I do believe there’s nothing finer in life than arriving home from work early enough to enjoy a refreshing drink and nice spring weather in a lawn chair in the backyard with a baseball game on the portable radio, before our little one wakes up from his nap and dinner is ready to eat.
2oz Pimm’s No. 1, 1/4oz lemon, ginger beer, a cucumber twist and ice
“Spring Training Fizz” (working title?)
1 1/2 to 2oz blanco tequila, blood orange soda, grapefruit bitters and ice
Muddle 8-10 mint leaves with simple syrup, add 2oz cachaca, 3/4oz lime, crushed ice and top with club soda
1 1/2 to 2oz blanco tequila, grapefruit soda and ice
Muddle mint leaves with a few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, add 2oz rye whiskey, 1/2oz Averna, 1/2oz lemon, ice and ginger beer
1 1/2oz gin, 3/4oz lime, 2d Bittermens “Boston Bittahs”, crushed ice and club soda
1 1/2oz Campari, 1 1/2oz Italian vermouth, ice and club soda
Yesterday saw the Kentucky Derby horse race. Although I love the history and tradition of the culture of horse racing, I couldn’t care less about it as a sport. But there’s so much more to the Kentucky Derby than the sport of horse racing, I love the fashion of the day with the snazzy hats and the outfits that hearken back to an American golden age of good times and revelry, and my favorite part is the drink of choice that day… the amazing Mint Julep.
The Mint Julep and Kentucky Derby is as intertwined as beer and baseball. That’s true for my own experience as well. Although I’ll have a mint julep every now and then on a day other than the day of the Kentucky Derby, I don’t do so as often as I really should. It really is too good of a drink to limit to just one special day. Since the drink outshines the horse racing event in my opinion, the drink should appear in one’s life more than the races as well.
I had my first Mint Julep at a Kentucky Derby party. Every year, a bar in St. Louis called The Royale hosts a derby party and serves fantastic juleps along with great fun and games including live music, charity mouse races and best dressed contests. (I saw Miss Jubilee & the Humdingers play the year I attended, and before that I believe Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three played the event.) Here’s a video straight from The Royale of how they make a julep: http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck/2014/04/mint_juleps_at_the_royale.php
It’s pretty straight forward and how I prepare mine at home. Here’s a photo of the julep I enjoyed yesterday:
With such an iconic drink comes lots of legendary stories, and the best mint julep story I’ve heard involves those made by Tom Bullock.
Tom Bullock was a St. Louis bartender at the St. Louis Country Club and author of “The Ideal Baretender” in 1917. In a libel suit regarding a claim that he was frequently drunk, former President Theodore Roosevelt testified that he had only had one drink since leaving the oval office and that was Mr. Bullock’s Mint Julep, and furthermore that he had only had a sip or two.
Apparently Mr. Bullock’s mint julep was so good, the St. Louis Post Dispatch felt it warranted to call President Roosevelt out in an editorial claiming that no one could possibly limit themselves to only a sip or two of Mr. Bulkock’s julep. (http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/02/18/dining/tom-bullock-the-ideal-bartender-offers-words-of-advice.html?referrer=)
The Mint Julep… a refreshing and stiff drink made of only bourbon, sugar, water and mint. The Mint Julep… a drink that should be placed upon the mantle of America as prominently as baseball and jazz themselves.
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On 10/26/14, the world lost a young baseball superstar of great promise, Oscar Taveras. Baseball fans learned of this tragic loss during the 2014 World Series, when it was announced over the air.
Shocked and in disbelief from this unexpected, terribly sad news, I needed a drink to sit back, take in the news and reflect on young Oscar and his saddened families (both his real family as well as his Cardinals family). Too saddened and shook to worry about mixing up a drink from ground zero, I just took the little bit of pre-mixed Manhattan I had already on hand and added cognac to it to make it a better-sized drink. Although the “technique” was unorthodox, the result was certainly tasty. Which begs the question…
Although the excuse for this concoction of mine was due to my lack of motivation to mix a drink from scratch, has anyone ever seen this technique in use before? Perhaps not just a Manhattan plus the addition of one other spirit (like mine was), but maybe two or three complete cocktails put together – A cocktail made of a combo of other cocktails? A “cocktail of cocktails”, so to speak.
I’d be interested to know.
Either way, at the end of the day, we’ll miss Oscar Taveras, and I hold his family and friends and his memory in my heart. This sad excuse for a drink is dedicated to the memory of Oscar Taveras, a tragic loss for St. Louis and the game of baseball…
1 part Manhattan
1 part cognac
I really enjoy a good Pimm’s Cup. So much so, that I really should find myself drinking them much more often than I do.
Oddly enough, I usually find myself enjoying them on the most American of holidays… 4th of July, Labor Day, etc. Mainly I guess because these holidays are summer ones where I find myself kicking back on the porch without a care in the world (other than the St. Louis heat and humidity).
However, I usually do feel a bit weird drinking these on the 4th of July for instance. Oh well, they’re a great summertime refresher, so who really cares about tradition and what’s proper anyway, right?
A 2014 Independence Day Pimm’s Cup…
2oz Pimm’s No.1
A couple ounces of ginger ale
Garnish w/ a cucumber
A 2014 Labor Day Pimm’s Cup…
2oz Pimm’s No. 1
1/4oz lemon over ice
A bit of ginger ale
A cucumber garnish
And what a Pimm’s Cup looks like when for some reason, you forget that a Pimm’s Cup has Pimm’s in it and accidentally use gin instead. It’s actually not a bad drink, and I wouldn’t object to someone handing me one.
A bit of ginger ale
A cucumber garnish
In February of last year, I was contacted by Fernet Branca, and asked if I’d like to be featured as one of their “cocktails of the week” on their social media sites. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity! I came up with this variation of a drink I’d created almost a year earlier called “The Little Man”. With this variation, I emphasized the Italian origin of the famous amaro digestif, with the name “The Ragazzino”.
1.5oz Still 630 rye whiskey
1/2oz Fernet Branca
3 dashes simple syrup
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash lavender bitters
garnish w/ an orange twist
De La Louisiane
2oz rye whiskey
3/4oz Italian vermouth
3d Bitter Truth creole bitters
Stir with ice and serve up
1.5oz rye whiskey
1oz Lillet Blanc
1/2oz apple brandy
1/4oz green Chartreuse
3d @angosturausa bitters
Stir with ice, then serve up
garnish with an orange twist