Posts Tagged ‘rye’

Hot Whiskey Sling

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Mixology Monday 11: Winter WarmersYou say “winter warmer,” I think “hot toddy.” I should probably think “hot whiskey sling,” if I’m not mistaken, since I favor them with lemon juice, but “toddy” is the term I’m accustomed to using and bedad if winter warmers aren’t about personal comfort. I’ll call it a sling this once, though, since other people are watching; I recommend executing it thusly:

Remove your shoes and don slippers. If it’s the right time of day, consider pajamas and a robe, too. Take your most favorite mug — chipped and coffee-stained though it may be, it’s the faithful friend that’s seen you through many a nerve-jangling morning — and fill it with water. Fill a measuring cup of similar capacity and microwave it, along with your mug, until the water boils. Empty your now-heated mug and pour a 2-ounceish slug of whiskey into the bottom. If it’s a bonded whiskey, so much the better. Swirl your trusty honey dipper around in its pot until you’ve worked up a nice, thick ball of honey, stick it in the mug, and pour in the scalding hot water, swizzling until the honey is dissolved. Finally squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top of it all, give a final stir or two, and breathe deeply.

Terribly imprecise, I know, but this one’s a drink to feel your way around. Did I say microwave? I did, and unapologetically. Feel free to put the kettle on for a more satisfying auditory experience, but it’ll just take longer. How sweet should it be? Depends on how you like your coffee or tea. How much booze should it contain? Depends on whether you’re fighting off a cold or just the cold (less, if the former). What kind of booze should it contain? Whiskey, certainly, if you’re going to call it a hot whiskey sling, but you can use whatever base spirit you like. I wouldn’t do gin myself, but there are those who do. How much water? I’d hope you’re drinking out of a thick-walled large-capacity ceramic mug — the kind you can wrap both hands around — and not one of those wee 8 oz. affairs or a poncy glass job, but everyone has their own thing. Go with it, and fill it with as much water as seems right. Personally I like to leave a decent collar to allow easy insertion of a snoot to inhale the fumes. Properly speaking, there should be a dash or two of Angostura bitters on top of it all, but this is one drink that I leave ‘em out of. You’ll do what seems right.

I could cite a few official recipes here, but what’s the point of that? You’d likely just adjust the ratios to suit your choice of vessel, alcohol, mood, whathaveyou. I don’t think it’s possible to make a bad hot whiskey sling, unless you make it weak and watery. Avoid that cardinal transgression and you’re home free. Ms. Thirsty complains that hers are never as satisfying as the ones I make her, but I suspect that’s less about execution and more down to the final instruction for a really good winter warmer: have someone else serve it to you. You’re too busy being cold and wanting warming to be shuffling about in the kitchen or bar.

Look for more precise, well-reasoned Winter Warmers from this Mixology Monday to be catalogued shortly at Imbibe Unfiltered, the electronic arm of our liver’s favorite organ.

Update: All told there were 22 entries this month. Read ‘em and mix.

The Bunny Hug

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Mixology Monday: PastisThere was an … incident… in my early drinking years involving Egyptian beer and a bottle of arak (this arak, which is akin to ouzo, not Batavia arak, which is a different liquor entirely). It was formative. I have since avoided anise, licorice, and fennel scrupulously, eschewing even the occasional Red Vine in a darkened theater. An otherwise proud and broadminded omnivore, anise and related flavors have been my Achilles heel. Until relatively recently.

It was a Sazerac, mixed a year ago this week, which whispered suggestively that a wash of Herbsaint was nothing to be feared. Somewhat later, a Monkey Gland intimated that one might actually mix with Pernod — albeit a mere 1/2 teaspoon — to very salutary ends. And indeed, in Tuxedos, Turfs, and Trilby No. Twos undocumented, I have splashed the requisite dash with no dire consequences. I’ve actually found my palate probing some of the latter, looking for the lick of licorice that the pastis should provide, and not finding it!

And so to the inaugural Mixology Monday. Paul was generously broad in his requirements, but where’s the joy in submitting a drink like the Tuxedo, in which the dash of pastis vanishes under the weight of maraschino and Regans’ bitters? No, in this I would be guided by the precepts of Chairman Kaga, who demands of his iron chefs that they capture the very essence of the mystery ingredient. In this, I would challenge the advice of the inestimable Harry Craddock. In this, I would embrace pastis, in a ratio not heretofore attempted. I would mix The Bunny Hug:

1/2 oz. Pastis
1/2 oz. Whiskey
1/2 oz. London Dry Gin
Stirred and strained into a cocktail glass

Sheet Music for The Bunny HugCute name, no? Conjures up certain Heffnerian visions which one wouldn’t normally associate with absinthe. As it happens, the drink was likely named for a slow-grind ragtime dance, both hugely popular and hugely scandalous in the 1910s. Cedar Rapids has only recently legalized the Bunny Hug, after banning it in 1913. In Oregon, that same year, a man was stabbed 11 times for attempting to prevent the Bunny Hug from being danced in his establisment.

I’d thought I was prepared, but the Bunny Hug has proven me wrong. Not to say I didn’t have fair warning: The Savoy Cocktail Book explicitly states that “This cocktail should immediately be poured down the sink before it is too late.” Of course, Craddock’s pronouncement hasn’t stopped the Bunny Hug from making appearances in successive cocktail guides down to this day, and neither will mine, but we may dislike it for different reasons.

What does a drink named for a forbidden flapper’s dance taste like? I’m going to have to fall back on Wilde, and say that for those who like that sort of thing, it’s probably the sort of thing that they’d like. That thing being pastis.

Looking at the recipe, I assumed that H.C. merely disliked the flavor of commingled gin, whiskey and pastis, but I was curious as to what that would taste of. Drinking the Bunny Hug proved to be a bafflingly inconclusive experience — it was just like sipping a glass of slightly watered-down Pernod. That ounce of bourbon and gin may as well have been vodka, in that they were completely subsumed by the Green Fairy’s thujoneless juggernaut of a substitute.

I’ve a suspicion that the less pastis-averse may discern something other than Pernod in their Bunny Hugs — possibly something quite nasty if Craddock was any judge — but I’m at a loss to do so. I can stomach pastis in volume these days, if not particularly enjoy it, but it overwhelms my taste buds. Given that I seem to be confined to using it in drips and dashes, I’ll be particularly interested to read others’ contributions on today’s theme. I could stand to find a few more ways to use less pastis more often.

Update: Mixology Monday #1 is a done-deal. 7 other posts on pastis await your attention

The Release Candidate

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

1 very healthy slug rye
1 careless splash creme de cassis
3 liberal dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters

rocks.

Or something like that. When you stagger home at 2am, after another 16-hour day at the code mine, getting-on towards the end of a 92-hour week, it’s conceivable that anything tastes good. This just did.

I should determine if such a thing has a name already, but I’m about to face-plant. If it doesn’t, I dub it (the eventually-to-be-refined version) the Release Candidate, in honor of the labyrinthian nightmare of XML and actionscript that’s being shipped — hell, high-water, or heart attacks notwithstanding — tomorrow night. Oh. Make that tonight. Shite. Goodnight.

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 Police Gazette

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

Police GazetteFirst off, a big tip of the hat to The Cocktail Chronicles for introducing me to this one. Paul’s much more informative exploration of the Police Gazette can be found here. I reproduce the recipe (as I make it) because if I thought it would help, I’d put up billboards, run off flyers, and write a song or two. It’s really that good. Spicy, herbal, bitter, sweet … complex but perfectly unified, strong but soft-edged. An ideal cocktail, and yet not in the CocktailDB. I may have to start a petition.

3 oz. rye
2 dashes dry vermouth
2 dashes curaçao (orange or white)
2 dashes maraschino
3 dashes simple syrup
2-4 dashes Fee Bros. aromatic bitters, to taste

Fill your mixing tin with crushed ice, add the above, stir and strain.

I’m using Old Overholt rye and Maraska maraschino, Cinzano vermouth and Bols orange curacao. I’ve made it with both Angostura and Fee’s, and while they each have their charms, I’m partial to the latter. I’ll also confess to a bit of sloppiness in the “dash” department — my dashes are unmeasured micro-glugs — but some day I should get around to precisely quantifying exactly how I like it. Technically, a dash is 1/8 tsp, so measure/eyeball accordingly. I’m almost certainly mixing mine a bit wetter than I should, but then again Paul’s gone so far as to cut the rye back to 2 oz, so there must be a fairly forgiving range of ratios.

It’s worth noting that while the Police Gazette is unlikely to appear on your local’s featured drinks list, maraschino is the only uncommon constituent element. Find a bar with maraschino, convince the noble behind the mahogany to produce one, and the dominos may start to fall.

Update : More precise delivery of the dashes — 1/4 oz maraschino, 1/4 oz curaçao, 1/4 oz vermouth, 3/8 oz syrup — reveals that the recipe I cite above is either too heavy on the rye or a bit light on the other ingredients for my taste. It’s a terrible shame, but I’m forced to continue investigating this matter.