The Orange Creamsicle

Guest post by Leslie Deak, a friend of mine from Duke, who mixes metaphors and mojitos (not necessarily in that order) and whose enthusiasm for a good cocktail is rivaled only by a well-executed pick-and-roll.

The scene: A lovely, late-summer evening in Tampa A dark, stormy night;

No food to be found (white people problems);

Broad walks into a deserted saloon...

M. and I end up at a bar called Cheap, which is anything but. [Ed. Note: Most blargh bar name since Bar Le Scoop.] We share a pitcher of sangria, then move on to fancypants cocktails, each of which prove disappointing. They were either too weak or not well-mixed, such that one flavor overpowered all the others.

At that point, we were joined by a third, S., who is not a drinker, and started ordering froufy drinks, including the Orange Creamsicle. Once M. ordered it and I tasted it, I knew S. would be on board since the sweetness masked the booze. She doesn't like to taste the alcohol. I just kept ordering more rounds.

In walks a very tall, muscular, athletic gentleman. Being a basketball fan, I figure he must be a player. I walk up, introduce myself as a fan of the game, and ask where he plays.

With the Knicks.

“You’re a Knickerbocker? Excellent. I’m a big Duke fan.”

“Oh, no, I’m an Indiana fan.”

“Same team!” [Translation: Back in the day, Duke's Coach K played for Bobby Knight, Indiana's former, famously chair-hurling coach, at West Point.]

I ask for a pic, and he says he'll oblige for a piece of our pizza. Realizing he could squash any one of us in one fell swoop, we agree.

With that, NBA journeyman Jared Jeffries fades off into the distance. Good thing we did our part to feed him. Who knows how long this lockout will last?

The Orange Creamsicle

1 ounce vanilla vodka

1 ounce triple sec

1 ounce orange juice

1 scant scoop (about an ounce) each of vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet

Combine all ingredients into shaker and shake well, decanting into martini glass. Optional mint sprig garnish.

Tasting Notes

I wanted to taste-test a few suggestions for dressing/classying up this cocktail. Like, what if you make this for a friend or relative who only drinks the froufy, and you want to have some to but you're not so down with the froufy? So in the never-ending name of everlasting user-friendliness, here are a few things you can do:

- Add an ounce of tequila to the shaker.

- Coat the glass with a rinse of white creme de menthe or ouzo before decanting shaker's contents into it.

- Garnish with cinnamon on top.

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The Refresherer

Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband

Yesterday Rose mentioned our pre-moving“Drink Us Out of House and Homeland” party, which left us depleted of booze but rife with empty bottles and hangover headaches. Among the copious, and at times senseless, consumption (see our friend Jason mistreat a bottle of Michter's below), a few cocktails were born. As our liquor levels ran lower and lower, our need to innovate grew higher and higher. But perhaps my favorite creation of the night was not a particular drink, but a certain game I invented, Box of Mystery.

The idea behind Box of Mystery was simple if a bit sophomoric. Put twelve bottle of liquor in a box and make one of your guests pick a bottle at random. The guest in question then fashions a drink using said liquor. The first few rounds of Box of Mystery yielded few surprises -- Cognac = Sidecar, Gin = Martini, Rye = suck it straight from the bottle  -- but the cranberry-flavored Smirnoff vodka, now that one resulted in a twist of creative, collaborative delicious genius. Which I present to you now.

The Refresherer

1 1/4 ounes Smirnoff cranberry vodka
3/4 ounesLillet
Splash pomegranate juice
Splash ginger ale
Lime wedge

Combine the vodka, Lillet and pomegranate juice in an old fashioned glass with ice and stir. Add ginger ale and a squeeze of lime. Refresh!

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The Breakfast of Champions (aka The Bittersweet Surrender)

This is the story of how a post-theater drink transmogrified in four days' time into a cocktail made for first thing in the morning -- although not really, just in a jokey way -- and how your blogtender Sloshy got her groove back along the way.

So Thursday night, I went to see The Normal Heart (OMG GO) on Broadway with my friend Jackie, and afterwards the PhoBlograpHusband met us in midtown for a tipple or two. (It wound up being three, natch.) Beforehand, I'd scoped out this new-ish Theater District bar online called The Rum House, which is on the ground floor of the deliciously retro (if a shade shady) Hotel Edison, and as it's from the guys behind Ward III in Tribeca, I figured we should check it out.

The lighting was perfectly dimmed and someone was playing away on the upright piano, so I liked The Rum House instantly. On its cocktail menu was a simple creation whose name now escapes me, comprised of bourbon, egg white and one of the countless Amaro liqueurs, served on the rocks. How had I not thought of something like this before? Then again, how was it possible that my home bar still lacked an Amaro, given the number of times I'd lustily ogled bottles of it behind the bars at such reputable establishments as Otto, Mario Batali's awesome enoteca, and Brooklyn's Watty & Meg?

I was sure it'd be easy to replicate four days later in my kitchen: Bourbon, egg white and... Punt e Mes? Bourbon, egg white and... Fernet Branca (aka shoe-polish liqueur, but I am forever willing to be proven wrong)? Bourbon, egg white and Campari? Vermouth? Fucking Pimm's, and yes I know that's not Italian, what??!? Every permutation I mustered struck an imbalance between the flavor (often heavy and bitter) and the texture (light, frothy). Out of options but refusing to surrender (cue self-realization moment of finding my groove!), I figured I'd try using my homemade espresso vodka. "Ha ha, eggs and coffee," I chucked to myself. "It's like breakfast. Especially for a drunk who hides bourbon in her coffee." (I"m speaking hypothetically about a third-person "her." I don't do that much.)

