Monday, August 4, 2014

AUGUST

This month's edition of NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS features the (very August-appropriate) theme of IT'S HOT, YOU'RE THIRSTY – with cocktail recipes from Megan Barnes at Compass Rose and Sheila Fain of Gordy's Pickle Jar, Summer beer stories from Mitchell West and Lily Meyer, and a pit stop at the S P R I T Z E R with Svetlana Legetic, we're well on the road to hydration, no?

Many thanks to each of the aforementioned for their stellar contributions, and thanks also to Y-O-U for subscribing. As always (and until next time!), I'll see ya at Panda Head Blog.

Morgan

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TWO COCKTAILS

by Megan Barnes, at Compass Rose
Pimm's Cup

Pimm's was introduced in 1823 and created by a bar owner in England. Originally, it was used as a stomach tonic and served in a No. 1 cup (hence the name). In the 1850s it became mass produced because the demand was high, everyone loved it. It continues to be a mainstay in England and is also very popular in the South. 

1.5 oz of Gin (I like Beefeater 24)
1.5 oz of Pimm's No. 1
.5 oz Lemon Juice
.75 oz White Peppercorn Simple Syrup *
Crabbie's Ginger Beer
Fresh Basil (for garnish)

Add ingredients to shaker EXCEPT FOR THE GINGER BEER, then add ice. Shake. Strain into a larger glass. Add ice to glass, and top with ginger beer.

*To make the White Peppercorn Simple you will take 1 cup of sugar, add 1 cup of boiling hot water. Stir until it blends. While still hot, take your white peppercorns, place them in cheese cloth and steep them into the hot simple syrup you have brewing. Let it sit for 20 minutes. BOOM. Easy. 

BVI

This is Compass Rose's spin on a classic cocktail called the Hotel Nacional Special.

1.5 oz of Spiced Rum (I used El Dorado)
.75 oz of Don Ciccio e Figli Mandarinetto
.5 oz of Lime Juice
Angostura Bitters

Add ingredients to shaker, then add ice. Shake. Strain into a glass, and garnish with lime + a Luxardo cherry.

Megan Barnes is a bartender, writer, and menswear enthusiast in Washington, DC. An alumni of the Columbia Room, she currently bartends at Compass Rose, where she is at work crafting a new Fall Cocktail Menu. Visit Compass Rose: website, Twitter, and FB.

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MAKE YOUR ESCAPE

by Lily Meyer

Maybe you’re spending your whole summer in DC. It’s hot, it’s humid, there are flies crawling up your window and someone’s arm sticks to yours on the Green Line, but remember, there’s Great Falls. And Roosevelt Island. And Rock Creek Park. Or you can make like my brother and get some friends, wait till dark, build a fire next to the Potomac and go fishing. Just don’t eat the fish. Instead, bring snacks and a six-pack of local beer: Port City Pilsner (from, shh, Virginia), or Chocolate City Cerveza Nacional, or, of course, DC Brau.

But after two months, you decide no: it’s August, and you need a break. You need crashing waves and Coppertone sweat. You’re driving to Delaware. Enjoy those three hours of green fields and red barns, closed-up roadside stands that used to sell melons and corn, water towers shaped like E.T.’s head. They mean the beach is coming. In the morning you’ll sit next to the surf as the tide comes up, look across the water at boats heading into Cape May, take a walk down hot sand or hot boardwalk, drive to Lewes for the best butter pecan ice cream at King’s, and it’s Delaware, so you’re drinking Dogfish Head. 90 Minute IPA, I think.

And the problem is, you have such a good weekend that on Sunday, you can’t get yourself to go home. You drive north, not south. Power through New Jersey—with a diner stop for a very tall sandwich, for fuel—skirt around New York, blast through Connecticut and in a cool eight hours you’ve run away to Rhode Island. Go to the beach in Barrington, where if you’re lucky, which you are, the water glows after sunset. Not from the shore. Dive in, stand up, and your arms drip bioluminescent light. If your night swim gets you cold, curl up in a big towel with a tallboy of Narragansett. They make a summer version with lemonade, if you’d like.

In the morning, you keep going. You have some options here. You could go straight north to New Hampshire and buy a tax-free case of Long Trail Summer Ale to drink in the White Mountains while you set up base camp, or build a hermit cabin, if you want to make your escape permanent. Hey, live free or die. You could swing northwest to Vermont, spend a day dreaming by the lake in Burlington, drinking Magic Hat Dream Machine. Or you could bend northeast to Maine, go to Portland and pick up some Allagash White before you drive out the rocky coast, through pine trees and white-sided churches and blueberry bushes, till you get to Estes’ Lobster Pound, where you can watch the sea right out the window. But me, I’m driving east. I’m driving to the end of the country, out the long arm of Cape Cod to Truro, which faces west for perfect sunsets. I’m buying a growler of Cape Cod Beach Blonde at the Pamet Package Store, right on the highway, and getting sand on my feet for the rest of the summer. That’s my plan.

