205. Scotch Whiskey Skin

Don't make this.

Hoo boy. Well, you can’t win ’em all. That’s really the only intro I have for this drink.

On the current events front, in something that will be old news by the time this goes up, Scotland is really sucking in the Six Nations rugby tournament. Sucking almost as bad as this drink does (eight straight losses). Rugby, though, is really cool actually, and the USA’s own Pro Rugby league is starting up this spring! Just don’t drink this while you’re watching.

Use these for something better.

205. Scotch Whiskey Skin

(Use small bar glass.) [Or a mug, because it’s hot. Or just don’t make this.]

  • 2 oz. Scotch whiskey.
  • 1 piece of lemon peel.
  • Fill the tumbler one-half full with boiling water.

Please don't make this.

Tasting Notes:

BN: In case it wasn’t abundantly clear, I hated this. It tasted like really hot watered-down scotch that was slightly bitter (from the lemon peel). So, exactly what it was. I generally like toddies, but they really need a sweetener in there. I’m not sure how anyone can drink this. There’s a small chance a stronger-flavored scotch could have made it better, like a Caol Ila, but I sincerely doubt it.

PiC: Eugh.

228. Soda Nectar

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This was a very exciting drink for me, less for the particular flavors and mix itself, and more for the interesting technique it allowed me to learn. In short, if you put a little baking soda into an acidic drink, it makes it bubbly! Which totally makes sense, but it’s not something I had ever thought about before. Who needs a SodaStream when you have baking soda? (But note that I still do have one.)

The Soda Nectar is also notable for being non-alcoholic. Thomas actually has a number of non-alcoholic concoctions in his book — a lot of various lemonades, among other things — and I’m excited to go through those as well. Especially the orgeat lemonade, but that’s another entry.

One note about this one: he uses “carbonate of soda” which is technically different from baking soda (Na2CO3 versus NaHCO3) but may not actually be edible? Obviously it’s basically edible (you can actually make it just by heating up baking soda for a while) but there were enough conflicting sources online that I chose not to use it. Also it’s hard to find. “Washing soda” is the other name for it.

In a surprisingly relevant piece of soda news, Pepsi is going to be opening a restaurant in New York Meat Packing District this spring called the “Kola House,” with cuisine “inspired by the exploration of the kola nut.” Which actually sounds kind of cool, as long as they’re open to serving Coke instead of Pepsi.

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228. Soda Nectar

(Use large tumbler.)

  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • ¾ tumblerful of water.
  • Powdered white sugar to taste. [I probably used about 3 tablespoons, which shows you how sweet sodas are.]
  • ½ teaspoon of carbonate of soda. [Again, I used baking soda here.]
  • Strain the juice of the lemon, and add it to the water, with sufficient white sugar to sweeten the whole nicely. When well mixed, put in the soda, stir well, and drink while the mixture is in an effervescing state.

Soda Nectar Fizz

Tasting Notes:

BN: As I mentioned before, the drink itself was not super fascinating; it’s basically just bubbly lemonade. However, I just can’t get over the baking soda thing. It kept it bubbly for a while, too — it wasn’t like a grade-school volcano — and I definitely want to try it again in other circumstances!

PiC: It was cool! It was basically like a lemon soda — it’s a cool way of doing that and it didn’t taste like baking soda which was good. Let’s try it with other flavors! (And can we do it with non-acidic flavoring? SCIENCE!)

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¡Tepache! Pineapple Cider – Boozy Newsie News Flash

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Been a while since one of these, but the Boozy Newsie News Flashes are just quick reviews of drinks, places, events, anything that I’ve experienced recently. Here’s the latest!

I’ve had a lot of ciders, of varying types (hard, sparkling, regular, pasteurized, raw and probably dangerous…) and my favorite is still the fresh-from-the-press bottles you can get at Russell Orchards in Essex, Massachusetts. Not trying to be hipster and know about niche places — mainly it’s right near where I grew up.

Until a few weeks ago, though, I had never had cider made from anything but apples and a few pear versions. Until Reverend Nat came along with a pineapple one. Technically, it’s Padre Nat, just like Trader’s Joe’s Jose / Giotto / Ming / etc. variations for its foreign foods.

Called ¡Tepache!, exclamation points included, you’re instructed to mix 2:1 with a light beer (for best results). We tried both that concoction (¡Tepache!-Tecate is a mouthful) as well as drinking it neat, and it was definitely an interesting experience.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: The cider was very sweet and light orange in color, with only a hint of carbonation. It wasn’t as acidic as pineapple juice is, but still had a good flavor of the fruit. Honestly, it tasted a little more like juice than it did cider or beer. I suppose that’s why they want you to mix it. Putting it together with a can of Tecate we had laying around somewhere, it added the right body and bubbles to the drink, without overpowering the pineapple flavor. It tasted like an unusual shandy, and I liked it, though I’m not sure I would have it again. It could be good for mixing in other combinations, but by itself it didn’t really have the right kind of oomph that I would be looking for in such a drink.

PiC: I definitely liked it better with the Tecate, but it was a little too sweet without it. It should taste more alcoholic.

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The No Power Hour – Earth Hour

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If you know what Earth Hour is, hopefully you’re not on your computer reading this right now! That is, if I manage to post it in time. For those of you that don’t, it’s basically a world-wide (supposedly 7,000 cities) show of support for conservation, climate change awareness, etc., sponsored by the WWF. For an hour (8:30–9:30 local time) everyone shuts off the lights, both in their own homes and on big monuments like the National Cathedral, the Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel, and so on. And so it’s cool! The first one I took part in was in 2009, I think, in London, and it was surprisingly cool to wander around and see things like Nelson’s column and the National Gallery all pitch black. So, to commemorate the occasion, here’s a drink, with ingredients that seem somewhat natural and earthy (including limes from a bush that grows in my yard!).

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The No Power Hour

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 oz coconut water
  • 2 oz pomegranate juice
  • 0.5 oz lime juice (fresh is best)
  • lime wedge for garnish

I initially mixed everything but the pomegranate juice together, in hopes of layering the pomegranate on the bottom and making a cool sunrise-y type look, but that didn’t work at all. So, you can ignore that, mix everything together and garnish with the lime wedge. I really need to work on drinks that have more fun techniques.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: I like this! The weirdest thing is that it doesn’t taste like alcohol at all, when I specifically made it a little stronger so that it would get you through that dark hour of potentially nothing to do… But it tastes good! A lot of coconut flavor with a little acid from the pomegranate and lime. I wish it looked a little more interesting, but then again if you’re drinking it in the dark it shouldn’t matter too much.

PiC: I think coconut water tastes like human sweat, so I didn’t love that part of it… But it was better than coconut water usually is, and if I liked coconut water I’d probably be super into it. As it stands, it’s very pretty.