We’ve covered 95 different cocktails thus far. Throughout the year, we each nominate drinks, things we tasted on trips or read about in books or magazines. At the end of the year, we meet, talk and vote. The top 10 vote getters are scheduled for the next year. We all agree there are cocktails everyone should know, like the Sazerac, the Manhattan,and theOldFashioned.I can’t go any further without mentioning my favorite the Mint Julep, which, historically speaking is arguably the greatest drink of all time. First off it belongs to Maryland. Kentucky hijacked it. The first mention of the Mint Julep—“dram of spirituous liquor that has mint in it, taken by the Virginians in the morning”—was made in 1803. The Mint Julep was originally made with rye whiskey, but historically it has also been made with rum, brandy and ultimately bourbon. The drink has such a deep, complex and debated history that I am amazed at how often shows up in history books. And I assure you it was not only a southern thing, as New York City and even Washington DC have early ties to the drink. In reality wherever you are—as long as the temperature is above 70 degrees—they can be enjoyed as historically intended. A historically made Mai Tai with fresh juice is one of the most amazing potions you could ever drink. Would you believe a guy from Mandeville helped invent it? (see page 34) Make the correct version of Huey Long’s favorite—a Ramos Gin Fizz —and you’ll never order a Sunday morning mimosa again. The simple real original Daiquiri of rum, lime, and sugar belongs on every cocktail list. The person who originally nominated the drink of the month is responsible for making it the night the club meets. We are faithful to the original then discuss variations. I’m personally a stickler for historically accurate
The Old Metairie Cocktail Club is not a drinking club. It’s a culture club. It’s my job, as club historian, to present an overview of the drink’s origins and influences at our monthly meeting. I’m a cocktail nerd. I like tracing a drink back to the first recognizable recipe. The differences between classic cocktails sometimes come down to a single detail—seltzer versus soda, lime juice rather than lemon, a shake instead of a stir. If you’re interested in starting your own Cocktail Club, the Museum of the American Cocktail inside the Southern Food & Beverage Museum is a great place to start. Mai Tai Serves 1 Restaurant rivals Victor J. Bergeron of Trader’s Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber both claimed credit for the Mai Tai. WHAT YOU WILL NEED 1 ounce Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum 1 ounce dark rum 1 ounce fresh lime juice ½ ounce orange curaçao ¼ ounce rich simple syrup ½ ounce orgeat (almond syrup) Lime wheel and fresh mint for garnish HOW TO PREP Shake with ice and strain into a double Old Fashioned glass with fresh crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and fresh mint.
drinks. But I can certainly appreciate what today’s mixologists bring to classic cocktails. And I’m all for using ingredients to match your own personal tastes, even if they veer from the classic recipe.There’s one thing that shouldn’t be fiddled with by anyone—the ice. Ice is the most important ingredient in any cocktail. A drink should be served the way the inventor intended (shaken, stirred, on the rocks, straight up). How it’s served is based on the makeup of the cocktail. Daiquiris should always be served shaken on ice. A shaken drink chilled by the ice melting. Once strained and served the first sip and last sip will taste the same. A drink served over ice, like a Mint Julep, will continue to change because the ice continually melts and waters the drink.
John Cruse — photo by Bobby Childs
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