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A Cocktail for the Rest of Us: St. Festivus Flip

Festivus Cocktail: St. Festivus Flip

Popularized in the late 1990s thanks to an episode of Seinfeld, the “holiday” known as Festivus is now celebrated in varying degrees of seriousness throughout the world. Conceived by writer Dan O’Keefe as an alternative to the over-commercialization of Christmas, it has somewhat ironically bred quite an industry of its own.

Festivus Cocktail: St. Festivus Flip

The symbol of Festivus is a bare aluminum pole, an icon chosen for its stark contrast to the traditional highly decorated Christmas tree. During the holiday, the pole is displayed unadorned and praised for its “high strength-to-weight ratio.” Among the holiday’s traditions is The Airing of Grievances—a ritual during which each member of the family tells the others all the ways in which they have disappointed them throughout the year—and The Feats of Strength. Traditionally, this is where the head of the household challenges another participant in the celebration to a wresting match. Festivus is said to reach its conclusion once the head of the household is pinned to the floor.

I created this drink to contribute to the surprisingly small number of Festivus-themed cocktails; to be able to offer up something egg nog-ish but a little more quirky to holiday guests this year; and, of course, to make use of one of The Brewer’s Art‘s finest seasonal brews. What does it taste like? A Festivus Miracle, of course!

St. Festivus Flip

3 oz. Brewer’s Art St. Festivus Ale
1 oz. Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1/2 oz. Grade B Maple Syrup
1 Whole Organic Egg
Cranberries and grated nutmeg for garnish

Combine the beer, rum, and maple syrup in a mixing glass. Swirl to decarbonate the beer. Add the whole egg and dry shake for 15 seconds to allow the egg to emulsify. Add ice, shake, and strain into a chilled fizz glass. Grate the nutmeg over the top of the drink and garnish with three cranberries.

A Cocktail for the Giro d’Italia: Maglia Rosa

MagliaRosa

There aren’t many places you will find some of the world’s toughest dudes battling for the honor to wear a pink shirt, but that’s exactly what happens for three weeks in May each year at the Giro d’Italia, one of professional cycling’s three Grand Tours. Known for its legendary champions, mythical feats of heroism, epic climbs, and frenzied fans, the Giro exhibits a distinctive flavor of unpredictability and passion with many riders fueling themselves and their efforts with raw emotion, in stark contrast to the calculated tactics that have come to typify the Tour de France over the past decade or so. Cyclists like Fausto Coppi, Mario Cippolini, and Marco Pantani run the gamut from legendary to flamboyant to tragic, each of their stories lending more color to an already colorful event. And, of course, the color that every rider in the Giro d’Italia dreams of is pink, the color of the race leader’s jersey, the Maglia Rosa.

If we were to talk about the inspiration for the Maglia Rosa cocktail in terms of the chicken and the egg–the chicken being the Giro d’Italia and the egg being the color pink–the egg unquestionably came first. After cooking up a batch of housemade raspberry syrup, I started searching for recipes that would allow me to make use of my new ingredient. As usual, when working with something new, I settled on a classic: the Clover Club. Having never mixed one before, I was struck, as I’m sure many are, by its vivid pinkish hue. But rather than disregard it as something for the girls, as Esquire once did, I thought, “Hey, that’s the same color as the Giro d’Italia leader’s jersey. I wonder if it’s possible to give it more Italian flavor.” I figured I had a 50/50 chance: it could either be tasty, or it could end up down the drain. Pretty good odds, in my opinion, and worth giving it a shot.

The goal, of course, was to retain the color, and after considering my options with regard to which Italian spirits I could substitute for the gin, I decided on grappa. Tweaking the spec slightly, but remaining somewhat close to the Clover Club, yielded an interesting but, by and large, unmemorable variation. The key, as it turned out, was to rinse the glass with sambuca. Doing so added a delicate nose to the ungarnished cocktail with the anise providing just the right amount of subtle complexity to the drink’s taste. Prelibato.

Maglia Rosa

1 1/2 oz. Lorenza Inga Grappa di Moscato
1/2 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. Housemade Raspberry Syrup
1/4 oz. Romana Sambuca
1 egg white

Combine the grappa, vermouth, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and egg white in a mixing glass. Dry shake for 7-10 seconds to allow the egg white to emulsify. Add ice, shake well, and fine strain into a chilled coupe rinsed with sambuca.

Thanks to Twenty20 Cycling Co. for letting us turn their workbench into a bar.

Easter Egg Cocktail: The Sergio Leone

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Since we didn’t color Easter eggs or bake an Easter ham, I was on the hunt for something to celebrate the holiday. A recent interest in exploring cocktails that make use of raw eggs led me to several recipes that had obviously been posted in advance of this weekend for people just like me.

Of the bunch, the Sergio Leone cocktail, caught my eye as much for its tip of the hat to the famous spaghetti Western director as for the fact that it was the only one I could mix up with the supplies currently available in our not-too-shabby-but-clearly-lacking-in-some-areas home bar collection. I love the tang produced by bourbon and fresh lemon juice. And with the maraschino acting as the bridge between the two, the result was a not-too-sweet cocktail worthy of a grown up Easter celebration. A small orange peel disk as a garnish gives the illusion of a brightly colored Easter egg hidden at the bottom of the glass.

The Sergio Leone Cocktail
Adapted from RPM Italian mixologist Paul McGee’s recipe featured online in Wine Enthusiast Magazine

1½ ounce Willett Bourbon
½ ounce Luxardo Maraschino
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
½ egg white
1 orange peel disk for garnish

Combine the bourbon, maraschino, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a shaker without ice. The “without ice” part of the equation is important. A little tip I picked up from a bartender at The Patterson House in Nashville: when working with raw eggs, it is best to do the initial shake sans ice to allow the egg white to emulsify. (I can attest from first hand experience that shaking raw egg with ice initially will lead to a result you will certainly pour down the drain.) Shake vigorously for 10-12 seconds. Next, add some ice to the shaker and shake as normal. Pour the drink through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled coupe, garnish with the orange peel, and enjoy.