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First off, a note about this week at the blog: SPRIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGG BREAAAAAAAAAAAAKKKKK!!!!!
Spring break is kinda my favorite time of year for a number of reasons, the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament being the top two of those reasons, but I’m getting ahead of myself. To kick off Spring Break week, nothing seemed more appropriately debauched than a cocktail in honor of Mr. Full of Bad Decisions himself, the opprobrious Carlos Irwin Estevez.
So as you’ve likely noticed by now, I’m pretty gay for Death & Co. It is by far my favorite bar in New York and quite possibly (although it’d have some stiff competition) the Americas (and also, I would withhold final judgment until I get a chance to visit the “capital-N nicest” bar ever patronized by another cocktail deity o’mine, Eric Felten).
It’s quite embarrassing to admit, ergo, that I’ve darkened Death & Co.’s doorway a scant three times in my entire life. I rationalize this by likening Death & Co. to Christmas: Just because it’s my favorite holiday doesn’t mean I wish it to come ’round more than once a year, in large part because it can be quite expensive indulging joy.
In case you were wondering, I drink wine and beer, too. I drink wine because you’ve gotta drink something with dinner and because my husband likes buying Groupons for various wine delivery services which keeps us well stocked in vino. I drink beer because one thing liquor won’t ever be is hoppy, and because I know a guy who works at Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, Colorado, who has hooked me up with some of the best beers of my life.
When I say I know a guy, I am talking about Andy Parker, one of my husband’s best friends and a brewer at Avery. When I say hooked me up, I mean that when Sean and I are in Boulder (twice in the past year, very lucky us!) Andy basically gives us free rein to sample our way through Avery’s tasting-room taps, plus the barrels in the back that haven’t even been brought out yet. And when I say the best beers of my life, I’m specifically referencing a coffee-infused beer and a guava-infused beer that had my eyes rolling into the back of my head and that, to my recollection, never made it out of Avery’s tasting room, as demand in that room alone outpaced the brewery’s production.
Beer cocktails have become quite the thing lately, and Sean had been encouraging me for a while to try coming up with one. Gah. I wasn’t sure how to do this. I just wasn’t sure how to establish a sort of flavor-profile link, a note in common between hops and hooch. That was, I wasn’t sure until Andy introduced us to Samael’s Oak-Aged Ale. Oak! Now we speaky my language.
Have you bought your bottle of white whiskey yet? Why not? The Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey I’ve got isn’t even top-of-the-liniest (that would be this) and it’s still supremely drinkable. Have I not yet convinced you of this?
If not, get a load of this: The hands-down easiest cocktail you could ever fashion — as in old-fashioned (BWAHAHA). This was yet another cocktail I caught wind of while Googling around for corn whiskey concoctions to make. And like the other corn whiskey cocktails I’ve already made, yet again I was surprised by this one. I just keep on expecting/assuming that my jar of rotgut’s gonna taste like, well, rotgut. But really it’s so sweet it’s almost cute, and its afterbite is pleasingly bracing.
I’ve really been enjoying the moonshine my mother-in-law gave me, and this is a cocktail I found and played around with a week or two ago and have been itching to share because it’s quickly become a favorite of mine — which is unexpected in the sense that this baby is HOT, just super spicy on the finish, which isn’t what I’d normally go for.
Guest post by Mark Holcomb, the Blogtender’s cousin-in-law/former professional bartender/lead singer of The Sharpe James
I was raised by hippies… they were probably considered ex-hippies by the time the ’80s rolled around, but they were hippies nonetheless. My mother (who is a saint of a woman!) is the type of lady the who used to tote me around as an infant in one of those baby backpack-papoose contraptions, and who shed a tear or two when Jerry Garcia died. As for my father, well, he looks like Willie Nelson. Love him as I do there is no denying his hippydom. Unless you’re him, that is; he vehemently refutes this label for the sole reason that “hippies are too peaceful.” However, he is the same bass-playing, ponytail-rocking, bandana-wearing, beard-having, hitch-hiking Okie who once thought a good name for his firstborn son (that’s me) would be Thud Blues Holcomb. I only thank the sweet Lord Jesus that my momma had enough sense to name me after my grandfathers instead.
As you might imagine, having been brought up in this type of environment, my brothers and I were, to put it nicely, free-spirited individualists at a very early age. To paint a clearer picture of what that means exactly, I will say without a doubt that the term “driving me to drink” was coined for rugrats such as ourselves. While our wild behavior may have spawned many great discoveries, by far the grandest of them all is when my dear ol’ dad stumbled across what in my mind is a testament to the spirit of American ingenuity, and parental decorum.
The Ward Eight has been around forever, yet few people have heard of it. What’s doubly strange about this is, it’s an incredibly palatable cocktail. It’s basically a whiskey sour with more juice in it. In fact, in his critique of the drink for Esquire, David Wondrich wrote, “the sharp tang of the rye blends just so with the bite of the lemon and the rounded sweetness of the orange, leaving absolutely no taste of liquor. In short, this drink lies like a politician.”
Some people have a gift. They can create glorious cocktails and have a knack for dressing up traditional drinks so that they taste entirely new.
The proprietor of this blog is one of these wondrously inventive people. [Oh, pshaw. — Ed.]
I am not.
Put me in a kitchen with a dozen random food items, and I can make something tasty on the fly. But with drinks, I tend toward tried and true recipes with little variation. I like Manhattans and martinis and the most daring I get is experimenting with a new gin. So when Rose invited me to write a guest post, I knew that I’d be seeking outside help. And my outside help happens to be a fantastic, outdated (sorry, I mean “vintage”) book that my boyfriend’s grandfather used to own: The Esquire Handbook for Hosts, published in 1949.
Folks, how cool is my mother in law? So cool, she got me this for Christmas:
Moonshine! White dog! Rotgut! White lightning! Hooch! Fire water! Mountain dew!
Academically speaking, corn whiskey, made from a mashbill of a government-mandated-minimum 81 percent corn (with rye and malted barley making up the difference) that usually sees the inside of a charred oak barrel exactly never. In other words, it’s a sort of bastardized, unaged bourbon (which requires at least 51 percent corn in its mashbill and some time sittin’ in charred oak).