I’m back in L.A. now, having made the year’s final visit to Seven Grand for yet more cocktail cheer, where Dave took mighty good care of us. I managed to pick up a dose of sniffles and coughing while I was back home, so Dr. Dave first served up something that cures what ails ya:
2 ounces Cognac.
3/4 ounce honey syrup (combine honey and hot water 1:1 to make).
Nutmeg and star anise.
Grate a bit of nutmeg and star anise into a small stemmed glass (an Irish coffee glass would work well). Add the Cognac, honey syrup and hot water and stir to combine. Garnish with a nice oily lemon peel.
Next up was a tall drink Dave whipped up, also medicinal, with fresh grated ginger and rye. He asked me which rye I wanted and I wanted one with a punch (well, it’s medicinal after all), so we went with the new release of Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, which I love. It’s powerful, coming in at 127.5 proof, and it screams “RYE!” at you, big and spicy and fruity. I felt it could stand up to all the other ingredients and still be assertive, and that it was. (Given the way I’m still coughing as I write this, I should go upstairs and make another one right now.)
2 ounces rye whiskey.
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice.
1/2 ounce simple syrup.
1/2 ounce pineapple juice.
1-2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger, to taste.
1 egg white.
Grate some fresh ginger into a shaker and add the whiskey, juices, syrup and egg white. Shake like mad until cold and frothy. Strain into a tall glass with ice, then top off with a bit of seltzer. Garnish with a slice of fresh ginger.
Next I wanted an Old Fashioned but with a whiskey I had never had before. Dave immediately recommended the 2008 release of William Larue Weller Bourbon, the fifth member of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection which had somehow eluded me all this time. It’s undoubtedly my obsession with the Sazerac 18 year rye and the Handy Rye, plus the “haz-mat” George T. Stagg and the lovely Eagle Rare 17 that had kept me distracted. I’m sorry I waited, although I had read later that previous years’ releases of WLW were somewhat weak. Not this one.
This is a gorgeous whiskey, not as punchy as a rye (it’s wheated, as I recall) but it gets a lot from the wood — vanilla, caramel and holiday spices like cinnamon. It’s also beautifully smooth, with no alcohol burn despite its high proof (125.3). I’m gonna have to dig some of this up if I can (limited availability and all), as if I haven’t already spent a fortune on whiskey the last couple of weeks …
Then home and off to bed. We’ve got smothered cabbage and black-eyed peas to make tomorrow.