‘01497-07Crop’ courtesy of ‘furcafe’
A long drink, a term with which you might not be familiar, is a bartender’s term for a cocktail which is longer on non-alcoholic mixer than it is on base spirit. You may already know some long drinks as highballs, a slightly younger name which refers to a long drink made with just a single base spirit and a single mixer, often with a fruit garnish. A gin and tonic is a highball, but a Tom Collins (containing not only gin and soda but sugar and lemon juice) is a long drink. The Tom Collins, by the way, gave its name to the archetypical tall glass in which these drinks are served. A highball glass is usually synonymous with a Collins glass (and vice versa).
Cocktails follow formulas, and the combination of a single base spirit and a particular mixer often lends its name to some other concoction made with the same mixer and a different base spirit. The Tom Collins, for instance, begat the Vodka Collins. You could ask a bartender for a Whiskey Collins, and while he or she might look at you funny they’d know exactly what you mean without having to stop to think. Some names have lost popularity over time (Mamie Taylor, anyone?), but others are still current and show up in all sorts of interesting combinations. The Mojito, by the way, is also a long drink; replace the rum with gin and it becomes a Southside; add lemon to that and it turns into a Major Bailey. Formulas! They’re magic! Continue reading →
Alex Bookless wins the Rickey Contest. Photo: Scott Wolfson.
The Third Annual Rickey Month Celebration was Monday night, and I’m only now getting around to recap it after being honored to participate in the final judging. That should give you a better idea of what kind of wild fun party it was than anything I could possibly write, but…
The five final contestants presented a quintet of Rickey riffs highlighting the enormous talent we have on hand here in DC mixology. None were derivative, all were inventive, and it was a very tough call. That’s the sign of an excellent field of contestants – congratulations to the DC Craft Bartenders Guild!
But there has to be a winner, and it was Alex Bookless (The Passenger) with her The Root of All Rickey, a complex mix of both event sponsors Woodford Reserve Bourbon and Hendrick’s Gin. Continue reading →
Close your eyes and imagine life in our fair city over one hundred years ago. Imagine it was a week like we’ve had, a scorching heat wave, in your restrictive starched collar or corset – and there is no relief in sight, no air conditioned buildings to dart in. Sweat is dripping down the back of your neck, the small of your back. You need something refreshing. Now.
Enter the Rickey – “an air conditioner in a glass,” as Derek Brown termed it last night at a Columbia Room seminar on the history and making of our very own native cocktail. Wait, DC has its own cocktail? Indeed. July is Rickey Month, in its third year designated by the DC Craft Bartenders Guild to celebrate and spread the word on a very simple yet heat wave essential drink. All month long bartenders around the city are debuting their unique versions of the classic Rickey, culminating in a competition at The Passenger on Monday, August 2 at 6:30pm. The event is $10 at the door (including a free Rickey), and you can pick up a “Passport” at any of the competing bars and restaurants this month to try as many of the versions as you can before the contest (get ten stamps on your Passport and you get in free). As Guild President Owen Thomson says, “The Rickey is our native cocktail and designed to combat hot, muggy DC summers. We hope to pay tribute to both our history and future as a great cocktail city, as well as helping everyone stay cool.”
I think we can all get excited about that this month! So let’s explore the background of DC’s historical cooler, find out who the contestants are, and learn what makes a classic Rickey so special. Continue reading →