The concoction now tasting better but still incomplete, and my one-track mind now committed to the punchline, out came the cinnamon and then the maple syrup. I took a couple long sips, then took the dogs out for a walk. When I returned, I declared to Sean that I'd be thinking about this drink the whole time I was dogwalking and could not wait to get home and finish it off.

The Breakfast of Champions, in case it needs saying, does not taste like breakfast. In fact, you won't detect the maple syrup at all; it just serves to cohere the other ingredients. It's got a very mellowed bourbon profile at the start with a languorous, coffee-redolent finish. It is neither more sweet than bitter, nor more bitter than sweet, and if you like 90s alt-rock then you get the Bittersweet Surrender reference.

The Breakfast of Champions (aka The Bittersweet Surrender)

2 ounces Henry McKenna 

2 ounces espresso-infused vodka

1 small, raw egg (or half the contents of a large egg)

1 teaspoon Grade A maple syrup

Ground cinnamon

Espresso beans, for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients, including one or two dashes of cinnamon and both the raw yolk and white from the egg, into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake with utmost vigor until the shaker's so cold you can't hold onto it anymore. Strain into cocktail glass. If desired, float a few espresso beans on top for garnish.

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The Metropolitan

Guest post by the PhoBlograpHusband

 

I started my bartending career in the year Y2K. It was a simpler time. Terms like hanging chads and homeland security were yet un-thought of. We were all just thankful that the computers didn’t rise up and take over the world the night of Dec. 31st 1999. And thanks to a fictional woman named Carrie Bradshaw, every real woman with HBO -- or a subscription to TV guide magazine for that matter  -- was drinking Cosmopolitans. Hell, the bar I worked at even had a Two Dollar Cosmo Tuesday nights! If ever there was a recipe for disaster it was Two Dollar Cosmo Tuesdays, both for the work it took me to churn those pink, syrupy-citrus concoctions out and the bad ideas that they caused. Plus, I can’t imagine the hangover from a night of cheap Cosmos… they never showed that part on Sex in the City (not that I would know... really!).

But I digress. This post is about the Cosmo’s slightly more mature Swedish cousin, the Metropolitan. The Metro, made with Absolut Kurant instead of Citron, never quite rose to cocktail mainstream mania, but for a time in the late -90s and early -00s it served as a refreshing alternative. I have a theory that the evil geniuses at Absolut invented the Metro specifically to ride on the coattails of the Cosmo Craze and sell more of its (at the time) flagship product. I can’t prove this. I can find no documentary evidence (at least none that a thirty second scan of Google search results yields), but I believe it to be true. What I do know for sure is that shortly after I started bartending, my cooler, proto-hipster, counter-culture-type customers started asking for the Metro. Coincidence?

The other thing I know for sure is that the Metropolitan, when made right, is a damn good drink. The almost-earthy quality of black currant balances out the citrus of orange liqueur and lime, giving the Metro a depth that is sorely lacking in the Cosmo’s one note flavor profile.

 

The Metropolitan

2 ounces Absolut Kurant

¾ ounces Cointreau

½ fresh lime juice

½ cranberry juice

Persian Lime Sugar rim

Lime wheel

As for making a Metropolitan "right,"  just follow these two basic rules and you should be good to go (the same hold true for a Cosmo, by the way):

  1. Avoid Rose’s Lime Juice and triple sec. Stepping up to fresh lime and Cointreau makes all the difference. Gone is the sticky sweetness associated with Two-Dollar-Tuesdays. In its place you’ll find a lovely tartness and much smoother finish.
  2. A little cranberry goes a long way! If your Metro is any darker than a light pink you’ve overdone it (that’s what she said!). You are just looking to add color and take the edge off, not make your own Juicy Juice.

So, the next time you are feeling nostalgic for the good old, George W. Who?!? Days, and get a hankering for a Cosmo, make yourself a Metropolitan instead! You'll thank me.

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The Bloody Mary al Fresca

The PhoBlograpHusband finds it funny, how particular I am about tomatoes. I won't eat the grape or cherry varieties unless they've been pre-sliced, because otherwise they burst in my mouth like that Freshen-up gum and I find that icky. I'll eat an enormous amount of sliced tomatoes on pizzas and burgers and in sammies and salads, but I won't eat one all by itself. Don't get me started on people who bite into tommies like they're apples.

I've got just one rule for Bloody Marys, aka tommies for alkies: I try never to finish off an entire one, because they're just too filling. Especially in summer, when the ol' tummy takes any chance it can get to force a full-body, ass-parking, sluggish-apolooza shutdown.

Except now, voila! The Bloody Mary al Fresca! It's all of the tomato taste with none of the tomato waste(d).

The Bloody Mary al Fresca

About 3 or 4 ounces Crop Organic Tomato Vodka

1 small tomato or half of a large tomato

6 basil leaves

Splash of white vinegar

Splash of lemon juice

4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

8 dashes Tabasco

salt and pepper

New Bay seasoning 

Rim a Collins glass with New Bay seasoning. Muddle tomato and basil leaves in bottom of glass. Add vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Fill with ice and vodka. Garnish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper on top.

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