I have been getting into making cocktails (and fancy non-alcoholic drinks, can I call them “mocktails,” idk), so I got the book from Death & Co, Death & Co, which is beautifully designed, large format, and kind of furry.
I started going to thrift stores and buying unique glassware:
That’s about $4 worth of glasses. As you may know, they all have cool names. Like the one in the back, second from the right, the tall one with the bulb-ish top? That’s called a “Nick & Nora” glass. Starting with these shapes usually inspires the drink I’m going to make.
I always thought you couldn’t mix a good drink at home because of not having the same supplies they have at bars, like soda guns and big bottles of sour mix.
Lol. I’m an idiot. (I really am. I woke up at 7am on Saturday and watched Cocktail.)
Turns out that just crushing a lemon and adding some sugar and water actually IS lemonade. The powder you buy at the supermarket is a con! And if you add whiskey instead of water, it’s a whiskey sour. You can even put an egg white in there!
So there I am, getting into mixology, laughing it up, when I realize that you can make your own Grenadine. So I do that, and it’s delicious, and I taste the Rose’s Grenadine I’d bought (and used in my “Pink Lady,” see below, which was really good), and suddenly I realize how disgusting it is.
(If I wanted to tie this into my experience as a publisher, I’d note here something about how it’s odd that I immersed myself fully into learning about the practice of making books, and how much richer that can make life, but it never occurred to me that you can do that with your beverages as well.)
So there I am, making stuff that goes into drinks but not the drinks themselves, when I decide to make a shrub.
Shrubs are something they used to make in the olden days to preserve fruit, I guess. Supposedly it makes the fruit stay edible for a lot longer, but it tastes like pickled fruit.
I took a thing of strawberries and a couple peaches and a bunch of basil and put a lot of sugar on it. Four cups of sugar. After a few hours it looked like the top right image here. The next morning there was even more syrup, and then I got crazy. I added four cups of vinegar. I used some white wine vinegar and some apple cider vinegar.
I let all that sit in the fridge for the rest of the day, till this morning, when I strained out the fruit through something called a cheese cloth.
I had this many bottles, and some leftover fruit that I can probably put in a blender, right?
This is 2 ounces of shrubs and a half ounce of lemon juice topped off with seltzer from my new Soda Stream, garnished with a slice of the lemon from the unjuiced part, served in a Collins glass. I also have better ice but I was in a hurry.
If you ask me, I think a half ounce of the shrubs would have been enough. That shrub is potent. I had to take a couple puckery swigs and then refill with more soda water.
It occurs to me that it’ll make a really amazing pickleback.
Thanks for reading! And if you’re wondering where I’ve been for the last couple months, during which time Real Pants had slightly fewer amazing posts than usual, it wasn’t on a research trip to a bar. Here’s the straight scoop on that: I got married to Amy McDaniel—our amazing executive editor. Yes I did! We took the whole month of July off and went camping for two weeks, then had an incredible wedding weekend in the Adirondacks, then honeymooned for two more weeks.
The dust is finally starting to settle, and the future is looking bright! I don’t anticipate writing a whole bunch of posts here about mixology and how dumb I can be—we’ll stick to our focus on books and all that—but I DO anticipate writing a whole bunch of whatever I feel like writing, which is to say we’re kind of changing our focus, or defocusing our focus, to loosen things up. And along with that, we’ve hired a designer to help us with our logo. Because why not?