Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

February 8, 2010

Plumcake’s 12 Months of Cocktails pt 3

Filed under: cocktails — Miss Plumcake @ 4:40 pm

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
lemon peel

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
fresh ginger

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.

August: Caipirinha

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.

September: Negroni

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.


  1. WELL, my darling! Your birthday, less than three weeks after mine, helps explain our common nature! A Crab always knows another. :)

    Comment by Jen — February 8, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  2. Ms. Plummy, do you think it’s feasible to make a pitcher of the French 79, sans champagne, and then top with the champagne and ginger on a glass by glass basis? I’m hosting a baby shower in July, and this would make a nice cocktail option for those of us without a baby on board. It’s especially appropriate as the mother-to-be loves ginger, so I can make some kind of complementary non-alcoholic ginger-based drink for her and any other teetotalers in attendance.

    Comment by OTM — February 8, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

  3. Feasible?! Why it’s practically mandatory!

    An excellent spirit-free ginger option is fresh ginger limeade.

    Make up a batch of ginger simple syrup by slicing one largish hand of ginger into bias-cut medallions (no need to peel if it’s nice fresh ginger) and dropping it into a saucepan to which you’ve added two cups of water, four cups of white sugar and a largish pinch of salt (trust me).

    Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and let simmer for a good hour or so –the longer it simmers the more intense your syrup will be– then strain the syrup into a mason jar with a slice or two of the candied ginger.

    A lucky byproduct of ginger simple syrup is candied ginger. Let the candied ginger dry on a rack –you can leave it in an oven that has been heated to 300 and then turned off or just let it airdry for a day or so– and when it’s not too tacky to the touch, roll in white sugar. Ginger is excellent for calming nausea, as I’m sure you know, and might be handy to have around all those pregnant women.

    Comment by Plumcake — February 8, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

  4. I don’t know about your friends in Virginia, but your friend here in the Great State of Maryland is getting pretty damn sick of this snow. We’ve been snowed in for 3.5 days and counting – it has ruined all the plans I made for my birthday, and I’m tired of sitting in my apartment all day. However, we do have a fully stocked liquor cabinet, so your cocktail recipes are well timed. Drink to forget is the motto of this Snowpocalypse!

    Comment by jen209 — February 9, 2010 @ 12:37 am

  5. These look so awesome, Miss Plum, can’t wait to give them a try.

    And good luck with the taxes, I just finished mine. I’m actually taking a class at the community college on tax preparation so I’m feeling very Informed – though since we’re only 3 weeks in, I’m nowhere near an expert.

    Comment by mini_pixie — February 9, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

  6. Plumcake, you are a dear for including two of my favorite cocktails (French 75 and Negroni). If you can get your hands on some good brandied cherries, pop a couple into your next French 75. I impatiently await the arrival of 5:00 (or, you know, 5-ish).

    Comment by Friv — February 9, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  7. “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.”

    Ain’t that the truth, and I even work through it on my own because the DH, who is otherwise a man of taste and culture, does not like many bitters. I even worked through a bottle of Cynar, after I saw a cocktail calling for it in a Mario Batali cookbook and had to try an artichoke-based apertif.

    Comment by Astra — February 9, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  8. I’m hip deep in snow in Maryland (just right outside of the DC line). If I could dig my car out, I would SO get the ingredients for that Caipirinha!

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — February 9, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  9. Plumcake, thank you for the guidance! Ginger limeade is a great suggestion and will be perfect for an 8-months pregnant woman in July!

    Comment by OTM — February 10, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

  10. The origin of the French 75 is that in WWII some of American GI’s liberated a French farmhouse and then proceeded to “liberate” the booze from the house. All they had was Champagne and vodka, so that’s the authentic mix. Technically, the Champagne and Cognac is a French 125, and is going to give you less of a hangover than most other modifications of the recipe, as it’s not really “mixing your liquor.” Champagne and Cognac are made from the same grapes, you see.

    Also, Negronis, because they are hot pink, are awesome drinks to have at parties when everyone else is drinking something that looks like water or something that looks like camel urine.

    Comment by raincoaster — February 14, 2010 @ 12:18 am

  11. I’d never heard that version of the story!

    Comment by Plumcake — February 14, 2010 @ 5:31 am

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