Thirsty Thursday: Not “Kyle’s After Pork” Digestif

We’ve been eating out a lot for the last week. Thursday at The Bristol, Friday at Parson’s, Saturday ordering Dante’s, Sunday at Frontier, and finally Monday at Publican. Beautiful food, rich food, beer, cocktails … we ate it all and loved it but by the time we reached the final stretch at Publican … we’d just finished eating a huge plate of porchetta, so when the dessert menu came and I saw, under Liquid Dessert, something called “kyle’s after pork” digestif, I needed to know what it was. Our server said it has Cynar, Green Chartreuse, rum and mint. That sounds weird, I thought. I’ll have that, I said.

It was delightful. And I wanted to always have it, so with the taste fresh in my mouth, I set about trying to recreate it at home. Now, what I came up with is not nearly as beautifully balanced as what I had at Publican, and we didn’t have mint on hand, so I let go of that. But I still think this is pretty nice.

I didn’t now what kind of rum or what proportions. I used Appleton since we had it on hand, and I think it works to make a a little post-dinner tipple inspired by the Publican’s digestif.

Not “Kyle’s After Pork” Digestif

  • 3/4 oz Cynar
  • 1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 1/3 oz Rum

Stir ice & strain into a large shot glass/small rocks glass/whatever the proper name is for something that holds 3-4 oz.

It’s better than a cigarette for finishing a fine, rich meal. And I highly recommend getting a meal at Publican if you possibly can.



Thirsty Thursday: Straits Sling

I am trying to make every cocktail in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. This Thirsty Thursday is another episode in that project.

I am a bit of an I-word by nature. And by I-word, I mean introvert. And also a little bit of a hermit. I like being at home. A week of work (plus sundry dinners with friends, cards after work, etc.) requires a large amount of the social energy I possess. So I like to spend a lot of my weekend lounging around my house. I’ve lately been hosting hardcore, all-day Veronica Mars marathons. And by hosting, I mean me and the furry roommates I tend.

Anyway … we finally had beautiful weather this weekend and we happened to run out of gin. So I thwarted my hermit-y, interovert nature and headed out for a nice walk to get another bottle. And I finally added a bottle of Cherry Heering to the bar. The Straits Sling calls for kirschwasser, but that’s something I’ve not been able to find a bottle I like, so I went with the Cherry Heering. It also calls for the juice of half a lemon. That’s a measurement I’m never comfortable with – are we talking about half a pre-Prohibition lemon, or are we talking about a modern Godzilla-sized lemon? I think I ended up with about 3/4 oz. of lemon juice in mine.

This is a drink I’d like to welcome the first nice days of the year with every year. It’s got nice cherry flavor without being especially fruity, nor particularly sweet; but it is cherry, herbal, sparkly, drinkable in multiples. (The second one is for Dan.)


Thirsty Thursday: At the Pawnshop

“Maraschino and mezcal? Yeah, OK. I want to know what that tastes like.”

And that is how At the Pawnshop made it into our cocktail rotation and a bottle of mezcal graced our bar. I know next to nothing about agave spirits – so we haven’t collected the array of bottles like we have for gin, whiskey and rum. I don’t know what I like or how to use it.

This I can handle. I love this drink. It has the same basic structure as an Old-Fashioned. But it’s smoky, unexpected and a little bit shady. Like a pawnshop.

Recipe here. I make it the same way except I just use the Appleton rum we have on hand instead of the Plantation they recommend.


Thirsty Thursday: Martinez

Inexplicably, some people hate gin. I am not one of them. At last count, we had 8 bottles of it on the bar (5 from local distillers). One is a recent acquisition.

Dan took me to dinner at Parson’s last week (the butter beans are my favorite, and you’d do yourself a favor to order a Negroni slushie, too) and then down the street to Scofflaw for a drink. Despite its proximity to our home, I haven’t been to Scofflaw since shortly after it opened. But I’ve been wanting to go and taste their gin ever since I found out they’d made an Old Tom with one of my favorite distillers over a year ago.

