Tag Archives: cocktails

Blood and Sand – Cocktail Recipe

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Recipe: Equal parts blended Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Maraschino Cherry liqueur and Orange juice. Shake well with ice and strain into some nice stemmed glassware (see above). Garnish and zest with an orange peel.

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Okay, it’s last call on the flavored vodka troops. As it turns out your consumerist bhagwan Puff Dirty Daddy is laughing at you as you follow the scent of his ethereal goji berry spirit down the rabbit hole and into his bejeweled lair of misappropriated excess. Time to drink up and move on.

The majority of flavored vodkas have all the complexity of the supporting female role in a Kevin James movie, and the finish of George’s Marvelous Medicine. Bought because you heard that the Flow Rider and his ‘boyz’ drink it in the clubs, you fully embrace the bland, characterless spirit, and because of the shrewd product placement you gladly overlook the fact that it’s actually best used to clean burnt soup from cooker surfaces and congealed sin from the embossed initials on wedding rings.

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It’s time to grow up and start enjoying the taste of alcohol.

Blood and Sand Stuff

The Blood and Sand originated at some point around 1920, and is a fantastically well-balanced Scotch-based cocktail transcends seasonal pallets and themes and often defies those that have an aversion towards whisky, and wince at the bone-dry echoes that sweet vermouth tends to leave behind. All four flavors are present in this drink, coming on one at a time, politely stepping aside and clearing the path for the next with a bygone sense of noble chivalry.

As one of only a handful of cocktails that uses Scotch, it does tend to raise the odd eyebrow with Puff Daddy’s flavored vodka crowd, but it is a hit. To ensure that people approach the drink with the necessary state of open mindedness, assure your more reserved party guests that they are in fact drinking the new Ciroc® Whisky, Sweet Vermouth, Cherry & Orange flavored vodka.

For best results use a blended whisky that’s relatively neutral, sweet and smooth (J&B, Johnnie Walker Black, Famous Grouse should be fine. Just don’t go near anything from Islay, unless you want your drink to taste like smoked surgical bandages), get some Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (hard to come by but worth it) and keep it chilled, and I always like to toss a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry into the shaker to get a bit of pulp in there.

Sweet, strong, dry and a little tart, this is an exceptionally well-rounded cocktail. Jay Gatsby would have gladly served drinks like this at his appropriately excessive parties. Not something that can be said for a double Ciroc® Bratwurst with Monster Khaos…

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Weighin’ Up the Colors – Part Two

“Bitch tried to take everythin’ I had. Kids, house, car. She even tried to take my dog! Man’s best friend! But I guess it makes sense…She’s a bitch right!” he started to laugh and slap his hand down on the bar surface. I saw the different colored drinks ripple and shake every time he smacked the bar.

“But it don’t matter” he says, pointin’ at the yellow drink. Somethin’ with lemon, I can’t remember. I slide it along to him and go to note it down. “The way I look at it, I traded her in. Got ma freedom back. I’m forty-eight and I’m a free single man! Single and ready to mingle. Do you think I look forty-eight?” he asked me. I remember thinkin’ no, he looked forty-nine. But I couldn’t say that. So I just said no.

“Yup, forty-eight.” He took a big greedy gulp and looked into the glass. “Twenty-four years I was with that cunt.” I never heard nobody refer to their wife with that word before. But I guess she wasn’t his wife no more. “But think about all the things I can do now! There any places where divorcees go in this town?” he asks me. I say I dunno. I ain’t been here long.

“Hmmmm,” he says. Well not says, but you know what I mean. He lets out this big burp and looks over at the empty glasses next to him. All the little bits of soggy fruit lyin’ at the bottom in a pool from the melted cubes. Couple of them glasses still had cubes in them.

“Lemme see that menu” he says, reachin’ out towards me. He don’t make eye contact. He just stares at the bar. His tie was draped across the bar top, gettin’ all wet from the booze he’d spilled. I looked down at the menu, hopin’ he wouldn’t ask for somethin’ weird I don’t know how to make.

“Menu” he says, snappin’ his fingers. I hate it when mother fuckers snap they fingers at me. Used to happen when I worked in Dennys. I spat underneath a guy’s eggs once. Couldn’t really spit in this guy’s drink though. But he was probably so drunk he wouldn’t notice. I didn’t want to do that with him. Didn’t seem right. I handed him the menu and smiled. Forced it a little to tell the truth.

“Let me see” he says, lickin’ his orange lips. That red’d gone a little orange  since drinkin’ that yellow drink. “Gimme some Sex on the Beach! I could do with some of that!” he shouts, laughin’ to himself. I told him I’s never made one of those.

“You’ve got me nice and drunk so far boy. You just keep doin’ whatchu doin.” I shrugged and looked down at the menu. I started pourin’ the vodka into the little measure.

“How many of them you puttin’ in there?” he asks, closin’ one eye to focus on what I was doin’. One I tell him.

“Put in three” he says. I told him it would cost him more.

