THE QUAFF: End of the World Cocktail Hour

This may come as a shock to you all, but the weather here in Los Angeles is often wonderful. Such was the case this past Saturday, which aside from being absolutely beautiful was also supposed to mark the End of the Days. Well, Doomsday be damned, I was going to celebrate the weather with a cocktail. I called up my reliable drinking buddy Sly and invited her over to enjoy a quick afternoon drink chez moi, and of course, she took the bait hook, line, and sinker. Little did either of us realize that we would soon be embarking on an evening of extreme (but not sloppy) drunkenness.

Photos of our drinking — beginning with the Rapture-appropriate “Suffering Bastard” cocktail — after the jump…

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The first drink of the evening comes from my new cocktail book, simply titled The Cocktail Bible. The beverage is called the Suffering Bastard, which we both feel will be our imminent fate should the Rapture indeed take place.

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First things first, we must attend to some simple syrup creation.

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Sly, meanwhile, has a morbid fascination with my overloaded dish rack.

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There’s also the nasty business of my fridge, which always could use some reorganization.

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Back to the Suffering Bastard. First order of business is coating two chilled Collins glasses with Angostura bitters. Here the role of the Collins glasses is dutifully played by two mugs instead (they were already in the freezer).

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The bitters have been poured. Time to coat.

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A fascinating glimpse into the Angostura-sloshing process.

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At last the mugs are ready.

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Time for gin. The recipe calls for two “measures,” which we take to mean “shots.” And so we pour two shots of gin in each glass. We’re only just beginning, people.

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Next up is a “measure” of brandy. So for those of you keeping track at home, we now have three shots of alcohol in each drink.

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Well, if it’s the end of the world, we might as well get loaded, right?

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Sad news to report. My trusty Black & Decker citrus juicer died last month. Now I’m left with this sad reamer, which Sly happily disparaged many times over. Apparently hers has better ridges or some silliness like that. Whatever. Time for lime juice.

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Update: each mug now has three shots of booze, half a shot of lime juice, and a teaspoon of simple syrup.

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Sly artfully takes a picture of the mugs and her feet.

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I then accidentally photobomb the picture with my foot.

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Oh look. Lime juice. I guess we hadn’t added it yet after all. You’ll have to excuse me if the details are murky…

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Here’s me hunting around the aforementioned dish rack looking for who knows what.

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Stirring the ingredients together with a chopstick. This elicits the traditional “Julia Child would be proud” comment from Sly.

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We top off the cocktails with ginger beer. I then gaze out on Los Angeles, checking to see if any mortals happen to be floating up to the sky.

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With no signs of Doomsday evident, I get to the business of trying the Suffering Bastard.

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Oh it’s strong.

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But here’s the thing… once we added a touch more ginger beer, the flavors balanced out and wouldn’t you believe it? The Suffering Bastard was anything but insufferable.

The Verdict: BEWARE THE SUFFERING BASTARD. Once we added that ginger beer, the Suffering Bastard went down nice and smooth. It was downright tasty. And did I mention the three shots of booze? It’s hard for me to remember because I think I’m still blacked out from the drink. Those bad boys were POTENT, and the fact that they went down so smoothly meant they also went down quickly. By the time Sly and I had finished up, we were already in a very happy place.

That’s probably why we were more than enthusiastic to take on the next cocktail: The Bride of Celery!

Taken from my favorite cocktail book of all time, Organic, Shaken, and Stirred by Paul Abercrombie, the The Bride of Celery claimed to shine the spotlight on that oft-overlooked second-fiddle of a crudite, celery. Granted, this libation had little thematically to do with Judgment Day, but hey, if the world was going to end, we wanted to make sure celery had its own special moment. Here goes:

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First, a glimpse at my soon-to-be disastrous sink. It’s currently at a relatively minor state of disarray.

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For this round, Sly opts to take on prep duties while I man the camera. Here she is cutting up a Granny Smith apple.

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Sly takes great joy in slicing up the apple. This was highly dangerous as we were both drunk.

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Successful dicing.

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Next up, Sly attacks the celery.

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The celery and apple wind up in the shaker where Sly pulverizes it deeply with my muddler, affectionately named Bette Muddler.

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After having unleashed her lady fury on the shaker, Sly then doles out the gin. I’m happy to report this cocktail requires only one shot per person.

