Garden & Gun (February/March 2014)
Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
See, a lot of our friends did "dry January," in which they gave up drinking for the first month of the year. Clay did too. (Zach didn't, but still stayed pretty clean -- only a few glasses of wine during the whole month.) Dry January is part health cleanse, part New Year's resolution, part proving to yourself you can do it.
So as the month was drawing to a close, Clay had this great idea: Let's invite all our friends over on February 1, and we'll make all the cocktails from the new issue of Garden & Gun. The February/March issue has a mouthwatering mint julep on the cover, and an exhaustive Guide to Southern Cocktails inside. As the magazine says, "There's never been a better, tastier, or more fun time to have a drink in Dixie."
The issue actually features 11 libations from Southern mixologists. We settled on seven for our little get-together.
"Come over around 6," we told our guests. "We'll have little tasting samples of the cocktails, and then people can go do their own thing for dinner."
It didn't quite turn out that way...
Feb. 1. 6:10 p.m.
We'd invited 8 or 10 people over, and as they trickle in, we start the party off with this Hamilton Cobbler. According to Garden & Gun, it's a colonial-era drink that's been perfected by Atlanta bartender Greg Best as a lower-alcohol alternative to stiff drinks like a martini or a Manhattan. This drink's main component is amontillado sherry, which, as a fortified wine, is much lower-proof than vodka or bourbon or other liquors.
The magazine calls this Cobbler a cousin to a mint julep. We really love it. Our only quibble is the amount of pineapple juice -- we find ourselves adding more than the recipe called for because we wanted it a bit sweeter. Play around with the proportions yourself.
All in all, this is a great cocktail.
But right from the get-go, we forget the whole notion of "tasting samples" and instead pour full drinks.
This isn't going to end well...
5 oz. amontillado sherry
¼ oz. fresh pineapple juice
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters No. 6
Combine liquid ingredients in a metal julep cup filled with crushed ice. Stir, and garnish with a sprig of mint.