Let's just say, I may have started the Cocktails Across America puzzle in the middle of the US simply to get some tequila in my belly.
New Mexico's drink - on the puzzle, at least - was one of the only ways I can stomach grapefruit juice: mixed with tequila. Who doesn't love that lip-puckering, jaw tightening tartness when it's mixed with a little smooth agave love known as the Paloma?
See, here's the funny thing about this puzzle. I seriously doubt the drinks depicted on this map are really THE drink of each state. As an example. Wyoming's is a boilermaker. Um, no. Not really. I've lived there for the majority of my life and I think if a beer drink was the state drink, it would be a red beer.
But it makes sense to have one of the best things about Mexico be in the drinks that border our neighbor to the south. A great combination for a Saturday afternoon snack is a Paloma (or two) and guacamole. Sensing a theme?
Paloma's can be as easy or as complicated to make as you want them be. Juice a grapefruit if you want to be fancy, like the above linked recipe suggests. Or pour grapefruit juice into a glass and top with tequila for those days when adulting is too hard. That's what I did. Because pandemic. I did get a bit fancy-pants like and used fizzy grapefruit juice I found in the liquor mixers aisle. Because fridge space.
Moving next door to New Mexico didn't mean I had to switch liquors. Texas likes to do things big and what better way to do big than to tequila. Tequila is all about going big or going home. And if you go big, finding home isn't that easy, but that's another post.
This was the second drink in my cocktail tour of the US but not the first one where I found multiple recipes. I thought Texas's Mexican Margarita was going to be more Bloody Mary-ish based on the red drawing with cherry tomato garnish. But I chose a recipe that is less red and has a different garnish. As you can obviously tell in the pic.
There are yummy tomato margarita recipes out there. And they sound pretty much like their name (tomato juice, sugar, lime juice, tequila). But the recipe I was lucky enough to Google had one of my favorite margarita additions: olives. And this is where I decided to take a little creative license.
Technically the recipe I used is for a Mexican Martini, but because it had (aka Mexican Margarita) behind it, and because I was feely saucy. I chose the below recipe, sort of:
Mexican Martini (aka Mexican Margarita)
I didn't use aged tequila because I had my loverly bottle of Hornitos plata in the freezer. And I didn't freshly squeeze the lime juice, ain't nobody got time for that. But I did garnish. Because olives are amazing. My go-to margarita in restaurants is an on-the-rocks-no-salt-with-olives one. I sometimes get a raised eyebrow or two, but trust me it's worth it.
So far so good on this jigsaw journey.
I think I'm going East next.
“If you can make bread out of it, you can make whisky out of it,” said Really Smart Guy with the moussed hair at the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Festival. The RSG was a sales rep for The Macallan Scotch Whisky company.
He and RSG2, his partner who looked a bit like Adam Levine, provided us with a Scotch 101 lesson during the annual festival where it appears it’s OK to wear kilts and Crocs. Or kilts and Deadpool masks. Or corsets and flip flops. Anyway . . .
RSG2 talked a lot about the chemistry behind whisky making. Stuff like how yeast eats sugar and how if you spray water on barley it thinks it’s a plant. But no, they mess with the germination process and yada, yada, yada, it turns sort of porridgey … This is a great time to disclose Scotch 101 came after 3 hours of Irish Ales.
We had sips of five of their amber-colored liquid yum during the lesson. Here’s what we learned. Give or take. Apologies in advance for the disjointedness and most likely somewhat inaccurate translation of my notes. Reference the last sentence of the previous paragraph.
After becoming Scotch experts, like the RSG twins, J and I have determined we prefer The Macallan 12 year Sherry Oak to peatier (Highland Park Magnus) or the lighter Macallan Double Cask 12 year or smoky ones like Naked Grouse. But, as we always say: You do you. Just branch out and Scotch it now and again.
