Try a CoronaRita for Cinco de Mayo

211_CoronaRita on the beach 4_iso_sml

When you look at this photo, you can’t help but think about partying on Cinco de Mayo. If you love partying like we do, you definitely love this holiday, and this drink can definitely add to the festivities.

The CoronaRita is a fun twist on the Cinco de Mayo standard, the Margarita, so it will definitely get some attention. Here’s the recipe:

• 6 parts Corona or Corona Light
• 1 part Tequila
• 2 parts Margaritaville® Margarita Mix
• 1 part Triple Sec
• 1 Lime Wedge

Method: In a cocktail shaker, pour the first three ingredients (please do not pour beer in the shaker). Shake vigorously until ice cold. Strain into tall glass with 1/3 ice. Top with Corona beer.

So check it out and have a fun and safe Cinco de Mayo!

  

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Drink of the Week: The Pegu Club Cocktail

The Pegu Club CocktailYou all probably know the one-liner, developed by Groucho Marx and reiterated by Woody Allen in “Annie Hall,” about not wanting to belong to any club that would have the speaker for a member. At this point, I have to admit that I certainly don’t feel like a member of the Pegu Club whether or not they’d have me. Of course, as I’m not a Britisher hanging around Rangoon circa 1920-1930, I wouldn’t expect to be had.

You see, the Pegu Club Cocktail, which apparently was favored by English imperialists messing about in Burma, aka Myanmar, has defeated me. I’ve tried it in a number of permutations and none seem to work. Sure, I still don’t have as much time at present as I’d like to experiment, but no amount of adjusting the proportions of ingredients made this thing come together for me and I have a feeling I could work with it for an entire month and not have much more luck. I’ll give you some leeway and maybe you’ll do better. It’s not like there’s anything wrong with the ingredients separately.

The Pegu Club Cocktail

1 1/2 – 2 ounces gin
1/2 – 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 – 1 ounce orange liqueur (Orange Curacao, Triple Sec, Cointreau, etc.)
1-2 dashes Orange Bitters
1-2 dashes Aromatic Bitters (Angostura, etc.)

Combines ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour into a chilled cocktail shaker. I’d suggest you toast Aung San Suu Kyi but, in my opinion, she deserves a better balanced drink.

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Do I sound bitter? Well, after finding myself underwhelmed by The Maiden’s Prayer a couple of weeks back, I’m just starting to wonder how debilitating Project Empty My Liquor Cabinet Pre Moving is going to continue to be. Well, the good news is that it will be over soon. Drink of the Week Central looks to be moving from Northwest Orange County to the central San Fernando Valley community of Van Nuys within a matter of weeks. Huzzah.

Nevertheless, I will offer one suggestion should you be curious to try this one for yourself: be darn sure not to forget your bitters. As it is, the orange liqueur or the lime juice has a tendency to completely dominate this drink depending on your proportions and never in a particularly good way, no matter what my choice of liqueur seemed to be. (I didn’t, however, try Grand Marnier, so who knows.) Without bitters, as my old buddy Kevin learned one Sunday recently, this can be on freakin’ syrupy drink if you lean on the liqueurish side of the spectrum. Serves me right for effectively celebrating British adventurism so close to the 4th of July.

I guess that’s it. I wonder if any great cocktails were invented in Van Nuys. No doubt we’ll be finding out the answer to that one together.

  

Drink of the Week: The Maiden’s Prayer

The Maiden's Prayer

C. K. Dexter Haven: The moon is also a goddess, chaste and virginal.
Tracy Lord: Stop using those foul words. – “The Philadelphia Story” (1940)

Let’s face it. Sex sells, now and forever. If anything, it sold even more so in the earlyish 20th century when there wasn’t quite such a glut on the market. In those days, the idea of visions of actual coupling — and tripling and quadrupling — of every imaginable sort being but a few mouse clicks and keystrokes away was beyond the imagination. Way beyond.

In those days even the absence of sex could be read as hot, hot, hot because, of course, it implied the theoretical presence of sex.  Then as now, of course, a drink or two or three was often a prelude to the actuality of carnal knowledge. Birth control might not have been as widely available back then but, well, there’s a good chance that going back a generation you — who knows, maybe even I — might owe our very existence to that fact. (Great-Grandma, how could you??) In an era when alcohol had more of a forbidden frisson than it might today, all the more so.

In any case, this is all a long winded way of delaying my admission that I’m actually not all that wild about today’s Drink of the Week, though you might feel differently. For one thing, time simply didn’t permit me to try out something different before my deadline on account of my current hectic schedule and the fact that one or two drinks a night is my limit most of the time. (There are times when not being more of hardcore boozer is an absolute handicap in this here booze blogging game.)

Also, it’s hard to ignore the name and the fact that the Maiden’s Prayer was apparently positioned ironically as a possible corrupter of young ladies of virtue. This is a men’s magazine blog after all. It’s certainly a simple enough concoction and all the ingredients separately are quite nice, I just don’t find it particularly seductive. On the other hand, the art of love and the craft of cocktails have a thousand pathways.

The Maiden’s Prayer

1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Work out your frustrations by shaking the drink as vigorously as you can manage. Pour it into a chilled cocktail shaker and give to the nearest corruptible member of the opposite sex who isn’t too fussy about cocktails.

