209. Stone Fence

#209 Stone Fence - Hero

Back to Jerry Thomas! Finally! That’s all I’ve got in the way of an introduction this week. But it’s good to be back. I will say, however, that I really like this name for a cocktail, even though it is not super descriptive, and even though I kind of hated the cocktail itself.

In fence news, some Virginian convicts discovered this weekend that breaking out of prison is harder in real life than it is in the movies. They used a propped up bench to start their climb over two razor wire fences, but quickly got so tired and frustrated that they just sat down and waited to be apprehended. Wah wah.

#209 Stone Fence Ingredients

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The Al Capone

The Al Capone - Hero

This is the second drink I made for the Speakeasy party (the other being the French .45). It’s a pretty simple cocktail, just a modification of a Moscow Mule but I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a version of a Moscow Mule that wasn’t delicious so how can you go wrong. As evidenced by the name, this represented the Mob side of the game.

There’s no vocab I can really spark on newswise (there are some recent comparisons of Rachel Maddow and Trump’s tax returns to opening Al Capone’s vault live online to find nothing, but that’s boring), so instead I’ll share something that is only related through train of thought. Speakeasy > Prohibition > Smuggling > Tunnels > this cool story! Enjoy.

The Al Capone - Ingredients

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134. Whiskey Toddy

134. Whiskey Toddy - Hero

Ol’ Jerr-Jerr is playing fast and loose with these cocktail names. First a Flip that doesn’t seem to be a flip. Granted, I don’t really know what a flip is supposed to be, but still. Now, it’s a… cold toddy? Since a hot toddy is basically any alcohol with water, sugar, and maybe citrus, I guess this is an acceptable cold toddy but who really wants to drink that?

Neither of these words lends itself to even a vague connection with the news, so instead, a top story today. A shooting at a mosque in Quebec yesterday left six dead and many others wounded or in critical condition. However, they’ve now detained two people in connection with the attack, one a suspect, and the other a witness (the man who dialed 911). To me, though, it seems odd to detain a witness, is that a typical procedure? I don’t know much about police work, and I know even less about police work in Canada, but hopefully it will lead to resolution quickly and effectively. I should have made this drink with Canadian whiskey, in solidarity.

134. Whiskey Toddy - Ingredients

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4. Mississippi Punch

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Oy, it’s a hot one today. Cool down and relax with Jerry Thomas’ latest. I have to imagine this is named after the state which has hot, muggy weather all summer long. Only one cure, since there wasn’t air conditioning in 1862 — alcohol.

In Mississippi today, the case of three civil rights workers being burned in 1964, dubbed the “Mississippi Burning” case, has been officially closed. The last person was convicted in 2005, so someone will have to explain to me the legal parts of this.

Mississippi-Ingredients

4. Mississippi Punch

(Use large bar glass.)

  • 2 oz. of brandy.
  • 1 oz. of Jamaica rum.
  • 1 oz. of Bourbon whiskey.
  • 1 oz. of water.
  • 1½ table-spoonful of powdered white sugar.
  • ¼ of a large lemon.
  • Fill a tumbler with shaved ice.
  • The above must be well shaken, and to those who like their draughts “like linked sweetness long drawn out,” [Sounds very southern to me.] let them use a glass tube or straw to sip the nectar through. The top of this punch should be ornamented with small pieces of orange, and berries in season.

Tasting Notes:

BN: This was mostly good. I just read a book on the history of the Old Fashioned, and apparently there was a long period in the middle of the 1900s where people threw all kinds of fruit in them and they tasted a little sweet but still bourbon-y. I’ve never had one of those, specifically, but I think this is what that would taste like. The bourbon came through strongly (less so the other alcohols), and it was certainly fruity. Though not citrusy, really, oddly. Nowhere near as good as his other punches, though.

This also brought up some process questions for me. Why so much shaved ice? It waters things down so quickly, especially when it’s hot. Secondly, the amounts in this recipe were rather odd. It’s 5 oz. of alcohol, which is a lot for one drink, but it’s not really enough liquid for two. We split it, but the pours were light. Was it for a solo drinker? Finally, what was the purpose of his guide? Was it for bartenders to be ready if someone came in and ordered a “Mississippi Punch?” Or was he just sharing ideas for them to offer, not receive.

