Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas - Day 6

On the sixth day of Gheorghemas, big Gheorghe gave to me:

Six cocktails
Five gooooals / things
Four legal mic drops
Three critters and an otter
Two names for naming
And a fat guy in a jer-sey

My parents would be so proud to know I’m the resident “expert” on cocktails and gambling (1 of 2 of course) for this here blog, after of course explaining to them what a blog is, unsuccessfully. At first thought this assignment seemed daunting. Yes, it did. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to provide 6 drinks that I, 1) have a good deal of experience making & consuming, 2) that my fellow GTB’rs would definitely enjoy, and 3) that are a fit for the holiday season. That thought lasted as long as most of my others.

Back to parents – good, bad, or indifferent, and probably bad, it was their influence very early on that introduced me to alcohol at large. I’d pour beers as a youngster for them and their cronies. My dad had a bar constructed in our basement when we lived outside of Syracuse. Equipped with draft beer with the kegorator behind a wall and in an entirely different room, every liquor imaginable (with pourer spouts of course), coasters, shakers, strainers, garnishes, and even a nice little cushion that ran the bar’s length so your elbows wouldn’t become sore or bruised. It can happen ya know. It was L-shaped, I’d guess about 12’ on the long side and 4’ on the short. It was lacquered nicely, you could sling a beer from one end to the other with no problem at all.  With low ceilings, a nearby couch, recliner and television, it was pretty damn inviting. I’d pour beers at the ripe old age of 11 during Super Bowl parties, post-Sacrament parties, regular no-reason parties, Christmas parties, the occasional Tuesday, you name it.  

The first two drinks harken me back to those days. My parents would never have me mix these – far too risky. And what kind of parenting would that be? My mom liked the Old-Fashioned. When I became a little older, ya know, like 15, she’d entrust me with the task. Once my palate further developed, for what I once thought as “yucky” the Old-Fashioned became my friend, that friend you don’t see very often but when you do, you feel good, all warm & fuzzy inside, just like last time you saw each other however long ago that might have been.

The Old-Fashioned
I’ve never been a measurer. Takes too much time. If nervous, go ahead and get yourself a shot-glass and use as needed. Here is how I was taught to make an Old-Fashioned decades ago and how I still do to this day. The process has been approved and rarely doesn’t meet or exceed the expectations of the consumer.

In the days of yester yore, it was some crap whisky that I’d be using – Canadian Club for example. No. Please don’t do that. If you’re going to do it do it right.

-rocks glass
-orange slice & a cherry or two
-juuuuust a touch of cherry juice
-juuuust a ‘lil bit of sugar – ½ tsp
-bitters – just a couple of drops now!
-muddle that up dawg!
-add ice
-Woodford Reserve / Maker’s / Knob Creek / Bulleit - pick just one
-just a wee bit of soda, or plain water if no soda…or if you haven’t the soda, I’d leave it as is but that’s me
-stir & begin drinking

 (fyi – there are a few different Ron Zacapa Old Fashioned recipes out there that look dee-lish, but have yet to make. But stay tuned)

What I like about the Old Fashioned is its versatility. It works during any part of the year. Over the yule tide log or while watching the Derby - it works.

The Manhattan
This is another concoction that very early on I thought repugnant. But come on, I didn’t even have pubes yet. My dad and one of his very best friends introduced FOGTB Buckles to said drink in the summer of ’93? Beach trip, Emerald Isle…

Buckles - “Hey, what are you guys drinkin?”

Ed - “Manhattans, want one?”

Buckles - “You bet”

8 or 9 later it was time to switch to beer, but a fan had been created.

I’ve always been a rocks guy. Drinking up or on the rocks is preference and if anyone gives you a hard time because of a different opinion so be it. No need to cow tow. For me, the stability of the glass is assuring. With three under five running around plus a couple of pussy cats, stability is important. There's the sound of the ice too…maybe one of our wordsmiths can sum it up for me. It just feels right. If up, obviously use a shaker. And if you’re using a mixer/shaker because you’d prefer not to dilute the drink too much, keep the shaking to a minimum and be gentle. So very, gentle. 

