May 16, 2011

Cocktail hour

I grew up with a father who enjoyed a stiff cocktail at the end of each work day no judgment and grandparents with a bar downstairs and a well stocked liquor cabinet. They also had a regular card club with whom to imbibe. My girlfriend and I loved to turn on the old beer light behind the bar (I can't remember if it was Schlitz or Hamm's), grab some plastic glasses and napkins taken from whomever had the most recent anniversary or other event and play bartender. My grandmother thought we were crazy - we thought we were very cosmopolitan whatever that means.

I'm not a big drinker but I love a good cocktail. Beer isn't my favorite, but I enjoy a good glass of wine now and then. The problem is the bottle often goes to waste because I don't drink more than a glass at a time and I don't want the same thing over the course of a week or more until it's all used up. Variety is the spice of life don't ya know! I prefer something that can be mixed up on the fly. You already know I'm a huge Mad Men devotee and because I will have to wait until 2012 to get my fix, I've decided the cocktail hour needs a good old-fashioned revival. Complete with Jazz, Swing or Sinatra playing in the background for mood. Last night was the inaugural night and I wasn't sure what to fix. I have some old stand-bys with my favorite liquors - amaretto and limoncello my Italian roots show when I cocktail, but I was in the mood for something different. Then I happened upon this post. Pure genius. I am drinking one now while I nosh on pistachios and blue cheese I feel so Betty Draper. When we have a party, I line up all the fixins - liquor bottles plus mixers like seltzer water, orange juice, assorted sodas - with utensils and recipes. That way people can mix things up on their own according to taste. For our next party, 'The Back Forty' will definitely be on the bar in a glass pitcher with lots of ice.

Here are a few of my favorite cocktail recipes - try one and don't forget the red lipstick and heels!

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
2 1/2 cups cold water
1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
1 to 1 1/2 shots Bourbon
Lots of ice

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1 cup tequila
6-8 ounces good quality lager-style beer (recommended: Stella Artois or Negra Modelo)

1 oz Lemoncello
2 oz Tequila
1 oz Grenadine
2 oz Orange Juice

2 oz Amaretto
3 oz Orange juice
3 oz Soda water
1 dash Grenadine

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