I do love the “linked sweetness” line, though.

PiC: It’s got some bite! It is a touch too alcoholic for me, but not bad. Kind of like a Jerry Thomas Long Island Iced Tea. (WHY DON’T ALL HIS PUNCHES USE RASPBERRY SYRUP?!)

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Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned – News Flash

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I saw this drink over at ToGatherCuisine and thought it sounded delicious. He’s got all sorts of good stuff on the blog, so definitely check it out.

I tested out his pretty original take on an old fashioned, with the unique twist of allowing the fruit to make its own simple syrup! Sadly, I found it wanting, but I’m pretty sure this was either my fault or the pineapple’s fault, not the recipe. Notes to follow.

It’s a pretty simple recipe, copied below in its entirety.

Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned Ingredients

Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned

  • 4 oz. bourbon. (Bulleit was [his] weapon of choice)
  • 1 slice of fresh pineapple, 1/2 inch thick.
  • Using an indoor grill pan or an outdoor grill, grill the pineapple for 3 minutes on each side over medium to medium-high heat. Add the slice of pineapple to a shaker filled with 1 cup of ice. Muddle for 20-30 seconds, leaving only a few cubes of ice still frozen.
  • Add the bourbon to the shaker and shake for a few seconds, just enough to incorporate the pineapple and the alcohol.
  • Pour the contents of the shaker into a tumbler filled with ice through a strainer, making sure none of the pineapple chunks fall into the glass.
  • Enjoy while cold!

Tip: While using an outdoor grill with charcoal and/or wood will add another layer of depth and smokiness to the drink, just make sure to clean the rack your pineapple will be resting on well before grilling the fruit. The last thing you want is remnants of the burgers you grilled floating around in your glass.

Pineapple GrillingMixing Gif Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned

Tasting Notes:

BN: I really wanted to like this, but it wasn’t sweet enough and was too watered down. I think therefore that was some issue with my ratio of ice to pineapple, or the fact that maybe I didn’t grill the fruit for long enough to really pull out those caramel-y sweet flavors. Maybe it needed to be fresher pineapple — I’m not sure how good the one I had was. Alternately, maybe canned pineapple would be syrupy enough.

Also, I think this would be an even better recipe with the inclusion of bitters, a) for Old Fashioned’s sake and b) because bitters make everything better. I will try this again, maybe in the summer when I have more grilling confidence, because I love the idea, and I think I just didn’t do it justice. But wrote about it anyway.

PiC: I don’t like Old Fashioneds very much in general, and this one didn’t really have much taste which was too bad because I do like pineapple.

Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned Hero

The Deep Blue Sea – Shark Week

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It’s Shark Week, the only time people care about the Discovery Channel! And so, to a drink.

I tried something a little bit different this time, taking a pre-existing drink more specifically and modifying it. And I think it worked out well! The original recipe is the “Fred Collins Fizz,” from the New Guide for the Hotel, Bar, Restaurant, Butler, & Chef (that’s a mouthful) by Bacchus & Cordon Bleu, 1885. Instructions are copied verbatim, except for the last two. Adjustments were made by the replacement of orange with blue curaçao, as well as the addition of grenadine. To bring the blood into the blue ocean water.

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The Deep Blue Sea

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon blue curaçao
  • 6 ounces fizzy lemonade
  • a dash of grenadine
  1. Mix the bourbon, simple syrup, and lemon juice in an iced cocktail shaker and shake.
  2. Strain into a large bar glass that is half filled with shaved (or finely crushed) ice.
  3. Add the curaçao
  4. Pour the lemonade into a collins glass, and pour the contents of the bar glass into it.
  5. Dribble a little bit of grenadine into the top of the glass, and watch with satisfaction as it settles to the bottom
  6. Enjoy, while deciding that you won’t go into the ocean for at least another year. Maybe July of 2016 you’ll give it another shot.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: This was really good. Normally I say that because I’m proud of myself but this was awesome. It wasn’t super alcoholic, and the tartness of the fresh lemon worked incredibly well with the hint of grenadine. I tried it without the grenadine and it wasn’t quite the same. Well done, bartenders of 1885. Only disappointment was that it ended up green and red instead of blue and red, and kind of looked like it should taste like watermelon.

PiC: YUM. So tart and so tasty. *dives face into glass for more*

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The Cherry Tree – Presidents’ Day

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Hey everyone, I’m back! It’s been a while, but I’ve been distracted with things. Anyway, for my first – poor (you’ll see) – attempt at getting back into writing this blog, I figured I’d start with an easy one – Presidents’ Day!

If there are two things the leaders of our country are known for, it’s never telling a lie and bourbon. Clearly. Therefore, cherry juice (see what I did there? Washington? Cherry trees?) and, uh, bourbon. Because it’s American. Or something.

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The Cherry Tree

  • 3 oz bourbon
  • 3 oz cherry juice
  • 6 shakes orange bitters
  • orange slice for garnish

Combine, serve on the rocks.

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Tasting Notes

BN: Oh man, this was not good. I thought it didn’t have enough cherry so I added more and then it was just as bad. Tasted at first just like pure bourbon, and then like medicine. It needs some other flavor to distinguish it, maybe a vermouth or a brandy or something? Not a good first showing of 2015, but I’ll improve! Maybe I’ll make a better version of it for next year. We’ll see.

PiC: When you said cherry and alcohol, I thought cough syrup. And it tastes like cough syrup. But like, fancy cough syrup, at least.

The Rick Grimes – The Walking Dead Premiere

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At this point, the zombie apocalypse is probably inevitable. Whether through some weird variant of ebola, enterovirus 68, or something as yet unknown (bath salts?), we’re eventually going to have to fight against a horde of the living dead, either surviving for just one more day, or turning against our friends after we pass.

To me, that’s way too stressful. So, instead, let’s just watch other people do that on TV. This Sunday, the Walking Dead returns to AMC for its 5th season, and we’re all ready to watch. In honor of the show, I’ve made the Rick Grimes, which is just the thing wind you down from your post-apocalyptic murder haze. In keeping with the theme, I tried to use only things that you might be able to find after civilization has ended, with the possible exception of ice because, well, let’s just say it’s in winter and they cut it out of a lake. Or whatever.

For those of you who don’t know, the show is set mainly in Georgia, hence the peaches — the cornerstone of the drink. Anyways, without further ado:

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The Rick Grimes

  • 3 oz bourbon (whichever will pair best with your particular dish of brains, served warm)
  • 1.5 – 3oz lemon sparkling water (this is up to you. If you want a strong drink after a day of zombie-fighting, use 1.5. If you want to relax and chill and sip for a while, use 3.)
  • 1.5 oz heavy peach syrup (open a can of peaches, and drain out the syrup. That’s what you’re using!)
  • all the peaches from the above can

Mix together the three liquid ingredients in a mason jar or other appropriately end-of-the-world-type glass. Add some ice (if you’re okay with breaking the illusion) and fill up the rest with the peaches from your scavenged canned goods. Enjoy!

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Tasting Notes:

BN: I couldn’t decide which version of this I liked better — with more or less sparkling water. I think I lean towards the 3 oz version, because the flavors mix together a little better, with the bourbon being less overpowering. I was surprised as to how much of the syrup I had to put in to make it taste like peaches, so the solution of using the peaches itself worked out pretty well. Now that I think of it, though, it might be cool to drain out a bit of the syrup from the can, just pour the booze and the seltzer straight into it, and drink from that! Dang, I wish I had thought of that before. But still, pretty good drink, nicely fruity without being too much so. And definitely Southern.

PiC: I liked this better after you added more sparkling water, but I think it might actually be a better drink with less (I’m just not a huge whiskey girl). The sweetness was perfect, though, and it got more peachy as it went on which was nice.

The Summer Sun – Heat Wave

Sometimes, I am thankful that I live in Southern California. You would think that most of those times would be in the winter, but no! I’m much happier here in the summer than I was on the East Coast, because it gets really hot and humid really easily. So, in honor of the recent heat wave I didn’t have to deal with, I give to you The Summer Sun.

I was recently in a soda shop searching for ingredients for another, upcoming drink, and I happened across a bottle of sweet corn flavored soda. And I figured, well, why not? (This was after deciding not to buy the buffalo sauce or ranch dressing flavored drinks…) After a few sips, I quickly decided that it was so sweet and so corny that I needed to cut it with something. I looked around, and what did I find? Whiskey! Hurray for whiskey!