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The provenance of this one is apparently related to a now obscure song hit about the virtues of not doing what comes naturally. Fine, but all I know is that, if I were the maiden in question, I’d be praying for a swain with better taste in drinks. It’s just kind of overly simple, even using Cointreau was only a very slight improvement over triple sec.  Better, I think, to be corrupted by a Manhattan or a Bronx or a swoon-worthy Mary Pickford.

Whatever you do, if you are serving this to an actual maiden who knows the name of the drink, I would be careful about garnishing this one with a cherry. Safer to stick with a lemon or orange twist.

  

Drink of the Week: The Corpse Reviver #2

The Corpse Reviver #2What we have here, my friends, is a failure to be creative. In my ongoing quest to deplete my liquor supplies in advance of an impending move, while also trying to keep my cocktails simple on account of my current hectic schedule, I attempted my favorite vermouth-heavy martini variation; unfortunately, it seemed that  my home supply of Noilly Prat had gone slightly off due to old age. Then I tried making up my own simple drink using an awful lot of Lillet Blanc — an underrated type of fortified wine that’s like a sweeter version of dry vermouth — and gin. The result was not so good.

Finally, I happened upon this week’s tasty yet macabre selection, but forgot to include one key ingredient. Was this the sort of accident which could lead to the creation of an entirely new drink? Alas, no. Sans fresh lemon juice, the Corpse Reviver #2 is more of a coma inducer. Fortunately, with lemon juice, this certified cocktail classic‘s certainly good enough for any living being. I just can’t claim any credit for it.

The Corpse Reviver No. 2

1 ounce gin
1 ounce Lillet Blanc
1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1-3 drops absinthe (you might be able to substitute other anise flavored liqueurs such as Pernod, Anisette, or pastis)
cocktail cherry or lemon twist (pretty optional garnish)

Combine your ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake loudly enough to raise the dead and strain into a cocktail glass that itself is as cold as death. Add the cherry or lemon twist, if you like. Toast the resurrection of your own choosing. (Fellow nonbelievers may feel free to apply the concept to their favorite sports team or political candidate.)

Alternatively, you can set the absinthe aside and add the drops of anise-flavored bitterness directly to the glass for a somewhat more pungent beverage.

***
Despite the name — we’ll eventually get around to Corpse Reviver #1, I’m sure — this is a simple, sturdy, and pleasurable drink. The absinthe, which is not a personal favorite of mine, nevertheless acts as a very solid alternative to bitters and opens up the drink while the lemon juice balances out the sweetness of the Cointreau/triple sec and the Lillet Blanc. The fresh citrus might not actually bring anyone back from the grave, or even do anything for a common cold, but it is healthy and 100% guaranteed to prevent scurvy, of course.

By the way, the Corpse Reviver’s name actually comes from the fact that this was considered a “morning after” drink and/or a great a.m. pick-me-up. No comment. The first to widely document and popularize the drink was booze pioneer Harry Craddock and a key name in its more recent history is revivalist Ted Haigh, aka “Dr. Cocktail.”

If you’re looking for someone to raise to your corpse reviving glass to, one person whose done his share of onscreen corpse revival — and much more corpse creation — is the great character actor and eternal heavy Christopher Lee of “Horror of Dracula,” “The Wicker Man,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “The Man With the Golden Gun” to name only a very few. Having recently turned a still-going-strong 90, he’s in no need of revival. On the other hand, this does seem like an ideal time to give him his say on the topic of cocktails.

  

Drink of the Week: Between the Sheets

Between the SheetsLast time I was here we were talking about the distinguished history of the Mint Julep and referencing poet John Milton and his rather obscure poem, “Comus” (actually a masque if you want to get technical). Well, you can forget those high flown references this week because we’re getting down and dirty with a classic drink with no such poetic connotations.

Yes, before there was Sex on the Beach and the Screaming Orgasm there was this week’s bluntly named — at least by prohibition era standards, anyways — libation. On the other hand, it’s also probably a lot more appropriate for Mother’s Day weekend than you might care too think, given that cocktails like this are very often the mother of motherhood, if you will.

Between the Sheets

1 ounce brandy or cognac
1 ounce white rum
1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
1/2 an ounce (or less) fresh squeezed lemon juice

Combine brandy/cognac, rum, lemon juice, and triple sec or Cointreau in a shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously and pour into our old friend, the pre-chilled cocktail glass. Shake, put on some Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Beyoncé, or Perry Como (don’t say I don’t give you people some options) and sip sensuously.

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Between the Sheets is an unusual drink not only for its pre-1970s salaciousness, but in that it’s in the small but fascinating family of multiple base spirit cocktails with its rum/brandy combo. Admittedly, however, this is not as much to my personal taste as the Saratoga — which features brandy and rye — from a few weeks back, but it will do.

I tried it several different ways but no clear favorite emerged. The version with inexpensive Bols triple sec was not cloying, as some drinks made with it can be. Using the high end triple sec, Cointreau, added a classy but not super-enthralling note of complex bitterness. Both drinks were fine but when I got a bit more experimental and used orange curacao, which I generally tend to prefer to triple sec, the drink became annoyingly super-sweet. Not sexy at all.

It might not be a huge personal favorite of mine, but I encourage you to give Between the Sheets a shot. It’s a tasty enough drink and a reminder of the healthy, natural activity that brought us all into the world so we can enjoy cocktails and feel guilty about not calling our mother’s enough.

Now, a behind the scenes look at the making of the cocktail we call humanity.

  

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