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September 2016

Strong Ladies, Strong Drinks

Is the world of bartending still a man's world?  Fortunately it's not as much as used to be.  Unfortunately female bartenders can have a tougher time than their male counterparts.  Sometimes it's due to their fellow colleagues in the industry, sometimes it's due to customers (guys -- she's making a cocktail for you, not looking for a one night stand).

Carrie Allan, the spirits columnist for the Washington Post, recently wrote this excellent article (click here to read it) about the struggles female bartenders face. I've followed Carrie's work for years, and I finally had the privilege of meeting her last July at the Tales of the Cocktail conference.  In fact, we met at the gender class to which she refers in the article.

As I mentioned in another post based on another of Carrie's articles, bartenders are more than mixologists.  Good ones should receive generous tips. 

Bottom line -- if the person behind the bar is a good bartender, who cares how many X chromosomes they have?


A Drink For A Stud -- The Man O' War

Man_o'_War_statueThat's stud as in a horse, not as in a man.  Man o' War was one of the greatest horses in American racing history. Before he was put out to stud, Man o' War captured the public's attention as he won 20 races .... out of 21.  That's one hell of a winning percentage. This month is National Bourbon Month, so this bourbon based cocktail is timely.

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce Cointreau
.5 ounces sweet vermouth (I like Carpano Antica)
Juice from 1/4 lemon

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the dominating power of Man o' War thundering down the stretch in one of his many victories in 1919 and 1920, and strain into a chilled glass.

Man o' WarIn honor of Man o' War I recommend you use bourbon from Kentucky, which was his home and is the epicenter of American horse racing.  Even though bourbon doesn't have to be from Kentucky (see this post about American Exceptionalism in alcohol), it would be appropriate in this instance.

There are other cocktails in the Den with ties to horse racing, e.g. the Mint Julep and the Derby.  The Derby is highly similar to the Man o' War, except the former uses lime juice and the latter uses lemon juice. Incidentally, the original Man o' War  recipe generically calls for orange curacao or triple sec.  Cointreau is a personal favorite.  Use whatever orange liqueur you prefer, just keep in mind that the resulting cocktail could be really sweet.

So whether you're a stud, you think you're a stud, or you admire a stud, have a Man o' War!

Sweet And Sour (not chicken) -- The Bourbon Triple Sour

The words "sweet and sour" make you think of chicken, right?  But the Den isn't about chicken.  Any protein mentioned in the Den is in a cocktail (click the Protein link on the right).  "Sweet and sour" also applies to a well balanced cocktail such as the Bourbon Triple Sour.  Thanks to a post on the Reddit site and for introducing me to this cocktail, the recipe for which I slightly adapted.

Bourbon Triple Sour1.5 ounces bourbon (you know I like Bulleit or Willett)
1 ounce Cointreau
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 ounce super simple syrup

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the frenzy of a chicken running away from a sharp knife, and strain into a chilled glass.

The Bourbon Triple Sour is a variation on the classically sharp Whiskey Sour.  Just as a Midnight Train is a Whiskey Sour with Averna, this version of the Bourbon Triple Sour is a Whiskey Sour with Cointreau.  The original recipe calls for "triple sec" (an appellation for an orange liqueur), and I'm a big fan of Cointreau.  It's the Cointreau, super simple syrup, and possibly the bourbon you use, that makes this cocktail a little sweet.   Incidentally, the original recipe calls for equal proportions of bourbon, triple sec, and lemon juice.

Try a Bourbon Triple Sour. Don't chicken out.

Argentina and Broadway -- The Eva Peron

Eva Peron 1Eva Peron, better known as Evita, was and still is a controversial figure in Argentina's history.  She ascended the social ladder to become the wife of Juan Peron, the President of Argentina in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  In addition, she's the subject of the eponymous Broadway musical (there's also a surprisingly good film adaptation starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas).  I did not discover this cocktail in Argentina, but on the Kindred Cocktails and Imbibe magazine sites.

1 ounce Fernet Branca
1 ounce Barrow's Intense ginger liqueur (see below)
1 ounce sweet vermouth
Juice from 1/8 lime

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the passion of dancing the tango, and strain into a chilled glass.

Eva Peron 2Argentines love Fernet Branca, perhaps because so many of them have Italian heritage.  In my opinion no Argentina related cocktail would be complete without it. I've had the good fortune to travel to Buenos Aires, and I had many great experiences there, e.g. dancing the tango with Ms. Cocktail Den in a milonga (tango hall).  If you're interested in Evita related sites, the Museo Evita is informative, and you can see her family's mausoleum in the fascinating Recoleta Cemetery.

The original Eva Peron recipe calls for adding a couple of ounces of ginger beer.  There's nothing wrong with that.  I simply wanted a cocktail that, like most other cocktails in the Den, is alcohol forward and contains no carbonation.  Also, the original recipe doesn't specify Barrow's Intense (full disclosure -- I am a small investor), but I prefer it because it has a cleaner and stronger ginger taste that anything else on the market.

Don't cry for me Wulf Den drinkers -- just have an Eva Peron.