|One of Schochet's cartoons.|
It's a pleasant two-edged sword, of course. The casual imbibers may find they don't know how to become involved with the chemistry of the whole process. Their hosts may not know enough about shedding the "standard" cocktails in favor of some more drinkable concoctions that will please their guests.
With that in mind, today I'm beginning "41 Days of Drinks," a series of postings that might help both sides of the cocktail equation -- the late-to-the-party imbibers and the party hosts.
Of course, if you're in a big hurry to get started -- perhaps some practice is in order if you're not well versed in making cocktails -- you can always spring for one of the many cocktail recipe books that have been around for a while. My favorite is a 10-year-old one called "The Ultimate Little Martini Book," by Ray Foley, founder of Bartender magazine. It contains more than 1,000 "martini" recipes, and you probably can find copies available on craigslist or even at some used bookstores.
I put the word "martini" in quotes because many of the recipes are not what modern mixologists would classify as true martinis. It would be more accurate to substitute the word "cocktail" for "martini" in this instance. Other than that, it's an entertaining 4-by-6-inch book that contains not only cocktail recipes, but a series of drinks-related cartoons by the artist Bob Schochet, a resident of Highland Mills, Orange County. Accompanying illustrations here provide a look at the book cover and one of the cartoons.
Meanwhile, here is the first in the aforementioned series of cocktail recipes for the holidays, selected from my archives. Providing them now will give you time to search out any unusual ingredients. Feel free to let me know your reactions to any of them as I provide you with a daily drink idea right up until New Year's Eve.
This selection comes from my review of the book "¡HOLA TEQUILA!," created in 2012 by an acquaintance of mine, the drinks writer Colleen Graham. It seems particularly apropos for an apple-growing area like ours.
1½ fluid ounces tequila
1 fluid ounce unfiltered apple cider
½ fluid ounce fresh lemon juice
¼ fluid ounce créme de cassis
Build the ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir well, garish with thin apple slices and serve.