Friday, March 5, 2010

Stirrings of Spring

The really peculiar thing about late winter is how intense it can be--and then it just disappears like an inch of overnight snow on a 50 degree afternoon. Which is what's happening high atop the Potter Building, this almost-spring. We're still having cocktails before the fire in the evenings, and it's still pretty dark outside by the dinner hour. But something is stirring.

That got me thinking about highballs today. Highballs, of course, are drinks in tall glasses with ice cubes in, the kind baby boomers like me remember our parents drinking. Nothing like that tinkly-ice-in-glasses sound to evoke a grown-up party of the past! But when I got into making cocktails, I was more interested in the ones you serve "up", in the stemmed, cone-shaped glasses. Those seemed way more Nick and Nora to me. Still, there's a time and a place.

And so today, as I put together thoughts for my radio show, I wandered over to the Internet Cocktail Database to see what their randomizer would come up with for me. Yikes! It was something called the People Eater. Well, at least it was a highball, and I HAD been thinking about highballs. You ready?

1 oz. 151 proof rum
1/4 oz lime juice

Pour over ice in a highball glass, fill with 7-up, and give it a stir.

Um...OK. Actually, I'm no huge fan of 7-up, but I do like highballs with ginger ale. My grandpa introduced me to cocktail hour at an age that would be considered scandalous these days with bourbon and gingers. Here are two drinks I've got the kitchen staff making today, again courtesy of the Internet Cocktail Database--and what a fine public resource it is!

The Buck Jones
1 and 1/2 oz light rum
1 and 1/2 oz cocktail sherry (dry)
3/4 oz lime juice

Pour over ice & fill the highball glass with ginger ale. Stir. I'd garnish with a lime slice.

The Ruby Rangoon
1 and 1/2 oz. gin
1 and 1/2 oz cranberry juice

Pour over ice & fill the highball glass with ginger ale. Stir. I imagine an orange garnish? One could play.

Of course, with any of these drinks, the quality of the finished product depends greatly upon your mixer. I'd go with a snooty ginger ale from a small company--something with some good flavor. Ginger beer might be a little too burny-intense. Leave that for the Dark & Stormies. And I'll tell you a dirty secret: although cocktail purists will scream and tear their hair, if you're watching sugar intake, decent-tasting diet G.A. works in a highball.

See you at 4 on!

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