However, the one thing that brings us all together is our love for social drinking! As you work through the humdrum of everyday life, and your “to do” list becomes more achievable because it is more realistic, you can now get serious about whatever makes you happy.
Here are five things to assist in helping make each and every day more “spirited” than the last:
1) Study Mixology – You don’t have to take a college course on the cocktail to become an expert (although there might be one or more out there that you could benefit from.) The evolution of the cocktail has been described by many an author to tell about the delights, recipes and even the dangers of the “spirits.”
As usual, we turned to our friend Adam Davis, director of System Services for the Palm Beach County Library System, to let us know some of the selections you can find at your local library.
Federle, Tim. “Tequila mockingbird : cocktails with a literary twist”.
“Even if you don’t have a B.A. in English, tonight you’re gonna drink like you do! From barflies to book clubs, Tequila Mockingbird is the world’s bestselling cocktail book for the literary obsessed. Featuring 65 delicious drink recipes paired with wry commentary on history’s most beloved novels, Tequila Mockingbird also includes bar bites, drinking games, and whimsical illustrations throughout.” ®Bowker
Le Bordays, Frederic. “Cocktails : the new classics”.
“With more than 60 recipes that combine tradition and modernity, this book revisits the history of cocktails, from speakeasies to modern lounges, and the famous bartenders behind them. Organized into three sections-shaken cocktails, stirred cocktails, and punches-the recipes include garnish ideas, variations, and colorful notes about each drink’s creation.” ®Bowker
March, Dylan and Jennifer Boudinot. “The book of dangerous cocktails : adventurous recipes for serious drinkers”.
“Leave your go-to gin and tonic behind and shake up your next gathering with cocktails that pack an extra punch. Craft an elegant and powerful drink using high-proof liquors, and explore the intoxicating flavor of absinthe. Whip up one of our delicious marijuana-infused concoctions for the perfect cross-fade, or pick up the drama with some flaming shots or vaporized liquor.” – Amazon
Mautone, Nick. “Holiday cocktails”.
“Holiday Cocktails provides dozens of foolproof ideas for successful entertaining at home, including the basics of cocktail making, choosing the right drink for the right occasion, and serving cocktails for a crowd. It’s packed with easy-to-follow recipes for seasonal favorites, from nogs to grogs, as well as classics with a twist that work year-round, such as old-fashioneds and martinis, coffee-based drinks to serve in lieu of dessert, and even nonalcoholic cocktails that are a treat unto themselves.” ®Bowker
Smith-McGovern, Tessa. “Book Girl’s guide to cocktails for book lovers”
“From Jane Austen’s little-known fondness for wine to Hemingway’s beloved mojitos, literature and libations go hand in hand. Cocktails for Book Loversblends these in a delectable book that will delight both readers and cocktail enthusiasts alike. This irresistible collection features 50 original and classic cocktail recipes based on works of famous authors and popular drinks of their eras…” ®Bowker
Stewart, Amy. “The drunken botanist : the plants that create the world’s great drinks”.
“Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.” ®Bowker
Cain, James M. “The cocktail waitress”.
“Following her husband’s death in a suspicious car accident, beautiful young widow Joan Medford is forced to take a job serving drinks in a cocktail lounge to make ends meet and to have a chance of regaining custody of her young son. At the job she encounters two men who take an interest in her, a handsome young schemer who makes her blood race and a wealthy but unwell older man who rewards her for her attentions with a $50,000 tip and an unconventional offer of marriage…” ®Bowker
Krueger, Paul. “Last call at the Nightshade Lounge : a novel of magic and mixology”.
“College grad Bailey Chen has all of the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend still around when she moves back home. But her demons become a lot more literal when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders. It turns out supernatural creatures are stalking the streets of Chicago, and they can be hunted only with the help of magically mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and tequila lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy.” ®Bowker
Mamatas, Nick. “Mixed up : cocktail recipes (and flash fiction) for the discerning reader (and drinker)”.
“A cocktail is like an excellent story–bitter and sweet and over too quickly, but the memory of it stays with you. From the Pimm’s Cup to Smoking Bishop, the Manhattan to the Moscow Mule, Mixed Up features not only more than two dozen classic recipes and hot tips on ingredients and preparations, but new cocktail-themed short stories from some of today’s most popular and acclaimed writers.” ®Bowker
Wickham, Madeleine. “Cocktails for three”.
“At the first of every month, when the office has reached its pinnacle of hysteria, Maggie, Roxanne and Candice meet at London’s swankiest bar for an evening of cocktails and gossip.Here, they chat about what’s new in their lives and what’s new at The Londoner, the glossy fashion magazine where they all work. But beneath the girl talk and the laughter, each of the three has something to hide: High-achiever Maggie is pregnant, and terrified at the prospect of becoming a mother; glamorous Roxanne is losing hope that her secret lover will leave his wife; and kindhearted Candice cannot escape the guilty secret that has pursued her since childhood.” ®Bowker
2) Crafty Draft – While draft beer isn’t extinct yet, bars and restaurants around the country are beginning to feature mixed drinks on tap. Accomplice Brewery and Ciderworks, for example, has a rotating selection of 20 (non-grain taps with ciders, cysers or mead on them) and 14 local Florida beer taps. They also have 12 wine taps (6 reds/6 whites) by the glass. Their drink selections are always changing too.
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3) Find a New Watering Hole – As the saying goes: “If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you will keep getting the same results” or something to that effect…same holds true for drinking at the same bar. For 2018, step out of that comfort zone and try something new! Not long ago, you had to search high and low to find a place that served a really good cocktail. Not so much anymore. New ones are popping up every day. You might want to check out our Guide to Happy Hour on Clematis for ideas! You could also download the AirTab app, which gives you information about bars all across the country, and has discounts at many South Florida spots.
