Friday, November 15, 2013

60's Era Cold War Cocktails A-La Mad Men Part I

Personal life, work drama and the end of the year Baseball awards have taken up a chunk of my time lately (read my other blog Baseball Sisco Kid Style to keep up with the Baseball world) so while I work on a number of posts for this page, I just wanted to keep things fresh with a couple of 1960's Cold War era inspired cocktails. Why did I choose to highlight the two cocktails I picked? Well, we recently had the 51st anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis aka the October Crisis from October 14 to October 28, 1962 and looming on the calendar on November 22, 1962 is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Plus I recently picked up a cocktail book which mentions these drinks and decided to make a few.

I had recently taken out of the library The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlini. As expected, the book is full of classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, the Martini, the Sidecar and the Vodka Gimlet to name a few. But one particular chapter piqued my interest. In this chapter the authors touch upon the underlying topic of the "bomb" that not only was felt through Mad Men but also in the real world of the 1950's and 1960's. The Cuban Missile Crisis is touched upon in Season 2 Episode 13 (which I have yet to get to).

So the authors talk about how bartenders in that era had fun in making up cocktails that reflected the atomic and nuclear fears of the day. The B-52 (Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream and Grand Marnier. Layered) is probably the one cocktail that they list that has stood the test of time and is still ordered today. Two of the other four on the list were able to be made by me at work since I had the available ingredients. Let's dive in and see what they are

The Atomic Fireball
For those of you living under a rock, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is currently on fire in bars across the country (sorry for the pun folks, just having a little fun). But what most people don't know that this version of Fireball is a reincarnation of an older version of cinnamon whisky that was known as Dr. McGillicuddy's Fireball Canadian Whisky. Now Fireball is not a very strong whisky. It is only 33% Alc/66 Proof but it is somewhat syrupy and very sweet with a strong cinnamon taste. Sam at the bar has to take a couple of Tums anti-acid pills after a few Fireball shots. The cocktail calls for it to be made with the Cinnamon whiskey, rum and Grenadine. Here is how I decided to make it:
The Atomic Fireball
1oz of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
1oz Bacardi Light Rum

In a shaker with ice, shake up the Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and the Bacardi Light Rum. Pour into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Using the back of a bar spoon, lightly drizzle the Grenadine over the cocktail.
I find that the rum cuts the sweetness of the cinnamon whisky leaving just the kick at the back of your mouth of the cinnamon. Its actually quite the pleasurable cocktail. As you get to the bottom of the cocktail, the drink gets sweeter due to the Grenadine slowly sinking to the bottom. You can either keep the gradual sweetness as is or you can stir the cocktail to better mix the Grenadine into the cocktail.

The Nuclear Cocktail
The authors specify that this is a shot but I decided to make this on the rocks. Keep in mind folks, that tastes have changed over time so you might find this cocktail, as I made it, to be too strong in terms of the Peppermint flavor. The cocktail contains Peppermint Schnapps, Vodka and Grand Marnier. As with the last cocktail, the author does not specify how many ounces of each spirit and liqueur to use so I just made it up as I went along. Here is the recipe I used:
The Nuclear Cocktail
1oz Peppermint Schnapps
1oz Stolichnaya Vodka
1oz Grand Marnier

In a shaker with ice, shake up the Peppermint Schnapps, Stolichnaya Vodka and Grand Marnier. Serve in two ice filled rocks glasses.
Pete thought it was too strong on the Peppermint though he did say it seemed mellow out a bit after sitting for a few minutes. I also found that it was too strong. The Peppermint flavor just overpowers the other ingredients. You can't tell that there is Grand Marnier in this cocktail. The Orange flavor is un-detectable. I would recommend to halve the amount of Peppermint Schnapps used to create a more balanced drink and/or shot for today's palate. Who knows, maybe this is how they liked to drink it back in the 1960's.

If you ever want to relieve the intensity of the impending end via the bomb, make up a few of these, and act like Bert the Turtle, Drop and Cover and kiss your butt goodbye. ;)

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla