Whether you celebrate our strange midweek holiday at Quidi Vidi Lake or plan to take a long weekend and enjoy a get-together in the backyard, I’ve got the liquid to make everything go down smoothly.
Classic Bloody Mary
We might as well start early, and nothing tastes better with eggs and toast or thick ham and mustard sandwiches than a pitcher of ice-cold Bloody Mary. Too much vodka absolutely ruins this drink, so don’t be tempted to let your generous self loose at the bar. I like a big splash of hot sauce, but you choose.
I admit to one major deviation. There’s a Mexican spice blend called Tajin — hard to find but absolute heaven with its mixture of dried ground chilies with salt and citrus notes. It’s starting to make its way into specialty shops and if you do come across a bottle, omit the celery salt. This makes a jug for six.
6 cups chilled tomato juice
1 cup vodka
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. (or to taste) hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 celery thin stalks
Stir together tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, celery salt and pepper in a large pitcher. Serve in tall, ice-filled glasses with a celery stalk in each one. And yes, you absolutely should eat the celery.
Iced coffee has been a favourite of mine for many years, so it was inevitable that this soda would hit the spot. Great with a sweet morsel, serve this late in the day as the celebrating winds down and everyone is getting mellow. This should be plenty for four, but the basic recipe is four parts soda to one part Kahlua, so scale it up or down to suit your crowd.
1 cup Kahlua liqueur (or a similar liqueur)
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 litre cold soda water (Club Soda)
Stir everything together and serve over lots of ice.
New Orleans Gin Fizz
I first had this drink in a fancy bar in New York and, having watched an impressive barkeep do the mixing, I was too intimidated to try it for a long time. I thought my stand mixer would be better than the blender to give the full-on whipped frenzy and I was right.
If eating raw egg white is a concern then you should skip this recipe, because leaving it out just doesn’t give you the texture of the classic drink.
Don’t bother making just one — it’s too much work. But serve it to four or five lucky friends and prepare to be toasted.
The best tip I can offer is to put the whipping cream in the freezer for 10 minutes before you start. And don’t leave out the orange flower water — you can find it in bigger grocery stores these days and it is absolutely delicious here. Unfortunately there is really no substitute, but if you’re determined, you can try a pinch of finely grated orange zest.
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 egg whites
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. lime juice
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 cup milk
3/4 cup gin
1/2 tsp. orange flower water
Beat whipping cream together with egg whites until thick and fluffy — it should fall in ribbons from the beaters but it won’t beat up like dessert topping or meringue. Add the lemon juice, lime juice, sugar, milk, gin and orange flower water. Continue beating until the mixture is completely smooth, thick and creamy. Pour into icy cold glasses and try to drink slowly.
No drink does a better job of summoning summer than this refreshing concoction. Think mojito with a Canadian twist.
If you like to serve fancy cocktails at your parties, then you already know how to make simple syrup. If you’re a novice, it’s easy. Bring equal quantities of sugar and water to a boil; stir until sugar completely dissolves and chill until ice cold. This keeps in the fridge quite a while so make a larger batch and keep it on hand — it might be a good enough excuse for another party.
This jug should serve four, depending on how hot it is outside. If you have lots of mint, then garnish the drink with a fresh sprig sticking right up out of the glass.
1/2 cup simple syrup
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 large sprig fresh mint
1 cup rye whisky
Pour simple syrup and lemon juice in a jug and add mint. With the handle of a wooden spoon, push the mint around a bit — muddling as the bar crowd call it — to release all the essential oils in the mint. Add rye and lots of ice and serve in tall cold glasses.
Cynthia Stone is a writer, editor and teacher in St. John’s. Questions may be sent to her c/o The Telegram, P.O. Box 86, St. John’s, NL, A1E 4N1.