National Negroni Week

As Professor David Yamane reminded me in a text a few days ago, this is National Negroni Week. For those that wonder just what the heck is a “negroni”, it is a simple cocktail made with three ingredients: Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin. There are variations and my favorite is the Boulvardier which substitutes bourbon for the gin.

So in honor of National Negroni Week and in memory of the late Anthony Bourdain, here is how he makes the Negroni.

Cheerwine Cocktails

Cheerwine is a cherry soda that originated here in North Carolina. The flavor is sort of like cherry Dr. Pepper. It is sweeter and more cherry flavored than regular Dr. Pepper. While it is now expanding its distribution, it is still more a Southern drink found in the Carolinas. The company even used to run ads about New Yorkers smuggling “our Cheerwine” to the North.

Seeing a can of Cheerwine in the refrigerator got the Complementary Spouse and I to thinking about cocktails using it. Lo and behold, there are a number of them on the Internet. So we did a taste test on a couple of them last night and I think we can give them both two thumbs up.

From the Tempered Spirits website, we found Cheerwine Cocktail No. 1. It is a mixture of gin, lime juice, and Cheerwine that tastes a lot like a cherry limeade with a kick. It was really tasty and was the Complementary Spouse’s favorite.

The recipe is simple. Mix 1 oz. of gin (I used Plymouth’s) with the juice of a half lime in a tall ice-filled glass. Top off with 6 oz. of Cheerwine. Tempered Spirits say you can also add 1 1/2 oz. of soda water to this but I think it would just dilute it. If using a dry London gin, they suggest using 1 1/2 oz.

The second cocktail was simply Bourbon and Cheerwine. Lisa Frame writing in Southern Spark calls it the “cocktail of Southerners”. She first came across it at one of our local restaurants Tupelo Honey. Here’s how she described her first taste of it.

The first sip was a burst of flavor, a sensation of icy cold, sweet, along with slight hint of cypress and an oakey finish….

Had Scarlett O’Hara had Cheerwine and Bourbon, she’d have been the one looking at Rhett and telling him she didn’t give a damn. But, she wasn’t.

I suggest you get yourself to the local ABC store, pick up a bottle of Maker”s Mark and then hie yourself over to the nearest Piggly Wiggly and grab a 2 liter Cheerwine.

Head home, grab a Highball and fill it half full of ice. Everything is always half full in the South. Always.

Now, open your Maker’s Mark and pour a healthy splash in the Highball. No, that piddly splash isn’t going to do it, halfway full is more like it. Now, top it off with some fresh, highly carbonated Cheerwine. Grab your sterling cocktail stirrer and give it a quick whirl.

I made mine with 1 1/2 oz. of Marker’s 46 and 6 oz. of Cheerwine. I squeezed a little bit of fresh lime in it as well.

All I can say is that Bourbon and Cheerwine puts Bourbon and Coke to shame. It is light years ahead of it in my opinion.  I can see myself sipping this on the porch in the summer when I don’t want bourbon on the rocks. I might not use my Woodford Reserve or Blanton’s in this concoction but it would be a good use of bottom to middle shelf bourbon.

I do have one warning. Be careful. Both cocktails are so easy to drink you might get carried away. Literally.

Dealing With The Aftermath Of Hurricane Irene

Hurricanes and their aftermath can be trying times. While we don’t have to face the full fury of hurricanes here in western North Carolina, they do impact us. Hurricanes Frances and Ivan back in 2004 caused widespread flooding, power outages, water supply interruptions, and deadly landslides. As noted elsewhere, preparation is important even if it is only for a Zombie Apocalypse.

So in that spirit (or is it spirits), here are an assortment of hurricane preparedness drinks courtesy of The Bald Heretic. Some are drinkable and some are left for really desperate times when you’ve run out of all the good stuff. Reminds me of finding a bottle of Kümmel when I was a teen and seeing if you could mix it with Coke. Caraway seed liqueur and Coke doesn’t make it even for a teenager.

Hurricane Preparedness Drinks from The Bald Heretic

MANDATORY EVACUATION
1 1/2 oz. Absolut Ruby Red vodka
1/2 oz. vermouth
Clamato
Prune juice
Combine vodka and vermouth in cocktail glass. Fill remainder of glass with equal parts clamato and prune juice. Stir. Drink. Ask next-door neighbor whose ficus tree blew over and crashed onto your roof– even though you’d warned him for months to uproot it–if you can use his bathroom. Repeat.