Of course, here in the Palm Beaches we are lucky in that there are a number of bar crawls that take place each year. These events are dedicated to giving exposure to new establishments that you may not have even thought of visiting before. The next one, and some might say the most merry of them all, is SantaCon! Where else can you find lots of bearded jolly old men wandering through downtown in search of the Christmas Spirit? If you answered pretty much anywhere, you’re probably right! 😛
If going on the water is more your speed, you might want to check out one of the newest drinking opportunities in Riviera Beach – Cruisin’ Tikis. You read that right; it’s a floating tiki bar that offers up tours of Palm Beach, fun experiences around Peanut Island, Sunset Cruises, Custom Tours, and even Eco-Tours.
Do you operate a restaurant/bar that would appreciate some exposure? Tell us about it!
4) Add a little “Sump’n Sump’n”- If you aren’t using the freshest ingredients in your cocktails, then it is time to start! This means fresh fruit juices and grated spices only. It is amazing how much more flavorful the real deal can be.
Once you’ve gathered all the fixins, you can try your hand at some of these amazing Cocktail Recipes, courtesy of the Galley, located inside the Hilton West Palm Beach, as well as Beauty and the Beeeef at the Mall at Wellington Green!
Florida Peach and Blood Orange Mojito (Galley at the Hilton)
2 oz. Atlantico Private Cask Rum
1 oz. blood orange juice
1 oz. peach syrup
Muddle mint leaves in a wine glass then add rum, blood orange juice, peach syrup, and flake ice. Garnish with cubed peaches.
Blackberry Sage Mojito (Galley at the Hilton)
2 oz. Island Company Rum
1.5 oz. blackberry sour syrup
3 sage leaves
Muddle rum, sage leaves, and syrup in a coupe glass. Top with a splash of champagne and garnish with a burnt sage leaf.
Watermelon Basil Mojito (Galley at the Hilton)
2 oz. MT. Gay Rum
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. watermelon simple syrup
2 basil leaves
Muddle basil leaves in a tall glass then add rum, lime juice, syrup, and crushed ice. Top with a splash of Moscato and garnish with a charred watermelon rind.
Dragon Fruit Mojito (Galley at the Hilton)
2 oz. Atlantico Platino Rum
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. blood orange juice
1 oz. simple syrup
5 mint leaves
Muddle mint leaves then add rum, blood orange juice, simple syrup, lime juice, and serve in a champagne flute. Garnish with a dragonfruit leaf.
Mojito-Old Fashioned (Galley at the Hilton)
2 oz. Bacardi 4 Year Aged Rum
1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters
2 dashes orange butter
1/2 oz. mint syrup
1/2 oz. lime juice
Combine rum, bitters, butter, syrup, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Stir and serve in a rocks glass with one large ice cube. Garnish with a fried mint sprig.
The Grapefruit Floradita (Galley at the Hilton)
2 oz. Island Company rum
1/3 oz. lime juice
½ oz. grapefruit juice
½ oz. maraschino liqueur
1 grapefruit wedge (for garnish)
1 maraschino cherry (for garnish)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and maraschino cherry.
Watermelon Sour (Galley at the Hilton)
2 oz. Patrón Añejo Tequila
1 watermelon slice
1 oz. lime juice
1 egg white
.5 oz. honey syrup
Muddle watermelon in a cocktail shaker. Add remainder of ingredients and top with ice. Shake, double strain and serve in a glass coupe. Garnish with a watermelon rind.
El Matador (Beauty and the Beeeef)
1 oz. Cazadores Tequila
1 oz. Absolut Vodka
1/2 oz. agave nectar
1/4 oz. lime juice
1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 oz. house made chili waterMix all the ingredients in a shaker half full of ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with Tajín spice. Garnish with a Thai chili pepper and a Vero Paleta lollipop.
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5) Drink to “Before” and “After” – Americans may have invented the “cocktail”, it’s the Europeans that have created the well-rounded art of drinking. They enjoy the “appetite-stimulating” before dinner, or an “aperitif”, like a Kir or Kir Royal, Cosmopolitan/Martini or Campari.
A Perfect Margarita (Recipe courtesy of Mack Rooster Russell)
1½oz Don Julio® Blanco
¾oz Fresh Lime Juice
½oz Agave Nectar
1 Lime Wedge
Combine Don Julio Blanco , fresh lime juice, agave nectar into to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge. Ideal Serving Glass: Rocks glass.
Also enjoyed are the “digestifs” which aid with digestion. AKA: “the after dinner drink”. Classic digestifs are usually drunk straight and are most often spirits—bitters, brandy, cognac and brandy, armagnac, grappa, or even a whiskey-based liqueur such as Drambuie. Some fortified wines such as sherry, port, and Madeira are often served after dinner, but they are mostly classified as dessert wines.
The Espresso Martini (Recipe courtesy of Mack Rooster Russell)
1 shot espresso (or very strong coffee)
1 shot vodka
1 shot Kahlua
1 shot half & half*
Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glass. *If you are able to froth milk like they do in coffee shops, by all means do that and layer it on top.
Then there is the “Nightcap”. Drunk at the end of the evening…enough said. These drinks are usually a liqueur or creme based alcoholic beverage to prep for a good night’s sleep.
Of course, you can’t forget the most important drink; the one with dinner! Mack Rooster Russell, the bartender at Tapeo in downtown West Palm Beach, suggests a red or white whine depending on the protein served with dinner.
Remember to stay hydrated, especially when you’re participating in a bar crawl! Drinking alcohol and nothing else, especially on a hot Florida day, can be dangerous!
Of course, sometimes even the most well-rounded drinkers can over-do it. If you have this problem, perhaps you need a little cleanse/detox to help you out.
NOW THAT’S the SPIRIT!