“I don’t give a shit! I’m spendin’ as much as I can spend before that cunt takes half of what I got!” he laughed again. There was that word again. I shrugged. I poured in some of the peach booze. Some cranberry and then some OJ. I’d never seen or tasted or smelt one of them Sex on the Beach’s before, but it seemed about right. For him anyway. Rex would’ve sure as shit told me it was too strong.

“Cheers!” he shouted to no one. Well, no one except me. But I wasn’t drinkin’. You couldn’t pay me enough to drink one of them things. Specially if I’d made it.

“You get yourself a cocktail boy. Stick it on my tab.” I told him I was all good. Said I had class in the mornin’. I didn’t really. Just didn’t feel like drinkin’. “Just make yourself a quick one. I won’t tell the manager.” He smiled and started to sway a little. He was puttin’ the glass to his lips slowly and wrappin’ those multi-colored things around the rim. He slurped at the cocktail and sat it back down.

“Mmmmm. Sex on the Beach! I ain’t had Sex on the Beach before” he says, lookin’ down at the glass, little smile on them lips. “I ain’t had sex in almost two years.” I see the air come outta him a bit after he said that. His shoulders slumped down and his nose got a little closer to the red stuff in the glass. I turned back towards the bottles. I wrote down ‘Sex on the Beach – $5’ on his big tab. He had seven big strong cocktails on there. I remember thinkin’ I probably wouldn’t sell him anymore if he asked. He’d had enough for one day.

*

I heard him sniff from behind me. I didn’t want to turn around. I couldn’t help look at him in the mirror. It felt like I was spyin’ or somethin’. And yup, he was cryin’ alright. I guess you would be too if you was as drunk as an injin at his mamma’s funeral and your wife’s just divorced you.

“I gotta go see my kids tomorrow” he muttered, sniffin’ some of they tears back down his boozed throat. Maybe they’ll help sober him up, I remember thinkin’. “Tomorrow is the only day I get to see them. One day a week. My fucking kids only get to see their daddy one day a week. That cold fucking bitch.” He wiped his face again. I looked at his sleeve. It had all different colors on it. It looked pretty damp. That was the only sad rainbow I ever seen.

“Maybe this’ll be your last one” I says sympathetically. Didn’t really want to tell him to not to do things. This probably wasn’t the day to tell him he couldn’t have somethin’ he wanted. But it didn’t sound like he wanted any more anyway. He looked up and smiled. His nose was a little more purple than when he’d come in. His eyes was red, matchin’ the rest of his face and half the drinks he’d dipped it in.

“I think you’re right. I’m gonna go pee. I’ll be back in a minute” he says. As he picked up his hat I noticed he was still wearin’ his wedding band. I wondered whether she was still wearin’ hers. I doubted it. He picked up his coat as well and took a little stumble.

“Thanks boy. You fix a fine cocktail.” I remember doubting that as well.

He staggered round the corner to where the bathroom was. I turned back to the register. Rex came out and asked me how I was doin’ with they cocktails. I told him, fine I guess. That old boy been seemed to be happy enough with them. Rex looked at the empty glasses on the bar and said the boy must be smashed. I said he was a bit of a mess. Rex told me to clean up and said I could go when I was done. One customer in the night ain’t what you could call a reason to stay open. When I tallied up the boy’s drinks I realized that he had pretty much paid my wages for the night. I reckoned he’d give me a fat tip as well for listenin’ to his ass ramble on and on. No, I don’t mean it like that really. It probably helped him to get it out of his mind and into the air. I didn’t mind really. It gave me somethin’ to do.

Five minutes passed and the old boy was nowhere to be seen. I remember thinkin’ the bar had got a little colder again. Sorta like when he came, but not as cold. I went out from behind the bar and into the bathroom, expectin’ to find him passed out on the john, with his pants at his ankles. But he wasn’t in there. I came back out and looked around the corner. The fire escape door was wide open. I walked towards the door and stepped outside. The light sensor kicked in and the parking lot lit up. The air was so cold There was snow falling down gently. Some of them big fat flakes. The snow was thick on the ground, bout two inches or so. I looked around. Lotta darkness after that light. But I couldn’t see the old boy. In front of me were all these footsteps leading to the start of some tire tracks. The tracks in the snow sorta curved and skidded outta the car park and onto the street. I remember thinkin’ that they poor kids probably wouldn’t be seein’ they daddy tomorrow.

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Weighin’ Up the Colors – Part One

You remember I told you that I’d started working in a bar right? Well I did. My first shift was on Thursday past. It was dead but I think that they wanted me to come in on a quiet night at first. Show me the ropes and how they do things there. I told them that I’d worked in a bar before, but I hadn’t. They told me that they were going to train me to fix cocktails or something. I only knew how to make Vodka Lemonade. But that ain’t really a cocktail. I figured it couldn’t be that hard. They’d probably show me the works.

Anyway, I went in and they got me all hooked up with a uniform. A black shirt with ‘Phillies’ written on it. Showed me how to work the cash register. Showed me the stock room. Got me my papers all signed up. And put me behind the bar. Rex, he’s the bar manager, gave me a list of the cocktails, the ‘cheat sheet’ he called it. Think of them as your trainin’ wheels, he said to me. I smiled. He told me to start workin’ my way through all the drinks on the list. He showed me all the bottles, the measures and the glasses that each cocktail goes in. I was a bit taken aback by it all to tell the truth. I’m a Budweiser man, you know, so a Peach Crush and Sex on the Beach and all that other fancy shit just seemed a bit weird to me. I never understood why you’d want your booze to taste like fruit.

