Sunday, August 16, 2009

Who says I have to stick to writing about wine?

Wine is my passion, but frankly I would be remiss if I ignored the other members of the adult beverage world. Of late I've noticed a trend towards bringing classic cocktails back to the forefront of the spirits world, manifested by everyone from bartenders to home mixologists who love to entertain (or just drink a lot).

Why are these classic cocktails so irresistible? For the same reason we are fascinated by other things "vintage": they evoke a certain glamour from days long gone. Old Hollywood, the Rat Pack, Havana in the 50s...these images are familiar to most of us only from old films, photos, or even postcards, but nevertheless they are extremely powerful in conjuring a mood and a compelling idea of what men and women did back then--and what they drank while doing it.

I will be making cocktails, spirits, liqueurs (and beer for that matter) a part of this blog, but do not fear! Wine will always be the main focus. In the meantime, enjoy 2 cocktail recipes that everyone should know by heart...we'll start with the obvious one. Salute!

(Recipes courtesy of the book Vintage Cocktails by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel)

Dry Martini

2 1/2 oz. gin
1 tbsp. dry vermouth

Place gin and vermouth in a metal shaker along with cracked ice. Shake (or stir gently) and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olive.

You can substitute vodka if you must. As a purist and an admirer of gin, I always stick with the classic version.


1 1/2 oz. brandy
3/4 oz. Cointreau
3/4 oz. lemon juice, strained of seeds

Combine ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

recommendations, part II

And now for some recommendations lots of folks ask me about: Slap-me-silly-GOOD reds for a mere $10 - $15.

Taurino Salice Salentino Rosso (Italy) - $10
Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile) - $10
Tittarelli Malbec (Argentina) - $10
Cusumano Nero d'Avola (Italy) - $10
Casillero del Diablo Carmenere (Chile) - $10
2006 Fontanafredda Barbera Piemonte "Briccotondo" (Italy) - $11
Christian Moueix Merlot Bordeaux (France) - $11
Louis Bernard Cotes du Rhone Villages (France) - $12
Cecchi Chianti Classico (Italy) - $14
Boccadigabbia Rosso Piceno (Italy) - $15