the-last-martini

For now, that is. I need to focus on work and, well, most things come to an end, no? Though the inevitable catastrophe of death awaits us all, not so for the finest cocktail: The Martini. As perfect as a sonnet, Mencken said. I began The Friday Cocktail Hour two and a half years ago with a martini (outraged, outraged!, when I ordered a martini and was asked which vodka I preferred). I attached a memory of the best martini of my life to my first book contract this spring. And with a martini I finish. Because this concludes, for the nonce, my beloved Friday Cocktail Hour, we shall call this one the Is That All There Is? Martini. Gin, almost needless to say, flavored with vermouth and lemon, something to sip for comfort as Read On »

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Apple-Jack-Sour-cocktail@10

Earlier this summer, I met a friend out in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. (Could a novelist invent a more unlikely name for a town?) It’s semi-rural and on the edge of rural, a quaint town with an actual falls, a candy shop, and Jeni’s Ice Cream. Head out of town, south, and you’re quickly passing farmland. This is where my friend wanted to take me. Just over the edge into the next county, Geauga, off the road a bit, so removed we passed the drive and had to circle back, is a house, a small distillery, and a barn filled with barrels. The distillery is called Tom’s Foolery, started by Tom Herbruck, who, with his wife, Lianne, and their kids, make some exquisite applejack, America’s first commercial spirit, and likely the common drink in the new colonies in the Read On »

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Sidecar-cocktail-@1020

When we lived in Florida, Donna and I darkened many a thrift shop door. It was Palm Beach, and you never knew what you might uncover. We were also terribly romantic for the Old World, which to us could be the 1950s, ’40s, or the Jazz Age, but especially the latter. Visions of Old Palm Beach were everywhere, and they were all so much finer to believe in than our everyday lives, my crappy temp jobs and cheap-Scotch hangovers, struggling to be F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was Fitzgerald who wrote one of the most gorgeous paragraphs ever about the island in his day. I could actually stand on my mother’s balcony in West Palm, which overlooked the Intercoastal, aka Lake Worth, with its beautiful view of the island, the Breakers Hotel and the ocean in 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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