Tag Archives: holiday

An Americano Holiday

As I sit here a four day weekend 100 miles from my basement bar is staring me in the face. What to pack? Don’t want to over pack, don’t want to under pack and be at the mercy of host’s bar. Whatever you’re bringing needs to be versatile, mobile, and it must play well with others.

I’m headed to my Father’s house. Fortunately he will have plenty of gin and bourbon, as well as a variety of dusty liqueurs and a weathered bottle of Angostura bitters. I would venture to guess his stock is similar to what you’d find in many basement bars. Just with more gin and bourbon. That being said, certainly not everything you need for a four day weekend.

I’ll be poolside for much of the weekend, but night caps and eye openers will also be required. I could lug Cointreau, Absinthe, and Lillet down to go with the gin for my eye opening Corpse Reviver. Follow that with a series of Dark and Stormy talls, a case of Goslings ginger beer and rum later, how will I have room for the pre dinner Aviation makings and night cap Manhattans.

I’m a solutions oriented guy, so here’s the solution:

Campari, sweet vermouth, oranges, and Spanish Bitters? Yes. And here’s how it works.

Eye opener; 1 to 1 Campari to Dolin, adjust to fit your palate.

Poolside? Poolside on Independence Day? Why an Americano of course; 1 to 1 to 2 parts Campari, Dolin, club soda.

To garnish the first I’d do a swath of orange, for the second, an orange wheel or three. I like the Spanish Bitters in each. Heavier in the eye opener, just a couple dashes in the Americano.

What about the night capper? Well, remember that gin I mentioned? A classic Negroni; 1 to 1 to 1 of our three players. Spanish Bitters to finish. And if the fireworks aren’t delivering, flame the orange for a finale.

I chose the Spanish Bitters for this weekend because they work well in the above drinks, but also in a Gin & Tonic or martini in case those are called for and I want to add a twist for the drinker.

Additionally, by going this route I also ensure that after a sixxer of Bell’s Two Hearted tonight, when my dad wants to switch to Manhattans, I know the vermouth will be fresh, because I brought it.

But most importantly, you arrive with only two bottles, no hassle, no strange looks, no scene. Yet, you can make all the above cocktails, and many more.

More you say? Yes. Take for example the Esquire Cocktail a 1 to 1 to 1 to 3 part ration of Aperol, liqueur, lemon, base spirit. Now, you’ve packed Campari, so that’s going to pack a bigger punch than Aperol, but if some wisenheimer cousin or brother in law starts talking cocktails and you want to show who the family cocktologist really is, give it a spin. I’d suggest pairing Dad’s bourbon, that crusty bottle of Benedictine, some lemons you saved from drowning in sun tea, and the Campari, with a splash of the Angostura or Spanish Bitters. Shake it up, or if you’ve finely strained the juice, you could even try stirring this one. It may not be the smoothest sipper, but it’ll put any naysayer in their place.

If you aren’t looking to over rattle your cocktologist’s saber, try the Golden Ratio by Jamie Boudreau. 1.5 parts spirit, .75 parts vermouth or other modifier, .25 parts liqueur or amaro. This ratio produces many fine cocktails. Simply use the vermouth you brought, the gin or bourbon available, and a quarter ounce of one of those dusty liqueurs.

So there you have it. Toss a bottle of Campari, some bitters, and a not too complex sweet vermouth in your bag and you’ll be ready to enjoy this long weekend in true cocktologist fashion.

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President’s Day Celebration

As a civil servant, Amuse-Douche has the day off today for President’s Day. Was pondering on how to celebrate and decided to toast some of my favorite presidents with their go to beverage.

Couldn’t think of what to do for the guy above. I’ll be toasting FDR a little later with a martini and thought BHO is kind of an FDR light, and therefore deserves a martini light, maybe just a glass of French vermouth really. I feel like the vermouth would need to be oxidized and luke warm until BHO creates some TVA like programs, then he’ll get properly stored vermouth. It’ll take a lot more to deserve the pour of Plymouth gin that FDR gets. Anyway, enough of this rambling analogy, at the end of the day, I don’t have any miss stored vermouth to pour a disappointing drink with anyway, so no Obama drink. Maybe next year, Lord willin’.

