Another all-alcohol post! If you disapprove of drinking, skip this post!
I've decided that because my alcohol posts are pretty boring, I'm going to include random tidbits about the drinks. Let me know if you like that addition or not, I'm on the fence about whether to keep it or not.
Rachel's liquor shelf is very random. Interestingly, even though we almost never drink at home, Josh and I have a very well-stocked liquor cabinet (or, more accurately, liquor cubes), almost entirely because of cooking. The randomness made finding TJOC drinks we could make a challenge.
I also quickly found out that Rachel doesn't have any bar glasses--no highballs, for example. I am aware that none of the drinks pictured are served in the correct glasses. They did have one leg up on our house though--ice cubes. Josh and I seem to have an abnormally small refrigerator and freezer. Because of this fact, we never have ice available (not great for cocktails) and Rachel had tons of ice!
We had the ingredients for a Salty dog (p. 58). I shook vodka and grapefruit juice with ice. Apparently, the difference between a salty dog and a greyhound is the salting of the rim.
Interesting and timely anecdote about salty dogs from Michael Barrier:
Speaking of movies: The release of the Coen brothers' new version of True Grit today reminds me of a long-ago encounter with Charles Portis, the author of the novel. I was a young newspaperman at the time, and I knew Portis slightly—we all called him "Buddy"—because his brother and I worked together on the copy desk at the Arkansas Gazette. In those days, you couldn't buy a mixed drink in Little Rock except at a private club, and Gazette people favored a joint called the Officers Club. One night I happened to be sitting at the bar next to Buddy Portis. I was a novice drinker, and I ordered a salty dog (vodka and grapefruit juice). Portis—a former Marine, among other intimidating things—was drinking something darker and much more menacing, and he looked incredulous when my drink arrived. When I told him what it was, he responded with a devastating critique that Phyllis says I can't quote here without bruising tender ears. Suffice it to say that it was Buddy Portis who set me firmly on the road toward my mature preferences for single malts, martinis, and ice-cold Russian vodka.
I poured grapefruit juice in a little bowl, sprinkled giant salt crystals on a plate, and tried my best to rim the glass:
It didn't work.
So I guess what I really made was a slightly salty greyhound. The drink was tasty! I knew this drink but I didn't know it had a name--I always just ordered a grapefruit and vodka. I went through a period of trying to find a new default drink (my current is a vodka cranberry, which seems so boring) and the greyhound was one of the drinks I tested. Unfortunately, it seems like grapefruit might be yet another fruit I'm allergic to (so far, cranberry is fine) so it didn't make the cut.
For some mysterious reason, Rachel got absolutely obsessed with the idea of having a Harvey wallbanger (p. 58). Now, I will admit, I'm spoiled. I live in a town with about a thousand liquor shops. My favorite liquor store has tons and tons of little airplane-sized bottles, which are perfect when you only have a drink or two to make out of TJOC or you just need a few tablespoons for a recipe and you don't want to buy a whole bottle (or the bottle is expensive). Rachel's town did not have that variety of tiny liquors, so Rachel decided to invest in a big bottle of Galliano.
Random facts about the Harvey wallbanger (Wikipedia):
- Invented by the same man who invented the rusty nail (coming in an upcoming post) and the white Russian
- Galliano is named after Giuseppe Galliano, an Italian war hero
- The flavors of Galliano include anise, juniper, musk yarrow, ginger, lavender, peppermint, vanilla, cinnamon, and about a million other ingredients.
- Most drinks with Galliano include the words "wall", "bang", "yellow", or "golden".
It was an easy cocktail to make. I poured vodka and orange juice over ice, stirred well, then poured the Galliano on the top:
The drink was good. To me, it sort of tasted like drinking perfume with a anise-y aftertaste. I don't like any anise flavored drinks--Ouzo, Jagermeister, etc.--so I wasn't on-board with the Galliano.
As Rachel leafed through TJOC, she decided that she would be willing to drink a Grapefruit herb margarita (p. 62) which required Herb syrup I (p. 43).
Random facts about margaritas/tequila (Wikipedia):
- Margaritas are the most common tequila-based cocktail in the US (in Mexico it's the Paloma)
- Blue agave, the base of tequila, is a large succulent that grows at high altitude
- The trend of the "worm" in the bottle of tequila is a marketing gimmick
For the herb syrup we made sugar syrup , sprinkled rosemary in the pot, and simmered it with for ten minutes:
The rosemary was then strained out. The syrup was surprsingly good. It had a sweet herbal flavor and Rachel took to drinking it by spoonfuls throughout the day.
I mixed grapefruit juice, tequila, lime juice, and herb syrup. I gave up on rimmingthe glass with salt because I failed at it earlier:
I did pour it over ice (this is a "before" picture, still in the glass I was measuring everything in to). It was also a double :) I can't stand tequila, so I didn't try it, but Rachel said it was good. The grapefruit juice meshed well with the herb syrup, although it was very strange flavor combination.
I don't throw many events where punch would be appropriate. This is a problem because TJOC has a rather large number of punch recipes. Rachel thought we should make a punch even though it was essentially only the two of us and I agreed. We could drink it throughout the day.
We decided on Fish house punch (p. 65).
Facts about Fish house punch:
- The drink was invented at the Schuylkill Fishing Company in 1732, which was known as the "Fish house" (Wikipedia)
- Instead of club soda, it is sometimes made with strong tea (TJOC)
- Usually served with a giant ice block (Wikipedia)
- The word "punch" comes form the Hindi word "panch"
We mixed equal amounts sugar syrup, lemon juice, brandy, dark rum, and peach schnapps, with two parts club soda.
The punch was delicious and it would probably be a crowd pleaser. I would say that fish house punch is deceptively easy to drink because it doesn't taste nearly as strong as it actually is. The peach and lemon flavors melded perfectly with the brandy and rum and it was diluted by the club soda. Tasty! I recommended that we not start drinking it until we were almost finished cooking--I was pretty sure the cooking would suffer if we started drinking early. A good choice because the punch was certainly stout.
Since we bought peach schnapps for the punch, it seemed like a perfect time to make a Fuzzy navel (p. 63).
Fuzzy navel facts (Wikipedia):
- If you add vodka to a fuzzy navel you get a "hairy navel"
- "Fuzzy" refers to the peach and "navel" refers to the orange
I think almost everyone who drinks mixed drinks has had a fuzzy navel at one point or another. I like them. The never seem very strong and the peach and orange flavors go very well together.
Rachel's husband was going to a basketball game with friends during our cooking and one of the friends happened to be a non-drinker. A perfect person to test out some of TJOC's virgin drinks! We whipped up a Cranberry Collins (p. 64). I mixed cranberry juice and lemon juice in a glass and then filled the glass with club soda.
The drink was fairly bland--it seemed like it needed to be stirred, even though it was very pretty. I recognize that if it was in the recipe-specified glss (a highball) there wouldn't have been nearly as much club soda involved. The recipe confused me--you would think it was a virgin version of the Tom Collins but a Tom Collins doesn't include any cranberry juice...
Rachel's cats insisted they were trying to help us:
Their role was mostly supervisory, although it did include some janitorial work.
Check the comments, I'm going to email Rachel and Jon for their opinions on all of these dishes.