All posts tagged gin

Solar Eclipse Cocktail: Drink to Totality

I’m not a gimicky drink girl. I love simple cocktails and will take a neat pour of whiskey most days of the week. But, I couldn’t pass up a challenge from a college friend to make a cocktail in honor of the upcoming solar eclipse, which, by the way, I will be missing even though some of the primo viewing will be an hour from my lair. (Watch my twitter feed @ThirstyJane for hints on where and what I might be drinking in the next couple of weeks; prizes will be awarded too!).

On Monday, August 21st, a swath of land from South Carolina through Missouri and onto Oregon will be in the zone of totality for the solar eclipse.  According to NASA, a solar eclipse is when “the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location.  For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds.  The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.” I vaguely remember the last time when viewing was sometime during religion class at my Catholic elementary school.  ‘Nuf said.

So, this is a really really big thing. Whether you are in the path of totality or not, Thirsty Jane says take this opportunity to mix up a cocktail to toast this celestial show. Many options abound.  I went for the gimmick — the black spherical ice cube floating in the sunshiny drink. I made my black ice with food coloring and a nifty mold. Although activated charcoal is quite hip, after reading up on it, I got a wee bit scared of its detoxifying qualities.  Like it might make your antibiotics or birth control not work. YIKES!  I’ll take the food coloring, thank you very much. For the drink, do what you want. A martini would work just fine. But because the eclipse will be popping in Oregon in the morning, I opted for a slightly brunch oriented drink. (Code: anything with a decent amount of juice qualifies).

Cheers to the solar eclipse. I hope my man gets some spectacular photos while I’m imbibing liberally on another continent (it’s called research, my thirsty friends).

Thirsty’s Solar Eclipse

2 ounces gin

1 ounce orange  curacao

1 ounce pineapple juice

3 dashes orange bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a glass with a spherical ice cube dyed with black food coloring.

Drink for a Cause: Negroni Week

Summer is here. Or for those of us in the Pacific Northwest, it’s almost here. At least it’s not as consistently cool and wet. For me, summer means Negronis, that sinfully simple equal ratio three-ingredient drink which is both beautiful, stylish, and mighty tasty. And while making your Negroni at home is as simple as flipping through your pages of Three Ingredient Cocktails, you should also consider drinking out this week for a cause. Imbibe Magazine and Campari sponsor Negroni Week each year. For a week (June 5-11), thousands of venues participate in shaking up the drink that says summer is here and donating a portion of their revenues to charity. So, drink out this week at a participating venue, but then for the rest of the summer, feel free to enjoy your Negroni at home.



1 ounce gin

1 ounce Campari

1 ounce sweet vermouth

Mix (or shake if you do prefer) with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Sip fabulously!



Drink What You Like: Aviation Variations

Much to my embarrassment, I’m a bartender micromanager. I can’t help myself. If I’m paying $10+ for a drink, I want it to be a drink I LOVE, not something that someone who wrote the menu loved or thought others would love.

My most notoriously micromanaged drink is the Aviation. My guy cringes when he sees it on a menu because he knows what will ensue. You see, I love gin, lemon, and maraschino liqueur, and they combine in an Aviation as the perfect drink that works year round. But, things get dicey when the Creme de Violette makes an appearance. In the clutches of a heavy handed bar keep, this floral scented liqueur makes the drink mighty pretty, but for my taste buds, it harkens to my Grandma’s house (African violets, minus the cats).

I don’t like my food or my drinks tasting remotely like bubble bath or Grandma’s house. No honey lavender ice cream for me, for example. The thing is, if you LIKE how that stuff tastes, then fantastic, drink up. But I don’t. So, I often ask bar tenders to leave out the Creme de Violette. The reaction is always stunned silence followed by “are you sure?” They look at me like I’m crazy and that the resultant drink is going to be heinous. I concede that I probably fall somewhere between offensive and annoying. But, I’m not crazy.

There are several different recipes for Aviations, and while the history buffs can prove that the original recipe did have Creme de Violette in it, many subsequent renditions by famed bartenders did not, probably because the stuff was not available. Here’s a chart of some of the different recipes. None of the proportions are the same for any of them! So drink what you love, and love what you drink.

Note: in the photo the drink on the left is Embury’s recipe and the drink on the right is Wondrich’s recipe. FYI, 1 1/2 tsp – 1/4 ounce. So Embury is heavier on the gin, less on the lemon, same on the maraschino and no Creme de Violette, but Wondrich does have the historically accurate recipe, I believe. I admire both writers. Along with Ernest Hemmingway, Thomas Jefferson, and Julia Child, they’d be at my dream team cocktail party.

Jason Wilson, Boozehound David Wondrich, Imbibe! David Embury, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks Ted Haigh, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails Dale Degroff, The Essential Cocktail Harry Craddock, The Savoy Cocktail Book
Gin 1 1/2 1 1/2 2 2 1/2 2 2 1/2
Lemon Juice 3/4 3/4 1/2 3/4 1/2 3/4
Maraschino Liqueur 1/2 1 1/2 tsp 1/4 2-3 dashes 3/4 2-3 dashes
Crème de violette 1/4 1 tsp

Space Dog: A New Frontier for Books and Booze

I fell in love with space as a kid.  Star Trek.  Star Wars. Cosmos. I went to college dreaming of becoming an aerospace engineer, but that lasted a little over one semester after spending one too many Saturday nights programming my HP calculator instead of partying. I still enjoy reading sci-fi and fantasy, so in honor of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Conference this weekend in Pittsburgh, I’m paying homage to my love of space. And dogs. Which oddly enough haven’t mixed much in sci-fi literature.

Luckily, I know one writer in Pittsburgh who is mixing her sci-fi writing with dogs and humor. I’ve had the pleasure of reading Catherine Vignolini‘s novel which features a lovable German shepherd Otto. I won’t go into any of the details about dogs and space because Vignolini has got that one covered in her blog (read it — it’s fascinating!).  But I created the Space Dog drink in recognition of all the high flying dogs, real and fictional.

I started with the Space cocktail which combined gin, Frangelico and lemon juice. Space is weird, and that combination of booze struck me as weird too. So I dialed down the hazelnut and amped up the gin and then turned to the variations of the “dog” drinks — for example, the gray hound and the chihuahua (grapefruit juice and vodka or tequila, respectively).  The mashup resulted in the surprisingly palatable Space Dog, shown in my feature image with my own pup, Nelson (named after a famous naval admiral, not any space explorer):


Space Dog

2 ounces gin

1 ounce Frangelico liqueur (hazelnut liqueur)

1 ounce grapefruit juice

Shake with ice and strain into a class with ice. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.

Cheers! And, woof!

Simple Sips For Your Easter Buffet

I’m all about DIY, especially on busy days like holidays when you’re slaving in the kitchen getting the massive buffet ready. Make cocktailing easy on yourself and your guests by setting up a booze and juice bar this Easter. The combinations are endless, but I recommend picking two of the clear spirits, like vodka, gin, tequila, or rum, all of which mix nicely with juices. Then, spend a little extra time squeezing fresh juices, like grapefruit and orange.  Unfortunately pomegranante is out of season and I have no idea how to squeeze cranberries, so pick up nice versions of those.  Then cut up a few garnishes and let your guests channel their inner bartender. Some common combinations are:

Screwdriver: vodka + orange juice

Greyhound: vodka (or gin) + grapefruit juice

Salty Chihuahua: tequila + grapefruit juice

Cape Codder: vodka + cranberry juice

The bottom line is, have fun and empower your guests to experiment.

So, who’s making a lamb cake? I am!