I'm releasing the first edition of this feature for 2010 a few days early so you can go through it to select some New Year's Eve cocktails. For that reason, the offering is double the usual trio of suggestions. They've been culled from the monthly recipes shared throughout 2009. I'm leading off with one of my own creations. Tipple, tastefully and carefully, into the new year.
• DOWD'S MARTEANI
2 oz. Arizona Green Tea w/honey and ginseng
2 oz. all-grain vodka (Blue Ice, Beldevere, etc.)
4 drops Angostura Bitters
Splash of Galliano or Strega
2 orange slices
1 mint leaf
In a metal cocktail shaker, combine tea and vodka. Add bitters and splash of Galliano liqueur, or the more herbal Strega if you prefer, plus a handful of ice cubes. Stir briskly, then strain quickly into a frosted martini glass. Twist the juice from an orange slice into the drink and let it meander through the solution on its own. Garnish with an orange slice and a mint leaf for color.
• ABSOLUTLY ROCKING
Brit bartender Gianluigi Bosco created this drink to win the Flair Bartending category in the World Cocktail Championships in Berlin. The spelling of the drink is an homage to Absolut Vodka, one of the event sponsors. His flair: He wore a big felt hat and juggled apple juice and vodka bottles to the tune of “My Sharona” sung by The Knack. Go here for a video of him in action, sans hat.
3 parts Absolut vodka
⅓ part mango juice
⅓ part apple juice
2 drops vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Lime, apple and red currants for garnish
Shake all ingredients with fresh ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.
• TRIPLE ORANGE MARGARITA
Ronaldo P. Colli, mixologist at the Americano restaurant in San Francisco, was asked by the makers of Gran Gala Triple Orange Liqueur to come up with a seasonal margarita showcasing their product.
1 1/2 ounces ultra premium tequila
3/4 ounce Gran Gala Triple Orange
1 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 ounce agave nectar
1 lime wheel
1 orange peel
Pour Gran Gala, tequila, orange juice, lime juice, agave nectar and orange peel into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled glass filled with ice. Strain into a chilled margarita glass if you prefer your margarita up. Garnish with a lime wheel and the same orange peel on top of the cocktail. Salted rim is traditional, but optional.
(Agave nectar is a natural sweetener. Adjust according to desired sweetness. Available at gourmet stores or from online retailers.)
• FISH HOUSE PUNCH
The origin, if not the name, of this concoction dates to as early as 1732. It is the official drink of what purports to be the oldest club in America, the Schuylkill Fishing Company, founded by Philadelphians with a love of fishing.
2 parts dark Jamaica rum
1 part cognac
½ part peach-flavored brandy
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 to 1½ parts (to taste) simple syrup
2 parts (more or less, to taste) water
Stir with ice and serve in a punch cup. If you make it in bulk, do so in a sizable punchbowl with a large block of ice. You may decorate the punch with thin slices of lemon.
• WARD 8
This concoction, sort of a variant on the whiskey sour (see that recipe below), was dreamed up in Boston at the Locke-Ober restaurant bar in 1898, according to the most persuasive version of the story. Ward 8 was the section of the city that consistently delivered a winning margin of votes to the powerful Democratic political leader Martin M. Lomasney, who reigned for a half-century. The drink supposedly was created to honor him.
There are variations on the drink, using bourbon or rye or blended whiskey, and using lemon juice or lime juice or no juice. This is the original version re-introduced to legal drinkers at the Locke-Ober after Prohibition was repealed.
2 ounces rye whiskey
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
Shake the whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice and grenadine with ice. Strain over ice into a chilled Collins glass or Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry. (Originally, the drink was decorated with a small paper Massachusetts flag.)
• THE LAST WORD
This is an old classic that long ago fell out of favor. Now, however, it's making a comeback, particularly on the Seattle bar scene, according to a story in the Seattle Times. The most popular bartender making it apparently is Murray Stenson at Zig Zag Café. Besides its taste, its price is a big drawing card: $4.75.
½ ounce gin
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce green Chartreuse
½ ounce maraschino liqueur
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Shut up and drink it.
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