This weekend the US celebrates Labor Day, and Fuzzy and I are hosting a joint birthday bash/pool party (I turned 42 on 8/17 and he turns 40 on 9/7) so I thought I’d celebrate with a cocktail-inspired Thursday 13. The fact that this is one more way for me to be not-writing my novel or not-writing my collection of short stories is mere coincidence. Cheers!
- Cosmopolitan: My version is classic: cranberry juice, vodka, Cointreau, and lime. Yes, I got hooked on them because of Sex and the City, but they’re perfect in summer even years after the series has ended.
- Mojito: Rum, Mint, Lime and a simple sugar syrup. Light and sort of tropical. Goes well with Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights on DVD.
- Cuba Libre: It’s really just rum and Coke with a hint of lime, but calling it Cuba Libre makes it sound so much more exotic, don’t you think?
- Mint Julep: I was actually disappointed when I learned that this was basically just bourbon, mint, and sugar. I always envisioned something more like a parfait…or something frighteningly green.
- Cape Codder: I’m a big fan of cranberry juice, but I’m also a fan of simple recipes. Cranberry juice. Vodka. Twist of lime. Ice. This was my first cocktail, and it’s still a favorite.
- Jameson & Ginger: Four years ago I was at a writing workshop/conference/thing in San Francisco, and the host of the workshop asked a couple of us to join him at dinner. There, he introduced us to his favorite drink: Jameson & Ginger. Technically, I suppose you could make this with any Irish whiskey since all it is is whiskey and ginger ale, but J&G is such a pretty phrase. Mad Men fans might have heard of it.
- Tequlia Sunrise: The trick with these is to use really good Tequila, not cheap Cuervo. The recipe is simple: tequila, orange juice, a splash of cranberry juice. They’re great by the pool, but not out of place at brunch.
- Bloody Mary: If the Cape Codder is my cocktail, this one is the one I associate with my mother, although I’ve been drinking them on and off this summer as well. Ingredients are vodka, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, lemon, and celery, but you can simplify that by using V8 and peppered vodka. (To make these really lethal, let the celery stand in a glass of peppered vodka for several hours before serving.
- Margarita: A classic margarita is actually pretty simple: Tequila, cointreau, lime, and simple syrup. I like mine on the rocks, but feel free to blend yours. The salt on the rim of the glass is optional, but the contrast of sweet, tart, and salty is really pretty nifty.
- Martini: The classic version is my fave: Gin. Vermouth. An olive. And unlike James Bond (who apparently liked his drinks weak), I prefer my martinis to be stirred. You’re actually supposed to do the stirring in a mixing glass, then strain the drink into a chilled cocktail class and add the olive. (Why is a shaken martini weak? Because when you shake it, the ice chips and water melts into the drink. Proper stirring, on the other hand, requires a special spoon designed so the ice does NOT chip.)
- Death in the Afternoon: Like the book that goes with it, this is a creation of Ernest Hemingway. It’s a mixture of absinthe and chilled champagne, and if you drink enough of them, using REAL absinthe, they could make you wish for death. In the USA, however, real absinthe (which contains wormwood) is illegal.
- Champagne Cocktail: Sugar, Angostura bitters, and champagne, garnished with a maraschino cherry. Elegant. Delicate. Addictive.
- Sex on the Beach: This one has cranberry juice (which I love) but also has one of the best names, ever. In addition to the cranberry juice, it has orange juice, peach schnapps, and vodka.
“Writing a novel is not method acting and I find it easy to step out of it at cocktail hour.”
~Bret Easton Ellis