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And in goes the shot.

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Note the mess Sly has made.

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Next up: apple juice! I must admit that I was a bit confused as to how celery would be the star what with all this apple product in the drink, but I went along with it…

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Shaking the concoction.

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Martini glasses primed and ready to go.

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Sly pours the first drink.

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As Sly’s judgment has been significantly impaired by the Suffering Bastard, she manages to pour entirely too much Bride of Celery into the first glass, leaving little for the second.

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Some delicate reappropriation.

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Unsurprisingly, the reappropriation gets out of hand and some of the beverage must be returned to the original glass. This does not speak highly of Sly’s eyeballing skills.

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Finally, we achieve parity.

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Time for me to take the first sip. I seem to be dancing. There may or may not be Wilson Phillips playing in the background (thanks Bridesmaids).

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Dancing is confirmed. In fact, from this point on, Sly and I danced for the rest of the evening. There was even a slow dance in the kitchen between the two of us. More lively hoofing took place on the balcony.

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Just as I prepare to take my first sip, I notice a nefarious interloper in the form of a bright green speck. It must be removed.

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I fish out the offending speck with a broad knife. I like to live dangerously.

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We are now ready for consumption.

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Silence, please.

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It smells nice…

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Oh, and it tastes ever so lovely. Not perfect, but quite lovely.

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Further dancing ensues.

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Who says there was no rapture?

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It’s around this time that we realize Sly has left out not one but TWO ingredients from the cocktail: lemon juice and sugar. Surprisingly, the drink still tastes good, but we can only imagine how the missing elements could elevate it. Then again, the sugar and lemon really cancel each other out; so no big deal.

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Well, the Bride of Celery went down super quickly. Time for another drink. We certainly had a lot of ginger beer left over, and we didn’t want to waste it. What to make? Ah-ha! Moscow Mules!

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More lime juice. Really missing my citrus juicer.

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Into the shaker goes the lime juice.

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Gin is the liquor of the night, and as such, this isn’t really a Moscow Mule but rather a “Delft Donkey,” according to the Cocktail Bible.

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In an effort to not be a total mess, we reduce the recipe just a tad. And so instead of adding the required six ounces of gin total (a.k.a. four shots), we judiciously reduce the amount to a mere four ounces.

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Humble ingredients.

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The state of my sink deteriorates after a brief pause to devour some leftover potato salad, formerly housed in this tupperware.

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There was also some peanut action, as evidenced by this empty bag which has wafted into the fray.

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Shaking the Delft Donkeys / crazed.

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Our Moscow Mules, er, Delft Donkeys — each garnished with a lovely slice of ginger.

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Crazy face time on the balcony. And look off in the distance! Something looks rapture-y! (I’m guessing it’s just a Klieg light though)

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Apologies to my neighbors.

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Not a bad way to usher in the end of the world.

The Verdict: well, as much fun as it was to try new cocktails, it was the old classic that won the day. The Delft Donkey was so delicious that it kind of upstaged the other creations of the night. That is, until we made ANOTHER round of Bride of Celery’s, which of course we just had to do since we had another apple left over (not to mention all that apple juice). This time around we added the lemon juice and sugar, and my goodness was that good. I’m not sure if it’s because we were tanked, but the Bride of Celery when made properly was truly the star of the night; although, that Delft Donkey was pretty damn awesome… and so was the Suffering Bastard. Let’s just say it was a highly successful evening and leave it at that.

In conclusion, if you want to get bombed but don’t want to be cheesy and get a Long Island Iced Tea, try out the Suffering Bastard. If you want something unexpected, refreshing, and delicious, go for the Bride of Celery. And if you want something classic that will never lead you astray, make yourself a Moscow Mule (with vodka) or a Delft Donkey (with gin). I highly recommend the latter. Or all three!

Next up: trying out the complimentary bottle of Veev I just received. Developing…

8 replies on “THE QUAFF: End of the World Cocktail Hour”

  1. In your pic of the recipe in this book, I saw a teaser amount of an “Ankle Breaker” recipe below. I was wondering if you could send that to me since I know a few ladies who have broken their ankles (Derby gals rule). Thanks!

  2. did you ever find out if a “measure” is really a shot, or are you and Sly just lushes?

    yours truly-
    the pot

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