We tasted. It’s fantastic. Sweet. Lots of juniper and citrus and spice, a little bit floral.

So, we bought a bottle and brought it home and when it came time for a cocktail, I naturally thought of the Martinez. Forerunner of the Martini. It’s a drink I had for the first time while lingering around a table after a dinner party. The host – a chef – asked if I’d ever had one and proceeded to mix up a delightful Martinez that I sipped while we chatted with a few remaining guests.

I added a bottle of Ransom Old Tom to the bar after that.

As much as I love the drink with the Ransom, I have to say I might prefer it with the Scofflaw Old Tom. Sadly, unless you live in Chicago, you are out of luck – it’s so far only available for purchase at Scofflaw. But it’s a great souvenir to take home with you if you’re ever traveling through.

Proportions vary recipe to recipe, but this is what I’m liking these days:

  • 1.5 oz Old Tom gin
  • .75 oz sweet vermouth
  • .25 maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes of Boker’s bitters*

Combine in a mixing glass with ice & stir to chill. Strain into a glass & garnish with an orange peel.

*I think most recipes call for orange bitters – I assume since Boker’s was put out of business by Prohibition. But another maker reconstructed the recipe & is producing a new version of Boker’sThe PDT Cocktail Book calls for Boker’s which I thought was interesting, so I tried it out. Sold.

Thirsty Thursday: Whiskey Skin

Doesn’t that sound gross? I call them hot toddies when I make them, but as David Wondrich has pointed out, it’s not really – it’s a Whiskey Skin (read his Imbibe! – it’s good stuff). *shudder*  Although, it makes a certain amount of sense, the principal difference being the presence or absence of lemon peel (lemon “skin”). Since I like a little lemon peel in mine, gimme some skin.

Whatever you want to call it, I’ve been sick the last few days and this is an effective and delicious “it’s time for bed and we’re out of Nyquil” cocktail and generally a nice cold-weather cozy thing to drink. We’re finally seeing signs that winter may be departing but it’s still chilly and having spent several days in pajamas on my couch with nothing but bad daytime cable television to comfort me; and having just returned from Park City, home of High West Distillery, maker of Campfire Whiskey, which I can never find locally … I’ve had a lot of good reasons to put water on to boil.

This also made the third in the trifecta of cocktails we mixed up on vacation – the other two being the Milk Punch and the Old-Fashioned^3

Still working on my skills with a channel knife …

  • 1 strip of lemon peel
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 oz. scotch or other full-bodied spirit (I like the chewy, smoky flavor of scotch in a hot drink; High West Campfire has that nice, rich smoky taste I want)

Put some water on to boil and then combine the ingredients above in a heated mug.* Lightly muddle to break up the sugar cube and express the oil in the lemon peel.

  • 4-5 oz. boiling water

Pour into mug, stir, sip.

Still working on my photography skills, too – those I can try to hide with a photo effect …

* I like to fill the mug with water and put it in the microwave for a minute. You could run it under hot tap water, too, or just fill it with hot tap water and let it sit for a few minutes. Microwaving just gets it the warmest the fastest.

Thirsty Thursday: Unicorn Sour

Running behind this week so Thirsty Thursday is happening on Friday …

I hunted for Marie Brizard Apry for quite a few months before finally having two bottles special ordered for me. It’s not really expensive – it’s just tough to find. When I got home with them, we immediately began thumbing through cocktail books and deciding what we wanted to try with our new acquisition.

A few drinks into the evening, we decided to try the Rainbow Sour from Dale DeGroff’s The Craft of the Cocktail, blithely ignoring our lack of pineau des charentes. And also ignoring that none of us had any idea what pineau des charentes tastes like. In the cocktail description, DeGroff explains that it’s a combination of raw grape juice and cognac. So I thought, let’s just substitute cognac. I still have not tasted pineau des charentes but I did some lazy internet researching, and it sounds like it’s sweet and more like an apertif wine than straight cognac.

