Rye Whiskey Smash/photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

With Derby Day upon us, our annual excuse to start drinking bourbon early on a Saturday, I must of course give a nod to a great cocktail, the mint julep—bourbon, sweetened, flavored and garnished with mint. My pal Blake Bailey, who introduced me to the drink one ill-fated spring day long ago (read about that day in his gripping new memoir The Splendid Things We Planned) would insist on crushed ice and I wouldn’t disagree, especially if you have swell julep glasses. But my copyeditor, Karen Wise, sent me an article from the Boston Globe on four different cocktails in the Smash family. It’s not a common term, Smash, and there seems to be little definitive consensus. (“A smash is a julep, but a julep isn’t always a smash,” for instance, from Imbibe’s muddled history Read On »

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Ramos-Gin-Fiz-cocktail-2

I’ll be doing a couple cocktails featuring the egg as this is the month of Egg, my new book exploring the world’s most versatile ingredient. The stuff of life. Seriously. We’re lucky each time we eat one (unless you’re Paul Newman playing Cool Hand Luke). We’re luckier still every time we drink one! They are great in cocktails. Last week I featured the whiskey sour. A favorite of my Grandma Spamer, who would have been 97 today. Though by the time I saw her drink them, they were made with frozen lime concentrate or some such, and certainly no egg white. And frankly a sour doesn’t have to have an egg white. Oh, but add an egg white and they become substantial. They are more satisfying on every level, with real body to carry that Read On »

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Whisky-sour-3x

In my ongoing celebration/promotion of the new book, I’ll be doing a series of egg-reliant cocktails. Here, images and recipe from a while back, the white gives body to a great and classic cocktail, the whiskey sour. It looks really gross coming out of the shell, doesn’t it? Don’t even need to say what it reminds me of! But man, does it turn the cocktail into something truly substantial. Bartenders will remind you that it’s important to dry shake the ingredients first to denature that snotty-looking egg white. I get better and faster results by sticking an immersion blender into the shaker, giving it a serious buzz, then adding the ice and shaking till thoroughly chilled. I love simple cocktails and this is one of the greats: whiskey, sugar, citrus. Feel free to omit the Read On »

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Gin-Hound-Cocktail-2

  I awoke to a morning so deathly gray I felt I’d awakened in a cave. It wasn’t early, 7:30, not school-time early as spring break is still in effect. So the sun had surely risen but had there been no clock, it would have been anybody’s guess. Deep Cleveland winter drags on. Donna, light-sensitive and not used to such long sun withdrawals, is particularly affected by that light disorder thing, whose acronym I don’t even like to write, and wants to hibernate like a bear till May. Skip the cruelest month altogether. The grayness not only deepens the hay-hue of dull dead grass, freed from the snow at last, the brown tree branches, it dulls the senses as well. The wind outside my window, and inside my chest, blows with a kind of Last Read On »

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Key Lime Daiquiri. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

  On annual vacay visiting Mom and trying, trying to take it easy before Egg promotional travels begin in April, thus this repost and old photo by my beloved (who’s currently lounging poolside). I’m posting the daiquiri because that’s what I love to drink when in Palm Beach, the place where I met Donna. Always a kind of anniversary for us when we’re here. This is a fabulous, simple elixir. One sip should make you want to strangle the person who invented the “frozen daiquiri.” What a travesty those slushy drinks are, further emblems of American idiocy. Hoping you’ll try this genuine cocktail (lime juice is perfect if you don’t have access to Key limes). Happy Friday all! Originally Posted February 1, 2013  This blast of arctic air and wind and snow and gray has Read On »

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