Do You Drink Like An Old Man?

Do you drink like an old man? Well? Do you, punk? I guess it depends on the old man in question. For Robert Schnakenberg, who wrote Old Man Drinks: Recipes, Advice, and Barstool Wisdom, drinking like an old man means favoring classic cocktails Рimagine Don Draper from Mad Men forty years older, aging poorly, hanging out at the smokey corner bar down the street, still drinking the same old Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds. It seems like there are several thousand cocktail books out there these days, but this one clearly has a unique point of view Рthat of the grumpy old man. Mixed in with the 70 or so cocktail recipes are photos of and quotes from the type of salty old guys who populate those smokey corner bars, complaining about the vodka and red bull and appletinis all around them. Dry Mahoney, Grumpy Old Man, Rusty Nail, Harvey Wallbanger, Salty Dog Рthe names could describe the cocktails or the old men themselves equally well.

A good friend of mine has tackled the book with gusto in recent weeks, well on his way to “Old Man-hood,” and has been taking photos of his cocktail exploits and sharing them on Twitter (a not so “old man” thing to do, admittedly). I can’t help but head over to my home bar each time I see one of these photos, so spellbinding in their directness and ability to capture the essence of drinking like an old man. I have to admit, I’m pretty darn close to drinking like an old man myself. Enjoy…

Photos courtesy of Rowdyfood. Full flickr photo set here. Thanks to Robert Schnakenberg for the inspiration!

 

H. Harper Station: A Scenic Ride

We previously mentioned the opening of H. Harper Station in Atlanta, a “modern watering stop” with an impressive spirits selection and what looks to be an excellent cocktail program led by Jerry Slater. Barely a week old now, the bar and restaurant in a converted old train station is attracting a quick following, especially for their whiskey-based cocktails. One such cocktail is the “Daisy Buchanan” – inspired by the traditional “Great Gatsby.” Here, the cocktail’s name changes to that of the leading lady in the F. Scott Fitzgerald book that inspired the “Great Gatsby” cocktail (got that?), and the cocktail itself changes from vodka/gin/vermouth to bourbon/Chartreuse/grenadine, with the bright acidity of the lemon juice being the primary constant. (Literary side note: The Great Gatsby involves a train ride and is set during Prohibition, how apropos!). Slater chose to use Basil Hayden’s 8yo Bourbon in this drink for its “feminine” qualities, and the Basil Hayden does indeed work nicely with the Chartreuse and lemon juice, an egg white thrown in for a lush and frothy texture. See the cocktail recipe at the end of this post, and enjoy this little video to give you a better feel for H. Harper Station and their “Daisy Buchanan:”

H. Harper Station: A Scenic Ride from Thirsty South on Vimeo.

Of course, there’s much more to the bar menu at H. Harper Station. The cocktail list is grouped by primary ingredient, from Champagne, to beer and cider, to brandy to rye. There’s another section dedicated to punch bowls, including the “Buford Highway Artillery Punch” (with white whiskey, sochu, green tea, lychees, ginger syrup and mint), which are served in beautiful vintage crystal bowls and can keep a group of four happy for the evening. And, of course, the bar can serve up any classic cocktail as well. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Vieux Carre cocktail in New Orleans (or better yet, if you NEVER have), you should seek out Tiffany behind the bar. She hails from Lafayette, Louisiana, and is a master of this hallowed drink, made with Sazerac Rye, Benedictine, Cognac, vermouth and bitters. ¬†The bar staff is already clicking one week in, and they are gearing up to do even more in-house, from their house-made pickled eggs and infused syrups, to ginger beer, cream soda, and tonic. Beer and wine selections are well chosen if not overly numerous (the wine list includes Brewer-Clifton pinot noir, La Spinetta barbaresco, and Domaine Weinbach riesling; and the sixteen beers on tap include Wild Heaven Invocation, Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale and Hitachino White). Climb aboard for a scenic ride at H. Harper Station (and be sure to stay for the cocktail recipe at the end of this post…)

The “Daisy Buchanan” Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:
1.5 oz Basil Hayden’s 8yo Bourbon (or similar)
.5oz Chartreuse
.5oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
.25oz grenadine, preferably homemade
1 egg white

Preparation:
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into glass.

Enjoy! And thanks to Jerry Slater and team at H. Harper Station.

Cocktails: Cakes & Ale’s East of Eden

East of Eden

Following up on our recent dive into the Decatur, GA, drinking scene, here’s a wonderful fall cocktail recipe from Corina behind the bar at Cakes & Ale. The combination of apple and pomegranate makes for a nice balance of sweet and slightly bitter to blend in with the somewhat spicy Corsair Artisan Wry Moon, an unaged whiskey that is akin to a smooth moonshine. Be aware, the Corsair Wry Moon is a small batch rye whiskey that may be hard to find.

