Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day weekend beverages

Is everyone coming back to your place after the morning Memorial Day parade? Looking for something for the adults to enjoy while lounging in the lounge chairs on the patio? Barb Webb has a few suggestions for that kick-off-the-summer drink. The most interesting among them, the Alaska Ice Tea.

Named after our 49th state is a wonderfully cool treat, just right for a Memorial Day barbeque.
½ Shot of Gin
½ Shot of Vodka
½ Shot of White Rum
½ Shot of Cointreau
½ Shot of Blue CuraÁao
7UP or Sprite
In a tall cocktail glass half filled with ice, layer each shot in order listed. Top off with soda and enjoy!

For those with a more traditional bent, the Long Island Iced Tea, properly made, is always a favorite.

The Long Island Iced Tea (LIIT) is the basis of many elaborate mixed-drinks. It dates to the 70's, named after the USA's largest island, Long Island, in New York. Although it doesn't contain tea, it's taste is similar. The drink sits in the top 5 of most popular cocktails and is regularly mentioned or seen served in television and films (worthy mentions are The Simpsons, Sex and the City and Cruel Intentions).

1 part vodka
1 part tequila
1 part rum
1 part gin
1 part triple sec
1 1/2 parts sweet and sour mix
1 splash Coca-Cola®

Mix ingredients together over ice in a glass. Pour into a shaker and give one brisk shake. Pour back into the glass and make sure there is a touch of fizz at the top. Garnish with lemon.

Wikipedia has the origin and controversy surrounding this popular drink:

Up until late 2006 evidence suggested that Long Island Iced Tea was first served in the late 1970s by Robert (Rosebud) Butt, a bartender at the Oak Beach Inn, in the Town of Babylon, Long Island, New York. [1] but then the true origin of Long Island Iced Tea revealed itself to the world when a descendant of its creator stepped forward and provided the origin recipe and story to short story author JS Moore. The true anecdote has subtle differences but is pretty much standard recipe except maple syrup is used in place of gomme syrup. This gives the drink a sweeter and less alcoholic taste. Charles Bishop, an up in years common man/moonshiner in the hills of Tennessee in an area called Long Island, first concocted the drink in the early 1930s, in case his bootleg joint was raided. He passed the recipe along to his son and the Bishops sold more Long Island Iced Tea than they did white homebrew. It bottled well and was popular enough than when bigger name bootleggers (The Cleek Brothers) partnered with Bishop the drink was a contagious favorite wherever they went with their dealings. Tennessee remained a "dry" state up until late 1970 which is why no one claimed first concocting it until recently. [2]

For those of you looking forward to the beers of summer, The Isthmus has an update on some of the microbreweries. I'm not a big fan of the hefeweizen myself, so I'm curious to try a Kölsch.

A similar style, the Kölsch, is lighter in color and body, with a little more emphasis on hops amidst the backdrop of grainy flavors. Kölsch takes its name from Köln, Germany, where it originated. JT Whitney's Pub and Brewery on Madison's west side plans to release its annual rendition around the Fourth of July. The downtown Great Dane will likewise release one later in the season.

I'm also lamenting the trend to more and more fruit flavors in beer. Note this from the article:

Elsewhere, New Glarus Brewing makes Edel Pils, a copper colored lager with firm flavor that is great for the warmer days of summer. Brewmaster Dan Carey is also making up a special batch of Berliner Weiss that is fermented in oak tanks with additions of Rhine grapes. Deb Carey, company president and wife of the brewmaster, calls this beer a wonderful marriage of wine and beer, one that offers a spritzy and tart character.

There is a great deal of anticipation in Mount Horeb, where Mark Duchow of the Grumpy Troll Restaurant and Brewery is working on his summer creation. Duchow has plans for a cranberry lambic that should be on tap at the brewpub next month. It is sure to offer some strong fruity tones.

Another brew worth looking for this summer is the downtown Great Dane's Wheatwine, still a couple of weeks from being released. Head Brewer Eric Brusewitz used 40% wheat malt in his recipe and then allowed the beer to condition for over two-months. The expected result will be a hazy orange-copper color, with a slight sweetness to the taste, but a unique hopping scheme leaves a "grape fruity" finish.

I feel like the guy who walks into a Starbucks and asks, "Can I please just have a regular cup of coffee, black?"

Oh wait, that is me.