So what about this new cocktail revolution? It's starting to make us wonder as folks who six months ago ordered "just white wine" now order a vodka martini on the rocks. Magazines and Internet websites hail the return of the cocktail with some lame vintage graphics and strictly textbook recipes from the Mr. Boston Bartender's Guide and call it a definitive guide.
The truth is, there are really only so many cocktails worth making. These can be refined, adjusted and perhaps even changed to your liking but drinks with Frangelico as an ingredient should be called dessert. An Irish Coffee taken after a good day sailing on a blustery day is grand but coffee drinks in general should be approached with caution. While we're ranting, what's the deal with vodka? We're more than willing to be corrected, but we just don't get it. A shot straight from the freezer sounds like fun but isn't the point that the better the vodka, the less the taste? Why drink if you don't want to taste anything? Try water! We know lots of pals we respect who love vodka so again we're open to suggestion but the point of it seems only to get plastered.
Gin has to be the most maligned liquid of all. More people seem to have had "bad experiences" with gin than with just about anything save tequila. This is really unfair because gin is really the caviar of booze. If you think you don't like it, you really owe it to yourself to give it another chance and this issue's cocktail is the perfect opportunity to be overtaken by its magical allure.
One of our favorite authors is the witty Irish gal Molly Keane. Her books like Time After Time and Queen Lear are amazing but our favorite has always been Good Behaviour. The protagonist drinks a cocktail called a "White Lady" throughout the book. It's clean, fresh and citrusy without being too sweet. It's a great drink but imagine the fun when you get to brag later to your friends, "I had three White Ladies last night."
Molly Keane's recipe is for equal parts gin, lemon and Cointreau. We would half the Cointreau right off the bat and add more later if it's too tart for your taste. Place ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice and go to town. Strain into stemmed glasses. We've experimented with limes but the effect was wrong. We've also tried replacing the Cointreau with a more "value oriented" triple sec and the end product was just fine, but we're a bit embarrassed to admit it. You could also go the other route and use Grand Marnier but its cost is ridiculous so save this for when you're visiting Mom and Dad. The cocktail doesn't taste very alcoholic so go easy and just enjoy a round or two. The worst hangovers seem to come from the sweeter drinks and triple sec is a very sweet product and we wouldn't want you to blame your hangover on the gin.
One final note on cocktail shakers: We've heard a lot of hooey lately on quality and craftsmanship but the main thing you need to know is that the point of the shaker is to make the liquid cold as fast as possible while diluting the drink with ice as little as possible. Metal is a better conductor than glass, and plastic is about the worst. Shake hard, shake fast and get the goods out as soon as the cocktails are cold. Another important factor to consider is having big enough holes in the strainer. We've never seen a shaker with holes too big (although there's probably a model out there that allows ice to escape), so make sure the liquid can pass through the ice.
N.B. At the time the above rant/recipe was published in the print edition of MrLucky, our repected and talented collegue The Alchemist gave virtually the same instructions for a drink called the Dahlia on his HotWired site. We'd only heard of this drink through the writings of Molly Keane and must assume that Dahlia is the American name for the drink. We have no knowledge of its orgin but perhaps it's like the Mimosa in the US and Buck's Fizz in the UK. Same drink with different monikers.
don't forget these other fine drinks and cocktails...
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