Filed By Alex Blaze | April 13, 2007 9:03 AM | comments
Filed in: Living
What's your favorite mixed drink?
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I do love a cosmo, but my Favorite? I'd have to say mojito.
Gotta be a Long Island Ice Tea. I can never make a decision on my favorite liquor. This has a little bit of everything!
Chatham Artillery Punch, a Savannah specialty with a Hoosier connection. I use a recipe that's a mixture of my stepmother's next door neighbor's in their Junior League Low Country cookbook and my "Uncle" Arthur Gordon's more traditional one in the Christ Church cookbook. Caution to the unaware: There's a recipe circulating on the web that substitutes Catawba wine for the Madeira. It is a low-class cracker fraud. If you can't find a suitable Madeira (the best have been shipped in casks on ships under slow sail across the Atlantic from Portugal then allowed to age a bit more in dank, humid basements along the riverfront no further upriver than the salt water exceeds the fresh), use a hefty, buttery, oak-aged white.
The Chatham Artillery was the cream of the crop of local militias. George Washington thought so much of them that he presented them with a pair of cannon for their service during the Revolutionary War. Drills were periodically held where competitions abounded in various military skills and a dance was held in the evening at which punch was served -- each militia having its own recipe vying for designation as the best of the gathering. Legend has it that, when the Chatham Artillery Punch recipe was concocted, it was declared the winner in perpetuity.
It is made along the lines of a Long Island Iced Tea with many liquors, wine, tea, sugars, and fruits mixed together in large crocks that are then covered with cheesecloth and put in hot, humid Savannah attics and other upper rooms to ferment. Uncle Arthur says that some of the town's gentlemen have built special rooms for the fermenting and tasting of this potion -- rooms that have apparently been devised with a revolving feature -- periodic tasting being necessary to achieving a proper end-product. We must warn, however, that no amount of tasting will make one immune to its powerful effects.
This leads to the Hoosier angle of this story. Benjamin Harrison, fresh from war victory, was the featured speaker at a meeting of the Chatham Artillery. He, too, was warned about the punch but, apparently, paid his hosts no heed. The newspaper account of the event went something like this: "The Chatham Artillery hosted war hero, Benjamin Harrison, at their gathering last evening. Attendees reported that the guest's speech was rather odd but the band played very nicely."
I used to have a home on a corner of the St. Patrick's Day Parade route and held an annual parade-watching party at which I served the punch. From that experience, may I please profer a bit of advice:
1) Eschew trying to dye the stuff green as it will turn the same unappetizing muddy color the river does when the city fathers try to dye it. Instead, substitute green cherries for red ones and dye the pineapple green for that festive holiday touch.
2) Use the Junior League recipe's greater proportion of champagne (added just before serving) version for the first bowl served, reverting to the stiffer Christ Church proportions only when the crowds have sufficiently gathered on the sidewalks below to break your guests falls should they imbibe past two servings and begin doing headers off your balconies.
Wow, that takes the cake, Marla!
I like me some long island here.
Morgans Spiced Rum, with real lemonade, and just a splash of sprite.
Here's another thumbs up for the Cosmo.. and the mojito is a yummy one too.. But really Id be happy with anything with a 98% Alc. content.. martini's of various flavors.
Not very adventurous, I know, but in a Mexican restaurant the frozen blended Margarita, original flavor --- I sometimes go get the Mexican dinner for an excuse to get the Margarita. And only one --- the second one will put me under the table. And I snore.
In a bar, I often order a Tequila Sunrise. Yeah, very Boomer of me, isn't it?