Drink of the Week: The Park Avenue Cocktail

The Park Avenue Cocktail.So many cocktails appear to be named after tony locales, and the Park Avenue Cocktail fits right in with that. Though it’s been a long time since I’ve been to New York City, and I can’t conjure an image of the street, it does appear to play host to some of the biggest corporate powers extant: Bristol Meyers, Major League Baseball and Deutsche Bank among others are located there. Make of that what you will.

As for the drink’s history, while it’s featured in Ted Haigh’s epochal “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails,” there’s no particular story to tell, though Haigh wonders why the tropical touch of pineapple juice came to be associated with a seat of wealth and power. I haven’t a clue, but I do know this is a nice, simple drink that’s got plenty of mass appeal and is pretty hard (though not impossible) to mess up. It’s also potent enough that you might not need a second one.

The Park Avenue Cocktail

2 ounces dry gin
3/4 ounce pineapple juice
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
2 teaspoons orange curacao

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New Zealand’s Marlborough Region: A lot more than Sauvignon Blanc

Chances are, if you’ve only had a handful of wines from Marlborough, it’s been Sauvignon Blanc. It’s what hit American soil first and, well, they produce a lot of it. It’s certain you’ll continue to see more of it on our shelves too. I just spent two-plus weeks in New Zealand, and winemakers I spoke with are drilling down to produce wines from Sauvignon Blanc that are more specific to both sites and sub regions.

During the couple of days I spent in Marlborough, one thing was abundantly clear: there’s a lot more than great Sauvignon Blanc being produced there. If you’re looking for red wines, there are many fine examples of Pinot Noir that are distinctly different from those grown in Central Otago. If it’s other whites you’re after, there are a bevy of outstanding selections being produced in New Zealand; aromatic whites are a particular strength. The weather, soils and other conditions lends themselves to these grapes thriving. As you can likely imagine, over two-plus weeks, I tasted an awful lot of great wines. Here is a handful from Marlborough that I’m still thinking about. So keep drinking those Savvies, but try some of these too.

Spy Valley 2015 Gewürztraminer ($18)

The fruit for this wine came from a single vineyard. After pressing the grapes, they were slowly fermented and aged in stainless steel. Lychee and apricot notes are evident on the nose along with a hint of vanilla bean. The fruit-driven palate is led by oodles of roasted peaches, white pepper and a hint of nutmeg. Tension between bright fruit and acid marks the long, pleasing finish. This Gewürztraminer is irresistible on its own and it’ll pair beautifully with spicy cuisine such as Thai or Indian.

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Drink of the Week: The Classic Cocktail

The Classic Cocktail.Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Moving on, I must admit that I’ve been a bit distracted to the point where it only just occurred to me after finishing this post that it would go live on America’s second biggest drinking holiday. I honestly can’t say that there’s anything remotely Irish about it, but I suppose you could try it with Irish Whiskey instead of brandy. No one’s stopping you!

Anyhow, it’s not an original thought of mine that the name of this week’s drink invites “Who’s on first?”-style comic confusion. After all, this blog is largely devoted to the kind of drinks from the past that have been slowly but steadily gaining an increasing foothold throughout the early days of this still young century. Still, when we’re talking about the Classic Cocktail, we’re not talking about the classic cocktail but a classic cocktail, if you follow me.

Like last week’s DOTW, the Classic Cocktail comes to us originally from Harry Craddock’s depression era mixed drink ur-text, “The Savoy Cocktail Book,” as filtered through founding cocktailian Gary Regan’s 2003 “The Joy of Mixology.” However, I’m much more found of this week’s entry, which is a bit more elaborate but also tastier. It could also easily be thought of as something of a souped-up Sidecar. It’s definitely a very nice variation on the theme. See what you think.

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Drink of the Week: The Claridge Cocktail

The Claridge Cocktail.I stumbled over this week’s beverage in Gary Regan’s “The Joy of Mixology,” but it’s original source is the oft-cited-here “The Savoy Cocktail Book” by Harry Craddock. Since Craddock was the bartender at London’s Savoy Hotel, and the Claridge had been the Savoy’s super-swank rival before Savoy owner Richard D’Oyly-Carte had purchased it, we can assume it must have once been some kind of house drink at the hotel. Even so, it’s not on the Claridge’s bar menu circa 2017, where a typical house beverage will run you some 19 British pounds. (That’s over $23.34 American at current exchange rates.)

Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised, as this drink is a bit simple and sweet for the tastes of today’s demanding cocktailians, much less the guests at a five-star hotel said to be preferred by the aristocratic set. Still, I think it’s one that’s worth trying out for yourself. It’s not bad and some people will love it. See what you think.

The Claridge Cocktail

1 ounce dry gin
1 ounce dry vermouth
1/2 ounce apricot brandy
1/2 ounce triple sec, Cointreau, or Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

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Drink of the Week: El Americano Blanco

El Americano Blanco.Now, please, don’t take the name of the this mixed beverage, my own creation, too literally. Yes, we live in times when basic human decency is on trial, but trust me, the drink which, my poor high school Spanish and imaginary Italian notwithstanding, translates as “the white American” is not in any way inspired by our current president’s voting base. If I ever create a drink called “the White Nationalist,” that’s what we’ll be talking about, though it would probably be very bitter and extremely poisonous. No, it’s a simple and quite wholesome clear variation on an Americano, as much as a White Negroni is a clear variation on the traditional, more dark colored beverage.

This one is a bit less sweet and bitter than most Americano variations, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in flavor. It’s a simple, tasty and refreshing drink but one that might be open to even more variation. Consider this recipe a starting point.

El Americano Blanco

1 or 1 1/2 ounces bianco vermouth
1 or 1 1/2 ounces Salers Aperitif
Soda water
1 lime slice (damn near obligatory garnish)

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