Welcome To Wonkette Happy Hour, With This Week's Cocktails Off The Secret Menu!
Greetings, Wonketeers. I’m Hooper, your bartender. And I’m here just in time. This has been a hella week. I was going to give you a light, delicate, pretty cocktail for Mother’s Day. Then, the news happened. So let’s pull the curtain back. Today, l’ll pour you what we drink in the industry. These drinks ain’t for fun, they’re emergency fortification. They aren’t the shots we want, but they’re the shots we deserve. And bless my heart, I love them all. Here’s the first recipe.
First Shot: Lemon Drop Shot
½ oz Boodles Gin
½ oz Lemon Sherbet
Add lemon sherbet and gin to your glass. Knock it back. Serve with a bottle of Blue Moon on the side as a boilermaker.
This is our celebratory shot at the bar, the one you toss back with a dozen friends when the bartender’s celebrating her birthday a day late and nearly everyone in the industry comes over to say hello. If you’ve never done shots before, well, first time for everything. Don’t sip this, and don’t think about what you’re tasting. Chug it down. This one’s light and sweet. It’s a killer way to say “Happy Mother’s Day” and still be cool. Mom could totally do this shot with you.
But maybe you’re drinking alone at home. A boilermaker’s another option. One shot, one beer — a classic blue collar combo. They’re peanut butter and jelly for barflies. Cheap beers are a must for your one-two combo. Lord help you if you're trying to savor a complex, bitter IPA and down a shot at the same time. There’s no “right” way to drink a boilermaker. Take a little sip of each? Chug the shot, gulp down the beer? Pour the beer into a pint glass and drop the shot in? You do you. It’s all good.
Second Shot: Industry Boilermaker
1 oz Fernet Branca
Knock back the shot and keep moving. Serve with a bottle of Peroni beer on the side for a boilermaker.
If you want to tell someone at a top notch bar that you’re industry, order a shot of Branca. This bitter, intense, menthol spirit is what keeps us going when a party of 10 stumbles in at midnight. There’s just enough alcohol to take the edge off your sore feet. The menthol wakes you up just enough to keep moving. And the taste … well, you shoot this stuff for a reason. You question your life choices when you drink the first one. You chalk up the second one to peer pressure. You grab the third one because it’s grown on you. After that, you find yourself willingly ordering one at the neighborhood bar.
Branca is good, honestly. You find in it teaspoons and quarter-ounces in lots of top-notch modern cocktails. Amaros like Branca are meant to be mixed with seltzer, or maybe a little lemonade, as an after dinner digestif or to settle your stomach after a heavy lunch. But a full ounce, all at once? That’s the sign. That tells everyone else at the bar that you know how it is to mop floors at 1 a.m., to talk the drunks down from a bad fight or worse romance, to wipe wet garbage out of three part sinks. You’ve made best friends out of customers after three drinks. You’ve tried to split a check three ways for four customers when you’re so tired you can barely count to 10. You’re living the life. You’re part of the tribe. You’re industry.
If you’re drinking this as a boilermaker, you’re sitting in the back corner of the bar with a newspaper at 3 in the afternoon. Or you miss work. You do this job long enough, you look forward to working. Peroni, the Bud Light of Italian beer, is the way to go here. Sip each one gingerly in turn — beer, shot, beer. It’ll give the Branca space to open up and share its good qualities.
Last Shot: Cynar and Bourbon
½ oz Cynar Amaro
½ oz Four Roses Bourbon
Take a deep breath, sip, then chug, then exhale. Serve with Murphy's Irish Stout as a boilermaker.
This is my “shiftie” of choice, the cocktail I ask for when it’s 1:30, the floors are clean, and the lead bartender’s counting out the tips. We played the best bar song on earth an hour ago. All the guests are gone. Time to lower your heart rate and get the energy to drive home safely.
Red Peters - The Closing Song Best. Bar. Song. Ever. youtu.be
Cynar is an artichoke based amaro, but it doesn’t taste like artichokes. It’s grounded, and earthly, and a little bit herbal. It’s also intensely bittersweet. Cynar is the new darling for craft bartenders. It makes mediocre bourbon great. The bitterness and herbaceousness bounce off mellow, sweet corn flavor like no one’s business. I keep a bottle of Cynar at home, and I’ve been splashing a little into my highballs and Manhattans all week. A 50/50 shot of this stuff is wonderful. Just enough to get me home, so I can do it all over again tomorrow.
So. One shot to celebrate the good times. One to keep us moving through the tough times. One to give us the strength to stand up and start fresh tomorrow. A lot of bitterness to choke down. But with bitterness comes power to thrive in the darkest hours.
That’s a pretty decent way to finish up a rough week.
In summary and conclusion, drink well, drink often, and tip your bartender — donate to Wonkette at the link below! Come see me at The Spotted Owl at Tremont! And if you'd like to buy some bar gear or books from Amazon, please click here!