Good afternoon lambkins! How’s every little thing? Are my Virginia people doing okay in the Snowpocalypse? I love Virginia with all my cold little heart, but people, listen to me when I say IT IS THE END TIMES and if armageddon really IS near, I suggest you all go to the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond and practice ascending that staircase with grace, because there’s nothing more embarrassing than looking tacky when you’re getting all raptured up by the Lord.
Sorry I was gone last week, but I’m trying to do my damn taxes.
Surprisingly, I’m not a last minute tax gal. Starting the last week of January I pretty much stand outside the mailbox of stately Château Gâteau and give my letter carrier the stinkeye until all my sundry forms and things have arrived. I think he’s avoiding me now, which FINE see if I make him any more fudge for Christmas.
Anyway, now I have all but one of my necessary forms so I feel I owe it to you, myself and my country to put in the next installment of 12 Months of Cocktails
Also, I feel like I should add that I have been given an inordinate level of crap from my friends, the owners of The Good Knight here in Austin, WHO SO WRONGLY CLAIM I’ve stolen their cocktail menu and used it for my 12 months of cocktails.
I will say these are very nice people who have, without a doubt, the best bar for classic cocktails in town and BECAUSE they’re honestly two of the dearest people in the world (and I will die if they cut off my supply of pâté) I will kindly overlook the fact that THEY ARE CLEARLY ON THE GOOFBALLS.
July: French 75
Celebrate Bastille Day on July 14th by mixing up a fun little party drink using two of France’s great exports: Cognac and Champagne. There’s a little fuss over whether to use gin or Cognac in a French 75 and I suppose it goes back to who you believe invented it. If the frogs came up with it, odds are they used Cognac since it was easier to find. However, if the Brits are the original authors, you can bet your stiff upper lip they used gin. It’s delicious either way, so why not have two?
1 oz lemon juice
2 oz Cognac or gin
1 sugar cube (alternately, a teaspoon of simple syrup)
Champagne to top
In a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake together lemon juice, cognac/gin and simple syrup if you’re using it. Strain into a champagne flute, drop in a sugar cube and top off with champagne. Garnish with a strip of lemon peel. C’est si bon, but gardez-vous: these go down easy but too many and you’ll regret it in the morning.
Plumcake’s variation: French 79
Bastille Day 1979 is my birthday, so of course I have a preferred variation of this classic:
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz Domain de Canton ginger liqueur (this French stuff is aces, and made from Cognac)
1 oz Hendrick’s gin
Champagne to top
Prepare as above, but omit sugar and drop a medallion of ginger in the glass instead. It’s easier if double the recipe and make two cocktails. You’ll drink ’em both.
KI as in kite, PURR as in the thing kittens do, REE as in Blue Oyster Cult’s 1976 smash hit Don’t Fear the Reaper, and NYAH, as in “nyah nyah nyah-nyah nyah, I have a better cocktail than you do”
The Caipirinha is to Brazil what the Mojito is to Cuba. Except it’s better, and doesn’t smack of Booze Cruise Pregnancy Scare 2002. Refreshing but deadly in quantity, a proper Caipirinha is made with cachaça, which is a sugar-cane spirit that’s similar to a flavorful white rum but with a tequila kick. If you absolutely must, you can make it with white rum, but do yourself a favor and invest in a bottle of cachaça. It’s cheap, delicious and is an interesting alternative to white rum.
In a heavy-based rocks glass, muddle a half a juicy lime (or a whole lime if your fruit isn’t great) with a tablespoon or two of simple syrup or sugar. Fill glass with crushed ice and top off with cachaça. Stir. Drink. Repeat at your peril.
The perfect summer-to-fall cocktail, although delicious at any time, the Negroni is about as close to a novelty drink as I have in my repertoire. You will need a bottle of Campari, which you might not have around, but buy a bottle and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you’ll go through it. I add a splash to soda for a pert little summer toddy and it features heavily in almost every tomato-based dish coming out of the kitchen at Château Gâteau.
1 oz gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet (red) Vermouth
1 clean strip of orange peel
Shake in an ice-filled cocktail shaker, serve on the rocks.
Novelty time: with the peel in your left hand and a lit match over the cocktail glass in your right, squeeze the peel quickly. The oils should catch fire. Drop it into the glass. I can’t always manage to do it, but when it works it smells lovely and adds a wonderful caramel citrus note.