Tuesday, April 29, 2014

California Bookstore Day Julep

We've talked, you and I, about California Bookstore Day.  You can read about that here

To recap - it's happening statewide this Saturday and different stores are doing all sorts of different celebratory things.  In Alameda?  Drinks will be flowing about 7 pm.  I've had one ready to go - the CBD Bell-Ringer - but I wanted to offer an easier one, something anyone could mix with ingredients that just might already be at hand.  And, coincidentally?  California Bookstore Day?  This Saturday - May 3rd?  Why, it also happens to be the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby.  And nothing says the Derby like a julep - so, here's the California Bookstore Day Julep.

You don't have to serve it in a vintage glass - like the one pictured down there, from 1973, when Secretariat ran a race for the ages.

But if you have a Derby glass, by all means - use it.

I substituted Osocalis Apple Brandy for the bourbon in homage to my friends at Green Apple Books.  They're the driving force behind the festivities on Saturday, so cheers to them.  Apple mint is delightful and adds a touch of fruitiness to the mint you're used to.  If you can't find it, please substitute regular mint.  Also, while you can use any apple brandy, the distillers at Osocalis make my favorite - it's a little bit of heaven in a bottle.  So, again, cheers!

Love that glass, right?

California Bookstore Day Julep:

2.5 oz. Osocalis Apple Brandy
.5 oz. simple syrup
Apple mint leaves

Stir the brandy and simple syrup with ice.  Strain into a collins glass filled with crushed ice.  Garnish with mint leaves and a Green Apple slice.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Boston helps create the theme song for Drinks With Nick

Drinks With Nick now has a theme song thanks to my friends Randy Strauss and John Hansen.

Three years ago, Karen's family took a vacation that included Boston.  On our travels, I ran into the Oldest Bar in America.  Randy and John read my postcard about it and then they wrote this song.

I'd been meaning to put pictures to their words but thought video production was out of my league.  This video probably proves that point - but the song's fun, so there's that.  And then Boston's been in the news so much with the anniversary of the tragedy from last year, so I thought, finally, I'd get this up on the day of the Boston Marathon this year.

Without further ado - The Oldest Drunk in America.  Words and Music by Randy Strauss and John Hansen.  Images by me.

Thanks, Randy.  Thanks, John.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Two Cocktails - Euphoria and a Painted Horse

Getting to meet authors is one of the best parts of being a bookseller, and I get to meet two this evening - so double the fun.

Lily King has written a stunner of a novel based on Margaret Mead's work and her relationships with two of her husbands.  Euphoria takes place in Papua New Guinea in the '30's and has echoes of Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene while being wholly the work of a wonderful writer.

Malcolm Brooks, in turn, delivers a brilliant debut, Painted Horses, full of a West that maybe never was but in his hands is real - and in danger of disappearing forever.

Both books begged for a cocktail, and since the gin flows free at the start of Euphoria, that's where I started - with Old Tom Gin, to satisfy the very English players you'll find in these pages.  The drink had to be easy - they're anthropologists in the field, after all - so it's just the gin and a touch of Byrrh.  And sugar.  They're anthropologists but they don't have to rough it all the time for heaven's sake.

Painted Horses called out for whiskey - we're in Montana in the '50's so that's what we're drinking.  But I wanted to class it up a little bit - paint the horse, in other words - with a few other flavors for Catherine, the novel's young archaeologist who's quickly captivated by big skies and everything under them.


1 jigger Old Tom Gin
10-12 drops Byrrh
1 sugar cube

Prepare a cocktail glass by soaking the sugar cube with the Byrrh.  Shake the gin with ice and strain it carefully into the glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

Painted Horse:

1.5 oz. High West Double Rye
.5 oz Maraschino liqueur
.25 oz St. George Absinthe
.25 oz lemon juice

Stir all with ice.  Strain over.  Enjoy.