Monday, May 13, 2013

Sacrilege! (But it's Still a Good Idea...)

As you know, I bartend in Wisconsin. To my local readers, what I'm about to write may initially seem like sacrilege. Even if you don't live here, I bet you're familiar with my State's reputation. We lead the nation... in binge drinking. We never quit drinking, we just switch to beer. As distasteful as it is to consider, we may be the inventors of the Puke-n-Rally. 

Blame  it on our ancestors: the State was settled by the Germans and the Irish, both cultures clearly associated with drinking. We drink to celebrate, we drink to commiserate. We drink in remembrance, and we drink to forget. When I launched the Great Sconnie Sip-Off last year, I wanted a cocktail competition that would focus on the flavors of our locally produced spirits and other ingredients -- not just a Race to Get Wasted.

I have long been a proponent of the subtle effects of alcohol, having seen (and experienced) the deleterious effects of overindulgence. So when I was contacted last week by Alcohol Professor to write an article on Low-ABV cocktails, it seemed like the perfect synergy of my message and their platform. 

As I was creating recipes with a lighter alcohol-to-total volume ratio, I was necessarily trying them out as I went along. The thing I noticed and enjoyed the most was how easy it was to stay clear-headed. There are lots of good health-and-safety reasons to give this a try, but the reason I liked the best was how it kept me in control of my buzz, instead of rushing me toward intoxication. 

Here are a few recipes to try, and there will be more on Wednesday over at Alcohol Professor for you to see and share. Here's to long afternoons of safe summer drinking!

Spicy Melon Cooler (3.46 ABV)
1.5 oz. Martini Bianco Vermouth
3 oz. Watermelon Juice
1 oz. Lime Juice
4 Cucumber Wheels
                                    .25" Habanero Slice
Salt half the rim of a Coupe or Cocktail glass. Muddle the Cucumber Wheels (and Habanero, if desired). Add all other ingredients and shake vigorously for a slow count of ten. Double strain into prepared glass and serve.

Ginger Bombshell (4.6% Total ABV)
1 oz. Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
.5 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
3 oz. Orange Juice
.02 oz. Amerique 1912 Absinthe Verte
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Rinse a Coupe or Cocktail glass with Absinthe and discard any excess. Combine Ginger and Orange Liqueurs and Bitters and shake vigorously for a slow count of ten. Strain into prepared glass and top with Orange Juice.

Pie for Dessert (3.31 Total ABV)
1 oz. Travis Hasse's Apple Pie Liqueur
.5 oz. Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
3 oz. Apple Juice
1 oz. Lemon Juice

Combine Apple Pie and Ginger Liqueurs with Bitters and Lemon Juice.  Shake vigorously for a slow count of ten. Add Apple Juice and roll. Strain into a tumbler filled with crushed ice. Lemon twist garnish, if desired.