The Friday Tipple: Strawberry Rose Mojito

Strawberry Rose Mojito

Mom needs a drink, Boozers. You may be the apple of her eye, but you’ve also put her through years of unintentional stress. She stayed up half the night finishing your third grade science fair project while you snuggled up with Bunny in bed. She got up at 5:30 on Saturday mornings to shower and dress before dragging you out of bed for that early hockey practice. She hemmed your prom dress — by hand, mind you — because you suddenly decided you had to be part of the hi-lo trend. She listened to countless hours of whining about boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, jobs, children (she told you so), home repairs, car repairs, weight loss, and destructive puppies — and all without telling you to shut up and get over yourself. Face it, the woman is a saint.

So here’s what you do. Pick her up, bring her back to your perfectly tidy house (because of course you cleaned up before Mom came over), and present her with a beautiful home-cooked brunch and a special cocktail made just in her honor. Because moms like handmade. It may be easier for you to take her out to some faceless restaurant, but listen carefully: Moms Like Handmade. They don’t care if it’s gourmet, if there are fine linens and crystal, or if there’s a guy walking around with a basket of plastic-wrapped single roses for $3 a pop. There is no substitute for making it yourself, and it’s the least you can do. Happy Mother’s Day.

Strawberry Rose Mojito

It will seem loopy, but this is made with strawberry jam rather than fresh strawberries. Jam cocktails are really charming, because the jam gives a lovely silky mouthfeel to the drink. If you are feeling enterprising, you could whip up a really simple Freezer Strawberry Jam the day before — meaning you can also present Mom with a beribboned jar as a nice handmade gift — or you can use a really high-quality strawberry jam. We used a strawberry balsamic jam made by our local Wisteria Gardens, which added another depth of flavor to an already sublime cocktail.

2 ounces light rum (we used Chairman’s Reserve)

2 heaping teaspoons of strawberry jam

1/2 teaspoon Rose Water (available in many markets)

several clean basil leaves (mint is traditional, but basil is perfect with strawberries)

chilled club soda

fresh strawberry for garnish

Put basil leaves in the bottom of a tall glass and muddle until they are broken down into smaller pieces. Add rum, jam and rose water , and mix thoroughly. Put several ice cubes in the glass, fill with club soda and stir together. Garnish with strawberry and serve immediately.



The Friday Tipple: Shutdown Shandy

Shutdown Shandy

We’re shaking our heads, Boozers. In days of yore, political opponents secreted themselves away in wood-paneled cloakrooms with a bottle of bourbon, a box of cigars, and a fistful of favors, trading  barbs until a deal was done. This modern game of I’ll-hold-my-breath-until-my-face-turns-blue does not sit well with us, as the trash begins to pile up and valuable medical research is abandoned and firefighters are forced to cool their heels at home. We think it’s time for Congress to suck it up and suck one down.

And so we present the Shutdown Shandy for consideration. Because hot air is still hovering over the nation’s capital, in more ways than one, we’ve opted for a cold one, combining it with a hefty shot of whiskey for good measure. However, it’s the Melting Pot Simple Syrup that brings it all together, a melding of everything that makes America great – sweet, spicy, sour, salty – coming together for the common good. Mix one up, Congress, and get it together.

Shutdown Shandy

We love a good garnish, so for this Tipple we went for some oven-dried orange slices. Simply slice an orange into round disks, dust them with confectioner’s sugar, and place them on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven for about two hours. Once they’re dried out with a brilliant orange hue, you can store them for a week or two in an airtight container.

12 ounces chilled lager or ale (we used DC Brau’s The Corruption)
1.5 ounces whiskey (support your local economy – we used Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye)
1 large spoonful of Melting Pot Simple Syrup (recipe below)
Oven-dried orange wheel for garnish (optional, but you should do it)

Put first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker, stir briskly, strain into two rocks glasses (because this is not meant to drink alone), and spoon a dollop of the foam left in the shaker on top of each drink. Garnish and toast to your continued friendship and cooperation.

Melting Pot Simple Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 fresh lemon
1 tablespoon freshly chopped ginger
1/2 cup fresh clean basil leaves (we used Thai Basil for an extra spicy note)
Big pinch of Kosher salt

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Squeeze lemon into the pan, then drop in the lemon and add the ginger, basil, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a rolling simmer. Reduce heat to very low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Can be strained and stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

The Friday Tipple: Pitcher’s Revenge

Boozers, it’s tough being a pitcher in the post-season. Sluggers are lining up left and right to hit another ball out of the park, meaning that starting pitchers are rarely making it past the fifth inning and the bullpens are worn out. But St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter managed to pull off a win through six full innings during game 1 of the World Series this week, with poor beleaguered Jaime Garcia actually getting in seven innings in game 2. We thought that deserved a little tip of the ballcap, hence, the Pitcher’s Revenge.

It turns out that St. Louis has rather an illustrious heritage when it comes to the cocktail, besides being the birthplace of famous tipplers such as Josephine Baker and Tennessee Williams. It is widely thought to be the city where the official “cocktail party” first originated, thrown by Julius and Clara Walsh in 1917, who were already known for an earlier “baby party” at the St. Louis Country Club, where the party-goers drank out of baby bottles while sporting frilled baby bonnets. The Walshes may have developed their love for cocktails at that same country club, where the bar was ruled by an African-American bartender named Tom Bullock, widely known across the midwest and beyond for his skills and who published his popular book “The Ideal Bartender” the same year, dedicated “to those who enjoy snug club rooms, that they may learn for themselves the art of preparing what is good”.

This week’s tipple honors some popular cocktails from 1917, The Bronx Cocktail and the Cooperstown Cocktail, which we also felt seemed fitting for the World Series (oh, sorry, Yankees fans, but at least you can suck down a drink from the Bronx while you watch the Cards). We were also inspired by those bags of darling little Clementine oranges that are selling cheap at the grocery store now that fall has set in— they make a nice fresh juice that takes on a color very close to Gatorade. The pitchers might want to sneak this tipple into those big orange jugs in the dugout, and it should be just enough to get the opposing hitters to swing a little wide of the fences. Batter up!

Pitcher’s Revenge

The Cooperstown Cocktail calls for fresh mint, but we substituted basil because it imparts a slightly grassy flavor which is just about perfect when enjoying a rousing game of baseball.

3 or 4 Clementine oranges

Gin (we like Catoctin Creek’s Organic Watershed Gin)

French vermouth (dry)

Italian vermouth (sweet)

2 fresh basil leaves

dash bitters (Bittermens’ Boston Bittahs adds the right note)

Juice the Clementines. Lightly bruise the basil leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and add ice. Pour 3 ounces of juice, 1.5 ounces of gin, and a slight splash of each vermouth into the shaker. Shake vigorously and pour the contents into a large wineglass. Add a dash of bitters and garnish with a slice of Clementine.