Drink of the Week: The Cliquet

The CliquetIn French, “Cliquet” literally means ratchet but can also refer to something that’s looks an awful lot like a screwdriver to this highly un-handy man. Well, the cocktail called the Cliquet looks an awful lot like the orange juice and vodka highball we all know. Let me tell you, though, appearances can be highly deceptive.

The Cliquet is a somewhat mysterious classic. While the exact derivation of the name remains apparently unknown, it’s a perfect summertime drink and about as easy to make as anything you can honestly call a cocktail. After finding it to be all but indestructible through a number of iterations, I’m honestly a bit surprised that this drink isn’t as well known as it’s Anglicized screwdriving cousin. It’s also one of the very few decent cocktails that can actually travel easily in a thermos or other container, but more about that below.

The Cliquet

2 ounces rye, bourbon, or Scotch whiskey
4 ounces orange juice (fresh squeezed or “not from concentrate”)
1 teaspoon dark rum

Build your drink in an old fashioned or a Tom Collins glass. Combine ingredients with plenty of ice. Stir. Drink — no need to toast anyone special with this one, just enjoy it.

***
There was a time in my life when a screwdriver was one of my go-to drink order when I couldn’t think of anything else to ask for. Had I only known that switching out the vodka for whiskey and adding a tiny amount of dark rum could have made such a difference, I’d probably have developed my interest in good cocktails a bit earlier in life. I really am learning to love this drink.

One of the things that’s most lovable about the Cliquet is how easy it is to make and serve. While I enjoyed the versions featuring the fresh juice I personally squeezed from good ol’ California Valencia oranges — which were actually developed just miles south of the current address of Drink of the Week Central — I later found that I got results that were very nearly as good, and somewhat more reliable, using a decent brand of store bought OJ.

That ease of creation proved to be a godsend when I needed an easily portable beverage to bring to the annual Drive-in-Movie outing hosted by world famous film blogger Dennis Cozzalio of the legendary cinephile blog, Sergio Leone and the In-Field Fly Rule. I had hoped to bring the fresh squeezed Cliquet, but simply didn’t have time to squeeze out umpteen oranges. I was delighted to discover that it almost didn’t matter and was pleased to see that I was correct in that the ingredients could be easily premixed and then poured over ice on site into a plastic cup without losing its appeal. At least that’s what Dennis and I thought.

A few words about non-orange juice ingredients. As you might expect, using my beloved 100 proof Rittenhouse Rye yielded a slightly kickier concoction, while 90 proof Buffalo Trace bourbon yields sweeter, though not much less punchy results. My mom’s caregivers — and if anyone can use a drink, these hardworking ladies certainly can — seemed to prefer the version I made with some of my very nice 10-year old Glenrothes single malt Scotch. At 80 proof, I think they found to be a bit less threatening and somewhat smoother than the rye-laden version I brazenly tried out on them previously.

You should definitely feel free to experiment with different proportions. Indeed, mega-cocktail guru David Wondrich’s recipe simply calls for “a small orange juice,” whatever that may mean. Many recipes call for an almost as vague “juice of one orange” and a slightly smaller amount of booze. In any case, there’s no reason not to, yes, ratchet the quantities up and down a bit.

Wondrich also considers the Cliquet mostly appropriate for brunch, but not so much for other times. I’ll have to try actually having a Cliquet before noon on my next big vacation or small lost weekend. I have chosen an occasionally dangerous hobby, I fear.

  

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A Chat with Erin Cummings (“Bitch Slap”)

Haaaaaaave you seen “Bitch Slap“?

Yes, that’s an unabashed cop from the Barney Stinson playbook, but given the film in question, we’re pretty sure he’d approve, especially since among the plot keywords listed for “Bitch Slap” on IMDb are such gems as “breasts,” “sex,” “stripper,” “beautiful woman, “female nudity,” and – wait for it – “lesbian scene.” Mind you, you also get “non-linear timeline,” “nun,” “Tourette’s Syndrome,” and “yo-yo,” but let’s not lose our focus here.

Here’s the two-sentence summary of “Bitch Slap” that’s been floating around the internet:

When three curvaceous babes arrive at a desert hideaway to steal over $200 million from an underworld kingpin, things quickly spiral out of control. Allegiances are switched, truths are revealed, criminals are unmasked and nothing is quite what it seems as the fate of the world is precariously balanced among this trio of sexy femmes fatales.

“Bitch Slap” is definitely an acquired taste, with its attempt to offer up a tongue-in-cheek version of the kind of motion pictures that are virtual parodies to begin with, but if you approach it with the right mindset, it’s a laugh riot. It also looks gorgeous, and that’s even when the aforementioned trio of curvaceous babes aren’t on the screen, but when they are…? Look out.

Bullz-Eye had a chance to chat with one of those lovely ladies – Erin Cummings, who plays Hel – in conjunction with the release of “Bitch Slap” on DVD…and when we did, you can bet we made sure to ask her about as many of those plot keywords as possible.

Stay tuned for…

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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