Lily Meyer is a fiction writer. She was born and raised in Washington, DC. Follow her @lilyjmeyer

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SPRITZERS: A PRIMER

by Svetlana Legetic
A Spritzer is a mixture of wine and soda water. Simple as that. Now you know. Anyone can make one. Possibly with their eyes closed. It is also, hands down, the only thing to drink in the Summer (and beyond, even) if you wish to...well, survive the Summer, with its long day drinking stretches, oppressing heat and built-in peer pressure.

Now, not everyone gets it, at first. Some people will tell you that they are meant for old ladies and amateurs but you can respond by saying you're IN FACT a (very?) young lady and that maintaining party/leisure power for a five hour stretch is ANYTHING BUT amateur. That tends to shut them up, because it makes perfect sense. And while the classic version of a Spritzer is, well, classic (and works best with dry whites - the oakiness of your chardonnay begs for a soda water SEPARATELY), adding things like Aperol or St~Germain or switching your white wine to a Vinho Verde or a crisp Prosecco offer up endless variations on the theme to keep you and everyone around you entertained, amused, and delighted.

Sometimes I even make the soda water lightly flavored with something that pulls up the key notes of the white wine. Or I cut up some kumquats and float them at the bottom of the pitcher. Or I pull out my soap-bubble-making machine (what, you/your office doesn't own one?) to make EVEN THE AIR seem matchingly carbonated. The point is - you can't mess it up, you can only enjoy it, and things that can only be enjoyed should always be celebrated. Cheers!


Svetlana Legetic is founder/Coach Taylor of BrightestYoungThings.com.

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FIRST BEER

by Mitchell West
I remember my first beer. It was summer, sometime in the 90s. I was maybe 15? The LaSassos had Labor Day, the Biles and the Steinbergs both did Christmas, and my family had the 4th of July. Each year, all my parents’ friends and all my friends’ parents would come to our back yard to eat, drink, and watch me and my brothers light off snakes. At these parties, there were excessive amounts of hot dogs and plenty of sparklers, but what I remember the most is the wooden barrel full of ice, water, and beer. Rolling Rock, to be specific, and a lot of it. I remember vividly how cold it was to fish through, trying to find one of a handful of Cokes. It was so cold that you could only leave your arm in there for a few seconds.

Every year there would be a ton of leftover beer, and my parents would put it in the refrigerator we had in the garage. My mom would probably drink a few here and there, but mostly it would be saved until the next year. It’s a practice that I shudder at now, but it made perfect sense then.

I have always been fascinated by beer. Adults seemed drawn to it, and the smell of it on all their breaths was disgusting and, yet, always reminded me of a party. I'd had a sip or two of beer several times before my first real one. I specifically remember a Coors Light at age 10, shared in my TV room amongst 3 or 4 friends. We all hated it.

My first real beer came several years later, the summer before or after my freshman year of high school. A day or two after the 4th we drove to visit my grandparents in Valdosta, GA. While there, I realized I'd been taking an unguarded, unlocked fridge full of beer for granted. I quickly called (long-distance, charged to my grandparents) my best friend.

“Dude, get a trash bag, go to the garage, grab all the beers, stash them upstairs” 
“Done” 

“Upstairs” meant above the garage. When we were young kids my Dad had nailed boards down to build a floor and placed a ladder so we could get up there. Previously, we had used this as a wholesome clubhouse. Now, in the 90º heat of Summer, it became a stash spot for Rolling Rocks, many of which had seen many 4ths. They sat in the July heat for weeks, until I got home from vacation. Then we drank them. All. They were gross. We both barfed, and it was great. You have to have a first time for everything.

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SPICY THAI BASIL PALOMA

recipe by Sheila Fain, of Gordy's Pickle Jar
Spicy Thai Basil Paloma

2 oz Tequila Blanco
2 oz Spindrift Grapefruit Soda
2 tbsp Gordy's Thai Basil Jalapeño Brine
1 tbsp fresh Lime Juice
Kosher salt, for garnish
Crushed Ice
Grapefruit, sliced
Thai basil Sprig, optional

Wet the rim of a highball glass with a wedge of grapefruit, then rim with salt.
Pack glass full of crushed ice, then pour tequila, fresh lime, and Brine over top.
Stir to combine, then top with Spindrift Grapefruit Soda.
Garnish with sliced grapefruit and a sprig of Thai Basil.



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