BakeSpite: Counterfeit libations

Let me tell you a little bit about alcohol and me. Alcohol and me, we didn’t meet for the first time until I was 26, and it took me years to get past my initial prejudices and decide that alcohol can be a pretty OK guy. These days, I’m on good terms with alcohol, but we have a very cool and distant relationship. I don’t like being drunk, and I’m a lightweight drinker, so I usually only spend enough time with alcohol to have a single drink, occasionally two (if it’s good red wine, sometimes three… much to my inevitable regret). Since I don’t drink to become inebriated, that means I drink to enjoy the taste, which in turn means I only drink things I like. And I’m pretty picky, because I came into this whole alcohol business late.

Anyway, all of this is just a windy prelude to the fact that my favorite (non-Cabernet Savignon) drink doesn’t actually exist as a thing with a real name that any bartender would recognize. You see, I was at a bar in Red Hook over Thanksgiving and asked for a Pimm’s cup, because it seemed like a good choice for a cold night. The bartender apologized, because they didn’t have Pimm’s, but she offered to mix something that she promised would be a good substitute: “A negroni, but with Angostura instead of Campari.” Although we were speaking the same language, none of the nouns she had used had any meaning for me, so I just nodded mutely and gave her eight bucks in exchange for a cocktail.

It was delicious. So delicious that now I make my own on a somewhat regular basis. And since this drink doesn’t have a real name, I have made up my own. Behold: the Phony Negroni.

Patent pending.

The world agrees with me that this is a great drink. Jaded veteran drinker Scott Sharkey was impressed when he tried it, and Frank Cifaldi said, “It’s manly. It makes me feel like a man. I want to shave now, or something.”

The drink itself is simplicity incarnate! You can make one yourself with ingredients you probably have around your home*. Here is what you do:

  • Pour one measure of gin into a shaker along with some ice. I use Tanqueray, because I like it. Any decent gin will do, though. Flavor counts! Don’t use something cheap and gross. You don’t have to go top shelf or anything, but you definitely don’t want the taste of bad gin spoiling this.
  • Pour one measure of sweet vermouth into the shaker. I use Noilly Pratt, because I have have no idea what the heck to look for in sweet vermouth, and this brand was inexpensive without being cheap, if you see what I mean. It tastes perfectly decent and I have no complaints.
  • Shake five to eight dashes of Angostura into the mix. There are undoubtedly other brands of bitters available besides Angostura, but this is the brand that seems to be omnipresent in both stores and bars, and actually I really like the taste. So there you go.
  • Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  • Pour into a glass (with ice) and sip with unmitigated joy.

Congratulations, you have just recreated a fine and perfectly simple drink. One that is said to be “manly” without being all boisterous about it (in the way that, say, a single malt scotch served neat with a cigar is).

If anyone out there tries making this drink, I would be interested to hear your results and thoughts!

*If you are a lush. It’s cool, I won’t tell.

17 thoughts on “BakeSpite: Counterfeit libations

  1. i like this. and thank you for not telling that i am a lush.

    i had a serious party for both MM9 and MM10, with drinks to match. NERRRRRDS.

    here is a brief list of drinks i came up with:

    Bubble Man:
    On Ice in Highball glass:
    1 1/2 Oz. Midori
    1 1/2 Oz Vodka
    7up to Fill

    Energy Tank:
    3 Oz Red Bull
    1 Oz blue raspberry liqueur

    Yellow Devil:
    1 1/2 Oz Banana liqueur
    4 Oz Pineapple Juice
    (Sugar rim)

    Black Iceman:
    Coffee liqueur
    Peppermint Schnapps
    (mix 50/50; i usually call this a peppermint patty as that is what it tastes like)

    Heat Man:
    3 Oz Irish Cream
    2 Oz Cinnamon liqueur
    1 Oz Whiskey
    garnish with dash cinnamon

    Needle Man:
    in rocks glass:
    2 oz Spiced rum
    2 oz Half n Half
    1 large pinch of uncooked white rice or rice krispies
    (drink as shot)

    Flame Man:
    2 oz spiced rum
    three dashes tabasco
    1 tsp lime juice
    light pour of 151 rum on top
    (light on fire)

    • I may have to try some of those… Bubble Man, Ice Man, and Heat Man all sound tasty.

    • Oh, these are clever. The Needle Man is, of course, unspeakably disgusting, but if you’re doing shots then you’ve signed up for a certain amount of self-flagellation.

      Speaking of masochism, how about…

      The Disappearing/Reappearing Block:
      Pour two ounces of cheap gin into a shotglass along with a lemon wedge and a dash of salt. Apply directly to corneas with an eyedropper.

  2. All of these things reside in my liquor cabinet. Mostly a straight whiskey (scotch or rye) or martini man, but this sounds good — a manhattan with gin instead of whiskey, which isn’t really a Manhattan at all I suppose.

    If you really want to take a walk on the wild side, try the Bijou:
    3 parts gin
    1 part green Chartreuse
    1 part sweet vermouth
    Dash orange bitters

    Good to get at a bar, as Chartreuse is expensive.

    On a completely unrelated note, I remembered the name of a decent Banh Mi place in FiDi — Saigon Deli Express. Crap Yelp reviews, but don’t let that fool you. Yes, the sandwiches cost more than 3.50, but Little Saigon FiDi ain’t.

  3. 6 pack of Bavari for me, 6 for 7 euro and a night in watching boring foorball with my brother. Classy.

    • I can drink 4-5 beers in one sitting and still function but even one drink with hard alcohol seems to get me tipsy. I’m uncultured.

  4. That looks really good. I can’t seem to get away from gin and tonics or Tom Collins. This will give me an excuse to do something else with the Bombay Sapphire.

  5. You regret 3 glasses of wine? Regret doesn’t set in for me till loooong past my 10th drink.

  6. I don’t really like Gin, so I’m going to have to take your word for it on this one, but here’s something you might like that my local sushi place makes: A Dirty Sake Martini. Just take a decent dry sake and some martini olive juice (I like mine filthy), shake, and add your favorite cocktail olives (I like blue cheese stuffed myself). I prefer this to a vodka martini any time I can get it.

  7. My favorite drink is a takeoff on the John Collins (which itself is a Tom Collins with bourbon instead of vodka). The actual recipe calls for lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup and club soda … so I simplify and pour a Sierra Mist over a double shot of Jim Beam (or, if I’m feeling extravagant, Maker’s Mark) in a tall glass with ice. Add a cherry if you want, but usually I don’t have the patience.

  8. The very first time I ever drank booze of any stripe was not snuck at some wedding or at some super-rad bro’s basement, but rather raiding my parent’s liquor cabinet for some tanker-ray. To this day I associate gin with gasoline flavored vomiting. I’ll stick with screwdrivers, they’re full of vitamins, after all.

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