First off, Andy Jackson, Old Hickory, the face on the twompson bill, the battle of New Orleans, a true man of the people.

The above painting depicts Mr. Jackson’s populous inauguration. Back in 1829, the White House party involved droves of “the people.” In order to save the place from being brought down, Jackson had batches of whiskey punch made and set out in the lawn. In honor of this, I’m raising a glass of an original recipe whiskey punch from the great Jerry Thomas.

Cold Whiskey Punch
1.0 tspn powdered sugar
0.5 lemons juiced
3.0 ounces rye
1.0 tspn Jamaica style rum

I did mine in a glass full of crushed ice, but you could shake this drink and strain into a punch glass. I did it on the rocks because I’ll be sipping it as I have a day of toasting presidents ahead.

Garnish the drink with two slices of lemon and any fresh seasonal fruit, they loved to load a drink up with berries and such back in the day.

For the rye I pulled the Michter’s out. I love Michter’s and save it for special occasions, and as I’m toasting a man such as Old Hick, I consider that such an occasion. Bourbon can work here, or any whiskey, but rye was the original beverage, Kentucky bourbon came later with the expansion westward. The true, original, USA spirit was applejack, or apple brandy from New Jersey, and it may work as well, but that wouldn’t be a “whiskey” punch. I used Jamaican style rum for the rum because it has the Hugo or oomph and funk needed to elevate this drink.

Now that I’ve finished my punch, it’s time to walk to Farmhause and hopefully be able to score another celebratory drink.

No dice, no cider to make the drink. Went patriotic with my selection as it’s still President’s Day.

Schlafly’s Dry Hopped American Pale Ale, a great StL beer to pair with one of the best lunches in the StL.

Thinking Schlafly, and traveling by foot, my next attempt for my second presidential quaff would be the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood. They had cider, though strawberry infused, and the only lager was of the black persuasion, so I went with the Hefeweizen, but it’d do.

When paired together, lager and cider, they combine to make the Snakebite, the favorite tipple of one William Jefferson Clinton. Typing of Clinton, he’s featured this evening on PBS in a documentary entitled “Clinton.” As to the beverage at hand, I’ll never order one again. Thankfully my next two are can’t miss classics.

Slick Willy is a great segue into my next drink/president.

Though not seen in this picture, I’m sure a beautiful baby and a daiquiri weren’t far from JFK. My research lead me to find that the daiquiri was one of his favorite pre-dinner drinks, and as it’s nearing dinner time I went with the Kennedy drink of choice.

2.0 ounces rum
1 tsp simple syrup
.05 limes (juiced)

Shake the ingredients with ice until you can’t hold the shaker any longer. Double strain, no one wants pulp and ice chips, and garnish with a lime wheel.

This makes for a potent and sour cocktail, buts it’s how the drink would have been poured in Camelot.

Do to that silly embargo I’m not willing to admit to having any Havana Club at the house, so Flor de Cana will have to do. It’s a great little rum and can’t be beat for the price, Jack would have preferred HC. A fine drink nonetheless.

Hemingway was also a daiquiri man, he took his with a bit of maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice.

Now that dinner is over it’s time for the man’s drink.

Franklin looks pretty smooth sipping his customary martini. No vodka in a vermouth rinsed glass for this man.

FDR Martini
2.0 ounces Plymouth Gin
1.0 ounces dry vermouth
2.0 tsp olive brine

FDR garnished his with a twist of lemon and an olive, which I really enjoy myself.

I know a 2 to 1 ratio seems awfully non-dry, but the “dry” vodka martini nonsense came along well after FDR’s time, and it’s not his fault we forgot how to mix a proper martini. How vodka began to be used in such a drink baffles me. Gin is by far the superior spirit for the martini. Franklin took his with Plymouth, a very robust London dry version. Its about as far from vodka as a gin can be. Vodka is nothing more than an alcohol delivery system, an excellent one at that, but flavorless, and of no use in a martini, and certainly not something a man like FDR would waste his time with.

A day off with a breakfast of Jackson’s whiskey punch, a few beers Clinton style for lunch, a pre-dinner Kennedy daiquiri, and an after dinner Martini a la Roosevelt, pretty damn good President’s Day.

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