Drink of the Week: The Safer Dayquil (do not combine with actual Dayquil!)

Dayquil..do not take with Tylenol!.Sometimes funny things happen in the land of drinks that make you think funny. In this case it was a very offhand Facebook remark in which I, in a fit of hubris, implied that I would come up with a proper cocktail which would for some reason be called “Dayquil.”

My remark — respectively addressing and encouraged by two of the most legendary names in all of cinephile blogdem, i.e., Dennis Cozzalio and Odie “Odienator” Henderson — at first seemed amusing but ill-considered. For one thing, I personally strongly discourage the use of actual Dayquil for people who drink with any regularity or who happen to be drinking the day of. This is because, like many modern OTC pharmaceuticals, it contains acetaminophen (Tylenol), a much too ubiquitous pain reliever associated with literally thousands of deaths because of its toxicity to the liver under a number of circumstances, including shockingly small overdoses and especially when taken in combination with alcohol or by heavy drinkers. (Note: This is NOT a particularly controversial statement, as shocking as it is. It is absolutely for real. Here’s the scoop. It was also covered on a 2013 episode of This American Life.)

That aside, I also had no idea what would be in my non-Dayquil Dayquil.

Fate stepped in when I found a recipe for a classic cocktail, the Gin Daisy, in Robert Hess’s The Essential Bartender’s Guide. I didn’t read it closely, so I missed some details regarding the preparation of the beverage. I also hadn’t realized that Hess’s Daisy is actually a greatly simplified version of a very old school mixed drink dating back to the mid-19th century.

Then, a funny thing happened. I found I liked my severely mutated Daisy, and I definitely liked it better than Hess’s already vastly simplified version. I also realized that the combination of gin, fresh lemon juice, and grenadine looked just reddish enough to remind us of that daytime cold medicine I just suggested you avoid. Also, it would give me the opportunity to trick you into reading the public service announcement above.

Mission accomplished. Now, here’s the drink…

The Safer Dayquil (use only as directed!)

2.5 ounces gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce grenadine
1 lemon twist (important garnish)

Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon twist. Be sure to do the classic cocktail thing and run the shiny side of the lemon peel around the rim of the glass before tossing it in, it seems to help this one kind of a lot. Sip and give a small toast to your liver; it needs all the support it can get, and as little acetaminophen as possible.

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Given the large amount of gin, and the fact that many gins are over 90 proof, this is a pretty potent drink that will give your liver a real run for its money all on it’s own. It’s nevertheless a drink that nicely balances boozy, sweet, and tart tastes.

I had the greatest success using that free bottle of super-high-end Nolet’s Dry Gin featured here last week. The fruitier, low-juniper flavor complements the lemon and grenadine of the Safer Dayquil very nicely. Tanqueray worked almost as well. If you want a less ultra-potent drink, I can also recommend 80 proof and value-priced Gordon’s Gin for this one. Just lay off the real Dayquil.

  

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Getting Fit for the Summer; Four Tips to Maximize Your Cycling Routine

ID-100132824 by Sura Nualpradid
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/by Sura Nualpradid

Even though it is only January, it is not too soon to start thinking about shedding those Christmas calories and shaping up for the summer. Losing weight and gaining fitness is not a slam bang affair, and taking a few months to get in trim is the best way to stay that way. Visits to the gym and some aerobics sessions are the usual favourites, and cycling too is a popular approach. However, to get really fit while cycling, takes a different approach to the leisurely cycles most of us participate in; it takes drive and energy. To help you make the most of your cycling, here are a few tips that will improve your performance.

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Buffalo Bills’ Sammy Watkins on being a Bills fan, Pepsi Halftime and facing Darrelle Revis

sammy-watkins-pepsi

Rochester, New York is now the most hyped hometown in America thanks to Pepsi and stud wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a lifelong Bills fan.

This past Sunday, over 7,500 fans celebrated Rochester’s win in the Pepsi contest with their own ultimate Super Bowl halftime experience headlined by popular singing/songwriting duo Nico & Vinz, and appearances by new head coach Rex Ryan and Watkins.

Watkins was the NFL Rookie of the Week three times during the 2014 season and was the NFL Rookie of the Month for October. He also set single-season franchise rookie records with 65 receptions and 982 receiving yards, while scoring six touchdowns.

Talk about the work you did with Pepsi.

I worked with Pepsi on the “Hyped for Halftime” contest, which was a contest to find the best fans in the NFL. Rochester, NY did a great job as fans and I’m happy to say we won. They did it! They’ve been leading us for 30 to 40 years, helping us on and off the field, so this is a great treat for them.

