Gin and Tonic — A Variation on the Theme

Hi all!

I’m here today to guide your eyes and clicks over to the Lindsay Olives website, to which I contributed a cocktail recipe, as part of its guide to holiday cocktail parties. I always enjoy working with savory cocktails and the kinds of ingredients that you don’t normally associate with mixed drinks. Savory drinks have more to offer than just a bloody mary!

I brainstormed and researched and tinkered around a bit, and I came up with a combination of cucumber-infused gin (house-made, though you could use a commercial brand, such as Hendrick’s) and Lillet Blanc aperitif wine, with a splash of brine from a jar of pickled peppers. I topped that off with tonic water for a riff on the gin-and-tonic that works just as well midwinter as it would on a stifling August day.

Check it out!

The Art of the Cocktail Party

Cool and Spicy G&T

Aside from that, no major projects to report right now. I’m hunkered down with family business, helping my oldest navigate kindergarten and my youngest enjoy her last year at home full time before entering preschool.

I just returned from a quick jaunt to Denver, where I waited in line for the annual special release of Stranahan’s Snowflake single-malt whiskey. More on that to come.

I’m working on pitches for future book projects, but there’s nothing to report on that front since I haven’t submitted anything.

WHISKEY and the SHRUBS second edition are still selling well, and either one of them would make a great holiday gift, so please click through the links right here and send copies to everyone you’ve ever met.

I finished up some work over the summer for the upcoming OXFORD COMPANION TO SPIRITS AND COCKTAILS, edited by the estimable David Wondrich. And I have a small project that I’ll be starting next week; more on that when it sees print in the spring.

 

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How to Order My Books

My latest book, WHISKEY, arrives in May 2016, from Countryman Press, a division of W. W. Norton. WHISKEY covers the history of the venerable brown beverage, the differences between — say — bourbon and scotch, and the abundance of cocktail applications for all the many different whiskeys of the world. Preorder here:

My first book, SHRUBS, premiered in September 2014 also from Countryman. In SHRUBS, I look at the history of the beverage called shrub, from its origins in the Middle East up through to its modern use in the trendiest cocktail bars and restaurants. Order here:

Shrubs on ABC’s Shark Tank

This is interesting.

ABC has a reality program called Shark Tank. I’ve never seen it. Apparently, the idea is that, if you have an idea for a business, you can pitch it to the show, and if the producers feel it has merit, they’ll bring you on and you can pitch the idea to a team of “sharks,” or hard-hitting business tycoons who will decide whether to fund your company.

The season premiere is this Friday, September 25, and it features the McClary Bros. line of drinking vinegars. I’ve had their shrubs, and I’m excited to see that shrubs will get some prime-time attention.

I also have a mercenary motivation for this post. I want people to search online for “Shark Tank” and “drinking vinegars” or “shrubs” or “McClary” and find this page. I want them to click this link: Buy My Books. And then I want them to buy my book. It’s a simple idea, really. Can you blame me?

Weekend recap

I spent my weekend on the road, taking the Acela from Penn Station up to Boston on Saturday.

I stayed with friends Friday and Saturday. On Saturday afternoon, I demoed shrubmaking and signed books at the Boston Shaker in Somerville. The weather was nice, and so there was a good amount of foot traffic past the store. We served shrub cocktails using Privateer rum and moved a fair amount of books. Successful day.

I ended the day at The Hawthorne, attached to the Commonwealth Hotel near the Fenway, and owned by Jackson Cannon, formerly of the Commonwealth’s other bar, Eastern Standard. The Hawthorne is a lovely place, very calming and comfortable, and with a stellar list of cocktails, beers, and wines.

Sunday, I took the Amtrak to Providence. I made my way up to Stock about an hour before the demo was to begin, and I walked that stretch of Hope Street for a few minutes. I used to live in Stock’s neighborhood, and so it felt a little like Old Home Week. The weather, again, was conducive to foot traffic, and we had a lot of people stop by.

At both the Shaker and Stock, I was delighted to sell copies of the book to people who had never previously tasted shrubs. Talking to these folks and then signing books for them were quite fun, and it’s really gratifying to know that the book is reaching new audiences for shrubs.

Here’s a tip I probably shouldn’t share, regarding taking the Amtrak from Penn. At present, Amtrak does a really stupid thing to its riders at Penn and a few other stations. When a Northeast Regional or an Acela Express arrives at Penn, Amtrak announces the track number and then makes everyone line up to go down to the platform level to board the train. So what always happens is, Amtrak announces the track, and a giant knot of people surges toward the escalator down to the platform. I avoid this mess these days by asking for a red-cap, a porter who helps with baggage and gets passengers down to the platform level before the official announcement. So by the time the knot of people has surged down the escalator, I’m seated and ready to roll.