So I start making my way through the list of cocktails. One by one. Every now and again Rex would come and check on me, take a little sip and tell me it wasn’t right. I don’t know why. He’d always tell me that I needed more fruit juice or coke or somethin’. I just made them all liquor heavy cause that’s how I’d drink em. If I drank em anyway, that’s how I’d drink em. So there’s me, stood there behind this empty bar, staring at the cheat sheet and fixin’ enough booze to kill an injin.

The door opens on up suddenly. I didn’t hear it over the music, but I felt the cold air come on in and whip up behind the bar. The little umbrella in the Pina Colada started to spin round.

“Hello” I says, sorta nervous like. Him being my first customer and all.

“Hello” he says, sorta sad like. I watch him kinda plod on in. Door swingin’ closed behind him. This look like it been a long day for him, I remember thinking.

He walks on up and sits down in front of me at the bar. The stools was quite high so he was only a bit shorter than me. He was wearing this long, beige trench coat and one of them pork pie hats you see sometimes. He took off the hat first and sat it on the bar next to my cocktails. Then the jacket. He hung that across the little back rest on the stool next to him. He looked up at me and smiled. His face was all red from the cold. His nose had a little purple in it. He had those little burst veins on his cheeks that all connected together. His hair was doin’ that thing where it falls out from the front and starts to creep back up his head. The big bald patch on the top was shinin’ under the light from behind the bar.

“Who are them drinks for?” he says.

“Nobody,” I says, “This my first night and I’m learnin’ how to make the cocktails.”

He looks at them all. Weighin’ up the colors and the fruit I been puttin’ in them.

“Are they for sale?” he asks.

“You don’t want any of them. I ain’t got a clue what I’m doin’. Manager tells me they got too much booze in ‘em and that ma ratios all wrong.”

He looks back at the cocktails again. He has his eye on the red one. I think it was the Peach Crush or somethin’. Peach vodka or somethin’, some sour stuff and a splash of cranberry juice. His eyes look sorta weary. Tired like.

“Go ask your manager how much you can sell them drinks for son” he says after a minute.

I look at him again. I remember thinkin’ that he looks like a bourbon man or somethin’. But the customer is always right, as they say. I thought, if he wants them drinks, like them drinks right there on that bar that I threw together all blind, then he gonna get them drinks.

“Okay.” I says. I went through the back and asked Rex how much I can sell them drinks for. He says, them drinks you made. Like he didn’t believe that anybody would want them drinks. I says, yeah. He thinks about it for a second. Then says, half price. Then he says, maybe at that price he gonna drink ’em all. I remember thinkin’, I hope he don’t. Poor old boy would be on his back and I’d have to send him back to his family all shithoused. He get’s his ass shouted at and ain’t allowed out no more. That ain’t no way to run a business.

*

“Half-price” I say to him. His eyes light up.

“Good boy. Can’t let good booze like that go to waste!” he says, looking around to see if anyone was listenin’ to him. But he was the only person in the bar.

“Which one you wanna start with?” I asks him. Somethin’ told me he wasn’t gonna be drinkin’ just one.

“Which one got the most alcohol in it?” he asks. I look at them. And then at the cheat sheet. And then back to the drinks. I can smell the booze in his breath sorta creppin’ across the bar.

“That brown one at the end” I says.

“What is it?” he asks.

“I think it’s a Long Island Ice Tea.”

“Great! We’ll start with that. My brother lives in Long Island. Must be a sign!” He laughs. I smiled and slid the drink along to him.

“Four dollars please sir”

“Start a tab. I’ll be here for a while.”

So I make a note of four dollars on a piece of old receipt that was lying around. I look up at the bottles on the shelf behind the bar. We got a mirror behind the bottles. I see the old boy chug his Long Island Ice Tea in three big gulps and slap the glass back down on the bar. He pulls a smoke from his pocket and lights it up.

“Hey” he says. I turn around and smile. You have to smile for the customers. “Gimme that red one. That looks good. What is it?”

“Eh….”I say, lookin’ at the sheet again.

“Don’t matter. Just gimme it.” I slide it along to him.

“Four bucks please.” He points at the tab. I turn around and write it down. I see him drink that red drink in four gulps this time. He wipes his face with his sleeve and makes that ‘ahhh’ sound people make when they’re refreshed.

“You should slow down on them things,” I say. “They’s lethal! Enough booze in them things to take the paint off a battleship.”

“Nonsense!” He shouts, already startin’ to sound a bit sauced.

“I’m celebratin’!” I remember thinkin that he don’t look like he celebratin’. When you is celebratin’ something on your own that’s just called drinkin’.

“Whatchu celebratin’?” I asks him.

“My divorce!” he shouts out, throwin’ his hands up in the air. His top lip had gone really red from that red drink. Oh shoot, I remember thinkin’. This gonna be a weird night.

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