Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Last Word

On a recent shopping trip, I picked up (among other fun booze purchases) a bottle of green Chartreuse and some Luxardo. Finally, I have the proper ingredients to make the Last Word. It is a fantastic drink for three reasons.

Firstly, it is another great way to get a non-gin drinker to drink (and more importantly, enjoy) their neglected bottles of gin. Secondly, it also helps introduce a whole new generation to the beauties of Chartreuse, something so wonderful that it's "the only liqueur to have a color named after it." That remarkable achievement alone (quoted directly from the bottle itself) should be more than enough to persuade us all into tying this cocktail. Ironically enough, Chartreuse comes in two colors, the traditional green and the softer yellow. Finally, the ingredients all have the same measure. This means you can make your drinks as big or small as you want without ever having to struggle through the mathematical impossibility of multiplying four different fractions having just downed your third cocktail of the evening. Also, there's really no need for a measuring jigger. Don't read this incorrectly. It is still important to measure. But with the Last Word, you can use whatever liquid bearing vessel your pretty little heart desires. So grab your mini dixie cups and start filling to the third blue flower.

1 part gin
1 part green Chartreuse (try yellow for a milder version)
1 part maraschino liqueur (Luxardo if you've got it)
1 part fresh squeezed lime juice

Shake with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sparkly Drinks

I'm a huge fan of drinks using champagne (and other sparkling wines). Today, I bring you two new original concoctions of yours truly. The first is presented (partially) as a joke. A friend of mine is a pretty big fan of the oh-so-classy, alcopop combination of energy drink and booze called Sparks. Now, I support this habit solely because he also has a high appreciation for booze items that actually are classy. Through my quality-booze evangelism, his second favorite alcohol item is probably an Old Fashioned (made properly, of course, with NO soda water whatsoever). Anyway, he and I recently picked up a new place (I'll post pictures once the bar is set up), and I felt that a proper way to celebrate would be to combine my mixology with his elixir of choice. It's very, very basic, but it's quite tasty and, to my knowledge, the only mixed drink using Sparks. If anybody is aware of any more, let me know. I'd love to try them out. Anyway, if you hadn't already guessed from the post title, this special drink consists of topping up with champagne a flute already containing an ounce or so of Sparks. To add a bit of complexity, top it off with a dash of Angostura bitters. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes mixology calls for a little something crazy -- but only sometimes.

This second drink is a little more conventional. I call it the French Appleflower. In addition to be a really girly sounding name, it also serves the purpose of highlighting the ingredients used. The "French" refers to the champagne (a la French 75). The "Apple" refers to (drumroll...) applejuice. And the "flower" refers to the elderflower liquer, specifically, St. Germain. It's difficult to overstate the greatness of this liqueur. Just to give a brief idea, at this year's San Francisco World Spirits Competition, it won a Double-Gold in it's category as well as a Double-Gold for it's packaging, so not only is it a fantastic herbal/botanical liqueur to mix with, it's also quite pretty. But you could probably tell that from the picture. Just pick up a bottle if you haven't already and make a light, refreshing Appleflower for your nearest reason to celebrate.

3/4 oz. St. Germain
1 oz. 100% apple juice
Serve fluted and topped with bubbly and a float of Peychaud's bitters (1-2 dashes)

For more of a cidery drink, feel free to bump up the juice content, just be warned that it's already a pretty sweet tasting drink. Much more appleness and you may need to switch the bitters to Angostura. Enjoy, and always drink well.