Ingredients:
One whole pomegranate, quartered (only one quarter to be used per drink)
1.5 oz Corsair Artisan Wry Moon (or other unaged whiskey)
1 oz good apple juice (bonus points for freshly pressed local apples, no Juicy Juice please)
Dash of simple syrup
Twist of lime

Preparation:
Muddle one quarter of the pomegranate in shaker. Add whiskey, apple juice and a dash of simple syrup. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Best served up with a twist of lime (give the rim of the glass a quick rub with the rind side of the lime twist to impart a bit of the lime oil).

Enjoy! And THANKS to Corina at Cakes & Ale.

A Witch Hunt & More in Decatur, GA

Leon's Full Service

Decatur and the Westside seem to be battling it out for food and drink supremacy in Atlanta these days, and Decatur’s lineup is enough to make you rethink your decision to live anywhere other than within walking distance to the heart of Decatur. Visits to some stalwarts of the Decatur scene revealed all that is great about the onset of Autumn – seasonal ales, creative cocktails shifting to spices and fall fruits, and food to match.

Let’s start with Leon’s Full Service, where Miles and team man the bar and turn out some of Atlanta’s best cocktails. They’ve already made the turn out of the relatively light and refreshing summer drinks and are now in the land of apples and honey – richer, spicier, darker. With names like Death & Company, Witch Hunt, and the Whitehall Mystery, surely Halloween is right around the corner. The Witch Hunt is a perfect drink for easing into the cooler weather, a mix of house-made apple-cardamom syrup, Dry Fly gin, Liquore Strega (Italian for witch), a bit of lemon and an absinthe rinse (full recipe below, under Comments). It manages to be bright and balanced, warming and refreshing, and Miles’ tricks with the shaker make a perfect treat when you feel the fabulous texture, the “mouthfeel,” of this drink. Here’s a little video to whet your appetite for going on a Witch Hunt of your own:

Leon’s Full Service: Miles & the Witch Hunt from Thirsty South on Vimeo.

Down the street a few blocks, Cakes & Ale matches their stellar, seasonal food with some equally stellar, seasonal drinks. Corina behind the bar is now featuring a cocktail called East of Eden (recipe here). Apples and pomegranates mix together with Corsair Wry Moon unaged whiskey, a beautiful sight in a dark vintage martini glass. Corina has been seeking the right pairing for the Corsair unaged whiskey, and the freshly pressed apple juice and muddled pomegranate seem to be the perfect match. Look for some interesting Hot Toddy-inspired cocktails coming soon to counteract the cooler weather.

Cakes & Ale

Back on the square, the Iberian Pig has been turning out a signature drink for some time now, but it seems especially well suited to the weather these days – their Iberian Old Fashioned gets smokey and rich with house bacon-infused rye whiskey, brown sugar and molasses, and a mix of bitters and citrus oil to top it off. Other bars are playing with bacon, but Iberian Pig gets it right, not too heavy, not too salty, simply right.

Iberian Pig
Iberian Pig
Iberian Pig

Of course, The Brick Store Pub is constantly offering seasonal beer specials from keg or cask or bottle, and the current crop is keeping the crowds happy. A current rare treat is the Founder’s Black Biscuit, a barrel-aged black ale that brings serious complexity and depth.

Brick Store

As if the cocktails and beer weren’t enough to get you over to the Decatur side of town, there’s also a new wine shop down the street in quaint Avondale Estates. The Little Wine Shop just held their grand opening and is a great stop for good and interesting value wines. Their monthly six pack special is an especially good way to try some compelling wines at a very compelling price.
Little Wine Shop

Cocktails: Apple Season in a Glass

Summer is still hanging on with a vengeance, sunny hot days melting into cool September nights. Despite the heat, autumn is around the corner, and apple season is already here. Just head up to North Georgia and the apple trees are bountiful with fruit. In honor of cooler days to come and the heavenly aroma of apple pies inundating the air in lucky kitchens, we bring you a simple cocktail recipe sure to elicit mental visions of such glory: Apple Season in a Glass.

Apple Season in a Glass

The key ingredient here is Travis Hasse’s Apple Pie liqueur. An inexpensive (though still hard to find in the South) bottle of liqueur built on apples, spices and neutral grain spirits. On its own, it’s sweet, sticky, and almost impossibly true to the aroma and flavor of apple pie. It’s like taking a pie in the face, and it begs for balance. A nice rye (or bourbon, to each his own) will do just the trick. We like Russell’s Reserve Rye (6 year old) as a nice cocktail mixer. It brings a nice toastiness and slight bitterness to the table. A dash of Peychaud’s bitters adds a touch of aromatic complexity, again balancing out the sweetness of the liqueur. There are certainly more complex and challenging recipes that will get you a similar taste of apple season, but this is a nice and easy way to help your mind escape the lingering summer heat and swing into Fall.

Ingredients:
1.5 oz rye whiskey
1 oz Travis Hasse’s Apple Pie Liqueur
Peychaud’s bitters to taste

Preparation:
Shake and strain into an old-fashioned glass half-filled with broken ice.

Notes:
Adding cinnamon or nutmeg will be overkill on top of the liqueur, though a cinnamon stick would be a nice visual touch.