I hop in the Lyft I requested minutes ago. As I sit into the front seat bottles can be heard clanking and clinking. “How’s your day going,” the driver asks. To which I reply, “It’s about to get better. Heading to a friend’s to have some cocktails.” This is how most of my Lyft rides to Eric’s house start out. I tell the driver about what we’re up to and he’s instantly in, so I start the sell with the A-1 Pick-Me-Up recipe. Turns out he’s also a cook and loves the idea of the lemon and eggs. My spiel comes to a close as we arrive at Eric’s house. As I get out of the car the driver shuffles for a pen and paper, and asks for the website. The ride has given me a boost. I hope this positive vibe finds its way into the cocktails for the day.
We have a guest drinker for the day; Eric’s friend Jason is in town for the weekend. Jason is the friend that traded basketball shoes with Eric for a bottle of Lagavulin. Jason is a former college professor in literature who likes peaty scotches–now he is an administrator, but he still likes peaty scotches. The day is getting even better with another boozy scholar to give insightful thoughts on our impending libations.
I brought over a couple bottles of mocha stout I brewed for everybody to taste. Eric and Jason tell me they wrestled more than a few Black Scottish Cyclops last night so starting with a few beers is a good idea. Everyone is also quite hungry so we start with food as well; nothing like starting with a good base. Looking at the first recipe I wonder if tuna melts were a good idea.
Our first drink is the AFTER DINNER.
1.5 oz. apricot brandy (Rothman and Winter Orchard Apricot)
1.5 oz. curaçao (Ferrand Dry Curaçao)
2 oz. lime juice
Combine with ice; shake. Strain. Add a twist of lime and ice. Drop in the peel.
This week we recorded our tasting notes so we could remember all of the good points. [We present these tasting notes in modified screenplay format, due to the cinematic (and tragicomic) nature of our session.]
It’s not as sour as we anticipated. I like it.
It tastes like a foamy daiquiri. That’s by far the
best drink we’ve had.
That’s a pretty good drink.
Just so you know we’re after lowbrow tasting
notes here. You have to understand that every time
we’ve been doing this we’ve had nothing but horrible drinks.
That’s drinkable. That’s good.
If all of our drinks were this good I wouldn’t
be as depressed.
You drink a lot of these you’re going
to get heartburn.
Because of all the citrus.
It really comes on at the end.
The citrus? I get that right away. Then I get a little apricot
and it ends orangey.
I don’t pick up the apricot in that drink.
But if you knew what the apricot liqueur tasted
like you might pick it up. It’s definitely citrusy
but I wouldn’t change anything.
Right. Who knew?
Ten point scale? I’ll give it a 7 but because
I have no context. I’m basing it on cocktails
I like, not cocktails in the A section.
It’s like figure skating where you give it a 7
because you don’t know what’s coming next. But we
are finding that lately were giving a lot of 2s and 3s.
That’s like everybody doing a triple axel but
everyone has been falling. This is at least on pace.
It has the least amount of failure. This drink fails the least.
It’s a good summer drink. The ladies that like
white wine are going to like this one.
SCORES: Brian 8.5, Eric 8, Jason 7
Our next drink is the AFTER DINNER SPECIAL. This one uses the Swedish punsch we made earlier and the Cherry Heering (a cherry liqueur from Denmark). Naturally we have to do a little tasting. We start out with the punch, which we talked about last week—we still plan on buying some Kronan Swedish Punsch to see how close our homemade version compares but that will have to be another post. Now to taste the Cherry Heering.
Probably not meant to be drunk by itself but
you can get a taste of what it is.
This is better than the Swedish punsch.
I like it.
I like it too. I thought it was going to be more
cough syrupy and I’m not getting that.
Not like the sour cherry and Wild turkey infusion
I made. That’s super thick—it’s like Robitussin.
“What I’m getting here is Robitussin.”
Grind up some ibuprofen and some decongestant and
you’ve got your homemade Robitussin. The Cherry
Heering is a product of Sweden. [It is actually a
product of Denmark.]
The Swedes make some good stuff.
This is an unexpectedly Scandinavian event today.
There’s not a lot to do in the winter…
It gets dark at 2 P.M.
“Let’s make booze!”
I also brought over some kirschwasser (an eau de vie from cherry juice) to taste in comparison to the Cherry Heering.
Now this kirchwasser smells way boozier compared
to the Cherry Heering. This is booze right here.
I’m scared, Brian.
Whatever. It’s not as harsh as I thought it was
going to be.
You can smell the harshness. It’s not bad, but it’s not
going to be good in a cocktail.
That coating I had from the Cherry Heering is now gone
because this has burned it all away from my esophagus.
Am I supposed to taste cherry?
It’s just a mere suggestion of cherry. This is like
grappa or something.
Kirschwasser is usually served chilled, neat as an aperitif but some serve it after dinner as a digestif.
On to the AFTER DINNER SPECIAL.
AFTER DINNER SPECIAL
.75 oz. cherry brandy (Cherry Heering)
1.5 oz. Swedish Punsch (homemade)
1 oz. lime juice
Combine with ice; shake. Strain over ice.
It’s good. Lime and Cherry Heering. I can’t taste
the punsch. Not overpowering lime.
The bitter part is the punsch. This is a citrus bomb.
Ladies will like this one.
That’s a drink for a girl that’s seen a thing or two.
I don’t love it but it’s still better than anything we’ve had.
I don’t know how that is possible, but it is. The punsch is
so weird. What would you do to improve this cocktail?
I don’t think I would do anything. It’s just one of
It is what it is. Would you drink this again?
I’m not really sure why this is called the AFTER DINNER SPECIAL. Both of these “after dinner” drinks are not something I would generally have after dinner.
SCORES: Brian 6.5, Eric 5.5, Jason 6.5