But we like it with cognac and we’re sticking with it and since 1) I’ve been on a serious unicorn kick lately; 2) nothing goes better with rainbows than unicorns; and 3) Apry is the one-horned elusive, mythical ingredient in the cocktail … I’m calling it a Unicorn Sour.

1 oz. cognac
1 oz Marie Brizard Apry*
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/3 oz. simple syrup*

Shake all ingredients with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Unicorns don’t need garnish.

* Other apricot liqueurs will work, but Apry is our favorite and what the original Rainbow Sour recipe calls for. I find the drink a bit sweet with the Apry + original amount of simple syrup, so I’ve reduced it. We find the Rothman & Winter we have at our house sweeter than the Apry, and I’d use even a little less simple syrup if using that. I tend to prefer my drinks a little on the drier said, though, so YMMV and all that … adjust to taste.

Thirsty Thursday : Old-Fashioned ^ 3

I learned to make an Old-Fashioned early on, and I’m very snobby about my Old-Fashioneds. I have rules.

  • No smashed up fruit. You can put a cherry in at the end to garnish if you want. But don’t muddle it, mash it or squish it in any way. Don’t put an orange slice in there either.
  • No fizzy stuff. No club soda. No 7-Up.
  • If you smash up fruit & put brandy in it, call it by it’s proper name: Wisconsin Old-Fashioned.
  • Use a pretty good whiskey.

It’s not too hard, really. Plenty of people will break these rules and serve it to you in a glass … so it goes. I’m pretty careful about where I order an Old-Fashioned these days.

1/4 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes bitters

Put ’em in a glass & mix it a bit. Then add a great big ice cube and mix it a bit more.

2 oz. bourbon or rye

Add it to the glass, give it a stir and wait a minute. Maybe toss in a pretty bourbon cherry. Don’t smash it.

And this is delightful and simple and what I like to drink when I want to pretend I’m a classy lady. But last year, I found Jamie Boudreau’s recipe for an Old-Fashioned “Cubed” … an Old-Fashioned within an Old-Fashioned. The Inception of Old-Fashioneds. I won’t reprint it here – you can find the recipe in detail here. Click it. Make it. Drink it.

It’s all the same ingredients, plus two more boozes, two more bitter … bitterses. And 3 times the awesome. It is also Pip-approved.

Thirsty Thursday: Milk Punch

I’ve been trying to make every cocktail in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (see the cocktails I’ve already made here) – partly because it’s an unusually well-curated cocktail book, and partly because it’s written so well, with a little history of each cocktail and notes on the recipe. I’ve actually read it cover to cover.

When Girl Scout cookies come around every year, I order shortbreads. Always. 2 boxes. I love those damn shortbreads. So it seemed like a good time to try out Milk Punch – Milk Punch and cookies.

Generally speaking, the idea of milk or cream cocktails sounds really gross to me. I could blame my lack of naturally-occurring lactase for that, but I felt that way before my body quit making lactase, too.

But this milk cocktail is surprisingly tasty. Milk, dark rum, brandy, simple syrup, a touch of nutmeg … it’s one of the few things brightening the last bleak, frigid days of winter.

The Milk Punch recipe in Haigh’s book is heavy on the milk – 4 ounces. I also own The PDT Cocktail Book, and Jim Meehan’s recipe calls for just 1.5 ounces, and bumps up the rum & simple syrup a bit. I like Haigh’s addition of a few drops of vanilla, and the lighter milk portion and higher rum content of Meehan’s. Haigh calls for serving over crushed ice; Meehan over one large cube.

Since the two couldn’t quite agree, I pieced the two recipes together and came up with this compromise that doesn’t taste like a compromise:

2 oz. whole milk
1 oz. brandy
1 oz. dark rum
3/4 oz. simple syrup
a few drops of vanilla extract

Shake well with ice. Strain into glass with one ice cube. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top. Enjoy with a few* Girl Scout cookies.


* They package them in the sleeves because that is one serving, right?