-rocks glass
-rocks – just a couple/few
-whiskey of your choice, but see bourbon options shown for the “Old Fashioned”
-hopefully you kept the bitters out
-sweet vermouth – ½ oz or so – this again is preference...experiment a little; have several while each time altering the amount of both the vermouth and the bitters, if stumbling or slurring speech, that means you like the bourbon part
-a cherry if you feel so inclined
-if feeling frisky will throw in a spoonful of cherry juice – depends on the mood 

The picture of the Old-Fashioned above…well imagine that without the orange and that’s your picture for The Manhattan. There you go little buddy. Nice goin.

I love me a Manhattan during the winter time, ESPECIALLY prior to a nice meal in an obnoxious steakhouse. Yes please.

The Stinger
During and post-college, I may have mentioned that I bartended at a, or THE rather, fine dining establishment in Winchester. Go ahead – insert your little Winchester jokes here. “Lone Star is fine dining?” “Bob Evans had bartenders?” Hahahahahah. You guys are funny. 

So the clientele was older, 40+ (I was 21/22/23 at time) with a lot of older farts too. There was a guy who always used to order a Stinger after his dinner. After making and trying, I understood why.

-rocks glass (or up)
-white crème de menthe
(3 parts brandy, 1 part crème de menthe)
How great is that huh? You are so very welcome.
And guess what – substitute the white crème de menthe with green crème de menthe and do you know what you have? A GREEN HORNET, shown here….

And here!  

The Stinger is stingalicious, warming to the core. Build yourself a little fire, put on your favorite slippers, and retire to the couch with your favorite tome and enjoy being you. That's what I'd do.

This one is for the ladies. Speaking of Brandy…

The Brandy Alexander
This usually came with the request to have frozen, to make in a blender. The (lazy) bartender’s dread….THE BLENDERRRRRR!!!!  It’s loud and it has to be cleaned after use. Though I will say, it is mighty tasty, and that is whether blended, up, or on the rocks. It doesn’t matter how you make it, it will go quickly so make enough for a few. I think I’ll go with a martini glass for this one.

-3 parts brandy
-1 part crème de cacao
-1 part half & half
-do as Ric Ocasek said to and shake it up
-strain into a pretty little martini glass
-add some nutmeg on top and…

The Brandy Alexander is the quintessential dessert drink. Rather have something fulfilling from a caloric and taste perspective while continuing to fill the bloodstream with alcohol? This is what you want.

The Nose Warmer
Full disclosure. I’ve never made this one and have only consumed it once in a restaurant. Every time I think of this drink I hit myself for not having purchased the goods to make it at home.

This is one of those after holiday dinner drinks for when you’re feeling extra hog-like. You’ve eaten early perhaps and you still have many hours left of getting your swerve on. You just want to stretch out under the table and close your eyes. Sleepytown is calling. Sleeeepy. If you have another glass of red or IPA, you’ll doze off in what's left of the green bean casserole on your plate. Yuck. That would be embarrassing, for some. You need a coffee drink with alcohol so that you can maintain or even enhance your inebriation, while also giving yourself a little pep. Is it a bonus that it’s delectable? You bet it is.

-1/2 oz Tia Maria
-1/2 oz Frangelico
-1/2 oz Baileys
-1/2 oz Grand Marnier

Put all of that together in your favorite Nancy Pelosi mug, maybe even add a little whipped cream (you know Nancy loves her whipped cream), and get ready for round 2 of your drunk.

The Hot Whiskey!
This one is for Clare Bear.
On a whim in the year 2002 maybe, a good buddy (klynch) and me went to Ireland during the month of January! (whatever year the Ravens won the Super Bowl) AerLingus had just begun flying to and from Bawmore for the price of a few pints. Plus, who doesn’t love ‘em some lingus once in a while? We got on board. Of course when we got on board, we were already extremely hung over, tired, blah blah blah. I had a bit of a cold coming on. Felt like shite from the previous night's session but upon getting there couldn’t wuss out on the cràic. That’d be rude. I explained my state to the first barkeep and without hesitation he says, “ya need a hut whisskey!” “I do indeed kind sir!”   

