring a Paddy Cocktail to your lips, you'll smell the caramel, with hints of vanilla and cherry.
Baby, it's cold outside. Heat things up with the Srirachacha. A drop of Sriracha chili sauce is all you need to transform the coldest of days.
At times you crave a classic cocktail, or maybe something quick and easy, but sometimes you want to experiment.