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I had no idea how I was going to wrap up Alexander Week. Any sort of liqueur-based Alexander seemed too obvious/easy, the thought of a Rum Alexander held no appeal (maybe if I used a sorbet instead of an ice cream/gelato? But still, meh) and a Vodka Alexander — well, I’d actually made one of those a few weeks ago, using an unflavored vodka and the exact-same recipe as I did for the gin Alexander (with the white creme de cacao and the mint chip gelato). It tasted OK, not at all bad, but from a mixology standpoint I was uninspired by it.
Then I remembered the espresso-infused vodka we’d made a while back, and then I thought about affogato.
Upholding my week-long commitment to exploring the far reaches of Alexandria, today I find myself a bit of a stranger in a strange land — that land being Tequilaville.
I have never cottoned to tequila, and I’ve never felt like I’ve missed out on much as a consequence, except perhaps further burdening my trove of already-embarrassing-enough drunken tales/tally of inexplicable scars (two; one just south of my lower lip, the other craggy across the top of one foot). If bourbon tastes like adult fun, then tequila tastes like legal troubles. It’s antagonistic-tasting. It’s too in-my-face, and even when I’m doing nothing more innocent than enjoying a margarita, I often believe that tequila’s devilish essence is asseverating itself from beneath its blanket of lime, sugar and salt, rather than just commingling nicey-nice in the glass like a base liquor is supposed to.
Guest post by Sean Lorre, the Blogtender’s husband
Now that we’re three drinks in to Alexander Week, let’s walk it back to the beginning. As I seem to be taking up the mantle of historical cocktail
dork expert at the blog, I will be leading the tour.
Did you know that, while the Brandy Alexander is the only Alexander that really remains in the everyday-drinking lexicon, the original Alexander was made with gin?
Sometimes a cocktail is so obvious it writes itself. Sometimes a cocktail is so so-obvious that lots of different people come up with it — consensus I interpret to mean that the drink’s simply meant to be. Such is the breezily elegant French Gimlet.
Sean and I had our turn inventing this drink two summers ago. He’d brought the St. Germain liqueur home from work as a freebie. I’m still not sure why we had gin lying around (this was before we’d spent hundreds stocking the at-home bar to near-pro proportions). Probably we had limes on hand just because it was summer, and possibly because when Mama gets a little pickled, Mama likes a bourbon and cola sloshing around in her free hand, always garnished with a lime wedge.
January can put me in a certain mood, a dicey mix of contemplative and bored (for which booze is probably never a good chaser, but anyway). Since nothing happens in January, my mind’s left to dwell on December’s heedless indulgences and… well, let me start from the beginning.
When I originally made this cocktail for a friend’s holiday party two years ago, it was the first time I’d written a recipe entirely in my head. In fact, I don’t think I’d even tasted Absolut Kurant before I thought to put it in this drink. A chef I interviewed years prior told me he subscribed to a “that sounds great” philosophy of dish-inventing, that if your tongue relishes articulating “coriander encrusted mahi mahi” or “sweet potato fries dipped in banana-guava ketchup” then it’ll probably enjoy eating those things, too. So, having just moved back to New York and with no money to spare on cocktail experimentin’, my party drink came together hypothetically. I wanted it to taste like ice skating on a frozen pond. I pictured Charlie Brown’s friends catching snowflakes on their tongues. (“It’s fun!”)
Our season’s-greetings cards just went out on Monday. There’s a gift I ordered online three weeks ago that’s apparently stuck in a storing-stuck-things facility somewhere. The tree’s still up in our living room (although I did manage to de-ornament it over the weekend).
However, I refuse to be late making my favorite Christmastime tipple, The Twelfth Day of Christmas, a whiskey infusion that takes (whaddaya know?) 12 days to make — but unlike the rest of all the holiday meshugas, it’s time that does most of the work.
Guest post by Sean Lorre, the Blogtender’s Husband
I love liquor. I do. I love the bite and the burn of a good, strong drink. Hell, I would down straight, over-proof bourbon with a dash of bitters regularly if it didn’t lead me to lose my car keys while playing disc golf* at 3 a.m. or puke in a dive bar sink on a second date. (Rose, should I not say “puke” on a blog about delicious cocktails?) [You should not tell the world that you puked on our second date, is what you really should not do. -- Ed.]
I suppose the more refined way to refer to my cocktail proclivities is “spirit-forward,” but since the watchword for 2011 around here is honesty I’ll stick with how I really feel; I love booze. I’ve always loved a good Manhattan, but the first Martinez I ever had (Flatiron Lounge, May 2005) introduced me to the world of historical mixology and I never looked back. When a friend introduced me to this all-liquor variation on a classic Sidecar (Italian translation: Carrozzino) I was both intrigued and a bit wary. It turned out to be pretty damn good and so I share it with you today.
Reader(s), I’m going to try to be more honest in 2011. I’m going to try to be more diligent, too, particularly as it pertains to this blog, while simultaneously somehow figuring out a way to weigh less while drinking as many cocktails as ever.
My stated intent of The Five O’Clock Cocktail Blog is to publish a recipe each weekday, whether an original creation, a tweak of a classic drink or an homage to a drink I’ve drank elsewhere (probably at this bar, knowing me). This has already proven arduous and I might still scale back to twice or thrice weekly. (Thoughts? Please tell me in the comments what you’d like to see!) The part of my brain responsible for wild-footed fantasy stubbornly maintains that The New York Times’ Dining section is more likely to profile me if I stick to the five-a-week conceit. (My blog-to-blockbuster deal with Nora Ephron will surely materialize soon after.)
So, regarding that honesty promise, here goes: I like this Cosmopolitan.