By: Jason Smith
Last week I gave you all the weekend off from great drink and conversation because it was Easter. Sadly, the way I think Christians ought to celebrate Easter has yet to really catch on — you have a ‘feast’ in which the wine flows like it did at that wedding in Cana where Jesus straight up made more/better wine for folks to get sloshed upon. Be that as it may, I had stuff to do so I missed a week. Sorry.
Now back to the drank!
The Drink: Moscow Mule
This may surprise you but up until very recently Vodka had to work very hard to gain a foothold in the US. The reasoning behind this lack of love for the potato-based libation is not that shocking once you think about it: we were in a Cold War with Russia basically from the end of WWII until the fall of the Soviet Union in the late 80’s. Not really a huge market for a liquor that is seen to be fundamentally Russian.
Luckily things didn’t stay that way for long and I say its luck for two reasons: First, because this drink is incredible. Second, because the campaign to make vodka more popular gave us this little beauty of an ad…
Now, to the drink.
First things first you need a particular sort of glassware for this drink, even though it isn’t technically glass at all. Traditionally, a Moscow Mule is served in a copper mug like the one pictured below.
Do you have to serve your mule in such an awesome looking piece of instrumental glory?
But your pallet deserves a pretty vehicle, in my opinion.
Anyways, after you have this awesome mug things get really simple.
Fill your mug/old-fashioned glass with ice.
Pour good vodka (or Gin, if you hate Vodka) until you’ve got about 2 oz. or so in there (you can add more, but beware).
Squeeze about half to three quarters of a lime’s juice over the vodka.
Top with good quality ginger beer (Stoli makes a good brew, also Crabbie’s is excellent).
BIG CAVEAT: Your ginger beer should be beer therefore it should be alcoholic. Don’t bring any of that souped-up ginger soda to the party. Come with the real stuff or stay at home.
Some things you can do to take your mule to the next level:
– I enjoy a dash or two of Angostura Bitters. I add them before anything else goes into the mug.
– If you for reals love ginger try adding some of the pickled ginger you get at your favorite sushi restaurant into the bottom of your mug. Mull it with Ango Bitters like you would the fruit in an Old-Fashioned.
Stir your exceptional libation and sip, but not too slowly as this drink is on ice and will soon become watery swill if you wait too long.
What to Talk About: COMMUNISM!
I mean, come on, you saw this coming, right?
Anyways, take some time to talk about communism. Here are some possible topics:
1. Communism looks really good “on paper” but hasn’t been all that successful in application. Do you think it can really work? Do you think it would be more just than capitalism if it could?
2. Remember that whole Red Scare thing where Joseph McCarthy was accusing almost everyone of being a secret Communist agent? Well, it turns out there actually were Communist spies in our country. What is an acceptable amount of “investigation” that doesn’t lead to a “witch-hunt”? If this doesn’t get you talking about Edward Snowden then check out this amazing Last Week Tonight bit to get you in the mood….
Next up is a drink that my favorite Priest in the world (yes, you read that correctly) makes incredibly well. I’m honestly not fully convinced that he doesn’t perform some sort of sacramental blessing over this cocktail to make it so mind-blowingly tasty.
The Drink: Perfect Manhattan
[This is a clip from “Some Like It Hot.” If it wasn’t obvious, yes that is Marilyn Monroe and, yes, the other character is a dude dressed in drag. You should really watch that movie as its a great classic comedy. Also they say “Manhattan” so it was going into the article.]
Sometimes you get tired of just drinking straight bourbon. There I said it. It will happen to you like it has happened to all of us. Sometimes you just want to do something new with everyone’s favorite spirit.
BUT DON’T EVER LET THAT SOMETHING BE MIXING IT WITH F***ING COKE, YOU HEATHENS.
Sorry. Let me try again. To each his own. If you like bourbon and Coke then fine (BUT WHYYYYY), but expand your horizon a little bit.
Try mixing bourbon and vermouth.
I’ll admit that the Manhattan is hit and miss for me. I don’t particularly care for vermouth so any mishap in the proportions will lead to a big waste of bourbon. Hence, its probably better to try a good but not great brand of bourbon to start off. I’d recommend something like Willet, Bulleit, or Buffalo Trace. Leave the Woodford for Old-Fashioned’s. But try and stay above the Jim Beam fault line.
Now, you may be wondering why this particular Manhattan is dubbed perfect. “Perfect” in cocktail lingo just means an equal combination of dry and sweet vermouth rather than just one or the other. This keeps some of the cloyingly sweet flavor of the vermouth from taking over the drink.
Pour the following into a cocktail shaker filled with ice:
- 2 oz Bourbon
– 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
– 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
– 2 dashes of Angostura bitters (DO NOT LEAVE THESE OUT. THEY ARE AWESOME)
Put the lid on your shaker and shake until the shaker gets all frosty-like and what not.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Add a maraschino cherry.
What to Talk About: Bucket Lists
Bucket lists shouldn’t be solely for that period of time right before you die. Live your life people. In this case I’d suggest you rally off a couple of bucket lists.
1. Since bourbon is from Kentucky and the Kentucky Derby is on my Sports Bucket List — what are your must see sporting events? If you don’t like sports then just limit that to your must attend events? (p.s. – the Derby should prob still be on your list anyway.)
2. Sometimes “living your life” isn’t just about doing a lot of traveling around. It can be about experiencing certain things you’ve always wanted to experience but haven’t gotten around to yet. To that end I’d say make a Bucket List with your friends that involves one of the following: books, movies, music, art. Obviously your list can include any and all of these elements. If you choose movies I think we have quite a few articles that can help you pick some good ones.