The Drinks of Spring

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. 

“Pimm’s Cup”

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

 
A “Mojito” with cachaca (a “Cachacito”?) 

Muddle 8-10 mint leaves with simple syrup, add 2oz cachaca, 3/4oz lime, crushed ice and top with club soda

  
“Paloma”

1 1/2 to 2oz blanco tequila, grapefruit soda and ice

  

Unnamed drink

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

  

“Gin Rickey”

1 1/2oz gin, 3/4oz lime, 2d Bittermens “Boston Bittahs”, crushed ice and club soda

“Americano”

1 1/2oz Campari, 1 1/2oz Italian vermouth, ice and club soda 

 


The Mint Julep

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. 



Scientist McGee’s Cocktail Glass Emporium

Thank you for reading my ramblings about cocktails here on WordPress.

As a way to thank you, please enjoy a 10% discount off all my cocktail glassware in my Cocktail Glass Emporium at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScientistMcGee?ref=pr_shop_more with coupon code WORDPRESSCOCKTAILS

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A Cocktail of Cocktails (?)

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

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Pimm’s Cup

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
1/2oz lemon
A couple ounces of ginger ale
Garnish w/ a cucumber

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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

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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.

2oz gin
1/4oz lemon
A bit of ginger ale
A cucumber garnish

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Throwback cocktails… “De La Louisiane” and “Harvest Moon” (both from PDT)

De La Louisiane

2oz rye whiskey
3/4oz Italian vermouth
3/4oz Benedictine
3d absinthe
3d Bitter Truth creole bitters

Stir with ice and serve up

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https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/tag/de-la-louisiane/

Harvest Moon

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

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https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/tag/harvest-moon/


Cocktail hour across Missouri

Cocktail hour across Missouri, with a “Show Me Cocktail”, a Scientist McGee original drink created as an homage to the 2014 Major League Baseball postseason featuring the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. A good time for baseball in Missouri, the “Show Me State”.

3/4oz rye whiskey
3/4oz apple brandy
3/4oz Swedish Punsch
1/4oz pear liqueur
2d Boker’s @adamsbitters

Stir with ice and serve up.

This drink’s split base spirit was directly influenced by the drinks of Death & Co. in New York City, as I was immersed at that time in their wonderful new book.

Furthermore, to truly pay homage to Missouri, I recommend mixing this drink with some rye whiskey that is distilled and bottled within the borders of our state, or better yet still, within the confines of one of these two fine cities – St. Louis or Kansas City.

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Another year, another cocktail menu… 5th Edition of the “Scientist McGee Cocktail Menu”!

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and enjoyed a nice tipple to say ‘goodbye’ to 2014. Looking forward to this new year of 2015, what better way to say ‘hello’ than an updated and revised edition of the “Scientist McGee Cocktail Menu”.

The “Scientist McGee Cocktail Menu” is essentially a documented collection of all the new drinks I’ve mixed up and enjoyed since the last edition. This newest version adds about 25 libations or so to the mix, and they’re all featured at the end of the book.  In addition to the newly added drinks, this edition also sees an updated cover, table of contents, bibliography, index, and even some updated photos of old drinks sprinkled in here and there.

So pull up a chair, chill some cocktail glasses, and measure some pours, because this book will be your best friend in the upcoming cold and wretched winter months.

Just click on the two pictures below to download the book in 2 parts.

Cheers to all of you, and may you have the best year of your life!  To 2015! Cheers!

Cover 5th Edition

Contents 5th Edition


2013 = 1 ; 2014 = 1+?

Happy new year everyone! I only posted one new blog entry in 2013, but I’ve stayed active on Twitter (@scientistmcgee) and Instagram (@scientistmcgee), as well as peddling vintage cocktail glasses on Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/scientistmcgee).

My only 2013 post followed the birth of my first kid and introduced the “Little Man” drink I rolled in tribute to him.  As I assumed, from that point on I really have not set aside the time to write lengthy blog posts. That does not mean in any way that I have not been enjoying the art of drinking well and reading worthwhile cocktail books and literature this past year. I have certainly been doing that! In fact I think I’ve had more fun sharing my experiences on Twitter and Instagram, because it’s afforded me the opportunity to meet and interact a lot more with new friends and interesting folks who enjoy cocktails as well… such as Cori Paige (Under My Host), Dave Weglarz (StilL 630), Sara Graham (Dishcrawl St. Louis), Bill Foster (The Big O), and others on Twitter and Instagram such as @DrinkDMV, @WorthyBar, @AmuseDouche11, @The_Warthog and @TheDuke001.  Twitter and Instagram offer such an interactive forum, where there’s so much more back-and-forth and sharing between others I can learn from and enjoy with.  So much so that I got my first opportunity in 2013 to sell my Etsy vintage glassware in a face-to-face public setting because I met Sara Graham through posting pics on Twitter.

So needless to say, I’m certainly grateful for the role WordPress has played in this fun hobby of mine.  Without WordPress, there would be no “Scientist McGee”.  This is where my alter-ego and hobby persona was born.  It’s what encouraged me to foster and grow my interest, by allowing me to connect with others in the first place.  The cool thing is that according to my “annual WordPress report” below, my blog brought in 6,400 visitors, although I only had one new post.  That’s because what I write about and share isn’t “breaking news”… it’s got no “limited shelf-life” or “expiration date” of relevancy.  I write about a time-honored tradition that has been around for over 100 years, and hopefully will never go away… the cocktail.  And although new drinks will be concocted, and new spirits and cordials invented, as well as new methodologies in which to make new libations will be tried, the basics and fundamentals of making a good drink will outlive me.  That’s why I’m happy that what I’ve written about on this world wide web will always serve as a decent resource to others when googling subjects such as “chocolate bitters”, “yellow chartreuse” and “how much is a ‘dash’?”.  I love it when I myself google a drink recipe for reference, and my own blog pops up as a good resource!

