Weekend Cocktails | Backwards Bartending and Neo-’80s Beverages

 

White Collar Wire’s weekend cocktail notes.

Gastronomista.

Gastronomista.

From Emily Arden Wells, who writes as Miss Emma Emerson at Gastronomista, here are cocktails served backwards in crisp videos.  As she says:

You sit down at a bar, peruse the menu, decide on a tipple, order, and then… wait.  It is this moment of waiting that has indescribable power.  This moment is filled with anticipation – a pause – and it is the time I always use to watch the scene behind the bar.  I carefully observe the tender of bar, watching his or her hands quickly trade bottle for bottle, add ice, bitters, and then delightfully shake the concoction or stir with casual flair.  It’s a glorious moment, a moment when one always asks themselves, will the cocktail be as magnificent as I’ve imagined???  And then, there it is.  A glorious potation filled glass shimmering in the bar’s candle light, waiting to be devoured.  And then, the moment of climax: the first sip.

Ahhhhhh……

Jude Goergen from Glassbackwards has found a way to make this moment of anticipation even better – each cocktail is prepared backwards.  Yes, backwards, and, some might argue, it’s even better that way.

These high-quality videos give one added appreciation for the art of a good bartender.

Green means go.   (photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

Green means go (photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

From the Washington Posta revival of ’80s cocktails:

When cocktail lovers talk about “classic” cocktails, they usually mean drinks made before 1950: The Perfect Martini, the Singapore Sling, the Daiquiri. Few would make the case that a Kamikaze or Harvey Wallbanger belongs in such exalted company.

Unless, of course, they work at the Majestic.

Still, a little too green for us.

 

 

 

 


Friday Cocktails | Drinking In London, Watching Your Vocabulary and Freezing Your Cubes

To begin the weekend: London’s top cocktail bars, a whiskey glossary and a history of ice cubes.

The Connaught.

The Connaught.

London Calling. The drinks aren’t cheap, but here’s a look from The Guardian at the top 10 classic cocktail bars in London:

London’s cocktail scene is booming, with new bars opening all the time – but if you want to treat yourself to a flawless classic then head to a hotel bar. Cocktail expert Jared Brown chooses the best, plus some cutting edge places where top mixologists are producing drinks destined to become the new classics.

 

"Vermouth" before "whiskey" but after "gin."

“Vermouth” before “whiskey” but after “gin.”

Definitions.  From the folks at Saveur, a handy whiskey glossary.

"All I said was that my martini wasn't cold enough."

“All I said was that my martini wasn’t cold enough.”

Cutting Much Ice.  And, in what may the best tangentially-related article on cocktails, here is Freezer Harvest: A History of Ice Cubes, from Modern Farmer magazine:

While it’s usually challenging to trace the origins of specific cocktails (with all the drinking the details get lost), we understand pretty well how ice got into all of them. It started when one entrepreneur named Frederic Tudor had the idea to harvest lake and pond ice from New England states and sell it in hotter countries. He began sending ships full of ice from Boston to Martinique and Cuba in 1806, expanded the business to Southern US states, and his ice reached as far as India. In the process he created the ice trade.

Up until that point many cocktails were made with added water, but it didn’t take long for the concept of “cooling drinks” with ice to catch on. Different shapes of ice were specified for different drinks: lumps of ice for cocktails, shaved ice for juleps, and cobblestone ice for cobblers. These new drinks were so delicious it seems every foreign visitor to the U.S. in the early 1800s commented on the marvelous cocktails in this country. Soon, “American bars” opened up in big cities around the world serving these refreshing and exotic delicacies. But the glory days of the cocktail in America came to an end in 1920.

The thirteen years of Prohibition pretty much killed the art of bartending in America, and it took decades for things  to begin to turn back around. It wasn’t until after 2000 that a critical mass of American bartenders began looking to drink books from Frederic Tudor’s time, and classic cocktails came back into fashion. High-end bars gave better attention to each element in the cocktail, from the base spirit to the type of sugar used in the simple syrup, and eventually to the shape and size of ice best-suited to each drink. The problem was that by then nobody harvested ponds anymore, and machine-made ice provided one size of cube for all types of drinks in most bars.

I’m going home to check the freezer.

 

 


Red Harvest: Crime Fiction and Gospel Conviction

Forgot how itchy this suit is.

Forgot how itchy this suit is.

Pop culture and theology mix fruitfully in pulp-crime fiction.