CATEGORY 5
1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. rum
1/2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. gin
Sweet-and-sour mix
Splash of fruit juice
Combine vodka, tequila, rum, bourbon and gin in a tall glass. Fill remainder of glass with sweet-and-sour mix and splash of juice. Stir, then garnish with an inverted drink umbrella. Drink during peak storm hours, and vow not to believe anyone who tries to tell you the hurricane that flooded your garage and destroyed your shed was just a Category 1.

CONE OF PROBABILITY
1 oz. cinnamon schnapps
1 sugar cone
Pour the schnapps into the sugar cone. Every time you hear a TV weatherman say, “cone of probability,” bite off the end of the cone and down the shot. If you hear Weather Channel StormTracker Jim Cantore say it, drink two shots consecutively. (they should change this to the “Cantore Zone”… damn him.) Have you ever noticed that, despite all the cone of probability talk, if Cantore is parked in front of your house your ass is toast?)

FEEDER BAND
2 oz. Midori
2 oz. rum
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
After your home loses power, combine Midori and rum in a cocktail glass. Add a scoop of the vanilla ice cream that is melting in your freezer. Stir, and drink through a straw.

BEACH EROSION
1 1/2 oz. Goldschläger
1 1/2 oz. apple brandy
1 pack Sugar in the Raw
Combine Goldschläger, apple brandy and sugar in cocktail glass. As you drink, seriously contemplate moving your Yankee ass back to New Jersey where it belongs.

DOWNED POWER LINE
1 1/2 oz. rum
5 oz. Jolt Cola
Combine ingredients in a cocktail glass. Drink while trying to figure out how the heck you’re supposed to go two freakin’ weeks without television and AC.

FLOOD ZONE
2 oz. Kahlúa
2 oz. Baileys Irish Cream
4 oz. rum
Serve in a 6-ounce glass and laugh-cry deliriously as the mess spills all over the countertop.

COLD SHOWER
2 oz. Blue Aftershock
4 oz. Sprite
Combine in a cocktail glass with crushed ice you received after waiting in line for three hours at a mall parking lot. Take a deep breath, sip and scream like a little girl when the cold beverage hits your tongue. Repeat.

LOOTERS WILL BE SHOT
1 oz. Jack Daniel’s
Splash of sarsaparilla
Rock salt
Load both barrels of a shotgun with rock salt. Climb to the roof of your house with gun, bottle of Jack Daniel’s and can of sarsaparilla. Fill shot glass with Jack and splash of sarsaparilla. Watch for looters. When you spot one, blast his ass with rock salt. Drink shot. Repeat.

THE CHAIN SAW
1 oz. Goldschläger
1 oz. Rumplemintz
3 oz. Jim Beam
Splash of vermouth
Combine Goldschläger, Rumplemintz and Jim Beam in an empty soup can. Add splash of vermouth. Drink. Remove chain saw from garage and attempt to cut up fallen tree limbs in yard. Ask neighbor to drive you to hospital when it all goes horribly wrong.

FOUR-WAY STOP
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. vodka and Midori
1 1/2 oz. vodka and Galliano
1 1/2 oz. vodka and grenadine
Pour each ingredient into a separate shot glass. Serve one to yourself and three other people. The person with the clear shot of vodka drinks first. The person to his right drinks the Midori shot, and so on. If somebody drinks out of order, develop a quick case of road rage and beat the living crap out of him.

BLUE TARP
1 1/2 oz. Curacao
2 oz. pineapple juice
Splash of lime
Combine ingredients in a leaky paper cup and serve. Wait six to eight months for someone to repair the cup. If you’re impatient, hire an unlicensed, out-of- state contractor to do the job for an exorbitant sum and pray he doesn’t hurt himself in the process.

FEMA FIZZLE
1 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
2 oz. sloe gin
Tonic water
One week after the storm has passed and your neighborhood is still in ruins with no sign of help on the way, combine Southern Comfort and gin in a cocktail glass. Fill remainder with tonic and add a dash of Angostura bitters. Serve with a nut brownie. Before drinking, raise the glass and say the toast, “Doing a helluva job Brownie.”

Now someone just need to invent a “Visit From Cantore” because anytime you have Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel standing outside in your yard it ain’t good!