Sometimes life just calls for a road trip. A delightful break from the norm. Now before I get judged for not even leaving my state, remember that Wyoming is quite large. I live in this part:
Doing a brewery tour also got us labeled as lushes because every post on FB was about beer. Sometimes food. The occasional Bloody Mary. I am sensing a pattern, but judgers be damned! It was worth it.
I don’t know much about what we Americans call soccer. I didn’t play it as a child nor did any of my kids. Of course, full disclosure: I didn’t have any children, so there is that.
I know almost as much about socc – football as I do about hockey. That is to say, I pick a team (usually because I like the color of its uniforms, or think one of the players is hot, or I like the team’s mascot) and yell encouraging things like “Go!” or “You got this!” or “Kill him!” And I cheer when other people cheer so I look cool.
I picked England and Belgium to be playing for the World Cup championship on July 15. They played July 14. For third place. Congrats Belgium. Tomorrow it’s all about Croatia and France. And in my time zone the match begins at 9 a.m.
And 9 a.m. on a Sunday, for me, means one thing: coffee. But tomorrow, in honor of the two countries playing for the title, I’ve decided boozing is in order. Why not enjoy a little of the crazy the folks in those countries, and all the fans of the two teams, will be embracing?
I won’t pretend to love socc – football, but I can truthfully say I love it when the World Cup rolls around every four years. The world’s football isn’t as popular in our country as America’s football and our fervor for our favorite football teams is crazy. But American football crazy is pretty tame compared to the fanatical world football crazy that takes over the globe for a month.
So for this booze blog entry, I picked two drinks from both countries to try today so you can reap the benefits tomorrow while screaming “Go!” or “You got this!” or “Kill him!”
There is no way I will spend time at (or in) a swimming pool without a tasty beverage in my left hand. Left hand because when I was younger the group of friends I spent time with required beverages to be held left-handed. A beverage in your right hand required pounding said beverage as a punishment for violating the scared left hand only rule. But I digress . . .
My friend MP, whom I’ve known for half her life, turned 50 June 9. She is a pool goddess. If it’s summer, that English (Language Arts) teacher is sunning and funning the day away. Why not combine the milestone birthday with her favorite summer activity? Which meant we also got to combine one of my favorite activities – day drinking – with her party. Saturday perfection.
Pool drinking requires some pre-planning. Obviously no glass bottles. Breaking one of those bastards would ruin a party in a heartbeat. No red wine. Cool chlorinated water, 90-degree sun, and a lounge chair is really no place for a velvety Cabernet Sauvignon. Really pool beverages mean light, cold, refreshing, and because it’s a daylong event, low alcohol content.
So we hit the liquor warehouse. I heart liquor warehouses; I can spend hours there. But that’s another post.
Back in the day when I was a novice drinker, Coors came out with a "refreshing citrus beverage" called Zima. I vividly recall sitting on the deck with my father drinking a Zima spiked with cinnamon schnapps. It was the 90s, be nice.
In 2017, Zima was re-released. I tried quite hard to get my hands on some, just to wax rhapsodic about my youth which is slipping away at an alarming rate. I digress. I did not manage to find any. My memories of my pops and me sharing a quiet afternoon sipping ice cold cinnamon Zima would go forever as just that: memories. However, the other day in the liquor store I spotted Zima in the cooler. Could this be true? Was it a mirage or wishful thinking? NO! Lo and behold, Zima was there on the shelf, just waiting for my arrival and subsequent rush of father/daughter memories. I was the proud owner of six bottles of the elusive elixir of my youth. Two shooters of cinnamon whatnot and I was headed home with my spoils.
I was genuinely worried that I had romanticized this whole thing in my head. It wouldn't be the first time I had done so. Was it really quite as delightfully refreshing as I recall? It was all a horrific possibility.
We have been friends for more years than we haven't. Perhaps because of that or simply because we both have jobs/family that seem to encourage escape, we often bond over an ounce or so of liquid magic. Through these experiences, we have discovered the joys that can come with a well-crafted cocktail, quality beer, and excellent wine. It's about quality for us, and we want to share that with you.