Friday, November 19, 2010

Give Me a Slug o' Booze!

Technomic has come out with its restaurant trend predictions for 2011. Now, I've never heard of Technomics before but, by their name, I assume they have something to do with technology and economics. I'm clever that way. Why they're talking about adult beverages, I haven't a clue. But I like adult beverages so I'll bite. 

"Adult beverages, from retro cocktails and high-end spirits to craft beers will get more play in appropriate markets." (Photo: Thinkstock)

So the Mad Men craze is still going strong. And influencing what we drink. With the exception of craft beer, as every man in 1964 drank Pabst Blue Ribbon. Women did not drink beer at all and instead had to chug cough syrup and vanilla except for Betty Draper and her ilk, thin as rail women who could work some undergarments and pearls to their best advantage.

I like adult beverages (yes, I am repeating myself). Sometimes I enjoy going to BevMo and fantasizing about all the high-end liquor and craft beer I would buy if money was no object. You see, the appreciation for alcohol was ingrained into me from youth. My Great Uncle Charles, Helen's brother, a crusty Baltimore born-and-bred codger who loved to drive his huge white Caddy with red leather interior and laughed in a way to betray that he smoked way too many cigarettes, taught me at two or three years old to ask for adult beverages. 

"Lauren, what would you like to drink?"

"Give me a slug o' booze!"

He thought it was really funny. 

At four or five, I could serve the Jolly Girls their cocktails made to order. I could also concoct an old-fashioned, muddling fruit with the best of bartenders. My parents often took me to their favorite piano bar, The Eager House, where special attention was paid to me, where I sat in a special bar stool, drank umpteen million Shirley Temples, and had songs sung just to me by the piano player. I was princess of the Eager House. 

As I light tonight's drinking lamp in preparation for Friday cocktail hour, why don't I share a few concoctions to ready you for 2011. 

1. The Classic Martini 
"I'm not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube. I'm talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness; insight and comfort; redemption and absolution. I'm talking a martini" --Anonymous

2 1/2 ounces top shelf gin                             
1 1/2 teaspoons dry vermouth
1 lemon twist or cocktail olive

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin and vermouth. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the olive. I like a little olive juice splashed into the shaker and prefer my martini with a blue cheese olive. And, sacrilege, schmacrilege, I prefer substituting the gin with premium vodka as gin makes me mean and I am not a mean person. Belvedere works nicely. Absolut if you're slumming it.

2. The Manhattan
Although many legends exist as to the origin of the Manhattan, many involving Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston's mum), one
 urban legend suggests that the drink was named "Manhattan" after the city's sewage and water system, which ran brown at the time. Ew!

1 3/4 ounces Crown Royal Reserve (or other premium whiskey)
1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth
1-3 dashes of Bitters

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled glass, garnish with a Maraschino cherry, and serve straight up. A Dry Manhattan substitutes Dry Vermouth for Sweet and is garnished with a twist. A Rob Roy uses Scotch Whiskey rather than Canadian or Bourbon.

3. The Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned  first made its appearance in the 1880s at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen's club in Louisville, Kentucky. Invented by a bartender at the club, it was popularized by Colonel James E Pepper who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

3 dashes bitters 
2 orange slices
1 sugar cube
3 ounces blended whiskey
1 maraschino cherry

In an old-fashioned glass, muddle the bitters and orange into the sugar cube, using the back of a teaspoon. Almost fill the glass with ice cubes and add the whiskey. Garnish with another orange slice and cherry, Serve with a swizzle stick. Substitute brandy for the appropriately named Brandy Old Fashioned. The Old fashioned is a favorite of the hunky but flawed Don Draper on "Mad Men".

4. The Daiquiri
The term daiquiri comes from a beach near Santiago, Chile. An urban legend suggests it was invented by a group of American mining engineers who ran out of gin. It is nothing like the sicky sweet frozen frippery ubiquitous on chain restaurant menus everywhere.

  • 8 parts white Cuban rum
  • 2 parts lime juice
  • 1 part simple syrup
Shake with lots of finely crushed ice and strain well into a chilled cocktail glass.
5. The Sidecar
The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims to be the origin of the Sidecar invented around World War I by Sam "Suck It" Treadway.

  • 8 parts Cognac or Armagnac
  • 2 parts lemon juice
  • 1 part Cointreau or Triple Sec
Pour all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist.

So there, make yourself a cocktail, sit by the fire, and discuss the future of plastics together. Cheers!


  1. Slugging Booze with you Rocks!

    Set em up Lauren :)

  2. 2 of my favorite drinks in the top 3.

    The dirty vodka martini and the Gentleman Jack old fashioned.

    I shall call you Master Splinter...