I had decided on the topic of today's post before Laura Benedict told me it was National Punctuation Day, and now I'm sorry I don't have anything to mark the occasion. Later today I'll resume copy edits on an engineering textbook, so I'll be celebrating in my own way . . . but without you guys, sorry.
Anyway, last night before and after "Glee," the best new show on television, I watched a broadcast of New York, New York, a dark, strange musical directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli. The movie is full of Scorsese's trademark attention to detail, from the costumes to the automobiles to the things the characters eat and drink. One of the cocktails a character ordered in a nightclub inspired today's post.
Fashions in alcohol come and go, just as in anything else. I left Washington at the height of the martini revival, and learned to drink mojitos in Los Angeles. Here in Maine the unofficial state cocktail is the mudslide -- in the bartender's manual, a combination of vodka, coffee liqueur and Bailey's Irish Cream, but here more frequently just a mix of milk and Allen's Coffee Brandy.
Anyway, here are five cocktails you never hear anyone order anymore, except on "Mad Men."
1. Brandy Alexander. One and a half parts brandy, one part crème de cacao, one part cream, shaken with ice and strained into a glass. If you want a milkshake, just order one . . . originally made with gin, called simply an Alexander. The idea of mixing gin and cream makes me feel a little queasy, but I'm allergic to gin anyway.
2. Grasshopper. A Thin Mint in a glass: one part green crème de menthe, one part light cream, one part white crème de cacao. I've seen these served as shooters, which says a lot about the way our culture has changed over the last fifty years.
3. Harvey Wallbanger. One part vodka, half a part Galliano (a liqueur flavored with licorice and vanilla), and four parts orange juice. I've never tried one; the combination of licorice and orange doesn't appeal.
4. Pink Squirrel. Ordered by a character in New York, New York; I had to look this up. One part cream, one part white crème de cacao, and one part crème de noyaux, an opaque liqueur flavored with apricot kernels that happens to be pink. I could swear they told us in Girl Scouts that apricot kernels (and peach kernels) were poison. Cyanide, aren't they? Didn't somebody's cousin's neighbor die from eating them? Sheesh, no wonder no one drinks these anymore.
5. Vodka Stinger. Immortalized in the song "Ladies Who Lunch" from the musical Company, this is a cocktail that doesn't mess around: one and a half parts vodka, one part white crème de menthe, shaken with ice and strained into a glass. Or you could just drink Scope.