The Porchtime Sipper

The Porchtime Sipper

When I picture my perfect Memorial Day -- meaning the Monday proper, after most of us have had our share of barbecue beers and whatnot -- what I'd really like to do on that day is sit on a porch, in a nice, big, comfy chair (rocking, or Adirondack -- I'm not picky) and spend the afternoon reading a good book and sipping on something wonderful. 

Read More
14 Comments
Print Friendly and PDF

The Month-Old Manhattan (Day 35)

Time moves more slowly in Canada. I move more slowly with child. Put 'em together and what've you got? A 35-day month, but one that's worth the wait, for at the end of it lies the Month-Old Manhattan.

When I first mixed this drink in May, having gotten the recipe's inspiration from a restaurant's cocktail menu in St. Louis, I commended its use of old-school rye whiskey instead of bourbon as a base and marveled at the inclusion of curacao, which gave it a more playful (but still not juvenile) flavor. I'm paraphrasing myself here, but I described its unaged taste as appealingly scratchy-smooth-sweet on the palate.

Well; what a difference a five-week month makes. After spending that span of time sealed tightly in a Mason jar, the Month-Old Manhattan now boasts a shooting-out-of-the-gate upfrontness, like it couldn't wait to get down somebody's gullet, pronto. What may surprise you most, though, is which parts of its original profile are doing the tastebud-grabbing and the ass-kicking. This cocktail is, first and foremost, orange. Like, woah, orange. Like, oh!-range. And that's despite that fact that I'd subbed rail-quality triple sec for top-shelf curacao.

Second to that in oh!-ness is how round and smooth aging has made it. This is obviously not as surprising -- that's what aging is supposed to do, round out the corners, sand down the edges. It makes this Manhattan dangerously drinkable. In fact, if you've ever fancied shooting a Manhattan, this would be how to do it. But of course, good shots only come to those who wait.

The Month-Old Manhattan

(Adapted from the cocktail menu at Eclipse Restaurant in St. Louis)

2 ounces Old Overholt Rye Whiskey

3/4 ounce triple sec

3/4 ounce Stock sweet vermouth

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Orange peel, to garnish

Combine all liquid ingredients in a clean Mason jar, stir briskly and briefly with a bar spoon without ice, and tightly seal jar lid. Let stand for one month in a cool, dry place.

To serve, pour jar's contents into an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir vigorously with a bar spoon until drink is well chilled. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

Tasting Notes

If the overly orangeness is scaring you off, my suggestion is to reduce the triple sec down to a half-ounce.

Comment
Print Friendly and PDF

Lemon Raspberry Mint Ouzo-Ade

Last week:

PhoBlograpHusband: "What do you want to do for our [second] anniversary [on June 5]?"

Blogtender: "Let's, like -- let's go out and see Montreal, some part of the city we keep saying we should see but haven't yet. Not anything too crazy, obvs [because I'm seven months pregnant] but something different."

PhoBlograpHusband: "Yeah, we need to get off our couch this summer."

Two nights ago:

Blogtender: "You know what I really want to do for our anniversary? I want to make cocktails and eat junk food and watch TV. On our couch."

Ah, yes, while I believe the traditional second-anniversary gift is something like clocks or coffee or leather, chez Lorre it was a much more sublime trifecta. Smiley face-shaped chicken tenders and Mad Men (we just subscribed to this season on iTunes, NO SPOILERS LA LA LA LA) and, among other libations, this Lemon Raspberry Mint Ouzo-Ade.

This is my second in what will hopefully turn out to be a long and languid series of posts about what to do with ouzo. I swear, Jesus sneaks into my liquor cabinet when I'm not looking and blesses my ouzo stash, because no matter how much I pour the stuff I can't seem to make a dent in it. And as I've said before, my natural inclination is to not want to make a dent in it. It's not my favorite liqueur.

But I had pulled a recipe from Martha Stewart for Lemon Ouzo-Ade, which necessitated making your own lemon simple syrup (steeping with zest) in addition to freshly squeezed lemon juice. We tried cheating this with an organic lemonade Sean had picked up on sale at the supermarket (it's really good and light and not syrupy; I've been drinking it straight all day), first going with equal parts arak* and lemonade.

Blech. See, this is what I can't stand about ouzo (arak, whatever), it's sooo overpowering. It takes over a glass like nobody's business. It's not necessarily strong in alcohol-y-ness but it's way too much  flavor-wise. Where does ouzo get off?

