A surprisingly drinkable mix of mezcal and rye. The presentation? Loco
Placed before me at a random mezcaleria in Healdsburg, California:
“Maybe that should be served up, without the ice cube?” said I.
The waitress baby-sitting the bar this early afternoon referred to the handwritten guide the head bartender had left behind the counter.
“No,” said she. “It says to serve with the big ice cube.”
“Maybe it should be served in an Old Fashioned glass?” I offered.
“No, he said to serve everything in a Margarita glass.”
When in Rome, etc.
Gamely, I took a sip. The ice cube brushed my nose.
The odd thing is, it was an unexpectedly arresting drink. It looked like a train-wreck on the menu — all those unrelated flavors in one place! — but it was at least a solid B, with extra points for originality.
I have no idea what it was called on the menu.
So I am naming it here.
La Nariz Congelada, or The Frozen Nose
1.5 z mezcal
.5 Luxardo maraschino liqueur
Stir in a mixing glass, serve up in a coupe with one big ice cube, because…well, WTF. Brandied cherry garnish.
Frozen Nose cocktail tasting notes
Mixes two base spirits and a liqueur, each with vivid, distinctive flavors.
The smoke of the mezcal, the grainy edge of the rye, the high-pitched sweet of the Luxardo…somehow balance themselves.
Instead of a bar fight, this somehow comes off as a slightly edgy barstool conversation among three very strong-minded people who’ve never met.
Which is to say: A fascinating entertainment, but slightly dangerous.
Okay, so I tried this in an Old Fashioned glass. Worked much better.
For spirited political conversation 2016 style, serve this 2-ingredient powerhouse to your “friends on the other side”
You know how sometimes you just want to “reach out” to “your friends on the other side” and “exchange points of view” in a “mutually respectful way” so you can “understand” each other better?
Well, just in case you get a hankering, I recommend serving this simple two-ingredient cocktail to your guests. It’s definitely not sessionable, nor particularly well-balanced. But it has an unforgettable nose.
The Basket of Deplorables Cocktail
2 oz bleach
Preferably Clorox, lemon-scented
1 oz ammonia
Any brand will do
Garnish: Upside down American flag, lightly flamed
Directions: Build in an Old-Fashioned glass. Do not stir. Serve up. Garnish. Evacuate.
A long-forgotten 1950s product applies “modern” technologies to re-invent the ink-on-paper cocktail recipe book. You can figure out how this one ends
The 1950s were the flowering of American modernity — an aesthetic sensibility, tugged along by a newly affluent middle class, devoted to clean lines, simple forms, and a sense of an urgent new century unfolding.
The 1950s were also some really stupid times.
Witness the Bar Guide.
The Bar Guide is a shiny plastic device the size of a Canasta deck that updates the cocktail recipe book with “hep” modern technologies like plastic, newfangled printing methods, and a cool thumb wheel with traction grooves.
Its chief accomplishment appears to be transforming something that works quite well into something that’s confusing, hard to use, and easy to break.
And this was way before the Barnes & Noble “Nook GlowLight Plus.”
I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 80
Located at the heart of the Bar Guide is a paper scroll bearing 80 numbered cocktail recipes, each condensed to the size of a fortune cookie.
Tom Waits no longer drinks. This didn’t stop me from creating a beverage inspired by his characters and stories. Warning: Things get a little weird
If you’re acquainted with Tom Waits — the most important and breathtakingly talented songwriter and performer of his generation I-don’t-care-what- you-say-because-if-you-disagree-you’re-wrong — you’d think it would be easy to come up with a Tom Waits drink.
Many of Waits’ early songs are exquisite, heartbreaking, often hilarious soundscapes where the main characters have been, to put it generously, over-served. Just a few titles illustrate: “The Piano has Been Drinking.” “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.” “Gin-Soaked Boy.”
Until he met his wife Kathleen Brennan in 1987 and together they embarked on a remarkable journey of musical exploration that too few people know about, Waits says he lived a lot like the Bowery-bum scoundrels and layabouts that populate his songs.
Its origins are gauzy, its first recipe apparently lost. This has provided mixmasters almost 150 years of opportunity to improvise, riff, and commit various acts of mischief.
So, for our second installment in this series, I decided to check out the most popular recipe I could find.
Google, make me a Gin Daisy
For this I turned to Brother Google — the world’s always-on vast repository of knowledge, first refuge of rookie drinkmakers, and our most ubiquitous source of misinformation.
When Google presents search results, the order is based on a complex secret algorithm. But its most important component is the number of other sites that link to a particular page. The thinking: If a lot of other people think something is valuable, it’s valuable.
Some simple mathematical formulas can produce fine, solid cocktails. They can also produce undrinkable plonk.
Mixing drinks that don’t taste like they were wrung out of a wet t-shirt from a spring break dance party can be tough for rookie drinksmakers. This I know from hard, unpleasant experience. For this I apologize to all affected parties over the years.
Follow a formula — 2 oz base/1.5 oz modifiers equally split between sweet and sour — and it’s hard to mess up too badly, no matter what’s in the bottles. The results are solid, if unspectacular. Good bones, as they say.