Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

The Ward Eight

Friday, September 30th, 2005

An excellent embodiment of the Whiskey Sour, this is essentially Embury’s Ward Eight, though he preferred bourbon to rye. The ratios are a bit inconvenient — 1/4 ounce of orange juice is a vanishingly small portion of an orange — but it’s worth it. If you’re put off, consider the merits of a double, or even a pitcher’s worth if you have compatriots to assist with the disposition.

2 oz. Wild Turkey 101 rye
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. orange juice
1/4 oz. grenadine

shake with cracked ice and strain

For some reason I had always imagined the titular Ward Eight to be a psychiatric unit housing a straightjacketed Harvey Wallbanger, but the traditional story has it being named by a Boston politician in honor of his district. The earliest recipe on my bookshelf is found in Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930, but HotWired’s venerable (and busted) Cocktail site dated its nominal creation to 1898, from the hands of Tom Hussion at Boston’s Locke-Ober Café.

Be aware that this is, perhaps, the booziest Ward Eight of all the recipes out there — some call for equal parts! — so your mileage when ordering from unknown bartenders will definitely vary.

The Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour

Saturday, September 10th, 2005

Portland-area readers may be unaware that the Museum of the American Cocktail has organized a nation-wide event to benefit New Orleans’ displaced and unemployed food and beverage workers. As yet, the only participating establishment in Portland (or Oregon, for that matter) is Mint / 820, at 820 N Russell St, conveniently located off the Interstate MAX line. That’s where you’ll find me this Monday the 12th, from 5-7pm, drinking somewhat irresponsibly in aid of a very good cause. I hope to see some of you there.

Update (09/12/05): Mint/820 was having a fairly decent night of it — not wall-to-wall, but well-attended — and, better yet, they didn’t limit themselves to the official 5-7pm time slot. The proceeds (which is to say 100%) from all “New Orleans” drinks sold until closing are going to the cause. According to our waiter, the liquor suppliers donated their wares, making it a more financially-viable decision to run the event all night. I availed myself of their French 75 (since I so rarely make champagne cocktails at home) and a Sazerac. Pity they weren’t making Ramos Gin Fizzes, but then again, I tend to think of them as daytime drinks.

Give Me Seltzer

Friday, September 9th, 2005

podcast iconToday’s thirst-slaking podcast of note is Give Me Seltzer [iTunes], from Brooklynite Barry Joseph, The Effervescent Jew.

Barry’s mad for seltzer in a way that I think only New Yorkers can be, and is in the process of penning its definitive history. The podcasts don’t reveal much about the forthcoming book’s contents, but he’s managed to produce nine entertaining seltzer-centric episodes to date — largely man-on-the-street interviews — in a This American Life mode. So far there’s been no real mention of seltzer in cocktails, sadly — Barry’s favorite seltzer-based beverage is an Egg Cream from Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop — but I’m sure he’ll get around to it some day. After all, the seltzer bottle is one of the most iconic and evocative pieces of bar equipment there is, on par with the martini glass and cobbler shaker. Better yet, it has shiny moving parts and valves and O-rings and CO2 cylinders and whatnot. I myself have ten eleven of the things (looks like I just won another in an eBay auction), for the sheer love of their form.

If you check out the Give Me Seltzer podcasts, do yourself a favor and start with episode #1 … they build on each other, and the most recent won’t be nearly as interesting if you’ve not heard what’s gone before.

The Hurricane

Sunday, August 28th, 2005
Katrina1 1/2 oz. light rum
1 1/2 oz. dark rum
2 oz. passion fruit juice
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. lime juice
2 tsp grenadine

Shake and strain into a goblet or traditional hurricane glass filled with crushed ice. Straws are nice.

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? Here’s hoping that Hurricane Katrina does. Current forecasts have the category five monstrosity making landfall sometime Monday morning, with the Crescent City a very likely port of call. My father happens to have been in New Orleans with some friends this weekend, but no longer — at last report this afternoon, they’d managed to rent a van and make it as far as Baton Rouge, one more creeping vehicle in the evacuation of an estimated one million people. As of now, the 20% of New Orleans residents who are still in town are advised to remain where they are.

Max Sparber of the New Orleans-based braves the coming tempest with a timely article on The Hurricane, both the impending natural disaster and the phenomenon from Pat O’Brien’s. Max doesn’t mention DL’s own plans for evacuation, but here’s hoping they’ve made it to somewhere well above sea level. Food and drink blogger Chuck Taggart of Looka! and the Gumbo Pages reports that his family have made it out, but reprints a particularly shocking alert from the NWS that seems to predict total devastation. I’ve seen no word about what measures the Museum of the American Cocktail has taken, but if the worst-case scenario of Katrina plays out, it’s quite possible that a little second-story exhibit in the French Quarter may not make it through.

It’s not looking good for one of America’s great cities, but fretting never helped and the morning will tell the tale. For me, thousands of miles away, I’m putting on some Armstrong, thinking happy thoughts, and raising a glass or two in salute to a city that’s given us so much.

The Knickerbocker

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

There are other drinks that appear under this name — Trader Vic’s Knickerbocker Cocktail is just a dry martini with a dash of Italian vermouth — but the Knickerbocker below is a 2:1:1 that proves to be ideal for a mellow summer afternoon. This is, specifically, the Knickerbocker à la Monsieur, from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. Haigh traces its first appearance to Terrington’s Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks of 1869, wherein a version for the fairer sex was also outlined.

1 1/2 oz. light rum
1/2 oz. Jamaican rum
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. orange curaçao
1/2 oz. raspberry syrup

Shake with crushed ice, strain into a glass filled with same.

The Knickerbocker isn’t a drink that shows its alcohol, as the raspberry syrup is more than a match for the light rum. Haigh calls for 2 oz of Virgin Islands rum, but I happen not to have any, and so use a light Barbados with a bit of Jamaican, to instill more rumminess to the affair. I’ve followed Doc’s suggestion of using Smucker’s Natural Red Raspberry Syrup. While not quite up to my own definition of “natural,” it does the trick nicely. Of course, dropping a viscous half-ounce slug of pancake syrup into your mixing glass is likely to set anticipatory teeth on edge, but press on to make a happy discovery: the otherwise cloying syrup will be perfectly countered by that tart ounce of lemon juice. It’s a well-balanced, fruity sweet-and-sour.

Served over crushed ice, the Knickerbocker gets longer with time at no detriment to drinkability. Indeed, a few judiciously-applied squirts of seltzer from the outset can be quite salutary, in that they contribute some effervescence and make a bit of a cooler of it. Regarding methods of preparation, Haigh would have us stir the ingredients directly in a collins glass or goblet, but I’ve found the raspberry syrup resistant to stirring. Shaking will ensure homogeneity, and thus no syrupy surprise at the bottom of the glass.