If you have a problem with alcohol, this might be a good post to skip!
You know, people have very different vacation styles. Some like to not plan and just let stuff happen. Others obsessively plan and almost keep a clipboard and whistle. I like to think I'm in the middle. I have found that if you don't plan, you don't do anything! Everyone sits around for at least half the day. I like to make a plan, if we don't stick to it, that's okay, but at least we have any idea.
As I mentioned in the last couple posts, my cousin Erica and her boyfriend Pat were coming to visit us for a day. I wanted to make the day especially fun so that they would come back. I thought about what is special about Fort Collins and came up with breweries! Fort Collins has a ton of breweries. There are at least 4 major breweries and another several brewery/restaurants in town.
Josh had to work a half day, so once Erica and Pat got up, we went to a local brewery/restaurant for lunch. CB&Potts. I really like CB&Potts-the hamburgers are delicious and the beer is excellent. Pat got a sampler and I got a delicious apricot ale along with our lunch. We then went to Budweiser and did a factory tour (plus we got to drink an AMAZING blueberry beer called Wild Blue-it was amazing, I will definitely be looking for that again). We went back to the house, picked up Josh, and headed to the tap room at New Belgium. The New Belgium tap room is always a hit with guests--you get three free drinks, there are always lots of fun people around, and they serve small-batch brews in the tap room that you can't find anywhere else. Finally, we had heard that Odell's brewery charges for their samples, so Josh and I had crossed it off the must-do list, but I talked to customers at New Belgium who really recommended it. We headed over there--I'm really glad we did! They don't charge very much (like $4 to $12 for a bunch of samplers) and had an amazing rhubarb beer and curry beer among great others!
We ended the night at this amazing speakeasy-style hidden bar that served great tapas. Unfortunately this is my only picture of the night (sorry that your eyes are closed, Erica!):
Believe it or not, we thought the perfect end to the night would be drinking TJOC cocktails. In fact, during the planning stages, Erica brought up drinking TJOC cocktails as a fun activity which was music to my ears. If you want to butter me up, say that we should get together and do some sort of TJOC activity. Let me tell you, mixing drinks for four people and taking photos, while progressively getting more drunk, meant that I don't have good notes or pictures of the drinks that were made. I am only counting the ones that I'm absolutely sure about.
A lot of cocktails require Sugar syrup (p. 43). Sugar syrup is really simple--I combined two parts sugar with one part water and cooked it over low heat. Extremely simple and I now have a container of it in the fridge:
The Highball (p. 59). I poured whiskey in a glass and added club soda. Either Josh or Pat drank it and said it was very tasty--the club soda cut the whiskey a little (if you don't want a straight whiskey on the rocks).
Gin & Tonic (p. 56). It's hard for me to believe that anybody likes gin, especially since when a anybody tells a story about how they can't even smell (insert alcohol) it seems to be either gin or tequila. I've never had a gin incident, I just don't like it. In fact, I think the only time I ordered gin was when I was lucky enough to take a business-class flight to Italy and found out they give you tiny free alcohols at that level (little Bombay gin bottles are particularly cute). And tonic water is one of those most vile things on earth. So I fed the gin and tonic to Josh. He wasn't sure about it but I think it was less the recipe and more the revolting taste of tonic water.
Scarlett O'Hara (p. 63). I shook Southern Comfort, cranberry juice, and lime juice over ice. I liked it--I like SoCo--but it wasn't my favorite because I'm not a huge fan of lime juice.
A Pink lady (p. 57) is gin, grenadine, and cream, shook over ice.
Erica drank this one. She said it was good, I liked that it matched her outfit, and we both felt like we were in the 1950's with our pink ladies and grasshoppers. I like pastel drinks (but don't tell anyone!).
I thought that a Grasshopper (p. 63) would be perfect to drink while Erica was drinking a pink lady. I shook creme de menthe (green, I was amazed they made it in more than one color!), creme de cacao (white because brown looks gross), and half-and-half with ice. It was really good, like a creamy Thin Mint (that is a delicious Girl Scout Cookie for those of you outside the US).
We were outside while everybody but me enjoyed a fine cigar (Josh has a humidor and an increasingly impressive collection--he is ecstatic when someone wants to smoke a cigar with him). My drink matched my outfit too!
Whiskey sour (p. 59). I shook blended whiskey (I'm sorry Erin and Heather! I used Scoresby rather than Jameson--it was cheaper and I was buying a LOT of alcohol), lemon juice, and sugar syrup with ice. Josh enjoyed it and said it was a perfect whiskey sour (I think he was exaggerating but I was glad to hear it).
I actually didn't make any notes to go with this picture--thankfully, I took a picture of the drink sitting on TJOC and could figure out that it was a Screwdriver (p. 57). I shook vodka and orange juice with ice and, apparently, decided not to serve it on ice. It was good--there isn't a whole lot to say about something as simple as orange juice and vodka mixed together. It's the tailgating breakfast of champions.
Tequila sunrise (p. 62). I stirred tequila and orange juice then poured a little grenadine over the top. It was so beautiful and looked like a perfect tequila sunrise! I have no idea who drank this. Hopefully they will comment.
I was amazed by the recipe for the Singapore sling (p. 57). It has so many things in it! I was happy to see that it gave me another use for cherry brandy, since I bought some to marinate cherries in for chocolate covered cherries, which I never ended up making. I shook gin, cherry brandy, pineapple juice, lime juice, triple sec, grenadine, and bit of bitters (I did not use benedictine--I'm not exactly sure what it is). I don't know who drank this or what it tasted like--I will report back or, hopefully, Pat or Erica will comment.
It was an amazingly fun day. I can't wait for them to come back to visit. I know I made a number of drinks that weren't photographed--for example, I'm positive I made a Sazerac because I think they are strange to drink when you aren't in New Orleans and I'm used to them being made with absinthe (not required in the TJOC recipe).
Friends, you can look forward to a night of this sort of TJOC drinking when you visit, now that I have a well-stocked liquor cabinet.
Anyone regularly drink any of these? How would you describe them? Have you gone on any of these tours? Do you want to go on them when you visit me? :)