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The Rise of Vermouth and the Pantomime Cocktail

If you’ve been drinking Martinis for any length of time, you’ve likely heard of movie director Alfred Hitchcock’s famous disregard for vermouth. According to the tales, the closest Hitch would come to a bottle of vermouth is to glance toward it from across the room, then toss back his “Hitchcock Martini”—nothing but a chilled glass of gin. It’s the stuff of legend, possibly even true, Continue reading “The Rise of Vermouth and the Pantomime Cocktail”

The X-15, Saturn, and the Finer Points of Bad Behavior

My father introduced me to model airplane kits, and I was hooked. I always enjoyed the fun of learning about the airplanes, selecting the “next one,” working through the pieces of the kit, adding paint and decals, getting my fingers glued together, and finally adding each finished airplane to the growing collection on the shelves above my desk.

One of the last kits I assembled, and the strangest of the lot, was the X-15 rocket plane, Continue reading “The X-15, Saturn, and the Finer Points of Bad Behavior”

The Japanese Cocktail

It’s June, 1860, just months before the start of the American Civil War. The Pony Express has just made it possible to send a letter overland to San Francisco in just a few days; Abraham Lincoln is busy getting himself elected President of the United States; and Jerry Thomas is writing The Bon-Vivant’s Companion and working at New York’s 622 Broadway bar. Continue reading “The Japanese Cocktail”

Lemonade with an Attitude: The Fog Cutter

Remember that drink we made as kids, the thing we so blithely called the “Suicide”? The one where you mix all the kinds of Kool-Aid you can find, pour in a couple kinds of pop, and then double-dog-dare each other to drink it?

I don’t think I ever actually took that dare. Urgent red, neon green, curaçao blue, all mixed together… that stuff looked vile. It looked dangerous.

Continue reading “Lemonade with an Attitude: The Fog Cutter”

Scotch and Irish—Cameron’s Kick

I suspect that every spirit ever made has been tried in cocktails. Some—vodka and gin come to mind—are naturals, blending readily with lots of other flavors. Rum and American whiskies do quite nicely, too.

And then there are the Scotch and Irish whiskies. Continue reading “Scotch and Irish—Cameron’s Kick”

The Mai Tai

One of the fun things about the Mai Tai is that the generally accepted modern recipe calls for two, or sometimes three, different rums. You get to be your own rum blender, and with even a very modest rum shelf, there are endless flavor possibilities—and, hey, they’re all likely to be good. Continue reading “The Mai Tai”

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