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January 2017

Tequila, Trump, and Tariffs

Booze isn't immune from politics.  Prohibition is the biggest example in American history.  Now President Trump  is talking about imposing significant tariffs on Mexican imports.  This short insightful article from Caitlin Dewey (click here) discusses the ramifications a tariff could have on the sales of tequila and mezcal (both of which only can come from Mexico), as well as Mexican beer sales, in the United States.

Someone wants to make my Nasty Woman, Paloma, Siesta, Passion, Mexican Sidecar, and El Diablo more expensive?  Only a Bad Hombre would do that.


Happy National Bootleggers Day!

January 17 celebrates the American history of bootlegging.  For those of you aren't familiar with bootlegging, it refers to illegal trafficking of goods, usually liquor.  The term "bootlegging" dates back to the late 19th century, when traders would tuck flasks of liquor into the tops of their boots.

So why is National Bootleggers Day on January 17?   Because on that day in 1920 Prohibition went into effect and the United States legally became dry.  Of course, the reality was far different.  With a large market demand for alcohol Prohibition spawned the rise of bootleggers such as Al Capone.  I may have engaged in some small scale bootlegging myself, as a few years ago I may or may not have brought a few bottles of Cuban rum home (it's legal now).

I prefer to celebrate National Bootleggers Day with a Scofflaw, as a bootlegger is a type of scofflaw.  And I love the cocktail. Although both words were popular American slang terms for lawbreakers, bootlegger was part of the common vernacular well before Prohibition.

Whether you're into history (like me) or not (like many other people), have a drink and celebrate!  Just don't tell the authorities from where your booze came.

No Pain, No Gain -- The Painkiller

This is about rum, not the mantra of old school coaches and gym teachers.  The Painkiller originated in the British Virgin Islands, a beautiful area Ms. Cocktail Den and I recently visited, in the 1970s.  Pusser's Rum later trademarked it (yes, companies can do this).  A few years ago Pusser's even sued a New York City bar named Painkiller that used a different rum in the drink.  Put aside the Painkiller's occasionally contentious history and savor my version of it.

Painkiller2 ounces dark rum (no legal advice about which one to use)
2 ounces fresh pineapple juice
Juice from 1/4 orange
1 ounce unsweetened coconut milk

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the joy of making all of your pain go away, and strain into a glass (see below).  Garnish with grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder.

Most Painkiller recipes call for more pineapple juice.  I preferred my version to be more alcohol forward.  Similarly, the original Painkiller uses cream of coconut, a key part of the Pina Colada, but I use coconut milk because it is less sweet. Typically you serve a Painkiller over fresh ice, but it can become watered down. Consider being a contrarian and serving it neat in a chilled glass.

True to its name, the Painkiller is wonderfully effective and evokes memories of beautiful beaches.  If you want a tropical drink without a tropical vibe, just play House of Pain (either the 1990 song by Faster Pussycat, or the hip hop band that sang "Jump Around" in 1992).  Either way your pain will rest in peace.

The Whiskey Queen

Who is the Whiskey Queen?  My lovely wife, aka Ms. Wulf Cocktail Den, aka the Den's operations chief, taste tester, and social media consultant.  The tradition of kicking the new year off with a new original creation continues.  My wife is a Whiskey Woman, Bourbon Babe, and Scotch Siren (I definitely would see superhero films with those characters).  She is particularly fond of bourbon and Scotch, so the Whiskey Queen incorporates both of them.

Whiskey Queen1.5 ounces bourbon (Willett is fit for a queen)
.75 ounces blended Scotch (Monkey Shoulder is regal)
.75 ounces Benedictine DOM
2 dashes Bittered Sling peach bitters or other peach bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with a true queen's combination of badass power and majestic grace, and strain into a chilled glass.

Use your favorite bourbon, but stay away from ones that are more than 100 proof.  The Whiskey Queen should be strong, not lethal.  Similarly, using a blended Scotch instead of a single malt Scotch will reduce the odds of the cocktail going the way of Anne Boleyn. As with a Royal Blood, don't use a smoky Scotch in a Whiskey Queen. I used Benedictine DOM because, like the peach bitters, it is a component of the Royalist.  Don't let the herbal sweetness fool you -- Benedictine's alcohol content makes it almost as strong as bourbon or Scotch.  You can (and should) get peach bitters online, and Bittered Slling makes the best product.

Whether your taste runs towards queens of the Elizabeth II variety or the Freddie Mercury variety (get it?), the Whiskey Queen is a tribute to the queen or king in your life.

Celebrate their Majesty!