Luckily, raspberries were also on sale this week, and we're back to buying (hopefully soon growing) mint now that it's summer again. All that in addition to the lemon put up enough of a fight against the ouzo flavor that it finally backed down and agreed to play nice. The resulting ade possessed a nice, rounded coalition of tastes. All the flavors came through on their own, distinct merits while meshing at the same time.

We also got one more thing "accomplished" yesterday: Finished our little happy-hour patio in the backyard. Another traditional second-anniversary gift is his-and-hers green and blue spray paint...

Lemon Raspberry Mint Ouzo-Ade

(Loosely inspired by this Martha Stewart recipe)

2 ounces Arak Razzouk

At least 4 ounces Santa Cruz Organic Lemonade

Small handful of fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish

About 3 large raspberries

Pinch of granulated sugar

Muddle mint and raspberry in the bottom of a Mason jar, first sprinkling sugar on them to act as an abrasive. Fill with ice cubes and add arak (or ouzo; see Tasting Notes); fill with lemonade. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Tasting Notes

*The Ouzo/Arak Refresher Course: Ouzo is a Greek aperitif flavored with anise. Arak is basically the Lebanese name for the same liqueur. I use them interchangeably in cocktail-making. Arak's usually a little cheaper, if harder to find.

2 Comments
Print Friendly and PDF

The Month-Old Manhattan (Day One)

Damn you, St. Louis! Damn your exploding cocktail scene, three-and-a-half years after I move away. Damn you and your 150-libations-long cocktail menus and your Tales of the Cocktail award noms, your Ted Kilgores, your envy-inducing, membership-only cocktail boites that just happen to be housed in the most awesomest speakeasy-style restaurant space EVER.

And damn the recent cover story in Alive Magazine (a local lifestyle rag for chicks with meticulously maintained blonde highlights that I make fun of a lot in my head, but still) listing the top 20 cocktails in the city, which just so happened to be the current issue  when I swung through town a few weeks ago, reeling as I customarily do from the timewarp-mindfuck that comes from revisiting my once-hometown, coupled with the fact that I'm still pregnant and can't shouldn't really no damnit can't drink anyway. You are killing me Saint Louis.

So yes, raging jealousy was my default reaction to this fine piece of journalism, followed closely by an intense desire to recreate at least one of these 20-best potations. I settled on the Month-Old Manhattan because, like many cocktails I've made of late, I already had all of the ingredients in the house. I haven't toyed with aging a cocktail in a while. The Month-Old Manhattan recipe came from Eclipse Restaurant, owned by my old bud Joe Edwards.

Joe Edwards is the king of the Loop, one of StL's happening-est nabes. Joe Edwards is a gentle, aging hippie and a shrewd, wickedly successful entrepreneur, whose hospitality and entertainment empire speaks to his endless love for all things Americana kitsch: Blueberry Hill (a resto/bar/college hangout/music venue where Chuck Berry still performs); Pin-Up BowlFlamingo Bowl; and the Moonrise Hotel, which houses Eclipse. I got to know Joe Edwards back when I was the restaurant critic at StL's alt-weekly. Also, Joe Edwards went to Duke. Go to hell, Carolina, go to hell!

So we mixed up the M.O.M. and found it's got a hell of a lot going for it besides its titular aging. This Manhattan is made with rye whiskey (as was the norm back in the day), sweet vermouth, bitters -- and, curiously, curacao. If I had Grand Marnier on hand I'd use that (Grand Marnier being a most upscale curacao) but I went downmarket and just used no-name triple sec.

Even unaged and no-name-triple-sec'd, I am already a big fan of this drink. The rye-curacao combo offers a rare scratchy-smooth-sweet trifecta on the palate.

The Month-Old Manhattan

(Adapted from Eclipse Restaurant, as published by Alive Magazine)

2 ounces Old Overholt Rye Whiskey

3/4 ounce triple sec

3/4 ounce Stock Sweet Vermouth

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Clementine segment (rind on), to garnish

To make your aging sample, combine all liquid ingredients in a clean Mason jar, stir briskly and briefly with a bar spoon (no ice necessary), and tightly seal jar lid. Let stand one month in a cool, dark place like a cupboard.

To drink straight away, stir all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass briskly for about 20 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange or clementine segment, if desired.

Tasting Notes

Like I said, I was happily surprised by the smoothness and well-calibrated sweetness of the M.O.M. even using crappy triple sec, so I can only imagine that going with GrandMa as your curacao would knock your socks off. In fact, you might even want to try scaling back to 1/2 ounce GrandMa if you do so -- I'm just guessing on that, though. Cointreau would, of course, be a fine, middle-of-the-road substitute between those two.

3 Comments
Print Friendly and PDF