Confession: I love citrus fruits to an unhealthy degree.
Tagged With cocktails
Coming up with a new cocktail every week is a fun challenge but, after over 125 instalments of this column, it has gotten more a bit more challenging. Sometimes I ask my brilliant bartender friends for direction, but sometimes I simply stare at the various bottles on my bar cart, willing a new recipe to take shape. (The latter strategy is what I employed today.)
Artificial intelligence (AI) seems poised to run most of the world these days: it’s detecting skin cancer, looking for hate speech on Facebook, and even flagging possible lies in police reports in Spain. But AIs aren’t all run by mega-corporations and governments, you can download some algorithms and play with them yourself, with often hilarious results.
I don’t know if I can speak for everyone, but 2019 was a year that required--nay, demanded--I consume more than a few cocktails. This was bad news for my liver, but great news for my readers, as all that drinking resulted in a lot of cocktail-related pondering and testing, as well as some truly great cocktail hacks.
Disengaging from my work is a difficult task, mainly because eating is something I have to do every day, whether I want to or not. Even when I’m on vacation, the meals I eat and the drinks I drink are analysed and evaluated. “Could I write about this?,” I ask. “Is this a hack?” Some trips are more fruitful than others.
While cocktails aren't exactly good for you - alcohol is a toxin after all - some drinks can be more dangerous than others. These dicey craft cocktail ingredients can be found in bars all over the place.
Last night I attended a holiday party where my contribution was a plate of sausage and cheese balls and a 750ml bottle of Old Fashioneds. Both were well received, but the Old Fashioned perhaps caught the most attention. As it turns out, a lot of the party-goers had never considered making a bunch of them at once, and instead considered it a cocktail you’d need to make one at a time.
Perhaps the most annoying response to “I don’t like that” is “You’d like mine,” but that’s exactly what Jeffrey Morgenthaler said to me when I told him I hated eggnog. Even more annoying? He was correct. Jeff’s nog is the only good nog, and it is made with tequila.
A holiday riff on a classic cocktail is a fine thing, but the “seasonal twist” always seems to start and stop with cinnamon. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with cinnamon—it’s accessible and uncontroversial, it reads as sweet without adding actual sweetness, and it is even purportedly good for your blood pressure or something. As such, it seems to find its way into any and all holiday-specific cocktails, the first and last answer to the question of how to make a drink taste right for right now.
Apples do a lot of heavy lifting around the holidays. We bake them in pies, drink their fermented juice, and sip on spiced cider. Apple brandy is my favourite vehicle for this particular flavour, and when paired with Bénédictine liqueur, it makes a drink that tastes like a more alcoholic version of your favourite seasonal hard cider.
Every bar should have a “thing.” My very favourite bar, Burp Castle in the East Village of Manhattan, is themed like a monastery; the bartenders wear monks’ robes and gently shush the patrons to keep the noise down. My local Brooklyn bar, High Dive, isn’t quite so distinctive, but it serves popcorn and has pinball in the back and a chalkboard in the front where patrons can put money on each others’ tabs.