Screw the recap, put the Rockets on hold: It's time for Cocktails

The Aviation. Come on, how many purple cocktails have you had? And were they good? Well, your luck is about to change.

The lemon pie was memorable, the game against the Charlotte Bobcats was anything but, proving itself nothing but a stale rehash of the weary themes of this dispiriting season.  I'll dispense with the Mad Libs Recap, as we all know it by heart now.

One last bit on the subject of lemon meringue pie.  I should have steered you more forcefully into using about 50% more lemon juice. (If anyone actually made the pie, besides me, it would be nice to hear about.)  It doesn't harm the consistency of the pie in any way (particularly if you put it in the fridge).  The extra lemon juice takes it into the mysterious area of food, wine, and believe it or not, fragrance, where super super sweet meets super super sour/acid/bitter.  

Some examples of this flavor combination are very fine late harvest German rieslings, Coca Cola and candies marketed to kids as being scarily sour (which they are, but they're also super sweet).  It's an addictive combination, as Atlanta Holy Water proves (and as no other soft drink seems to offer as much acidity, I'm convinced this is the true secret of coke).  Adding 3/4 of a cup of lemon juice, rather than 1/2 cup to the pie accomplishes the same thing.  But I digress.  

Ok, you're thinking, enough with the damn pie. We need booze.  I hear you.  I feel your pain.  But you also need distraction, thus a drink that you probably cannot make out of your liquor cabinet right now.  A drink that if you love it, you'll really love it, and if you hate it you'll have some bottles of weird stuff lying around (not as weird as ham liqueur, which I have tasted, and artichoke liqueur which I haven't).  I'm betting you'll love it, and those weird bottles can make some other vintage drinks if not.  At worst they're conversation pieces that add a certain flair to the bar if you've the space.

Another brief digression - when attending open-bar weddings with respectable open bars (meaning with real bartenders) I love to demand drinks I've only ever heard of in old movies.  As in - I'll have a Champagne cocktail please!  A sidecar!  A Johnny and Polly! A gin rickey! A white lion!  A gimlet!  A knickerbocker!

And so on to the cocktail.  

The recent and ongoing trend for complicated, lavish, fresh, antique, hand-made, artisanal, fetishistic, otaku or just plain weird cocktails is to my mind a good thing.  It seems to be bringing more adults back into bar culture.  Until recently adults (past college age especially) wanting to go out for a drink that is not more or less what they drank when they first started drinking legally, were limited to either beer grognard taverns (which I am fine with) or wine bars (which I am also fine with).  

This neglected two once-great American institutions, the bar, and the cocktail.  Somehow seriousness about cocktails seems to bring with it the sort of bar that can be tolerated by anyone wary of drinks marketed mainly as being "lite" "light" or "ultra", drinks in unconvincing colors, of appalling sweetness, and beers suffering from an overzealous urge to be different, authentic and crafted, rather than attempting to simply be good.

While being in many respects just as geeky in their way as Ye Olde Reale Ale Taverne, or "Wine-Associated Phrase Place", the new cocktail bars often manage to retain a certain credibility harking back to the old days of mainstream American bar culture.  In those sepia-toned days the tenders evidently knew their business and were respected craftsmen delivering sturdy tipples to knowing drinkers.  

And so, turning to those stirring, shaking, and muddled days of yesteryear I offer The Aviation.  A few things to note:

  • If despise gin, you can use vodka.  I suppose you won't be quite as OG as other cocktail nerds, but the point is to enjoy your drink, after all.  
  • Second, maraschino liqueur IS a cherry liqueur, but it isn't the same as maraschino cherry juice, or other cherry liqueurs, which are much sweeter, and without the bitterness that comes from including the pits in the mash.  Luxardo is a widely available brand.  
  • Creme de Violette is actually made from violets.  Yes, flowers. It adds a floral note and a cool violet color.  It's the original purple drank.

 

The Aviation

 

 

 2 Shots Gin

 

 

1/2 Shot Lemon Juice

 

 

1/3 Shot Maraschino Liqueur

 

 

1/4 Shot Creme de Violette

 

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