So although 2013 has not been a busy year for me in regards to WordPress, it has in fact been a very busy year in my personal family life, as well as my drinking life over on Twitter, Instagram and Etsy.   So if you only see me on WordPress occassionally, thanks, and I’ll see you from time to time.  But if you want to join me over on these other sites, and enjoy drinks together much more often, it would make me very happy as well.

I can promise you one thing about WordPress, and that’s that I will have at least one new post in 2014.  Once a year, I post my updated “Scientist McGee Cocktail Menu” for my home bar, updating editions annually to include all the new drinks I’ve tried in the prior year.  Although I’ll need to find the time to do so, I do plan to post an updated year-end “cocktail menu” within the next month or so.

So stay tuned and keep your glasses chilled!

Thanks, SMcG

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Where to begin…

6-11-13 The little man 6-11-13 billiken Summer Relief 6-11-13

Where to begin this SMcG post?  It’s my first post since December of last year, and a lot’s happened and changed since then.  Most significantly, I’m a dad now!  My wife and I had our first baby on May 23rd, and his name’s Elliott.  If you do the math, he’s not even 3 weeks old yet, and I’ve been off on leave of absence from work this whole time (I go back to work this Friday).

So although I’ve got numerous new cocktails I’ve tried since December 2012 to write about, I guess it’s only fitting that I start with an original one I created specifically to mark the occasion of our little man Elliott’s birth… It’s called “The Little Man”.  In addition to this drink (the most important one to me), I’ve got 19 other new drinks I’ve mixed up for the first time, and one delicious punch on top of that, since my last entry.  There’s no way though that I’d want to even write about that many all in one post, nor could I even do so if I wanted to, what with the 3-week old baby in the house and all.  So I’m going to keep this post really short and sweet, in hopes that by doing so, I’ll be more inclined to write more frequently than I’ve been doing recently.

So for sake of brevity, I’ll keep this post to two drinks – two cocktails that I invented in fact… “The Little Man” and “The Billiken”.  Although the Little Man is the drink closest to my heart, the Billiken is the original creation that I’m most proud of simply because it’s a damn good drink (if I do say so myself).  The Billiken was created back in March during the NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament in tribute to my hometown school and alma mater college basketball team of Saint Louis University.

“The Little Man”6-11-13 The little man

1.5 oz Still 630 rye whiskey

3/4 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz Meletti amaro

2-3 dashes of simple syrup

1 dash orange bitters

1 dash lavender bitters

Shake well with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Garnish with an orange twist

Many of these ingredients play a specific role in the characteristics of a drink created in homage to my baby boy Elliott…

The Still 630 rye whiskey because his dad loves rye whiskey and this particular rye because it’s a great St. Louis whiskey.  I love my hometown of St. Louis, and I’m excited to share my love for this town with little Elliott.  The lemon and amaro because when Elliott’s throwing a fuss, he can be a bit sour and bitter.  But then you add the simple syrup and lavender bitters because in the end, he’s just a sweet little baby who happens to smell like flowers (at least to his parents).  (The orange bitters and garnish don’t have any special meaning.)

But above all cheesy symbolism, the drink’s a fun one to drink.  It’s a refreshing drink that I think would appeal to many different folks… it’s a sour while still being a mellow, smooth drink.  I think that the variety of ingredients, from the amaro to the simple syrup to the lavender bitters to the lemon create a few different layers of subtleties, and offer a little bit of something for everyone’s tastes.  A good drink for a great time in my life.  Cheers to Elliott!

6-11-13 billiken“The Billiken”

1 1/2 oz Plymouth gin

3/4 oz Lillet Blanc

1/4 oz St. Germain

1 dash of Boker’s bitters

Stir well with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon peel hugging 3 blueberries

Of all the spirits to choose from, I figured gin spoke to me most when it came to basketball.  (Whiskey just doesn’t seem like a basketball liquor.)  The particular ingredients in this drink are fitting because, like SLU, none of them are particularly cheap (inexpensive).  Also, these specific ingredients (ie. Lillet, St. Germain) tend towards the fancier and “less rugged” persuasion, I guess you might say… also similar to SLU and its student body.  Lastly, the blueberries fit the school colors and may serve as a loose reference to basketballs.  But most importantly, it’s a well built and tasty drink.  I think of it as sort of an “elegant Corpse Reviver”… light, fancily delightful and delicious… like a ballet or a good game of college basketball.

“Summer Relief”Summer Relief 6-11-13

Why not throw one more drink in to this post for good measure, now that I’m on a roll (and the kid’s being good and napping)!  (kind of like a bonus hidden track on a ’90’s cd, eh?)

I don’t want this post to be only drinks I made up, so here’s a good one as we hit our summer stride… the “Summer Relief” from Matt Seiter’s book “Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”.  This drink is downright delicious! It’s one of the heartiest gin drinks I’ve ever had.  The grapefruit, honey syrup and surprisingly the St. Germain all add up to provide a substantial body for the drink.  It’s a substantial and hearty drink, but also kind of a “girly” drink.  But I don’t use the adjective “girly” to mean anything but awesome.  I mean it in the highest form of praise that I can… like a fashion model with great style and amazing perfume.  (I know that that is probably the absolute weirdest description of a drink that you’ll find in this entire Scientist McGee blog, but it’s in my notes and I trust my notes and my seemingly tipsy self from February, and it does ring a bell and I remember feeling strongly about this, so there you go! ha! ha!)

1 1/2 oz gin

1 oz grapefruit juice

1/2 oz honey syrup (1:1 water:honey)

1/4 oz St. Germain

Shake well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass

Garnish with grapefruit

(“Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”)