The Friday Tipple: Birthday Cake Shot

Happy birthday, Boozers! Well, maybe it’s not your birthday yet, but we had a birthday here at Good Booze this week, and we are still celebrating. You may enjoy a little special libation on your own birthday, and we couldn’t agree more. So, we went trolling around on the glorious Google world looking for the legendary Birthday Cake Shooter. It’s purported to taste like a birthday cake — who could resist?

The basic recipe calls for either citrus or vanilla vodka, paired with Frangelico and a sugar-coated lemon slice on the side. However, with apologies to Frangelico, we find it a bit too sweet, so we went for Nocello instead — an Italian walnut liqueur that is slightly more subtle. And, while there are plenty of vanilla vodkas on the market, it’s a breeze to infuse your own, and, because it was our birthday, we wanted a really good vodka, not just some run-of-the-mill variety. We recently came across Boyd & Blair Vodka in our quest to drink local first; they are not exactly right around the corner, but their distillery is close enough to fall into what we like to call the Mid-Atlantic Liquor Watershed.

While we’re not quite sure that the Birthday Cake Shot tastes exactly like a slice of birthday cake, it is certainly a tasty little morsel that may help distract you from your advancing age. Just don’t forget to blow out the candle first. Many happy returns!

Birthday Cake Shot

1 ounce Vanilla Vodka (we like to infuse Boyd & Blair vodka —instructions below)

1 ounce Nocello liqueur

1 lemon slice, coated in sugar

Shake vodka and Nocello in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a shot glass, with the lemon on the side. Shoot down the Birthday Cake, then suck on the lemon. Yum.

How to infuse vodka with vanilla:

It’s embarrassingly easy. Put a cup of vodka in a mason jar. Add a vanilla bean that has been split down the center. Let sit in a cool dark place for a few days, remove the vanilla bean, and enjoy.

Roaring Twenties Raspberry Vinegar

“…the average woman considers she has lunched luxuriously if she swallows a couple of macaroons, half a chocolate eclair, and a raspberry vinegar…”

Very Good, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse

Being only familiar with raspberry vinegar as something we make to mix with olive oil for a nice summer salad, we at Good Booze have puzzled over the above quote from a favorite Roaring Twenties short story collection for years. Why would a woman have raspberry vinegar with her eclair? Doesn’t sound appetizing, let alone luxurious, at all, but perhaps prohibition had rattled P.G. Wodehouse to the extent that he thought a glass of vinegar was preferable to bathtub gin.

But all was revealed recently when we read about the line of fruit drinking vinegars now available on the retail market by Pok Pok Tom, a popular Thai restaurant in Portland, Oregon. A quick search on Google revealed a New York Times article about — wait for it — raspberry vinegar that is sweetened and boiled into a syrup. Add just a teaspoon or so to a glass of club soda and what you have is an incredibly refreshing drink that is both sweet and acidic, with the faintest hint of vinegar to help you digest all those macaroons.

We see a lot of cocktail potential in this charming reminder of a bygone era — so keep your eye out for this Friday’s Tipple. You’ve got plenty of time to make your own drinking vinegar before then!

Roaring Twenties Raspberry Vinegar

Drinking vinegar recipes are largely the same across the board, just varying the types of fruit and vinegar, and sometimes using honey instead of sugar. Here’s our version, which yielded almost 4 cups total.

2 16-ounce bottles of red wine vinegar

3 cups fresh raspberries

5 cups sugar

Put the vinegar and raspberries in a large bowl, cover, and let sit for up to three days (or even four, to deepen the flavor). Uncover and mash the raspberries into the vinegar, then strain the liquid into a saucepan. Add the sugar and bring just to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, let cool, and bottle. Most recipes say it will keep refrigerated for three months, but we doubt it will last that long, simply because we will slurp it down too quickly.