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 

 

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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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“Mamie” was a “Liberal”, used to throw “Paper Planes” off the “South Slope”. One day, tuckered out, she laid down for a “Siesta” and slept like a “Corpse”. (You’ll have to pardon me… I had no good title for this post.)

The conclusion that you might draw from the lame title of this post is that there’s no real overarching them to this post’s drinks.  You’d be right!  I present to you 6 random drinks that feature random ingredients, with nothing in common with each other, other than the fact that they’re all pretty damn good.  A couple of them feature Lillet Blanc, which is a new ingredient for my home bar.  Lillet is a delicious French aperitif wine.  It’s rather sweet and fruity, consisting of a blend of mostly Bordeaux wines and some citrus liqueurs.  One of its most famous roles being that of a key player in a cocktail with one of the best names ever, the “Corpse Reviver #2”.   (I actually went out to get my first bottle of Lillet Blanc, specifically so I’d be able to make this drink.)  Another new ingredient featured in this post is ginger beer.  I love ginger ale, but this is the first time I’ve ever tried true ginger beer.  Ginger beer is what ginger ale used to be like, back in the olden days.  Ginger beer actually has ginger in it, and quite the spice you’d expect from a soda made with real ginger.  A lot of classic cocktails call for ginger beer, so I picked up a bottle of “Lewis Osterweis & Sons” ginger beer, made by The Saint Louis Brewery (aka Schlafly).  It’s not something I’d necessarily want to drink every day, but it’s definitely worth keeping a bottle or two in the house for when you do want one.

“Corpse Reviver #2”

What a delicious drink!  I love the taste of the lemon with just a slight underlying flavor of absinthe, mmmm!  I might actually think this drink is a little heavy on the lemon, and I might like it more with a little less, but nonetheless, it’s delicious!  It’s very smooth and easy to drink, but also a bit complex in its flavor mixture, with the Lillet and a little bit of the absinthe (Note: 3 drops means just that, 3 small drops, not 3 dashes).  Love it!

1 oz. gin

1 oz. Lillet Blanc

1 oz. lemon juice

1 oz. triple sec

3 drops of absinthe

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

Garnish with a cherry

“The Liberal”

I’ve been wanting to try this drink for some time, as I love its name too.  It’s a pretty good drink.  It’s got a unique taste.  The amaro wrestles with the sweet vermouth, pinning the vermouth’s sweetness and adding a bittnerness, while the orange bitters and bourbon stand on the side lines cheering and encouraging the fight.  Good drink indeed.

1.5 oz. bourbon

1.5 oz. sweet vermouth

6 dashes amaro

2 (healthy) dashes of orange bitters

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

Garnish with a cherry

The good version of “The Liberal” from “Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails” by Ted Haigh (above)

There’s another recipe for “The Liberal” that’s actually more common on the Internet.  I, for one, am not a fan of this version.  I highly recommend following the recipe above instead.

More common recipe (echh):

1.5 oz. rye whiskey

1/2 oz. sweet vermouth

1/4 oz. amaro

2 dashes or orange bitters

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

Garnish with a lemon twist

The not-so-good version more commonly found on the Internet (below)

“South Slope”

This drink is delicious! It’s dry, citrusy, bitter and smooth, all in one!  It’s a really nice cocktail, a perfect blend of tastes and senses.  

3/4 oz. gin

3/4 oz. Aperol

3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc

1/2 oz. orange curacao

1/2 oz. lemon juice

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

Garnish with a lemon twist

(“PDT Cocktail Book”)

“Mamie Taylor”

This is a good drink, with quite a unique flavor combination with the smokiness of the scotch and the spiciness of the ginger, pulled together by the unifying lime juice.  It works very well together though!  It’s quite a unique summer-time refresher.  Ted Haigh writes in his book that this drink was considered a fancy drink back in its heyday, and I understand why… the scotch soothes the soul while the ginger excites the heart, and the lime keeps it all in perspective.

2 oz. scotch

3/4 oz. lime juice

ginger beer (not just ginger ale)

Pour the scotch and lime juice into an ice-filled highball glass, and fill to the top with ginger beer, and then stir gently.

Garnish with a lime wedge

“Paper Plane”

This is a pretty good drink.  It’s a bit too lemony perhaps, but a nice flavor, all in all.  All the different flavors (a little bitter meets a little tart) blend very well in to a good single, unified flavor.  Definitely not a bad drink (but nothing that special either).

3/4 oz. bourbon

3/4 oz. amaro

3/4 oz. Aperol

3/4 oz. lemon juice

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

“Siesta”

And last but not least… Definitely NOT least!  This drink is absolutely AMAZING!  This is one of the best drinks around.  This drink is so good and delicious!  The smooth, sweet tequila, with the tart grapefruit juice and the bitter Campari, smoothed out in relief of the simple syrup… Mmmmmm… a perfect mix of flavors!  It’s a complex drink that’s both an “easy goin’ summer-time drink” and a “sophisticated cocktail” at the same time.  Write this one down, then drink it down, folks!

2 oz. silver tequila

1/2 oz. Campari

1/2 oz. lime juice

1/2 oz. grapefruit juice

1/2 oz. simple syrup

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

Garnish with a grapefruit twist (I used a lime twist)

(“PDT Cocktail Book”)