Drink of the Week: Rye’d N Dirty

Rye'd N Dirty.In the U.S., whiskey cannot be sold as rye unless it is distilled from at least 51 percent rye grain. In Canada, there is no such rule. Therfore, as I understand it, a lot of what we call Canadian whiskey over here is known as rye north of the border, even though corn and other grains may be a great deal more dominant. For this reason, American rye has long had a more distinctively peppery flavor than it’s Canuck cousin. Lately, however, Canadian brands have been getting into the act with ryes that pass stateside muster.

And so it was that I was turned on to today’s fine cocktail by my friends at Canadian Club…and they really are my friends, as they sometimes send me free stuff and tasty cocktails, in this case their new Canadian Club 100% Rye. Often sold for less than $20.00 a bottle, this all-rye rye is a worthy alternative to such value priced standbys as Pikesville and Old Overholt. Comparing it to regular, blended Canadian Club, it’s less mellow, hotter and spicier, though not as peppery as some of the pricier ryes. It definitely makes for a bold Old Fashioned or Manhattan.

The CC 100% also definitely works pretty brilliantly in our Drink of the Week, which features a burst of additional heat and spice from a non-whiskey source.

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Drink of the Week: Warday’s Cocktail

Warday's CocktailYou may wonder how I go about picking out the drinks here at DOTW. A lot of the time, it has something to do with what I’ve got laying around the palatial North Hollywood premises of Drink of the Week Manor. Occasionally, I look at the calendar, and sometimes, I simply stumble over something at random.

At times, though, my own life enters the picture to some extent. For example, I am actually writing these words while shoehorned into a Hawaiian Airlines jet and, guess what, last week’s drink was as well.

By the time you read this, however, I will be firmly in place at my annual geekboy retreat to Comic-Con and, so, the name “Warday’s Cocktail” leaped out at me from the pages of, once again, “The Savoy Cocktail Book.” Now, it occurred to me later that Warday is probably just some guy’s name, but right then, “Warday” seemed redolent of Silver Age Jack Kirby and Jim Starlin creations for both DC and Marvel. Also, the ingredients are mighty provocative.

Then, the daily news stepped in with events to dark too discuss within the confines of a cocktail blog. Best to just go with the idea that Warday was probably just the name of some enterprising bartender of the prohibition age or prior.

Moving rapidly along, while you could definitely argue that the name of today’s drink is in questionable judgment, the taste of this week’s drink is, at the very least, respectable and worth investigating. It definitely makes for an interesting combo and, I’m here to tell you that it can be just the thing after the end of a truly disturbing day or week.

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Drink of the Week: The Hawaiian Cocktail

The Hawaiian Cocktail.I’m not sure how it was that you could call a drink The Hawaiian Cocktail back in the day without including any specifically Hawaiian ingredients, but that was apparently the case when “The Savoy Cocktail Book” was published in 1930. Indeed, based on the ingredients, it may have been more apt to call today’s drink the Californian or Florida Cocktail, since there isn’t a trace of anything native to Hawaii and the drink is dominated by orange juice. On the other hand, if you take a picture of this drink in the right light, it’s pretty much the same color as pineapple juice, so there’s that.

So, why this particular drink? Well, within 30 or so hours of the time this post goes live, I will be on Kauai to attend the wedding of a very old and valued friend and, if not now, then when? Yes, there are better known cocktails associated with the 50th state in the Union, and I’m pretty sure there are probably better tasting ones. However, they’re mostly a bit more fattening than average, and I’m actually trying to lose weight right now.

Suffice it to say, this is a drink that’s a bit on the sweet side but which, I think, can work reasonably okay if you keep your ingredients on a short leash.

The Hawaiian Cocktail

2 ounces gin
1 ounce fresh orange juice
1/2 ounce orange curacao or Grand Marnier

Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with lots of ice, shake very vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Salute our nation’s 50th state and maybe look up the meaning of “mahalo” for the 50th time. I know it means something nice and polite, but I keep forgetting what that is.

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Drink of the Week: The Mickie Walker Cocktail

The Mickie Walker Cocktail.Early last month, the world mourned — something the world has been doing way too much of lately — the passing of Muhammad Ali, a boxer who transcended his sport in so many ways that even a complete non-sports fan like me hero worshiped him just a bit. However, since he was also a devout Muslim, it would probably be wrong to name a cocktail after him.

I actually have no idea what, if any, religious affiliation belonged to another famed boxer, Edward Patrick “Mickey” Walker. Clearly, his cultural impact was nothing remotely like Ali’s, but he was an acknowledged great of the sweet science of knocking people senseless and the winner of the World Welterweight title in 1922 and the World Middleweight title in 1926. I don’t know if he was a drinker or not, but I don’t imagine there were that many tea-totaling boxers during prohibition.

So, presumably Mr. Walker had no objection when Harry Craddock included a cocktail almost bearing his moniker in The Savoy Cocktail Book a few years later. I say almost because Craddock spelled the name “Mickie,” while Walker spelled it “Mickey.” A lot of people get irritable when you spell their name wrong, but he should have been at least a little flattered regardless, because his drink ain’t half bad. Also, it’s got Scotch in it, and there aren’t nearly enough Scotch cocktails.

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Drink of the Week: The Betsy Ross Cocktail

the Betsy Ross Cocktail.It’s almost Independence Day weekend and, as our nation veers towards either electing its first woman president or it’s last male president, maybe it makes sense to honor one of the few founding mothers kids my age were ever taught about in school.

Yes, I admit, the actual role Mrs. Ross played in creating the Stars and Stripes is up for grabs. It seems that the story about her making that first flag for General Washington apparently emerged in 1876, about a century after our nation was born. Still, when the legend becomes fact, we do like John Ford and print the legend here at DOTW.

Here’s a cocktail reportedly from the 1950s named for the most famous seamstress in early American history. Rescued in our century by Gary Regan in The Joy of Mixology, it’s a very pretty cocktail that would definitely look good next to Old Glory.

The Betsy Ross Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces brandy…better make it Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy
1 1/2 ounces ruby port
1/2 ounce curacao
1-2 dashes Angostura/aromatic bitters

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker and stir. Shaking won’t ruin the taste, but it won’t improve it that much, and it will make the drink ugly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and toast Betsy Ross. Even if she didn’t actually make that first flag, she’s probably as good a stand-in as any for all the women we’ve never heard of who had just as much to do with making this country great as those guys we keep hearing about all the time.

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