Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Try This Drink on New Year’s Eve!

New Year’s Eve is a great occasion for drinking, among other things. Part of the tradition is that we celebrate with champagne.

Now, most of us have had champagne like every New Year’s Eve since we were 16, and it can be getting a little old for some of us. Here is a drink to try this New Year’s that is new (new to most) and delicious (delicious to all), but is still festive because it’s main ingredient is champagne.

Here’s how to make a Kir Royale:
Fill a champagne flute 3/4 of the way up.

Then add 1/2 oz crème de cassis. Instead of the crème de cassis, I recommend Chambord because it is the nicest product, especially if you have nice champagne.

This is not part of the recipe, but you can also drop a cherry or raspberries in it.

If you are at a bar, just order it by name- hopefully you won’t have to instruct the bartender on how to make this drink. If you do, make him read my blog.

The drink turns out a bubbly pinkish reddish color. People will be fascinated with your pretty drink and ask you what it is- this will give you an opportunity to look smart. I know this description makes it sound girly, but, well, ok, it kind of is.

So if you are a man and you want to drink a Kir Royale (I recommend it, they are awesome), just make sure you even it out by drinking some whiskey neat at some point in the night also. Game on.

One warning- be careful about how many you drink. It has lots of sugar and will hang you over good.


The Kir Royale is my drink of the weekend (in line with New Year’s Eve this week). Follow me on Twitter to get updates on the drink of the weekend every weekend!


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Monday, December 28, 2009

Talkin Bout Bourbon!

Bourbon is one of my favorite things from Kentucky.

Before I started working behind the bar, I hated bourbon. I thought it was more or less sweet whiskey (which I also hated) that tastes like smoke. However, as a little time passed by, I began to really enjoy it.

How did that happen you ask?
At my current bar, we have about 10 different bourbons. I basically ignored them, except when a guest asked for one. People get really excited about their favorite bourbons and scotches and stuff, so as they are drinking them, they invited me to try out their drink. Of course I obliged and started getting a taste for them sooner than later.

What is bourbon?
Bourbon is American whiskey made from fermented corn. It has to be between 40% (80 proof) and 80% (160 proof) alcohol. It is aged in charred oak barrels, giving it a distinct taste. Another defining characteristic (and my favorite) is that it has to be made in Bourbon County, Kentucky to be technically considered bourbon. Now, there is even debate about whether this is a defining characteristic of bourbon, but I love all the debate that it stirs up. There is also a lot of debate whether Jack Daniel’s is bourbon. The product is very similar, but it is made a few miles away in Tennessee.

Fun thing to do:
Next time you are in a bar, ask the bartenders if Jack is bourbon or not and see what happens- it’s always interesting because we take sides on this much resembling how people act when you ask them about political parties or religious beliefs. The best is if you ask this and there are two bartenders who disagree :)

To learn more about bourbon, check out the article on Wikipedia.

My two favorite bourbons are Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve. Maker’s is cheaper and more common in bars, while Woodford is higher end and a little more expensive.

How do you drink it?
There are a few cocktails that call for bourbon, including Manhattans (also can be make with rye whiskey) and an old fashioned. I highly recommend trying them if you haven’t- they are both great. I like my bourbon on the rocks, especially if it’s a good one. More hardcore people enjoy it neat (no ice).

Next time you are at a bar, give bourbon a shot (haha- great pun and I didn’t even mean to!) Let it grow on you because it’s pretty delicious!


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Thursday, December 24, 2009

How the Screwdriver Got It’s Name

A mix of orange juice and vodka makes a screwdriver. It’s an easy to make and delicious drink. High school and college kids love it because most of their parents have vodka in the liquor cabinet, and then there is OJ, apple juice or milk in the fridge. Easy choice. For many, (like me!) it was the first thing they got drunk on.

Usually, by the time we are actually legally allowed to drink, we’re sick of screwdrivers but talking about them bring back lots of great nostalgia…

Speaking of nostalgia, what's the story behind the name "screwdriver?"
There’s a story!

Back in the day when they were building the Panama Canal, the cheap labor at the time was workers from Russia. The Russians would drink vodka to relax, during lunch and after work. However, the Russians’ supervisors didn’t want them too drunk off of straight vodka, so the supervisors gave the Russians a mixer to dilute the drink.
Being in Panama, oranges were all over, so the Russians were given orange juice as a mixer.

Then to stir the drink, the Russians used the screwdrivers from their work belts to mix their drink.

It was this that gave the name of the drink that would go on to get thousands of high school and college kids drunk for years to come.
Thank you Russian workers and their supervisors!


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