Monday, October 17, 2011

Cowboy Cocktails



2 oz. Bourbon
1/2 oz. Punt e Mes
1/2 oz. Berentzen Apfelkorn
1/4 oz. Simple syrup (optional)
1 dash Angostura bitters

Build in a rocks glass and stir well. Add a single large hunk of ice and garnish with a wide strip of tangerine peel.

I like whiskey. It goes well with so many things, including cowboy movies. However, I should point out that Westerns weren't always my thing. When I was a young kid, I'd usually lean toward films featuring either robots or guys with swords.* Westerns struck me as dull, plodding, and one-dimensional, so I pretty much avoided them.

But somewhere in my high school years I discovered a few of Clint Eastwood's flicks from the 70's and 80's and it sparked a mild interest in the genre. Running across movies like High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider led me to explore his earlier stuff, mainly the iconic Sergio Leone films like A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good The Bad and the Ugly. Eastwood was probably a gateway figure for a lot of people unacquainted with Westerns...he certainly was for me.

These "Spaghetti Westerns" seemed like the antidote to my indifference toward traditional cowboy movies. To me, they corrected everything that was wrong with all the other Westerns: The characters weren't clip-art versions of good guys and villains. The camera work was nontraditional. And the music was both jarring and beautiful. These European reimaginings of American folklore were what made me a fan of the Western (or at least some of them), and I've been trying to find good ones ever since..

Back to whiskey (this is a boozeblog after all, not a film appreciation site). I'm always on the lookout for ways to drink whiskey. Simply dumping some in a glass (one of my favorite approaches) is efficient, but not terribly inspired. Finding other stuff to mix with whiskey is challenging as well as rewarding, and most cocktail enthusiasts enjoy the task.

Speaking of cocktail enthusiasts and their tasks...

A while ago, a bunch of them (including yours truly) gathered for the weekly virtual boozefest known as Thursday Drink Night. As is usually the case, lots of recipes got thrown around, and the one above was my contribution that particular night. Whiskey was the starting point, and since whiskey often makes me think of Westerns, I wanted to give a nod to the guy who came up with the signature sounds everyone knows from the Leone/Eastwood films. A splash of Punt e Mes as a hat-tip to Italy paired up fine with a good belt of Bourbon, so the foundation was laid. A dose of one of my favorite underused cocktail ingredients, Berentzen Apfelkorn, gave it a little dimension and the trusty ango/simple combo fleshed it all out.

Oh, and as a final note, whiskey goes great with TV shows about cowboys too. I find it's a great accompaniment for episodes of Deadwood (Provided some sheepf***ing c***sucker doesn't drink it all without my knowledge).

*which are still probably my favorite types of movies.


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So trying this one out this weekend.