Here’s a four-part course from 2012: Red Harvest: Crime Fiction and Gospel Conviction          .

Here’s the blurb that went with the class:

Crime fiction, in its varied forms, both illuminates and counterpoints the Gospel.  Crime fiction correctly presents and analyzes the sinful human condition, even where its conclusions are horribly wrong.  And, in crime fiction as nowhere else, the law is most definitely the Law: God did not get after Cain for shoplifting.

Second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke.

So: four classes’ worth of dark human hearts and blazing Gospel light, interspersed with mayhem, Augustine, detectives, 1930s pulp novels and the overlooked theological punch from the opening line of The Postman Always Rings Twice: “They threw me off the hay truck about noon.”

These are complete classes, so prepare a stiff drink before hitting “Play.”

As an example of what not to drink, consider this assault on civilization from that Pravda of sentimentality, Parade magazine: Girl Scouts Cookie Thin Mints Martini

Ingredients

  • 3 parts chocolate vodka
  • ½ shot creme de menthe
  • 1 shot chocolate milk liquor
  • Chocolate syrup (as needed)
  • 1 Thin Mint, crushed

Directions

  1. In a martini shaker, mix together chocolate vodka, creme de menthe, and chocolate milk liquor. Shake well. If you don’t have a martini shaker, use a glass filled with ice and mix well.
  2. Coat a martini glass with chocolate syrup. Crush the Thin Mint cookie and coat the brim of the martini glass with the cookie. Then, pour your martini drink mixture into the glass.
Thin Mints Martini: ready for Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Red Lobster.

Thin Mints Martini: ready for Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Red Lobster.

 

The mind, as well as the bowel, races.  One might add:

3.  Insert Luger under tongue to minimize the aftertaste

 

 

 

The Seelbach.

The Seelbach.

Here is something more appropriate: Garden & Gun magazine’s Guide to Southern Cocktails.

 

 

 

 

We have, of course, written on crime fiction and how it relates to business crime, cocktails and theology before.

 

 


Gastronomista: “cocktails, punch bowls and boozy babes”

Plane drink.

Plane drink.

The law can be dreary, so at White Collar Wire we follow cocktails, as well.  For weekend viewing and sipping, we point you to Gastronomista, which treats both food and cocktails:

Gastronomista is an art and design blog focused on the culture of food and drink, andwas founded in October of 2009 as a way to keep track of delicious treasures, tipples, and trips around the world.It is run by Miss Emma Emerson, who is an architect by day, writer and avid drinker by night. Gastronomista is a place where you might find architectural chicken coops, tea parties, decanters, bespoke knives, or donut art. Emmaseeks inspiration everywhere she goes, and finds fodder in everything she sees – on the streets and plates of foreign lands, the inked limbs of subway-riding compatriots, or shaking up cocktails in her own kitchen.

In particular, check out  Clara Bow in Black Oxen (1923).

The straight and the narrow.

The straight and the narrow.

Of course, we muse on cocktails, ourselves: White Collar Wire on Cocktails.

 

 


St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the Cocktails That Go With It

We avoid sentimentality, but the culture is awash in it on Valentine’s Day.  This “holiday” is not traditionally associated with business crime, but we will do our best.  The day is sometimes associated with alcohol, and this year happens to fall on a Friday.  We acquit ourselves well in this latter regard.

A contentious meeting of the Audit Committee

A contentious meeting of the Audit Committee

Here’s a story about the February 14, 1929 slaughter from the Chicago Tribunethe St. Valentine’s Day Massacre:

On this frigid morning, in an unheated brick garage at 2122 N. Clark St., seven men were lined up against a whitewashed wall and pumped with 90 bullets from submachine guns, shotguns and a revolver. It was the most infamous of all gangland slayings in America, and it savagely achieved its purpose–the elimination of the last challenge to Al Capone for the mantle of crime boss in Chicago. By 1929, Capone’s only real threat was George “Bugs” Moran, who headed his own gang and what was left of Dion O’Banion’s band of bootleggers. Moran had long despised Capone, mockingly referring to him as “The Beast.”

