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lime juice

Mixing the Pisco Sour

We don’t often encounter the Pisco Sour, mainly because we don’t often encounter the Peruvian brandy called Pisco these days. (For that matter, we don’t seem to encounter very many brandy cocktails of any sort, but that’s another story.)

The Pisco Sour is a classic brandy sour, differing little from what we might call the Jerry Thomas brandy sour template. It uses lime juice (instead of lemon) to provide the sour component, but its hallmark difference is an ostentatious eggwhite foam.

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Rum and Falernum — the Corn ’n Oil Cocktail

Drinks are named for places, religions, sweethearts, politicians, even political parties. Some drinks draw their names from song lyrics, some reflect ideas and aspirations. And some have names are utterly inscrutable, like the Corn ’n Oil Cocktail.

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Classic Tiki: the Jet Pilot

My uncle was a pilot. Hal flew light, high-wing planes, the type you’d fly into northern Ontario to hunt moose. A couple times a year, he’d fly to visit us, landing in Trimble’s pasture across the road from our house. A low fly-over to let us know he was there, a tight turn over the telephone lines, and there he’d be, roaring across the clover to park by the electric fence next to our mailbox. He knew how to make an exciting entry.

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Chasing the Jungle Bird

Nothing says “jungle movie” like a sound track with plenty of evocative “ka-dawing” bird calls and monkey yelling. Throw in the occasional tiger roaring in the darkness, and you have a convincing, if clichéd, aural impression that transports us right into the exotic elsewhere of the tropical jungle.

When I hear a soundtrack done well, I can feel the heat. I can smell the mud and the trees.

When it’s done right, the movie soundtrack is a powerful thing.

Of course, it can be done wrong, and all that power flows in the opposite direction.

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Tall and Cool: the Gin Rickey

It’s summer of 1883 in Washington DC. The air shines and wavers; you can see it, and you can smell it—the horses, the pavement, the flats of the Potomac River. A few blocks from the White House, on a section of E Street known as “Rum Row,” the dive bars are filling up with journalists, lobbyists, and any legislators who haven’t left town. At Shoomaker’s Bar, sometimes described as the “third room of Congress”, George Williamson is mixing drinks. On the other side of his bar stands Joe Rickey—“Colonel” Joe Rickey of Missouri—who is about to become that rarest of all things, a man with an entire category of drinks named after him.

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Extra effort, extra reward: the Pearl Diver’s Punch

Cocktailing is not so very different from cooking or baking—gather ingredients, follow the recipe, enjoy—but while I’ll put up with all sorts of preparation and procedure in baking or in cooking dinner, I find that I value simplicity and off-handed quickness in drink making.

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The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail is built squarely on a tropical Caribbean foundation—despite the fact that Bermuda is hundreds of miles out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The drink combines rum, lime, and sugar—the combination Jeff Berry refers to as “the Holy Trinity of Caribbean mixology”—but the sweetness is applied in the form of nutty, gingery falernum syrup and orange liqueur.

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Swizzling the Noa Noa

Jeff Berry’s Noa Noa is designed in the classic tradition of Caribbean cocktails—at its heart, it’s an easy mix of rum, lime, sugar and ice. In fact, you could consider it a minted version of the basic Daiquiri.

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Planter’s Punch

There are many names for this version of rum, citrus and sugar: “Planter’s Cocktail,” “Jamaican Rum Punch,” and most commonly, Planter’s Punch.

Planter’s Punch is more of a drink category than a single recipe. In its simplest form—rum, sugar, lime (or lemon), water, perhaps some tea, and spice or bitters—it is clearly the direct descendant of the classic rum punches of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Continue reading “Planter’s Punch”

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