demerara

Summertime Sadness

summer_drinking

 These are the drinks that kept me busy during this past summer.

I posted a little while ago on twitter on how glad I was that summer was over, making room for some wonderful stirred drinks… and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks that nobody seems to shut up about. I mean, they are tasty, much like a pumpkin beer with extra cinnamon on the ri– focus!— I love the fall. Not because I’m lazy and enjoy wearing sweaters and Uggs as much as possible, but because it’s the perfect time to go for a walk without the fear of melting onto the sidewalk, you can meet with friends and not have to cringe internally at their 3rd degree sunburns all around the contours of their sunglasses or better yet, you can stop drinking bud lite lime now.

This past summer, I kept cycling 3 cocktails at home that were tasty representations of summer. Each one with its own merit and nuance but all 3 of them incredibly refreshing and uniquely flavorful. Oddly enough, each one has spirits that I wouldn’t traditionally consider as “summery” but damn if they don’t all work in their own way. In a summer full of margaritas, juleps and bud Lite Lime, these were the ones I kept coming back for when it was time for a refreshment.

Dead Man’s Mule

Originally from Met Bar, London
Presented here as modified @ Drink, Boston
 

I’m a fan of mules. Not the ones that put little balloons full of drugs into their bodies but the kind that you drink out of a metal cup full of crushed ice. This is an odd drink and one that at first you may not like but damn if it’s not tasty as hell! At Drink they make their own delicious ginger beer but if you don’t want to be bothered with it, Fever Tree makes a mean one that works perfect with cocktails.

1 oz Green Velvet Absinthe
1 oz Wilks & Wilson orgeat
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz lime juice
Fever Tree ginger beer to top
 
If you have a copper mug, now’s the time to use it.
Add crushed ice to the mug about 1/2 full (or 1/2 empty if that’s how you choose to see the world). 
Pour in everything except the ginger beer. Stir lightly (swizzle even!)
Add more crushed Ice and top with the ginger beer. 
 

Eulogy

Anvil Bar, Houston
 

This is my favorite one of the 3. It’s a bit sweet tho, which is why I add a bit of crushed ice to it so it doesn’t become that overtly sweet drink that you like at first but hate towards the end. Tons of flavor here. So much flavor here on the first sip. Such that I went out and bought a bottle of Strega and Batavia Arrack the very next day.

 
3/4 oz Batavia Arrack van Oosten
3/4 oz Jonh D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
3/4 oz Strega
3/4 oz lime juice
 
Pour all ingredients in a shaker with ice and show it who’s boss.
Strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
 

Art of Choke

The Violet Hour, Chicago
 

This is like a mojito that threw away its self tanner, stopped partying, went to college and got a job. If you’re a drink snob by now, then just reading that last sentence plus the the fact that this thing has Cynar as a main ingredient is making you salivate.

 
1 oz Banks 5 Island Rum
1 oz Cynar
1/4 oz green Chartreuse
bar spoon of lime juice
bar spoon of Demerara sugar syrup
handful of mint leaves
 
Lightly muddle the mint in your shaker.
Add the rest and shake it with some large pieces of ice.
Double strain into a rocks glass with a single ice cube. Garnish with a small mint sprig.
 
 
 
 

Lion’s Tail

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If you’ve never been to Drink [in the now frozen tundra that is Boston], the place consists of connected bars where they tailor cocktails based on your preference and suggest different drinks in accordance to it. That’s probably an accurate, yet oversimplification of this place but if you know what you like or want to try new things, this is definitely the place.

Some of our libations from that evening:

a vodka Monkey Gland.
a Pegu Club style gin-gin mule(?) Warning: drinking this was like tasting chocolate for the first time.
Dead Man’s Mule (shutTheFrontDoor was this good)
Chartreuse tasting [I now know the difference between the 2, you guys!]
Allspice Dram sampling [This is what lead to the conversation on the Lion’s Tail]

…basically anything with their in-house ginger beer could not go into my mouth fast enough.

This cocktail, though not my “favorite of all time!” is special because it was given to me as a birthday gift. Not the drink itself, but the knowledge of it, in the form of a hand written recipe [taken from some old looking book from the back of the bar], along with a tiny bottle of St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram wrapped in tape with the words “happy birthday”. It was a night of first (I’ve never been 31 until that day. I think Im doing fine with this age. I could do without the peeing blood part but that’s normal, right?), I’d never been to Drink and I had never met such a bad-ass working the stick as Estrellita, our bartender for the evening.

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Bourbon whiskey
Allspice Dram
Lime juice
Demerara syrup*
Angostura

*I first tested this out with regular simple syrup (1/1) before making some Demerara syrup and I gotta say, it really is better with the Demerara, as it gives it a subtle difference in the sweetness along with reinforcing the rich color of this drink.

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The real point of focus here, where your drink will really excel is the Bourbon, as the cocktail itself can be slightly on the sweet side in itself, you’d want to stay away from sweeter tasting bourbons (Maker’s Mark for example. Though that is still my favorite for a whiskey sour) and just the same, you don’t want to kill it with something that’s gonna kick its ass (I’m looking at you 101 wild turkey).

1 3/4 part Wild Turkey 81 bourbon
1/4 part St Elizabeth allspice dram
1/2 part lime juice
1/2 part demerara syrup
2 dashes of Angostura bitters

shake it like it owes you money.
double strain into a martini/coupe glass and garnish with a lime wheel.
[Enjoy]

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