One of my goals for 29 before 30 was to entertain more. As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that I really enjoy opportunities to socialize that involve learning about something. This is why the craft and food communities are so simultaneously interesting and appealing to me. For example, I can go shopping at a show like Bazaar Bizarre, and get to interface with artists and learn about their process while I browse. I can grab a tasting at Throwback Brewery and learn about how the hops in my beer were roasted. I nerd out on that shit. Love it.
Hence, it makes perfect sense that I would want to learn something while entertaining in my own home, and I've decided that that something is classic cocktails.
I have collected hundreds of cocktail recipes through the years, as a result of my voracious blog reading, however, I have tried very few of them. You see, as much as I love a good cocktail, making them requires some effort. Though I fully endorse treating yo' self every once in a while, as a singleton, pulling out all the stops to make, say herb infused vodka, simply so that I can have a drink doesn't seem worth all of the pomp and circumstance.
So an idea began to marinate.
A classic cocktail party. Once a month. Each month focuses on a different liquor, flavor or theme.
The second half of the party idea came about when my friend CJ said something to me a few weeks ago. He mentioned that he had gone to a friend's house and just listened to a record - and how great it was just to sit there and take in the music.
I love vinyl...but it is often a solitary experience, because it is not the sort of portable medium that we are used to nowadays.
Put these two things together and you've got Good Libations and Good Vibrations!
My first shindig was last night, and we focused on whiskey drinks. This choice was prompted by a great article called Raising the Bar in the Dec/Jan 2012 issue of BUST magazine. The article is all about how whiskey, bourbon, scotch and the like, traditionally viewed as "man" drinks, are actually liquors with a great historical connection to women, and how, after many years, are coming back into vogue for women to consume.
Hilariously and ironically enough - my guests this time around were my guy friends (until one of their girlfriends - my friend Rhi-Rhi - showed up much later into the evening). My whiskey brings all the boys to the yard apparently.
I prepped ingredients to make each of the drinks, appropriate for a variety of tastes, from the article: An Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, a Maple Leaf and the Clara Bow. I was also sure to have various types of whiskey as well - Irish, Scottish and American. Traditionally, I have not been a whiskey fan, so I was interested to learn if any of these concoctions would be appealing to me.
While I took a sip from an Old-Fashioned and a Manhattan that the boys put together (bleck - not for me) the clear winner among both sexes was the Maple Leaf - which is bourbon mixed with maple syrup and lemon juice:
I also quite enjoyed the Clara Bow, also a bourbon cocktail, mixed with St. Germain, homemade grenadine, lemon juice and mint.
For nibbles, I served up a pizza with a spicy maple fig jam as a sauce, topped with linguica sausage and caramelized onions. We listened to Dylan, and then Ceej took out his guitar and we had a Springsteen sing-a-long.
I learned how to make some awesome cocktails, and learned that I have a taste for bourbon. I think it will take a long time for me to have an appreciation for whiskey served neat - but I'm open to the learning process. All in all, a successful evening. I'm hoping to host a Good Libations Good Vibrations party about once a month, and I'm super excited to nerd out and learn more about making and drinking classic cocktails!
Do you have a killer cocktail recipe to share? Leave or link in the comments below!