Monday, January 20, 2014

Mixology Monday: Highballs

Picture this: You're meeting up with a friend in an area with which you're unfamiliar.  Maybe you're visiting from out of town or simply on a different side of the tracks, but the important part of the story is that your friend takes you to a bar of their choosing, not yours.

You sit down and realize that this joint isn't exactly embracing the craft of mixing its drinks.  Its half-empty bottles of vermouth sit proudly on the back of the bar unrefrigerated with the spirits, the soda gun is overworked, and there's not a bottle of bitters or a fresh piece of citrus in sight.

You're terrified of what the bartender might give you if you order any kind of serious cocktail, but you still want something a little more bright and lively than a glass of whiskey or a pint of something on tap.

This month's Mixology Monday is hosted by Southern Ash, themed Highballs.  Highball drinks are exactly what you need in the scenario above, but let's pretend you're a bit bored with rum & Coke or gin & tonic.  I have a few go-to's for when I'm in these dire situations, and I thank Mr. DiPappa for giving me the opportunity to share them.

As always, those posted below are a bit unorthodox and are designed to give you something a bit different, should you be in the mood.  Your tastes may vary with highball ratios, but I tend to stick with 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of spirit to mixer if I'm making them at home.

Keep these in mind the next time you find yourself cynical in an unknown bar.

Citrus Vodka & Tonic

This combo smacks of gin & tonic, but offers up something a bit different.  Less complex, but more fresh and fruity, you'll find yourself surprised at how well this one works.

Tequila & Coke

Be honest: the reason you like rum & Coke is because the rum disappears in the Coke.  With a few exceptions, most well-priced rums at the bar cannot compete with cola's strong character.  Enter tequila.  Tequila still makes itself known while dipped in Coke, and I daresay is complimented by it.  The spices and citrus oils with which tequila would otherwise pair well are present all at once here.  I've made this drink for a few tequila-fan friends of mine, and the reactions have been revelatory.

Bourbon & Pepsi

Damn, did you manage to find one of the few bars or restaurants that serves Pepsi products over Coke products?  Worry not.  I occasionally find that Pepsi is better for certain things than Coke, and swimming with bourbon is one of them.  First off, the whiskey is better aided by Pepsi's added sweetness, along with a trait of Pepsi's which I might call gaminess or funk.  And in the end, the two ingredients bring out some of the baking spice flavors that they have in common, especially cinnamon.