The-Ben-Smith-cocktail-@102

I read about this impromptu cocktail in Molly Wizenberg’s new memoir, Delancey, about her and her husband’s opening of a restaurant in Seattle, one specializing in pizza, her Jersey-born husband’s culinary love. Wizenberg, author of A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette, is a felicitous writer, and her latest is a lovely memoir about love and food and the crazy decisions we make based on nothing reliable and the risks we take, and the really, really hard work of running a restaurant, even a casual pizzeria. Molly and Brandon’s good friend, Ben, offered this cocktail, which appealed to my inner skinflint, with its insistence on cheap gin. Love that. Wizenberg names it grandly: The Benjamin Wayne Smith. I am adding vermouth (because it benefits from it), which Wizenberg also suggests, and because of the modification Read On »

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Martini-Not-stirred-cocktai

On September 24, 1993, I walked out of the offices of the publisher Henry Holt, having just gotten my first book contract. Donna was with me to share my elation. It was my dad’s 55th birthday (he shared that day, BTW, with my literary hero, though not role model, Scott Fitzgerald)—an auspicious day. We could hardly believe it. Even Donna said it out loud to herself, a little incredulously, “My husband has a book contract.” I was thirty and had been trying to write books for nine years and had been writing daily since sixth grade. We walked uptown to tell a friend the good news. I was sure I’d get hit by a bus. That’s me. When something this good happens, something worse has to happen as well. On Park Avenue, a taxi with a flat Read On »

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Having recently delighted in Skyfall with son James, and with a fresh bottle of Lillet on hand, and having never tried this preposterous sounding cocktail with the beguiling name, well, I had to give the Vesper a go. Checking my resources I noticed that one, the very elegant and excellent ratio-oriented book, See Mix Drink, includes a twist of orange rather than the customary lemon twist. I contacted the author, Brian D. Murphy, who explained his rationale via email: “Alessandro, the bartender at the Dukes Hotel in London (where the cocktail originated), replaces the lemon with an orange peel. When I visited there and asked why, he said it pairs much better with the hint of orange in the Lillet Blanc—so well, in fact, that he believes the lemon peel in the original was a mistake. After tasting Read On »

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  More than any other type of post, readers have asked for a Friday cocktail post and so, for the fall at least, starting next Friday, we will return to posting on classic or great cocktails. Let me know if there’s a specific cocktail you’d like to see covered, or photographed (I think one of my all-time fave Donna pix is of the Paloma; refreshes me just to look at it). Thanks to all for your encouragement to return to this noble and important subject! —M.R. Cocktails made thus far. Dark and Stormy Gin & TonicLa Paloma Manhattan Martini The Berkshire Martinez Mint Julep Mojito Moscow Mule Negroni Whiskey Sour

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OK, it’s really gotten bad. I’d been ready to give up the fight. But I just can’t let this one go. I went up to the bar, I’m not even going say where, and asked for a martini. The bartender, I shit you not, said, “Any preference of vodka?” I left. I just left. Walked out. I’ve gotten used to the question, “Vodka or Gin?,” grudgingly and have been told outright by Jonathan Gold to simply give it up, losing battle, he said. But I can’t. I can’t. Names are important. H.L. Mencken, as the martini Wiki entrance notes, calls this drink “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.” So true! And sonnets are not writ with Vodka, which is defined by tastelessness.  (The “vodka martini” should be referred to as a Kangaroo, Read On »

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