Larry Trask / Tuesday, May 21 @ 1:24 p.m. / Cocktail
Tonight during The Cocktail Hour (6pm) we'll be enjoying the uber-classic cocktail, the Manhattan and celebrating the life and works of Ring Lardner.
A short-story writer, a playwright, and a sports columnist, Ring Lardner was a man of many talents. He was also a world-class drinking having set a personal best by drinking without break for sixty straight hours in one session at New York's Friar's Club. In celebration of Mr. Lardner, we'll be enjoying his favorite cocktail, the Manhattan.
Essentially a whiskey martini, the Manhattan was invented, appropriately enough, at the Manhattan Club in New York in 1874. Some Manhattan drinkers will tell you it's not a Manhattan if it's not made with Rye. However, many a Manhattan have been made with Canadian whiskey and if that's the way you roll, there's no judgement. Me, I like to make mine with the best bourbon I can afford. This is one of the few times I will condone the use of the maraschino cherry. Frightening though the maraschino may be, it is, I'm afraid, de rigueur for a proper Manhattan
2 oz. rye, bourbon or Candian whiskey
1 oz. Italian (sweet) vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Pour whiskey, vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry.
Larry Trask / Tuesday, April 30 @ 8:13 a.m. / Cocktail
"I've worn out several kidneys and several bladders already on bootleg rum, but I seem always ready to risk another." Poet Hart Crane is perhaps the quintessential literary tragic drinker. Though he achieved critical recognition from the avant-garde, poor reviews of his epic poem and last work, The Bridge, confirmed to him his feelings of failure and he took his own life at sea.
Crane favored rum, having once noted, "rum has a strange power over me, it makes me feel quite innocent -- or rather, guiltless". In his honor, we feature the Mai Tai tonight during The Cocktail Hour (6pm). Believed to have been invented by Victor Bergeron (Trader Vic) at his bar Hinky Dink's in Oakland, the Mai Tai is a complex drink but a summertime classic.
1 oz. light rum
1 oz. dark rum
0.5 oz. Grand Marnier
1 oz. lime juice
0.5 oz. orgeat (almond-flavored syrup)
0.5 oz. simple syrup
1 mint sprig
Fresh fruit for garnish (orange slice, pineapple chunk, etc.)
Umbrella (optional but strongly recommended)
Pour all ingredients (except mint, fruit and umbrella) into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled double Old-Fashioned glass filled with cracked ice. Garnish with mint spring, fruit and umbrella.
"I am not ready for repentance;
Nor to match regrets. For the moth
Bends no more than the still
Imploring flame. And tremorous
In the white falling flakes
The only worth all granting." -- Excerpted from "Legend" published in White Buildings (1926)
Larry Trask / Tuesday, April 23 @ 8:08 a.m. / Cocktail
Jack Keroauc loved Mexico. He loved,above all the freedom he felt in a country that, it seemed to him, had less of a desire to see him in jail. And he loved "the good old saloons of real Mexico where there were girls at a peso a dance and raw tequila". Kerouac had a profound impact of such writers as Hunter S. Thompson and Ken Kesey who, of course, changed the course of the 1960s.
In honor of Mr. Keroauc (and Mexico), tonight during The Cocktail Hour, we'll be featuring the noble margarita. There are many ways to make a margarita, and to a great degree, the proper method is a matter of personal taste. One thing is critical, however, and that is the use of fresh lime juice. It takes a little extra time, but the rewards are manifest.
1.5 oz. silver tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
0.5 oz. lime juice
Coarse salt (optional)
Pour all ingredients except salt into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lime wedge. Optional: rub rim of glass with lime and press into a plate of salt prior to filling glass with marg.
Larry Trask / Tuesday, April 16 @ 7:41 a.m. / Cocktail
John Steinbeck is, of course, one of the giants of American letters. Successful in his own time, Steinbeck was the recipient of a National Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize and, in 1962, the Nobel Prize for Literature. In addition to penning such novels as Tortilla Flats, Of Mice and Men and The Grapes Of Wrath, Steinbeck was a celebrated screenwriter, receiving an Oscar nomination for Hitchcock's Lifeboat.
In addition to his prowess behind the typewriter, Steinbeck was well-regarded in his time for his ability to handle a cocktail. Or two. In celebration of the man and his art, tonight during The Cocktail Hour (6pm), we'll be featuring the Jack Rose, a cocktail composed around applejack.
Applejack, also known as "Jersey Lightning" because of its state of origin, is a brandy made, unsurprisingly, from apples. Similar to, but more proletarian than, Calvados, applejack is a high-test (100 proof) spirit. For a classic Jack Rose, we recommend Laird's brand.
2 oz. Laird's applejack
3/4 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/4 oz. grenadine
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Larry Trask / Tuesday, April 9 @ 3:25 p.m. / Cocktail
"I think a man ought to get drunk at least twice a year just on principle," so said Raymond Chandler, novelist, short-story writer and screenwriter. Famous for creating hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe, Chandler also wrote the screenplays for Double Indemnity, The Blue Dahlia and Strangers On A Train. His drink of choice, when drinking, was the venerable gimlet. We celebrate his brilliance tonight on The Cocktail Hour (6pm) by sipping a gimlet and listening to some loungy tunes.
2 oz, gin
1 oz. Rose's Lime Juice
Pour gin and lime juice into a mixing glass filed with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge. (Can also be served on the rocks.)
NOTE: Normally, when a fruit juice is used in a cocktail, I am a stickler for FRESH juice. It just makes a world of difference. But the gimlet is different. Rose's Lime Juice is an essential part of the taste of a gimlet. You can make the drink with fresh lime juice (and simple syrup), but I would argue that, while delicious, that's NOT a gimlet.