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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day mojito

As to why more people don't make mojitos on Memorial Day weekend, I have no idea. My father's WWII ships often hit the strategic English port in Bermuda on their way out, mare's tails wispy overhead. Rummies all, they had plenty of mint too, as that was the only thing that grew well on board. Where you find Englishmen you can find club soda, called soda water through the UK, so Bermuda was a good place to have a mojito, long before that notorious sissy Ernest Hemingway discovered them in Cuba in the '50's.

My own key to mojito manufacture is to muddle the lime wedges along with the sugar. This makes the drink a little more muddy, and lime pulp is good--otherwise, I find the presentation far too tame. As usual, we turn to the canonical Cocktail DB for the best recipe:

4 wedges lime (2 oz, 6 cl, 1/2 gills)
2 to 3 teaspoons granulated sugar (1 cl, 1/16 gills)
8 to 10 fresh mint leaves (4 oz, 12 cl, 1 gills)
2 ounces light rum (6 cl, 1/2 gills)
club soda
2 or 3 mint sprigs, for garnish (1 oz, 3 cl, 1/4 gills)

Muddle the lime wedges, sugar, and mint leaves in a mixing glass until the sugar is completely dissolved, all the juice is extracted from the limes, and the mint is thoroughly integrated into the juice. Add ice, and the rum, to the mixing glass, shake briefly, and strain into a collins glass filled with crushed ice. Top with club soda, and add the garnish.
Yes. The resulting drink is very easy to slam--a poet's drink, really, and that's why that notorious sissy Ernest Hemingway favored it. He preferred drinks that could be swilled by the gallon. His devoted yuppie tribalist heirs at Esquire think they are doing something exciting when having two. But really, the honestly macho Canadians of WWII, once in Bermuda, drank mojitos and also dark & stormies, which are about four parts dark rum and one part ginger beer, largely because you get more alcohol in a dark & stormy than in a mojito--unless the mojito is the size of an AM/PM supertanker. Which it should not be, because mojitos like almost all cocktails should be served very cold and drank very cold. A mojito is a polite company drink. As such, it is good for honoring the fallen, whose cause is certainly expressive of wanting the living to live.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Alaska Cocktail

This is a long and highly errant way to go to get to Alaska, but you may nonetheless feel good about the path.

When we want to experiment with spirits, the word cocktail makes us delighted. Origin of this fancy word is not clear, but there are a number of legends associated with it. the most common story is that of a widow of an American revolutionary officer in the war of American independence BETSY FLANAGAN who stole neighbour's chicken and decorated the glasses in the bar with cockstail feathers and thus it is called "coquetel". The very first book on cocktails was written by Jerry Thomsan in 1860, who invented Martinez or dry martini and tom and jerry.
I'm not sure that you can garble English much more efficiently. But at the end comes the payoff, the Alaska Cocktail, which may have a better pedigree than you might imagine:
Alaska Cocktail

45 ml. Gin

22 ml. yellow chartreuse

several dashes orange bitter

Method- Mix all ingredients with cracked ice in a shaker or blender. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Again, English is suspect. For clues as to how much fluid 45 and 22 ml. might be, refer to the far sturdier cocktail db for their Alaska Cocktail. (It's 1 1/2 oz and 3/4 oz.) The Alaska Cocktail is actually a very good summer drink.

Thanks to Chander for the reminder.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Frosty words on mint juleps

There are a few things you should know about mint juleps.

First off, your mint julep should not be the size of a supertanker or a thirsty-two ouncer. It should be the size of a julep cup (10 oz., 12 max.). The idea is something that will not heat up too much. Like so many drinks, it must stay cold while you're drinking it. That's the top consideration.

It should not be unduly sweet unless you are a southerner. If you're a southerner, feel free to make it as sweet as you like, and even use Southern Comfort, as they do at the Derby (though I'm obliged to say that though the Derby is storied, the julep has been around for even longer---if anything, and the Derby only adopted the julep as a preferred drink in 1938). But if you are from anywhere north of Mason County Pennsylvania, you'd better watch the sugar.

The silver cup is an affectation if it doesn't have a rim at the bottom. There's a rim at the bottom so you don't warm the cup with your hand. A rimless julep cup is an affectation.

Here's the best recipe anywhere---again from Doc's CocktailDB

4 mint sprigs (2 oz)
1 tsp sugar dissolved in water & muddled with mint

Fill with shaved ice
Stir until frosted

Add mint sprigs and/or orange slice, pineapple spear, cherry
2 oz bourbon
(Substitute brandy, gin, rye, applejack, etc)
Serve in a julep cup (10.0 oz)

Ah, 2 oz. bourbon in a mint julep. Yes. That's so you bet the right horse.

If you'd like more info and some good links on the mint julep, check Colleen, she's sort of the mint julep clearing house. The largely historical article at wikipedia is of considerable interest.

And what bourbon whiskey?

For me, dear old Jim Beam works best. For you?