The Major Award/Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman Last year, Claudia Young created this truffle-infused cocktail for The Velvet Tango Room, Paulius Nasvytis’s well-known Cleveland bar. It’s today’s choice for the Friday Cocktail Hour because it is the very embodiment of the holidays: rich, fragrant, expensive, delicious. I loved milk punch when a friend introduced me to that simple concoction—bourbon, milk and sugar. This is a milk punch times ten—a decadent but simple combo of Scotch, truffled honey, and half-and-half. This Cleveland original (first posted here), was named by a Clevelander for a movie filmed here, a movie about Christmas. What more appropriate drink could there be as Christmas approaches for today’s Hour? The Major Award To serve 1: 1.5 ounces Oban (or other single-malt whiskey) 1 ounce truffle honey syrup made with a 1:1 water Read On »

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“You’re gonna be a Scotch drinker,” my Grandma Rose said to me at the end of a Christmas dinner, with an approving smile. I was all of about six years old. This was still the 1960s and everybody drank. I had asked for, and was given, a sip of my father’s after-dinner cordial, a tiny glass of Drambuie, and had claimed to like it. I did like it, in fact—unlike that nasty martini my father would often have (story of that first taste here). The Drambuie was syrupy sweet and I marveled at the way the alcohol seemed to blow up inside my mouth. Alas, a sip was all I would get. My tastes today, contrary to Rose’s prediction, run to bourbon, but I still love the flavor of Drambuie, the Scotch-based liqueur. It and Read On »

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Owing to a misspent youth and for reasons I’d rather not get into, I have no taste whatever for blended Scotch whiskeys. Thus the dearth of Scotch-based cocktails during the Friday Cocktail Hour. But there are some fine Scotch-based elixirs that deserve attention, such as the classic Rob Roy, inspired by a 19th-century Broadway show. This was a tradition back then, naming drinks after shows—a tradition worth reviving, I think.  How about it, mixers out there? Give me a Kinky Boots! Or go downtown with a Designated Mourner. Or my fave theater experience of the year, also at the Public Theater, Here Lies Love. I’d love to hear that uttered at a bar. “What’ll it be, pal?” “Here Lies Love.” “Comin’ right up.” Herewith, a true classic, served in classic proportions. I am forced by my Read On »

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A few weeks ago when Donna was gadding about in NYC, I asked my dear pal Lester if he’d have a drink with me at the best bar in the world, aka Velvet Tango Room. I wanted to have a look at its menu and to have a cocktail I created, or rather, riffed on a classic, The Martinez. Mine is called The Berkshire Martinez and I am honored to be on the menu. The bar’s owner is Paulius Nasvytis. In a tale too odd and complicated to go into here, he and Claudia Young, longtime Nashville resident, are an item. Before Lester and I could head off for some greezy Chinese chuck, Paulius and Claudia arrived. They had created a new cocktail and were eager for us to try it. It is a fabulous Read On »

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Speyside, Scotland will begin creating electricity, fertilizer & animal feed with the spent grains from making scotch, via Good.

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