The Friday Tipple: A Walk on the Beach

Remember Sex on the Beach, Boozers? So do we. Of course, we’re referring to those sickly sweet cocktails that were all the rage in the 80s, a cheap one-night stand in a rocks glass. The kind of thing Tom Cruise would have whipped up on screen, accompanied by sly innuendoes and a suggestive smirk.

But here’s the thing — a drink with such a name can only conjure up images of illicit fondling and sand in all the wrong places, hardly a recipe for romance. But a Walk on the Beach with the true object of your desire… that’s the real deal. Fingers intertwined, the salty tang of the evening breeze, skin tingling from the last rays of the setting sun, two sets of footprints lapped by warm waves. A perfect prelude to a night full of promise.

Back at the beach house, prop your feet up on the deck railing with this lovely summer nightcap — subtly sweet, lightly bitter, a perfect representation of this crazy little thing called love. Embrace it.

A Walk on the Beach

The original Sex on the Beach featured peach schnapps, but this modern update is based on a fresh peach and vodka purée that highlights our favorite summer fruit and makes us long for just-out-of-the-oven peach pie from Grandy Farm Market on the Outer Banks… but we digress. This is the next best thing, and if you can’t walk on the beach, then take a romantic stroll down to the corner.

3 chopped fresh peaches, pits removed

6 ounces vodka (we like Boyd & Blair for this, especially when infused with a vanilla bean)

1 teaspoon light agave nectar

1 fresh orange

1/2 ounce Campari

To make the peach-vodka purée: Put chopped peaches, agave nectar, and vodka in a blender and blend on high until liquefied. Strain through a sieve; can be kept in a jar and refrigerated for up to a week.

To assemble the drink: Put two ounces of the peach-vodka purée into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and squeeze in all the juice from the orange. Shake vigorously and pour the contents into a chilled glass. Pour Campari over the top and enjoy.

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The Friday Tipple: Flashback Cooler

Consider the wine cooler, Boozers. Remember the 80s, when the summer beaches were full of bikini-clad babes swilling popsicle-flavored bottles of Bartles & Jaymes, with Duran Duran wailing on the portable cassette deck? Good times.

The thing is, a wine cooler really is a perfect summer beverage — it’s fruity, refreshing, slightly acidic, and a little fizzy. It’s just enough alcohol to make you feel relaxed while you work on your tan, but not quite enough to have you baring it all for a spontaneous game of Naked Beach Volleyball.

So make a batch for a crowd,  sync “Purple Rain” to your iPod, and party like it’s 1985. But keep your suit on.

Flashback Cooler

Waste not, want not, we always say. We recently made a really tasty Pineapple Sage Simple Syrup for our version of a Tom Collins, so we used that again here. If you aren’t up to the task, then you can substitute some orange blossom honey or even the syrup from a can of peaches. Just throw the peaches onto the compost heap.

1 bottle white or rosé wine (chilled)

2 large oranges

3/4 cup Pineapple Sage Simple Syrup

1/2 cup triple sec or Cointreau

1 cup chilled club soda

sliced fruit or berries for garnish

Pour the wine, simple syrup, and triple sec or Cointreau into a large pitcher and squeeze in the juice from the two oranges. Throw the juiced oranges in and refrigerate for one hour. Then remove the orange halves and stir in the club soda. Serve immediately in wine glasses over ice, with fruit garnish.

The Friday Tipple: Jane’s Affliction

Ahoy there, Boozers! We’ve just returned from a bit of a jaunt to the Big Apple where we roughed it at The Jane, that most hipster of hotels overlooking the Hudson. It has a rather illustrious history as a classy hotel for sailors and actually hosted survivors of the Titanic immediately following that infamous sinking. If that’s not inspiration for a drink, we don’t know what is.

Imagining ourselves as proper British passengers, if we’d had to abandon ship in the middle of an iceberg-covered Atlantic, we’re quite sure we’d want a nice cup of strong sweet tea to help us cope with the shock once our rescuers had deposited us in the cozy confines of The Jane. And a generous measure of something somewhat stronger would not go amiss, leading to the creation of Jane’s Affliction.

The Titanic sank in 1912, the same year that absinthe was banned in the United States. Absinthe has had a bit of a resurgence, and we’ve been intrigued by several small-batch varieties, including Great Lakes Distillery’s Amerique 1912 Absinthe Rouge; its delicate undertone of hibiscus and anise recalls round-the-world voyages to exotic islands. The next time you’re in need of rescuing, Jane’s Affliction will surely come to your aid. Bottoms up!

Jane’s Affliction

The base of this cocktail is a tea-infused liquor; we’ve done it with both Catoctin Creek’s Mosby’s Spirit and Boyd & Blair’s Vodka, so take your pick. You can do a quick infusion by adding a teabag (Earl Grey works well, but Lifeboat Tea might be even better) to 4 ounces of liquor and letting it sit for an hour. For the more ambitious, add four or five teabags to the whole bottle and leave it in a dark place for two weeks — the tannins from the tea help give the liquid a lovely silkiness.

2 ounces tea-infused liquor, such as an unaged whiskey or vodka

3/4 ounce St. Germain liqueur (because every $14 cocktail in New York has to have St. Germain in it, and why not?)

Absinthe

2 or 3 orange wedges

1 sugar cube

piece of orange peel

Muddle the orange wedges in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and pour in the St. Germain. Let sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, rub the rim of a cocktail glass with the orange peel. Put the sugar cube in the bottom of the glass and sprinkle a few drops of absinthe over it. Add a few ice cubes and the tea-infused liquor to the cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into the glass.

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.