Heads up, drinkbostonians: Josey Packard, one of Boston’s best bartenders, will appear tonight on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC (9:00 p.m. EST) to mix up a flaming bowl of Christmas Rum Punch. Go, Josey, go!
Regular viewers know that Maddow often closes her political talk show with a bit on cocktails — I recall Dale DeGroff mixing Irish coffees on the set earlier this year. More recently, Maddow shared with her audience an investigative coup: an actual drink menu from one of the Obamas’ regular White House cocktail parties. As you see in the short video segment above, she not only described the cocktails (the Emerson, the Stone Fence and the Frost) but explained some of their ingredients (applejack, maraschino liqueur), named and photographed the bartenders who served them (Derek Brown and Adam Bernbach), pointed out that bartending is an American invention, and signed off with this delicious nugget: “And remember, Martinis do not contain vodka.”
Packard, a friend of Maddow’s who did guest spots about cocktails on the latter’s radio show back in her Air America days, will make a punch recipe adapted from the 1949 edition of Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts, about which Paul Clarke writes humorously on Cocktail Chronicles. I got a live preview at a recent Christmas party as Josey did a (not so) dry run of the flaming punch for the assembled guests. It was very cool, what with all the spices and orange oil making sparks as they were tossed into the bowl. Even the sternest Scrooge would be uplifted by this vessel of flaming goodness.
Watch the show, congratulate Josey the next time you’re at Drink, and have a merry Christmas!
President Obama, acknowledging his part in spurring the media circus around the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. through his “stupid” remark about the case (which has by now been downgraded from Exhibit A: Racial Profiling Epidemic to Unfortunate Incident), and wanting to shut that circus down so that we can resume talking about life-and-death stuff like health care and the war in Afghanistan, is having Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley over to the White House on Thursday for a beer.
Whether or not we agree that this particular presidential summit is warranted, I think we can agree on the notion of getting together over a beer to solve problems. It should happen way more often. But hearing what kind of beer each gentleman requested disappointed me. From the Reuters blogs:
Asked what beer the president might have, [Spokesman Robert] Gibbs observed that Obama drank a Budweiser at the baseball All-Star Game a couple of weeks ago.
“Sgt. Crowley mentioned when the president offered this on the phone Friday that he likes Blue Moon,” said Gibbs. Blue Moon is a Belgian-style white beer brewed by Molson Coors.
Gates told the Boston Globe he was a fan of Red Stripe, a Jamaican lager, and Beck’s, a German lager.
Oh, god. Bud, Blue Moon and Beck’s? Really, gentlemen? Is the meeting at a Ruby Tuesday’s or something? Not to mention the fact that every one of these brews is made by a global conglomerate. Can I interest you in something still well-known (i.e. not “elitist”) but American-made — Sam Adams, maybe? Fitting that it originates from the city across the river from the incident. Or maybe the Cambridge guys could bring a local brew from their city, while Obama brings a D.C.-made beer to the table. I suggest, given Crowley’s taste for unfiltered wheat ales, that he grab a growler of hefe-weizen from the Cambridge Brewing Co. Mr. President, you bring some Capitol City Kolsch for yourself and Mr. Gates. That way you get symbolism and flavor.
You’re welcome. Let me know if I can be of any further help.
1 1/2 oz Hendrick’s gin
1/2 oz green Chartreuse
1/2 oz fresh cucumber puree (peel and blend cucumber, then pass through a sieve)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz grapefruit juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of cucumber. (Don’t want to make a puree? If you’re making this cocktail for one or just a few guests, you can just muddle a few slices of peeled cucumber in a shaker.)