The following drink is what came out of it. You’ve got corn for the summer, and chili for the heat. Now, I don’t expect anyone really to be able to make this, since sweet corn soda is probably pretty rare, but it was a nice departure from the usual. Good luck, East Coast! Chill out.

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The Summer Sun

  • 2.5 oz bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark; the soda is so strong though that you shouldn’t waste a good whiskey on this drink.)
  • ~8 oz sweet corn soda (I got mine at a place called Rocket Fizz, which is a chain at least in LA, maybe nationwide?)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ~6 shakes cayenne

Another easy one. Pour the whiskey over ice into a rocks glass, put in the lime, fill up the rest of the glass with soda, and add the cayenne. Depending on your soda, the proportions could vary widely (I put a lot of the lime and chili in because the soda’s flavor was so overbearing.) So, to taste!

The Summer Sun

Tasting Notes:

BN: I enjoyed this a lot more than the soda on its own. The corn and the whiskey blended incredibly well together, the sweetness getting toned down and gaining depth. It was a very refreshing drink for the summer (even without a heat wave). The most interesting thing I learned while making it was that if you shake spices onto an ice cube, they stick — a technique I’ll be experimenting with later on, because it could lead to some interesting things…

Partner in Crime: I don’t really like whiskey or that soda, but together it actually worked pretty well!

The Starting Pistol – The Kentucky Derby

A fitting title for a first post, really. Welcome to the Boozy Newsie! I’m your host, the Boozy Newsie (bet you didn’t see that coming, did you). This blog has one purpose, and one purpose only, which is: drinking. Drinking disguised as artistry, experimentation, and relevance. I’ll be making drinks based on something or other that’s happened or is happening, whether a news story or a holiday or a sporting event. So go ahead, toast to current events! Keep watching this space for new and inventive cocktails, ranging from basic to overly complex, depending on how fancy I decide to pretend to be on any particular day. I want to have fun playing with alcohol (and drinking it afterwards), and you can follow my progress in this space.

So where do we start? Where else but the Kentucky Derby! A horse race that got its start in 1875, it’s the time when everyone decides they know something about odds and thoroughbreds and the hand height of horses. They wear fancy hats and put money down and cheer when animals with crazily stupid names beat other animals with even stupider names. My favorite? I’ll Have Another, who won in ’12. A horse after my own heart.

Speaking of which, on to the alcohol. As you might know, the classic Kentucky Derby drink is a mint julep, served ice cold in a frosted tin mug, and you sip between drags on your pipe, adjusting your bolo tie, and fending off would-be admirers who keep calling you “The Colonel.”

This year, I decided to start it off with a variation on the classic that I’m calling the Starting Pistol. It’s a little fruitier than the original, and has a little more interesting spice to it.

Starter's Pistol Ingredients

The Starter’s Pistol

  • 2 1/2 oz bourbon (I use Woodford Reserve, but any will do. Except Jack Daniel’s.)
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp water
  • 6-10 mint leaves
  • 3 strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 7 shakes of Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
  • lime juice to taste

The Finished ProductThe preparation is essentially “put it all in a glass.” Mix the water and sugar in the bottom of a rocks glass, effectively making a quick simple syrup. Then, muddle in the mint leaves and strawberries. Smash ’em up real good. Then pour in the bourbon and the bitters, and finally get some ice in there too. Stir it up to make sure everything’s mixed, and you can top it with lime juice (I forgot this, and it still tasted pretty good), and some more mint and a strawberry (slice a thin wedge out of it and stick it on the side of the glass) for a garnish.

And voila! Now you can accompany your random horse bets with a little alcohol — because that always helps decisions!

Tasting Notes (provided by yours truly and my trusty assistant/partner in crime):

BN: This was a little less flavored than I was hoping; you could definitely tell the cardamom was in there, and it added a lot, but despite the massive pile of mush at the bottom of the glass, I was missing the strawberry and mint flavors. It could have been, in part, that it was hard to swirl around the mash once the ice was in the glass, preventing too much spreading of the ingredients. Still, it was a nice refreshing experiment, and it certainly looks nice.

Partner in Crime: This was pretty strong, so if you like that sort of thing, it’s probably pretty good. I don’t, so I mostly just tasted the whiskey…

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