Life is interesting, no? That’s a terribly vague, trite statement, like “to each their own” and other colloquial gems that pop out of my mouth before another thought could form. I am referring, however, to blogging; this strange mélange of expertise and inexperience that has consumed the internet. Or at least the internet as it was ten years ago, though I’m naturally interested to see what sort of internet we’ll have in another decade. I started blogging as an outlet for my creative drive, being as I was in 2001 a graphic designer in the making—and despite the fact that I had no idea what I was making myself into with this infernal box. After earning a degree in English Literature that I had no intention of using for anything like a career, I discovered that it was much easier to teach oneself HTML and Photoshop than I had imagined and set about making a website to satisfy my urge to create pretty things. I’d love to say it was more profound than that, but it really wasn’t.
Since I have never considered myself to be a writer—certainly not in the way that I think of writers, people like Flannery O’Connor or Raymond Carver or Dylan Thomas—my websites were filled with grammatically competent but terribly uninteresting observations, housed in (to my mind, anyway) lovely surroundings. I have, naturally, pulled all such incriminating evidence from the internet so no one can blackmail me with poor writing. I’ve been in a reflective state of mind lately, being as I have been on an organizing tear that has taken me through old schoolwork, boxes of letters and the other assorted detritus of my sentimental recordkeeping. I’ve sorted and eliminated files upon files of old paperwork, cleaned out closets, etc., and now I’ve been looking at old bookmarks and websites that have been malingering on the computer.
You’d never know it today, but just five years ago there were only a handful of blogs about cocktails, plus a few communities like eGullet and DrinkBoy’s forum. These days, you can’t go anywhere, online or offline, without running into a blog, website, article, interview or photo essay about cocktails and the people who make them. Speakeasies, Havana-styled rum bars, nouveau tiki establishments and upscale supper clubs have us surrounded, and it appears that the vice industry is doing a killing business in the arena of liquor sales. It’s an interesting place to be, and one that I certainly didn’t expect. With these ups come downs as well, one of those being that the volume of recipes that are available now, particularly from bartenders who take their craft seriously, makes it hard to keep up. There is only so much time in the day, after all, and I’m working at quality rather than quantity.
Which is why I’m posting the Ward 2010 in 2011. Inspired by the delicious Ward 8, this re-working uses fresh winter citrus and a rum base instead of the traditional bourbon. It’s a great way to use up the tangerines and lemons that are always in my house at this time of year, and it has a light body that makes it a lovely drink before dinner—or even in the afternoon.
2 oz spiced rum
¾ oz maraschino liqueur
1 oz fresh tangerine juice
½ oz Meyer lemon juice
½ teaspoon of simple syrup
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of tangerine peel. Serve.
I made a few small changes to this recipe from the original: first, I lessened the amount of tangerine juice by half an ounce, because this is already a pretty large cocktail and the extra half ounce of juice doesn’t add much to the flavor. Second, I reduced the amount of maraschino because a full ounce was a bit overpowering and third, I kept the simple syrup in to balance the sweetness after reducing the maraschino. The result was a refreshing, slightly tart drink with warm notes of vanilla and spice and the slight almond flavor of the maraschino. It tastes very much like spring despite the cold weather outside and the lovely, bright color could perk up even the dreariest day. I doubt if it will change your life (or the internet) but it’s certainly a darling little drink to enjoy in the dead of winter.