Saturday, May 12, 2012

Retirement Tools — Mixology for Retirees

In my early twenties I enjoyed a rum and Coke now and then. I had a Black Russian phase when I was traveling on business in my late twenties. In my thirties, I joined my father for an occasional gin and tonic on visits to my childhood home on summer weekends. These days I’m into good wine and cold beer, not hard liquor or mixed drinks. Still, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share new mixology for retirees.

First, some general information regarding cocktails and mixed drinks. You might wonder when it’s proper to shake the frozen concoction and when to stir it. This is more complicated than “shake if you’re making it for James Bond and stir if you’re in Margaritaville.” Here’s what I learned through my on-line sleuthing.

You shake a cocktail that has egg or dairy additives, including cream liqueurs. Likewise if it has fruit juices or syrups. Shaking makes it cloudy and effervescent. Strain it and the cloudiness should clear up. You also shake a mixed drink if you want to show off your new bar equipment.

You stir a cocktail that contains only distilled spirits or light mixers. Stirring is supposedly a gentler way to mix. Gin and whiskey cocktails are stirred so you don’t "bruise" the liquor. This makes little sense to me. Stuff that hard shouldn’t bruise easily. If you’ve paid careful attention, you’ll have concluded (correctly) that true martinis should be stirred, not shaken. That makes James Bond a contrarian (surprise, surprise). Plus, he drank vodka martinis, so all bets were off anyway.

Moving on to specific cocktails, the drink my mother favored when she went out with her lady friends was the Fuzzy Navel. The ingredients are peach schnapps and orange juice. Several online sites say to pour these into a glass filled with ice cubes and stir well. If your short-term memory still functions, you’ll realize that this flies in the face of the basic rules for shake vs. stir. It’s a good thing my mother didn’t know those rules, because she was not a contrarian; she was a joiner.

Variations found online include the Hairy Navel, which adds vodka, the Pierced Navel (adds grenadine), and the Not-So-Fuzzy Navel (adds grapefruit juice). But you can Google ‘til the cows come home and you won’t find a recipe for the Linty Navel. It’s a new cocktail made especially for retirees. It combines peach schnapps, calcium enriched OJ with no pulp, and the white of one large egg, poached. Shake all these together and serve over chilled tapioca bubbles.

Another variation on the Fuzzy Navel is the Fuzzy Ear Canal, also a specialty for retirees. In addition to the peach schnapps, you add equal parts peach brandy, curaçao liqueur and grenadine. Leave out the orange juice and forget about ice. Shake or stir; you won’t be able to tell the difference. By the time you empty your glass, all your senses will be impaired, but especially your hearing. You’ll swear that everything is being filtered through cotton balls in your ears.

A particularly stiff mixed drink I found is the Bristly Chin Hair. Combine three parts gin and two parts each vermouth and crème de menthe with one part Silver Needles White Tea. Brew the tea in boiling water for five minutes, then cool it in the freezer before adding to the alcohol mixture. Stir vigorously with a stainless steel drink whisk. If you made this right, the whisk should stand upright. You, on the other hand, will be stretched sideways after you drink it.

My research turned up a lesser-known drink—The Devil’s Handshake (a sweet and tart combo of fruits and tequila). You probably haven’t heard of the retiree variation—The Devil’s Middle Finger. It shares with the full hand 1½ parts tequila, ¾ parts lime juice and a teaspoon of ginger puree. After that, the Middle Finger goes its own way. Add a mouthful of light cream, a smidgeon of muddled papaya and a handful of trampled gooseberries. Shake vigorously until your middle finger hurts like the devil.

Finally, you’ll want to file away the recipe for the Metamucil Mudslide. Like a conventional Mudslide, you use 1½ ounces of Bailey's Irish Cream and ½ ounce of Kahlua. Separately, mix chocolate syrup with a tablespoon of Metamucil and coat the inside rim of the glass with this mixture. Fill the glass with ice and pour in the liqueurs. Be sure to lick off everything coating the glass if you want your mud to just slide on its way.

You’re free to go off now to practice your retirees’ mixology. What are you waiting for? Shake a leg and create a stir with your new cocktails. You can thank me later.

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