At about 10:30 a.m., four men burst into the SMC Cartage Co. garage that Moran used for his illegal business. Two of the men were dressed as police officers. The quartet presumably announced a raid and ordered the seven men inside the garage to line up against a wall. Then they opened fire. Witnesses, alerted by the rat-a-tat staccato of submachine guns, watched as the gunmen sped off in a black Cadillac touring car that looked like the kind police used, complete with siren, gong and rifle rack.The victims, killed outright or left dying in the garage, included Frank “Hock” Gusenberg, Moran’s enforcer, and his brother, Peter “Goosy” Gusenberg. Four of the other victims were Moran gangsters, but the seventh dead man was Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer, an optician who cavorted with criminals for thrills. Missing that morning was Capone’s prize, Moran, who slept in.

Capone missed the excitement too. Vacationing at his retreat at Palm Island, Fla., he had an alibi for his whereabouts and disclaimed knowledge of the coldblooded killings. Few believed him. No one ever went to jail for pulling a trigger in the Clark Street garage, which was demolished in 1967.

We’ve seen internal investigations that look worse.  As in the white-collar context, do not give the Government an unrelated reason to investigate you:

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14, 1929, might be regarded as the culminating violence of the Chicago gang era, as seven members or associates of the “Bugs” Moran mob were machine-gunned against a garage wall by rivals posing as police. The massacre was generally ascribed to the Capone mob, although Al himself was in Florida.

The investigative jurisdiction of the Bureau of Investigation during the 1920s and early 1930s was more limited than it is now, and the gang warfare and depredations of the period were not within the Bureau’s investigative authority.

The Bureau’s investigation of Al Capone arose from his reluctance to appear before a federal grand jury on March 12, 1929 in response to a subpoena. On March 11, his lawyers formally filed for postponement of his appearance, submitting a physician’s affidavit dated March 5, which attested that Capone had been suffering from bronchial pneumonia in Miami, had been confined to bed from January 13 to February 23, and that it would be dangerous to Capone’s health to travel to Chicago. His appearance date before the grand jury was re-set for March 20.

On request of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Investigation agents obtained statements to the effect that Capone had attended race tracks in the Miami area, that he had made a plane trip to Bimini

Hemingway learns from Capone: submachine gun, cocktail and sun hat

Hemingway learns from Capone: submachine gun, cocktail and sun hat

and a cruise to Nassau, that he had been interviewed at the office of the Dade County Solicitor, and that he had appeared in good health on each of those occasions.

As we know, Capone was ultimately convicted of tax evasion.

More urgently, and as Papa Hemingway and Al Capone would doubtless approve, here is a roundup of recent cocktail notes of interest.

The Dorothy Parker American Gin martini

The Dorothy Parker American Gin martini

From the Boston Herald, the Dorothy Parker American Gin martini (from Harding’s in Manhattan).

Despite this claim from the New York Times that the dirty martini cleans up well, I still loathe dirty martinis. They are too briny, and an affectation.

Keep the olives on the side.

Keep the olives on the side. 
A little too floral

A little too floral

 

 

The Boston Globe has ten cocktails you are not ordering but should be.  I am unconvinced, but a couple are worthwhile:

The Martinez: Consider it the grandfather to the martini, or at least its classy next door neighbor. Typically a combination of Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, Angostura bitters, but there are variations and improvements out there. Order if you love Manhattans, but would like to take a step to the left.

The Corpse Reviver #2: London gin, absinthe, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice: equal parts of everything to awaken your palate, drive conversation, and please your bartender. Order if you’ve seen your last lemon drop. Just make sure to ask if the bar carries absinthe first.

The former bears history, the latter anesthesia.

Mixing up an "Avenue" at Del Posto

Mixing up an “Avenue” at Del Posto

For a bar in a New York restaurant, I would love to try Del Posto, an elegant space with cocktails to match.  And, as a general drinking reference for grown-up cocktails, try A Quiet Drink, which presents “bars and restaurants where one can have grown-up conversation over a good drink.”

A Drink Before the War (1994)

A Drink Before the War (1994)

Finally, one cannot leave the subject of a quiet drink without thinking of the private-eye novel that made Dennis Lehane‘s name, A Drink Before the War (1994).  Lehane is superb, and Drink the best place to start.


Milk Punch for Christmas Morning (via Garden & Gun)

Milk punch for Christmas morning

Milk punch for Christmas morning

This Martha Foose’s Milk Punch recipe (from Garden & Gun magazine) looks like a fine replacement for eggnog:

“A little cup of old school milk punch will keep the holidays merry and bright

The first time Mississippi chef Martha Hall Foose tasted milk punch, she was at the Chart House in New Orleans, and now the drink is a staple on her holiday menu. Foose, the author of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea and a James Beard Award-winner, may have found the key to surviving the holidays. “We drink milk punch on Christmas morning after the presents are opened,” Foose says. “Then we all get back in our beds with a big glass while brunch is cooking in the oven.”

