Cocktails

The Union Club

Buckle in, folks, there be peculiar similes ahead.

I did some whinging about how Campari is just so bitter and I don’t know how to deal with that, whereupon Mr. Joseph Tkach suggested a Union Club.  Wanting to work my way through the Campari at a reasonable pace (and use up a nearly-empty bottle of Maker’s Mark), I figured now was the time.  So here we go:

The Union Club

2 oz bourbon
½ oz maraschino liqueur
½ oz Campari
1 ½ oz fresh orange juice

I could get as far as imagining the bourbon playing well with the orange juice, and the maraschino hanging about with the Campari.  But so far as I could see, they were on opposite sides of the playground – the bourbon and OJ playing rugby or football or something while the Campari wrote curiously obscure poetry and the maraschino tried not to look so tall.

Altogether, the maraschino was easiest to smell and the first thing I tasted.  Then came the slight punchiness of the bourbon, with whispers of orange accompanying it, before the swooping bitterness of the Campari – although I must grant you that it was the least unpleasant Campari’s been in my experience.  One could say that I was so focused on not focusing on the Campari that I hardly noticed anything else.  By the time I’d reached the bottom of the drink, the flavor of the bourbon had somehow – magically, even alchemically – melded with the Campari’s bitterness, which ameliorated it slightly.

Overall, it was miles ahead of the Campari Collins and about half a block ahead of the Carolingian Effort.  It doesn’t quite make me leap up, saying “Ahhh yes, that is what I need to drink right now!”

But it also does away with the idea that Campari should be a penalty foisted on those who lose bets.  I shall chalk it up as a success.

Uniquity

Yakimuddle; or, the Traverse City Smash

Oh, hello.  Yes, it’s been quiet around here for some time, hasn’t it?  You probably thought I’d become some manner of Teetotaling Poop.  I’m happy to report that’s not the case: I carried on mixing drinks but failed to carry on telling you about it.

But then the other night, La Roommate brought some cherries home, and it seemed a good plan to let you know what to mix with them should you find yourself having more cherries than you can eat.

The Yakimuddle/Traverse City Smash

Yakimuddle 2.0

At first I muddled about five of them (after removing the pit, and quartering them for easier muddlage), mixed that with 2 ounces of Plymouth gin, half an ounce of maraschino liqueur, half an ounce of lime juice, and some peach bitters.  It turned out translucent and tasting rather like fruit punch, with a very strong maraschino smell and flavor, reminiscent of an Aviation cocktail.  Not wanting the maraschino to dominate over the cherries or gin, which got a bit lost in the shuffle, I dialed it back and tried again.

So here's the thing: if they're Washington cherries, it's a Yakimuddle.  If they're Michigan cherries, it's a Traverse City Smash.

The second iteration employed twelve muddled cherries, another 2 ounces of Plymouth, ¼ ounce lime juice, ¼ ounce lemon juice, ¼ ounce maraschino, ¼ ounce Amaretto, and 3 dashes peach bitters.  This was more balanced, with a stronger cherry flavor and smell.  It was an opaque crimson and rich, the cherry pulp giving it a dense texture, almost like a flip.  The Amaretto’s nuttiness helped round out the flavors, and kept it sweet without being overkill.

The third iteration was quite similar, but I used a full 15 muddled cherries and 2 ounces of Tanqueray – partly to impart a stronger juniper flavor but also because I’d run out of Plymouth.  When LR and I tried it, she said “Mmm, bit like Christmas, isn’t it?  Kind of like a Meursault?” and I went “But the cherries, that’s like summer,” and we agreed that either way it was quite drinkable.  It was also rather homogenous, so we threw in a bit of lemon peel and a bit of lime peel to contribute some zesty goodness and a bit of contrast.

One bit of warning: if you use the full recommended amount of cherries, it will take some time – a good three minutes by my clock – to muddle them.  If I can bust out of my summer lethargy, I’ll try putting them through my juicer to see how that affects the texture.

Stay tuned for tales of the Meursault!