God, what a couple of weeks that just was. Between hellacious work demands and the decline of an ailing, elderly cat, I’ve had precious few minutes to spend to myself, or — you might notice — typing away at this contraption.
But hey, the deadlines are behind me, the cat has briefly rallied and look — it’s Mixology Monday. Not too bad for the beginning of the week.
Another time when I had such a bruising stretch of calendar, I pacified myself at the end with a little tiki sledgehammer known as the Tahitian. But that was several MxMos back, when the theme was Exotic drinks and a rum-wielding relaxation machine like that was perfectly in accordance with the rules. This time around, though, the host is Rick over at Martini Lounge, and for his round Rick has decided to have us all drink Shooters.
This is the point where I have to admit I was stymied. Usually when a MxMo theme is proposed, I have a few ideas that spring to mind right away — either drinks I’ve had and enjoyed, drinks I’ve been meaning to try, or styles of drinks I’ve been meaning to experiment with. Shooters didn’t really fit any of those categories; aside from images of Pousse Cafes I’ve seen in books and on the Web, and the sole, unsatisfying Kamikaze someone ordered me on my 21st birthday — and, by the way, just no — I had no idea what to do.
Fortunately I wasn’t alone — Erik from eGullet posed a similarly clueless inquiry to Rick, who responded: “A shot is really anything in a shot glass or a small glass that is pretty much one gulp. That’s probably the easiest explanation. A Sex on the Beach is a large mixed drink, but an Oatmeal Cookie is a shot. As an example.” Now, usually when I’m too stupid to figure out a drink, I’ll either hit the books, or go ask a local expert — hey, Murray! — but as luck would have it, shooters are pretty scarce in the books in my collection, and Murray — well, ask him for a shooter and you’ll likely receive a polite cough; that’s why I drink there. I could, of course, go to another bar in town, one that specializes in such things, but I’m a balding guy with two kids and a 40th birthday roaring down the pike. I go through life feeling ridiculous enough without having to sit on a barstool in the U District, asking a 22-year-old bartender for things that make me blush to mention. Again, just no.
So, I cheated.
Technically, this probably isn’t a shot, if for no other reason than there’s likely too much liquid in the glass to get down your gullet in one. You could, of course, split it with someone, and that’d be perfectly fine, so I’ll argue that it fits the intent of the theme. With that in mind I offer the official shooter of the Cocktail Chronicles: the Bone.
A David Wondrich original, the Bone is actually kind of fun, in a rabid pit bull kind of way. And the reason I think it fits — albeit none too cleanly — in the neighborhood of “shooters” is because of its brutish character. With a full measure of double-ought whiskey, prepped with citrus and sugar and fuelled with fiery spice, the Bone is not something you want to linger over before dinner. No, it’s the kind of drink that demands to be finished in a few quick gulps, leaving you gasping after each sharp swallow while suppressing a slight whimper. Afterward, you’ll feel flushed with the pleasant heat of liquor and spice, and oddly in the mood to head out and take in a boxing match. Either that or a demolition derby.
Okay, so it doesn’t have technicolor layers, it doesn’t taste like a dessert and it has nothing in common with a sex act (unless its the kind that leaves you needing an extensive regimen of antibiotics). I suppose you could concoct something lewd out of the name, though since you asked, it comes from the (defunct) Chickenbone Cafe in Brooklyn, where this was the house drink (so I’m told). Is it a shooter? I’m not sure — the Bone isn’t something I want to argue with too much. But, it’s the closest you’ll ever find around here.
(from Killer Cocktails, by David Wondrich)
- 2 ounces Wild Turkey 101-proof rye [it's also great with the Wild Turkey 101-proof bourbon --ed.]
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon rich simple syrup [2 parts demerara sugar heated in 1 part water until dissolved, and cooled]
- 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
Shake with ice and strain into small tumbler or large shot glass. Don’t let it linger.
Once I get motivated enough, I plan to mix up a batch of Charles H. Baker’s Hellfire Bitters, and give them a spin in this in lieu of Tabasco. Should I have any throat lining left after that experiment, I’ll report back here.