Made from half-and-half, superfine sugar, vanilla extract, ice cubes, freshly grated nutmeg, and bourbon or brandy, milk punch is a little bit like a traditional eggnog—minus the raw eggs.

If you try out the recipe, just remember two things. First, the freshly grated nutmeg is sprinkled on top of the punch, never in it. Second, just like eggnog, it’s real easy to find yourself two glasses deep in a hurry.”

Milk Punch
Serves 1
1 ½ ounces good bourbon or brandy
2 ounces half-and-half
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
Drop of vanilla extract
Ice cubes
Freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the bourbon, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly until the mixture is cold and frothy. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with a grating of nutmeg.

 


Holiday Punch

Cadet Punch ("Thank you, sir.  May I have another?")

Cadet Punch (“Thank you, sir. May I have another?”)

Garden & Gun magazine has outstanding cocktail recipes.  We are not great ones for punch, here at the White Collar Wire, but in a season of good will, we might try this Garden & Gun Holiday Punch:

Tagging behind the cocktail revival, however, has been a punch revival, spearheaded by the cocktail historian David Wondrich (see his encyclopedic 2010 book, Punch, for the whole shebang) and popularized by bartenders like Slater, whose bar menu features a revolving cast of oldfangled and newfangled punches. “Punch bowls are the original cocktails,” Slater says. This is true: The bowl preceded the glass by more than a century. Peruse some old punch recipes—and by old, I mean antebellum old—and a truth emerges: Punches don’t have to suck. Or involve 7Up.

Consider the Cadet Punch. This is a Slater invention, but its inspiration stretches back to nineteenth-century Savannah, Georgia, where a militia group called the Chatham Artillery concocted a punch that could reasonably be called weaponized. Into a horse bucket went brandy, rum, whiskey, and champagne, along with an oily lemon and sugar mixture. Slater ditched the brandy, rum, bubbles, and horse bucket to produce a simpler, less belligerent blend. The result, he says, tastes something like an old-fashioned—a minimalist punch for whiskey lovers. “It doesn’t hide anything,” Slater says.

Indeed.



The Mai Tai Question for Young White-Collar Lawyers

mai-tai

Here’s the recipe for a Mai Tai.

A Mai Tai is not really a Thanksgiving cocktail, but it reminds me of something I’ve always wanted to ask an interviewing law student.

Long ago, when I was junior at Washington & Lee, a history course (the “History of Venice,” I believe) taught by Professor Jefferson Davis Futch III required “permission of the instructor” before one could enroll.  I went to the Department of History, knocked at Professor Futch’s door and was given leave to enter.

I said that I was here for permission to take the course

He considered me for a moment, said “Let’s see,” leaned back in his chair — the office was so full of books you could hardly move —  and asked: “How does one make a Mai Tai?”

I fumbled through the recipe.  “Close enough,” he said.  “You can take the course.”

This interview season, I think I will ask that question.  Especially of the students who say they want to do white-collar work.


Weekend Cocktail Notes from White Collar Wire

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“’This is a good place,’ he said.
‘There’s a lot of liquor,’ I agreed.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

beefeater-gin-bot1960s-main_image-250

Gin is juniper, in our opinion.  Gin should not be “citrus-forward”: Is The Gin Category In Danger of Losing Its Way? 

on-booze

F. Scott Fitzgerald, On Booze

From the advertising blurb:

“First you take a drink,” F. Scott Fitzgerald once noted, “then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” Fitzgerald wrote alcohol into almost every one of his stories. On Booze gathers debutantes and dandies, rowdy jazz musicians, lost children and ragtime riff-raff into a newly compiled collection taken from The Crack-Up, and other works. On Booze portrays “The Jazz Age” as Fitzgerald experienced it: roaring, rambunctious, and lush – with quite a hangover.

Time Out

Timeout’s Best Cocktails In New York City 2013:

Blackthorn

New York cocktail lovers had plenty to choose from with this year’s excellent slugs. Our favorite drinks included a Spanish-tinged julep, a highbrow egg cream and a head-turning martini. From daisies to gimlets and everything in between—these are TONY’s top tipples of the year.