alcohol

Classic Manhattan

Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe - www.athoughtforfood.net
Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe - www.athoughtforfood.net

There are few things I find more satisfying during these cold months than sipping a Manhattan. It's my go-to winter drink, which means we always have a bottle of Blanton's and sweet vermouth on hand. Traditionally, rye whiskey is used, but I prefer the sweetness of bourbon over the spicy notes in rye (with that said, I was recently introduced to Basil Hayden's Dark Rye, which is blended with port, and I've become a big fan).  If you've never made a Manhattan before, it's a good drink to learn (and it's easy to remember): 2 parts whiskey to 1 part sweet vermouth (often this is 2 oz and 1 oz, but if you're having a rough day, a larger pour may be necessary), a few dashes of Angostura bitters, all of which is stirred in a glass with ice and strained into a coupe. While the spirits are the most important ingredients here, we can't forget about the garnish. Now, it may be easier and cheaper to get your hands on some of those bright red maraschino cherries you used to have in your Shirley Temples when you were a kid, but please... please... invest in the good stuff (Luxardo are available at most liquor stores or online). Yes, it's $20 for a container, but when you're only having one per drink, a jar goes a long way. Believe me, it's worth the extra money.  

Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe - www.athoughtforfood.net
Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe - www.athoughtforfood.net

CLASSIC MANHATTAN
Yield: 1 drink
Tools: Mixing glass, cocktail strainer
Glassware: 3.5 oz coupe

Ingredients:
2 oz Rye whiskey or Bourbon
1 oz sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry, garnish (Luxardo is recommended)

Directions:
Add 3-4 ice cubes to mixing glass. Add whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters and stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with cherry. 

 

Raspberry Vermouth Cobbler

We have a lot going on right now, and many of these things are tough to wrap our heads around. One is the Cape house. I haven't mentioned it here, but in October, we bought the house next to Eric's family's property. It was a joint purchase with his brother and his wife, and their mom. Yes, it's exciting, but there is much that needs to be done and it's hard to accomplish anything from such a distance. With that said, we're in the beginning stages of some work... making lists, getting quotes, and lots of time browsing through websites figuring out how to best proceed with these projects. I have been given the task of getting things in order with the kitchen, which makes sense since I spend as much time cooking down there as I do in the lake or reading in the hammock. 

When we left the house at the beginning of November, we had done as much as we could. Rooms were cleaned and we even got a bit of painting done (ok, it was a giant amount of painting... 21 kitchen cabinets and a large living room, to be exact). I think we were all a bit burnt out by the end of that. I had little desire to think about any of it, but seeing that we're already in February, I think the time has come to stop procrastinating.  Before we know it, April will be here and we'll be on our way to open the house(s).  

Last week, I needed my spirits lifted and there are few things that do that better than a vibrant boozy beverage garnished with a ridiculous amount of fresh mint. A cobbler came to mind and I worked a little spin in there by muddling raspberries, which provided some nice color and sweetness (most cobbler recipes call for some sugar, but I didn't think that was necessary here). 

RASPBERRY VERMOUTH COBBLER

SERVINGS
1 drink

INGREDIENTS
1/4 ounce lime juice
1/4 ounce fresh orange juice
3 raspberries, plus more for garnish
3 ounces sweet vermouth
Soda water
Ice
Fresh mint

DIRECTIONS
1. In the base of a cocktail shaker, muddle together raspberries, lime juice, orange juice and vermouth. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain mixture into a highball glass filled with ice cubes.

2. Top drink with soda water and garnish with fresh mint. Serve with a straw. 


Bufala Negra

Humanity is a privilege, we can't give in
When they build walls, we'll build bridges
This is resistance, we're resilient
When they spread hate, we shine brilliant.

-Wednesday Morning, Macklemore

Deep down inside, I thought we wouldn't get here. I thought, hoped, that maybe it was just a bad dream. But it's not. It's our reality. And now we have to figure out how to deal with all of it. Protesting makes a statement, but I think that only does so much. I hope to do more this year, get involved with our community, to provide in some way to those in need. It requires putting ourselves out there, which, I'll admit, is something I struggle with.  But each day, it feels as if our world gets smaller and smaller and I know that each of us will be impacted by what occurs over these next four years.

I was touched by the farewell speech given by President Obama a few weeks ago.  If you didn't get a chance to watch it, I highly recommend taking some time to hear his words. This passage struck me the most.

"Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it's really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning. With our participation, and with the choices that we make, and the alliances that we forge. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law. That's up to us. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured."

I'm not sure if that's leaving things on a hopeful note or not, but I figured I should at least write a little bit about why I made this cocktail. I realized that it'd been quite a while since I'd featured a drink here, so I spent a bit of time looking for inspiration online. For me, it's whiskey season (not that there's ever an end to that season), so I knew it had to include some form of that spirit. And I wanted to use vinegar. Now, I've done shrubs before (like this, this, and this) with balsamic or cider vinegar. But I thought using straight up vinegar would be unique. After a little research, I came across this Bufala Negra on The New York Times. I must admit, I was slightly skeptical of the addition of basil leaves. I shouldn't have been, because this turned out to be one spectacular and complex cocktail. It's perfectly balanced, with the balsamic to cut through any sweetness (plus, the ginger beer adds a slight kick which I loved).  I hope you all enjoy. 

Bufala Negra

SOURCE
The New York Times, adapted from a recipe by Jerry Slater of H. Harper Station in Atlanta

SERVINGS
1 Drink

INGREDIENTS
1/2 teaspoon turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon good aged balsamic vinegar
5 fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
2 ounces ginger beer

DIRECTIONS
Add sugar, vinegar and 4 basil leaves in a cocktail shaker. Muddle for 10 seconds. Add bourbon and shake to dissolve sugar.

Strain over ice into old-fashioned glass, top with ginger beer and garnish with basil.