The Friday Tipple: Mr. Collins

Mr. Collins

We adore a pompous fool, Boozers. In fact, if we are honest, we have strolled down that perilous path once or twice, only to have our balloon of self-admiration popped unceremoniously by a worthy opponent. It’s why we love Jane Austen, and also why we enjoy a tasty little concoction — once known as the official drink of summer — called a Tom Collins.

In the far-off years of our youth, we recall our first foray into a nightclub, armed with a fake i.d. and a few crumpled dollar bills stuffed into our spandex tights. As the hairy-chested bartender cocked a cynical eye at our underage attempt at sophisticated nonchalance, we stuttered out a request for a Tom Collins — clearly marking us as urbane world travelers.

Alas, what we didn’t realize was that we had immediately marked ourselves as more akin to the inimitable Mr. Collins, the silly social-climbing vicar in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; Elizabeth Bennett had him pegged in five seconds flat, and would certainly never have accepted a watery Tom Collins made with a slug of cheap gin and a splash of sour mix, topped off with club soda and a maraschino cherry stabbed with a plastic sword. Just like Elizabeth, we now know we don’t have to settle for second-best.

So we’ve imagined Mr. Collins as he should be, if transformed into a refreshing cocktail: bright, fresh, lightly herbal, and blessed with a sparkling wit. Watch out, Mr. Darcy — there may be competition yet.

Mr. Collins

We’ve made a summery lemonade base for our Mr. Collins, sweetened with a pineapple sage simple syrup. If you don’t have this charming herb growing in your garden or on your windowsill, you can make a simple syrup with mint (especially a pineapple or orange mint), which will impart that sunny herbaceous quality.

4 or 5 lemons, freshly juiced

Pineapple sage simple syrup (see below for instructions)

Chilled club soda

2 ounces good quality gin (like Catoctin Creek’s Organic Watershed Gin)

Chilled Prosecco or sparkling wine

Orange wedge and sprig of sage or mint for garnish

Make the fizzy lemonade base by combining the fresh lemon juice, about 2 tablespoons of the simple syrup, and a 1/2 cup of the club soda. Stir vigorously and add more simple syrup if necessary. Fill a Collins (tall) glass with ice and pour in the gin and up to a 1/2 cup of lemonade. Top with an ounce or so of chilled Prosecco and garnish with orange and sage.

The simple syrup is a snap: one cup of water, one cup of sugar, and several sage (or mint) leaves cooked over low heat until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove sage leaves and cool; can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.

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The Friday Tipple: Mr. Collins

We adore a pompous fool, Boozers. In fact, if we are honest, we have strolled down that perilous path once or twice, only to have our balloon of self-admiration popped unceremoniously by a worthy opponent. It’s why we love Jane Austen, and also why we enjoy a tasty little concoction — once known as the official drink of summer — called a Tom Collins.

In the far-off years of our youth, we recall our first foray into a nightclub, armed with a fake i.d. and a few crumpled dollar bills stuffed into our spandex tights. As the hairy-chested bartender cocked a cynical eye at our underage attempt at sophisticated nonchalance, we stuttered out a request for a Tom Collins — clearly marking us as urbane world travelers.

Alas, what we didn’t realize was that we had immediately marked ourselves as more akin to the inimitable Mr. Collins, the silly social-climbing vicar in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; Elizabeth Bennett had him pegged in five seconds flat, and would certainly never have accepted a watery Tom Collins made with a slug of cheap gin and a splash of sour mix, topped off with club soda and a maraschino cherry stabbed with a plastic sword. Just like Elizabeth, we now know we don’t have to settle for second-best.

So we’ve imagined Mr. Collins as he should be, if transformed into a refreshing cocktail: bright, fresh, lightly herbal, and blessed with a sparkling wit. Watch out, Mr. Darcy — there may be competition yet.

Mr. Collins

We’ve made a summery lemonade base for our Mr. Collins, sweetened with a pineapple sage simple syrup. If you don’t have this charming herb growing in your garden or on your windowsill, you can make a simple syrup with mint (especially a pineapple or orange mint), which will impart that sunny herbaceous quality.

4 or 5 lemons, freshly juiced

Pineapple sage simple syrup (see below for instructions)

Chilled club soda

2 ounces good quality gin (like Catoctin Creek’s Organic Watershed Gin)

Chilled Prosecco or sparkling wine

Orange wedge and sprig of sage or mint for garnish

Make the fizzy lemonade base by combining the fresh lemon juice, about 2 tablespoons of the simple syrup, and a 1/2 cup of the club soda. Stir vigorously and add more simple syrup if necessary. Fill a Collins (tall) glass with ice and pour in the gin and up to a 1/2 cup of lemonade. Top with an ounce or so of chilled Prosecco and garnish with orange and sage.

The simple syrup is a snap: one cup of water, one cup of sugar, and several sage (or mint) leaves cooked over low heat until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove sage leaves and cool; can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.

The Friday Tipple: Gin Mickey

Holy Salchow, Boozers. We’ve flipped for the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships, taking place right now in Bensenville, Illinois. What we particularly like about this event is its equal-opportunity vibe, as the skaters range from former ballerinas who can pull off a Biellmann Spin to, well, Mickey Bolek.

Mickey is our local hero — a super nice guy with a hair salon down the street from the Good Booze digs — and he picked up a pair of skates seven years ago to fulfill his childhood fantasy of gliding across the ice like Peggy Fleming, maybe with Dick Button doing a little cackling commentary on the sidelines. He’s made DC proud, the ultimate feel-good story about following your dreams at mid-life, a Julia Child moment in sparkly spandex.

Later today, Mickey will step onto the rink for his first national competition and we think that deserves a special cocktail. As DC is the home of the celebrated Gin Rickey, we thought it only fitting to reinterpret it today as the Gin Mickey — an icy scoop of frozen gin and lime topped off with fizzy club soda. We’ll be swigging it to the tune of “I’m Too Sexy” as Mickey shimmies his way to skating glory — at least his own version of it. Spin it, baby.

Gin Mickey

You know we loves us a granita, so we whipped one up for this Tipple out of lime juice, superfine sugar, and Catoctin Creek Organic Watershed Gin. Granitas can be finicky sometimes, so if it’s not setting up the way you like, add a little more fresh juice and check it every hour or so in the freezer. In a pinch, you can throw a soft granita mixture into a blender with a couple of ice cubes, whiz it up, and then refreeze, which actually gives the granita a pleasing sorbet-like quality.

1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup gin

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (we used superfine, which dissolves well)

1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest

Chilled club soda

Mix together the first four ingredients in a bowl (taste to adjust sweetness if too tart) and pour into a shallow baking pan. Place in freezer and check every hour or so; as it begins to freeze, stir gently with a fork or spoon and put back in freezer. This process can take from 4 to 8 hours until it reaches a frozen consistency, then can be stored in the freezer until you are ready to use.

Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop a large ball of the granita, about two or three inches in diameter, and put into a chilled martini or cosmopolitan glass. Top with about two ounces of the chilled club soda and enjoy immediately.