How to Make a Pitcher of Martinis for Your Thanksgiving Party

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
What's better than easy martinis at Thanksgiving? Not much, I tell you.

As I look at the calendar, I realize that my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is sneaking up on me faster than I'd care to know. The refrigerator is getting filled with all manner of tasty treats, and soon the house will be full of food and friends.

With all the madness of Thanksgiving merriment, for many people a little social lubrication is in order. For some it's to help the holidays feel especially merry and bright. For others... the unofficial slogan of Thanksgiving is "I need a freaking drink."


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Improving Coquito, Puerto Rican Coconut Egg Nog: Just Add Chocolate

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
Oh baby, that's what I like!

Count me in as a fan of egg nog. Not that stuff in a carton at the grocery store masquerading as egg nog, mind you, the real stuff laden with egg yolks and cream. And, of course, plenty of brandy and rum.

However, around my house, egg nog has fallen by the wayside. A few years ago, I found something even better: Coquito. It's a Puerto Rican drink that's similar to egg nog, but with the addition of sweet coconut cream.


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Should You Age Egg Nog For a Whole Year?

Categories: Last Call

Coquito In Fridge.JPG
JK Grence
It's time for one of my favorite sights to see in my refrigerator.

It's getting to be that magical time of year when thoughts turn to egg nog. In recent years, I've seen a lot of discussion regarding proper egg nog making technique. To be specific, I'm talking about how long to let egg nog sit in the refrigerator before drinking it.

Due to the inclusion of raw eggs in many an egg nog recipe, quite a few people think it's best to consume it the same day that you make it. It turns out that you can make your egg nog several weeks in advance, and it tastes better than if you made it the same day.


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The Pink Lady Cocktail: Silly Name, Serious Drink

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
It only looks sweet and innocent.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet."

I keep trying to tell myself that it's always true. But let's face it, sometimes you see a product with a name so horrible that you can't bring yourself to try it.

This week's cocktail is fantastic, one that I love making for people when they're in the mood to try something different. But I always tell them the name after I've served it to them and they tell me they like it.

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The Science of the Salty Dog

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

The other day when I was behind the stick, one of my guests ordered a drink that I haven't made in a while, a Salty Dog. It's one of those basic drinks that you learn early on as a bartender, then almost never make because hardly anybody orders them anymore.

It's a variation on the Greyhound, a highball consisting of nothing more than vodka and grapefruit juice. The ingredient that turns a Greyhound into a Salty Dog is easy enough to figure out: salt. Specifically, it gets salt on the rim of the glass, just like on a Margarita.

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How to Make Brain Hemorrhage Shots for Your Halloween Party

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
Eww, gross! (But that's the point.)

In last week's Last Call, I got to show off a punch recipe with a sanguine hue. It's great for just about any variety of Halloween party you can imagine, especially one that leans more toward the sophisticated end of the Halloween party spectrum.

However, there's a lot of fun to be had in silly, kitschy Halloween parties. You know the kind. People dress up as lascivious versions of... well, pretty much anything you can imagine. And there's probably going to be lots of shots.


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How to Make Halloween Black Currant Blood Punch

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
Oooh, spooky.

I'm more than a little excited that Halloween is almost here. Part of my excitement is that Halloween parties can be some of the most enjoyable soirées of the year. The mix of spooky kitsch and childhood nostalgia is irresistible.

Of course, now that we're grown-ups, our Halloween parties are a little more fun thanks to the addition of spooky cocktails. But there's a problem with a lot of Halloween cocktail recipes.

They suck.


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Give the French 75 Cocktail a Tropical Twist with a Colonel's Big Opu

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

I find the classic French 75 a perenially enjoyable cocktail. It's a simple but elegant affair of champagne spiked with gin and a splash of lemon. It's sort of a Tom Collins with an extra kick.

See also: The French 75: Not French, But It's So Good, Who Cares?

While the French 75's simplicity is part of its allure, it's also its Achilles heel. It's almost a little too simple. What can you do to dust off the old French 75 to breathe in some new life but keep its elegant character?


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Jazz Up Brunch with New Orleans Milk Punch

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
Good morning!

Can I declare patio brunch season open? I'm excited enough about the change in seasons that this night owl bartender is almost willing to get out of bed before noon.

Almost.

My favorite part of brunch is, of course, the accompanying cocktails. After all, without them, brunch is just a late breakfast, right?

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How to Make Computer-Created Ivorian Bourbon Punch

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

There's a decent chance you're familiar with Watson, IBM's artificial intelligence computing project. Its most noteworthy public appearance was a few years ago on the classic quiz show Jeopardy!, where it beat the tar out of the game's two best human players.

More recently, the team of people in charge of Watson have turned to culinary pursuits. At SXSW in Austin, IBM ran a food truck with Watson as the executive chef.

To get Watson to come up with a dish, Watson's handlers enter three things in something of a game of culinary Mad Libs. They give Watson a region of the world, a feature ingredient, and a type of dish.


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