One word to describe Bills fans is “crazy.” When we’re hitting at all points on offense and defense, the stadium gets crazy. Sometimes, we have to quiet them down so we can get the play call in. Pepsi was looking for the best fans and this proves we’ve got the best fans. And, Rochester got their own Pepsi Halftime Show, just like the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show with Katy Perry.

I read you were a Buffalo Bills fan as a kid, so you can really connect with the people. What’s it like to be a fan and grow up and join the Bills?

Yes, I was. They were my favorite team to watch when I was younger. To be here playing for the Bills? Man, it’s great! It shows you how blessed I am. I’m in a great situation with the team I love. I try to go out every week and put my best on the field, fight to get the win at the end of the day. That’s what I think it’s all about at the end of the day as a member of the Bills: fighting with the guys next to you and coming out with a win.

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Men on the Move: Creating Your Unique Street Wear Style

Thomas Gun t-shirt

Most adults have two wardrobes in their closet. On one side of the closet are the clothes that you wear as a professional. Suits, ties, dress shoes, and formal shirts dangle from hangers and make up your day-to-day wardrobe for work. On the other side of the closet are the clothes you wear on the street. You change into these outfits when you head out to the pub to meet your friends, take that special someone to a nice restaurant for a romantic dinner, or go to the theaters with others.

If you’re having a hard time creating your own unique street-wear style, there is help out there. Manufacturers selling street wear not only offer the clothing pieces you need to complete your style, but even offer ideas on which clothing is best in certain situations.

Turn to Your Peers

The problem many people face in creating their own unique style is the inability to put an entire ensemble together. You may be able to pick the bottoms and tops that you believe fit your physique and look unique as part of your own style, but what about the shoes, hats, hairstyles, and accessories you need to complete the look?

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Drink of the Week: Nolet’s Negroni (modified)

Nolet's Negroni (Modified).Gin gets plenty of respect among cocktail aficionados — certainly more than vodka — but it’s still mainly thought of as a something best enjoyed in some kind of mixed drink, whether it’s as unvarnished as a very dry martini, a bit more gussied up as an Aviation, or in a gin and tonic, the arguable king of highballs. Unlike whiskey, brandy, tequila, and even poor, maligned vodka, almost no one drinks gin by the shot or the snifter and while premium gins abound, super-premium gins are rare birds indeed.

Still, with a price point of about $50.00 for a 750 ml bottle, Nolet’s Dry Gin is staking out a claim at the upper end of the mass gin market with a product that justifies its higher price with a flavor profile you won’t find anywhere else. I know this because I got a free bottle in the mail and I’ve been having a great deal of fun trying out this product in a number of classic drinks. Nolet’s has a fruity, spicy flavor that is noticeably light on juniper — the botanical that pretty much defines the taste and aroma of gin in the minds of most drinkers, whether they know it or not.

I’ve grown to like it in gin, but juniper has always been a fairly tough sell with me. (I still greatly prefer Irish or English Breakfast tea to juniper-heavy Earl Grey.) So, I think Nolet’s is a dandy change of pace, high price point notwithstanding. I’ve found it makes a fascinating martini (use a lemon twist) and a really terrific G&T (3 parts tonic to one part gin). Finally, they have a very nice variation on one of my very favorite gin cocktail classics created by New York bartender John McCarthy, even if I couldn’t resist tweaking it slightly.

Nolet’s Negroni

1 1/2 ounces Nolet’s Dry Gin Silver
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica or Noilly Pratt or…?)
1 dash grapefruit bitters
1-2 ounces soda water (optional addition, see below)
1 orange slice (highly desirable garnish)

Mr. McCarthy’s original recipe calls for simply building this drink in a rocks glass with ice and an orange slice garnish. With plenty of stirring, this is a decent drink, though on the heavy side for my taste. On the other hand, I found myself liking this drink immensely simply by making one of two small adjustments.

First, you can serve it up — i.e., shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass — as I suggested was best with the original Negroni cocktail some time ago. You can also go crazy and simply follow McCarthy’s original recipe augmented with an additional bit of soda water for a boozier Negroni/Americano hybrid. You might want to use a double rocks glass to prevent overflow.

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The main difference between Nolet’s Negroni and the original is the inclusion of grapefruit bitters. Usually, the inclusion of Campari in any drink is considered bitters enough. Moreover, McCarthy’s original recipe specifies Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, which has a chocolatey, bitter undercurrent. Nevertheless, I think adding the bitters works just fine in a beveridge that can still come off a bit syrupy.

At the same time, I found I actually rather enjoyed my modified versions of this drink even more when I substituted Noilly Pratt sweet vermouth with its simpler, sweeter flavor that actually needs those grapefruit bitters to keep things grown-up. It’s entirely possible Martini or Cinzano would work well, too. Go with your mood, I say.

 

  

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