Monday, November 22, 2010

Mixology Monday: Gin Sangaree

This month's Mixology Monday was a little tricky: write about a Forgotten Cocktail. Hey, wait a darn minute, Rock & Rye wiseguy. If I've forgotten a cocktail, how can I write about it? And frankly, since my brain turned 40 (which actually happened when the rest of my body turned 35), I can't even remember how to make a Sex on the Beach. Which is probably good, because those kinda suck.

Mr. Boston Deluxe Official Bartender's Guide, 1974 edition to the rescue. Because I have an aversion to books that smell like wet basements, I don't have any old cocktail books in the house except this one, which belonged to my parents and is complete with their hand-written recipe notes on the inside front and back covers.

To find a "forgotten cocktail," the re-publication of which might change the world of modern spirits forever and provide me with fame and excessive wealth, I paged through the guide. It appears that there are only eight unique recipes in the entire book of 1000+ drinks, all of which contain one or more of the following ingredients in slightly differing ratios: Mr. Boston's brandy, apricot brandy, triple sec, vermouth, scotch, gin, grenadine and lime. And many of which deserve to remain forgotten.

I found one cocktail that I had not previously heard of that included an interesting non-Mr. Boston ingredient: The Gin Sangaree.

You know my distaste for history, so I'm sure you'll appreciate the huge 45-second effort I spent researching sangaree on the internet. Sangaree comes from the latin word for blood and refers to the inclusion of port wine in the cocktail.

With the holidays approaching, this cocktail choice serves up a hint of festive, with a shy dash of nutmeg weaving together the flavors of the port and gin. Because the Gin Sangaree is light, you can savor it before dinner as the port and nutmeg stimulate your appetite. Because it's slightly sweet, it is also effective as a post-dinner sipper.

But is it memorable? Well, I remember liking it last night. Ask me again in six months and we'll see.

Gin Sangaree

2 ounces Gin
1 tablespoon port wine
1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon water
club soda

Dissolve sugar in water by stirring, and add gin. Pour into highball glass filled with ice. Top with club soda, and float port wine on the top.

Authors note: F*ck floating the port. I can never make sh*t float. Which is probably my fault, but I'll tell you what, that port looked to me like it weighed as much as a f*cking rock compared to the soda-gin-sugar which was half-comprised of carbonated weightless air bubbles. And if you can float the port, I hate you. I'll bet you can light lemon zest on fire, too. Showoff.

For a roundup of the "Forgotten Cocktails" posted on renowned cocktail blogs all over the world today in celebration of Mixology Monday, visit Rock & Rye.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Cherry Margarita

"Where's the Grand Marnier?" I asked Leah.

"What Grand Marnier?" she said.

"The Grand Marnier you brought home last week."

Mid-margarita-fixing, I shuffled the bottles in our cramped home bar, a shelf packed with liquors, shakers and glassware, squeezed in the corner above the vacuum cleaner closet. The ice waited impatiently in the glasses on the kitchen counter, as did the tequila and lime juice. I just needed some orange liqueur.

"That was two weeks ago," Leah said.

"You drank the whole thing in a week?" I said.

"Two weeks," said Leah, as if it were less criminal than one.

Maybe ten days,
I thought.

Stranded and craving a margarita, I stared at the boggle of bottles and realized we only had one liqueur in the house: Finger Lakes Distilling's Cherry Liqueur.

"Try the cherry," Leah called from the other room as I pondered the bottle in my hand.

If you've ever tasted Finger Lakes Distilling's Cherry Liqueur, you know it's not like any other cherry-flavored spirit. The flavor is incredible, like crushed, fresh-picked sour cherries, with sugar added, because that's exactly how it's made. Think fresh cherry pie.

I had my doubts, though. Cherry in a margarita? Really?

Really. One sip and I was sold. I brought the recipe into the Lounge the next day and it became an immediate patron favorite, a contender for The Drink of The Year, if such an award exists.

Accidental cocktails are the best kind, an "I-never-would-have-tried-that-combination-and-I-see-Jesus'-face-in-the-ice" miracle kind of cocktail.
Cherry in a margarita? Yes, please. And I won't be mad at Leah for drinking all the Grand Marnier.

Ch-ch-ch-cherry Margarita

1.5 ounces tequila

3/4 ounce sweetened lime juice (don't be lame and use Rose's or we will insult your intelligence and make fun of you publicly to such a degree that your friends will become embarrassed to be associated with someone so lame and they will abandon you forever and you'll be lonely and drown yourself in substandard margaritas. Our fresh sweetened lime juice recipe can be found here.)

3/4 ounce Finger Lakes Distilling Cherry Liqueur

Fill a rocks glass with ice and add all ingredients. Shake. Salt rim if desired.

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