If I lived in a cold state, I’d probably have one or two of these a week. If you do, or if you have a case of the sniffles and you’re not feelin the beer or Vod, have your loved one make ya one of these. Ringy Dingy.
-boil water (about 3/4th cup per drink)
-pull out a whiskey sour glass, a coffee mug that says “world’s best dad”, or one like pictured below
-1 slice lemon
-2-3 cloves
-tsp of sugar – or you can use honey or simple syrup – you get the drift
-1 ½ oz or more of Jameson/Bushmill’s/Powers/Paddy/Locke (not of each, just 1)
BOOM – turn that frown upside down. Sooner than later you’ll be back up on the table and making an ass of yourself!

Enjoy, all. And let's be careful out there.

Happy Holidays!


Mark said...

I'm a little tired today since the Florida game didn't end until midnight. Worth it since they won. I really like this team. Shooting is an issue but strong in all other facets.

Mark said...

Also, going to see Chapelle tonight. Seats in the second row!

mr kq said...

Excellent post. I will follow Clarence's lead and set a goal to sample all 5 this winter. Cheers!

Squeaky said...

We got sucked into the Elf on the Shelf thing this year but next year we might have to switch it out for this

Manhattans, yes please.

Danimal said...

Thanks there Mr. KQ.

We are in our 3rd year w the Elf. Its effectiveness has worn off just a tad.

Dave said...

can't wait for a chapelle summary . . .

jesus christ, these drinks have way too many ingredients and steps to them. the hot whiskey sounds delicious, and i'm going to try to be more adventurous with my ordering, but i would never have the patience to make one of these things.

Greg said...

Dave, don't you have kids you can train for all the mixing & such? Wasn't that the true "Christmas Miracle" of this post?

Dave said...

that is miraculous, but daninal is a rare bird. i wouldn't trust my kids to mix hawaiian punch.

Shlara said...

Danimal--I had no idea that you were such an expert mixologist.

Next time you're in DC, you should try the Columbia Room--only seats 10 people. Excellent hand-crafted drinks. It sits inside the Passenger--also serves delicious drinks in an unpretentious environment.


rob said...

columbia room and/or passenger, then rhett on 1/18, shlara?

Shlara said...

Yes to Passenger then Rhett
And I just discovered Silent Library--some MTV game show that is awesome. Watched the episode with Jimmy Fallon & the Roots. Beyond funny.

TR said...

Don't mean to brag too much here, but I broke my New Mexico cherry today, having landed in Albequerque and driven to Santa Fe for some of that work stuff tmrw. Dig it.

Town is dead. After a decent dinner, we retreated to our hotel (The La Fonda, duh) for a night cap. We stumbled into a fantastic cowboy (and cowgirl) scene. There was a rockabilly trio featuring three OLD dudes playing and a gaggle of silver-haired locals in cowboy hats boogieing. It was as quintessential a Santa Fe experience as I could've expected,and the music was fun as hell. No blue meth, unfortunately.

TR said...

And I am looking forward to making a stinger. Seems mighty tasty.

Clarence said...

Rob has a stinger story.

Danimal said...

thanks shlara - will check it out. looks like an interesting spot.

Mark said...

Chapelle was fantastic. The guy who played Ashy Larry on Chapelle's Show opened and was good. Then Dave came on an went for over 1.5 hours. He smoked the entire time and was as funny as ever. Best seats I've ever had for a show. Makes a difference. Didn't get home until 12:45 but totally worth it.

zman said...

Where did you get that photo of zwoman and me on the beach?

Danimal said...

annual work xmas dinner this evening. can you gauge the excitement in my writing? no?

attended a memorial service for a 52 year old colleague/friend who just a few years was kind of a big deal in his industry. after getting let go as well as a divorce, to say he fell on hard times would be an understatement. his 3 kids spoke - h.s & college aged. they were awesome. trying to shake the "weirdos" - need some dipshittery here. hop to it.

Danimal said...

oh....and mark, tyler murphy exiting uf - good? bad? no matter?

rob said...

i do, indeed, have a stinger story, clarence. it involves an absurd number of free rounds, a cheesy hotel bar, a headlock on an ex-squeeze, and a whole lot of blacking out followed by an all-timer of a hangover. i blame your dad.