Tending Bar: The Seven Year Itch
28/05/2012 § 2 Comments
While I may not be much of a cook, I do quite enjoy tending bar. With an exceptionally warm Memorial Day Weekend (what thunderstorms?!?) and friends visiting from out of town, I took the opportunity to make my first pitcher cocktail of the season. A bit bubbly, a bit tart, and completely refreshing, I’m calling this gin-based concoction of mine The Seven Year Itch. To make it, you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 cup of gin. I used Brooklyn Gin.
- 1/2 cup elderflower liqueur. I used St. Germain.
- 1 cup club soda
- 1 large handful of fresh raspberries
- 1 handful of fresh mint, additional sprigs for garnish
- 1 lime
- 1 lemon
- large pitcher, wooden spoon or muddler, cocktail glasses
First, take all of the fresh ingredients and add them to your pitcher.
Take care to wash everything and slice up the lime and lemon.
Next, add a good amount of ice to the pitcher, and then pour the liquors and the club soda over the ice. Serve immediately to avoid the club soda going flat and the ice melting.
Voila! Garnish with a raspberry and a mint sprig.
One of the most iconic Marilyn Monroe movies — yep, the white dress/subway grate one — The Seven Year Itch was directed and co-written by Billy Wilder and was released in 1955. Featuring an exceptionally hot summer in New York (ahem), the story details the overactive imagination of publishing executive Richard Sherman (a role that Tom Ewell originated on Broadway), who has been left to his own devices in the city while his wife (yep, of seven years) heads off to Maine for the summer with their son. Settling in for a long, hot few months, Mr. Sherman is surprised to find his upstairs neighbors have sublet their apartment for the summer to a model (Monroe). Proper Wilder-esque hijinks then ensue. It’s a lovely little film and one of my very favorites. And when I thought about what I wanted to call my cocktail, I immediately thought of Marilyn’s dress, crisp and fresh in the hot city night. Perfectly fitting, no?
The Aviation Cocktail
19/08/2011 § 4 Comments
One of my favorite drinks is the Aviation, a classic, pre-prohibition era, gin-based cocktail. I’d say it is a perfect summer cocktail, owing to its sky blue color and crisp tartness…but I enjoy the hell out of it the other three seasons of the year as well. To make the Aviation, you’ll need:
- 2 ounces gin
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 ounce of crème de violette
- 2 dashes of maraschino liqueur
Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake well and then strain into a cocktail glass. Some bartenders will garnish the drink with a twist or a cherry, but I prefer mine without.
The crème de violette, a violet flower based-liqueur, will be the ingredient hardest to find. It’s not exactly rare, but it did take me a few tries to find a shop in Manhattan that had it. Also, make sure you’re purchasing actual crème de violette. Rothman’s is the standard. There are other “violet” liqueurs, like Parfait d’Amour, but they have an entirely different taste. (Sidenote: There is some debate about the inclusion of Crème de Violette, as the recipe that appeared in the first edition of the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) mistakenly omitted it, and decades of bartenders have poured the drink without it. I prefer mine pre-prohibition style.)
I use Brooklyn Gin for my Aviations, due to its smoothness and how its citrus notes compliment the liqueurs, but also because the gents behind the tiny distillery are personal friends. The handsome bottle also pretties up a bar quite nicely, no? Look for Brooklyn Gin at select bars and liquor stores around New York.