Monday, August 31, 2009

September 1: this date in Chicago history

The Chicago street numbering grid, flinging numbered blocks east, west, north, and south from the intersection of State and Madison, went into effect 100 years ago today, on September 1, 1909. What was your address before the numbering went into effect? Check it out here:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Happy Hour: Suffering Bastard

This is a drink where the name says it all. Supposedly, this drink was created at the Shepherd’s Hotel in Cairo, Egypt during World War II. I’d like to imagine that this is a drink that one’s grandfather would have enjoyed had he been serving in the north African theater at that time. Another anecdotal story about this drink is that the name supposedly comes from a drunken slurring of the original name, "suffering bar steward."

Here’s the recipe:
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. bourbon
1oz. gin
dash of bitters
4 oz. ginger ale

Build this drink up in the glass – no need to shake it, although you may if you like (but shake before adding the ginger ale). Pour in the ginger ale, add a straw, and give it a quick stir.

Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry. Add a sprig of mint.

This is a perfect drink for summer. Take a sip, feel refreshed, and imagine a cool nightfall breeze after a long sandy and sunny day in Cairo. Suffer no more, bastard.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Happy Hour: Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary is an old dowager of a drink that has remained as relevant as ever, maybe kind of like Hillary Clinton or, well, even Bill Clinton.

Like a lot of truly vintage cocktails, the Bloody Mary traces its roots back to the 1920s -- and this one even has a Paris pedigree.

Now that we're in August, maybe you have some tomatoes ripening, or have already plucked some tomatoes from your garden (or your neighbor's). Fresh tomatoes are one of the great rewards of the dog days of summer. We mention the Bloody Mary at this time because this drink is an imaginative way to put some of those tomatoes to good use.

For our drink, we used 2 fresh tomatoes. We muddled them rigorously, and then strained the juice, but you can also use a blender or any other device you can think of to pulverize the tomatoes. For us, this yielded about 4.5 ounces. For you, it may differ.

The fresh tomato juice breathes some new life into this old drink. Here's the recipe we used (but there are a lot of extras that are optional):

3 to 1 tomato juice to vodka (so, 4.5 oz tomato juice and 1.5 oz vodka)
.5 oz lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
sprinkling of pepper

Optional items include celery salt (some might argue this is hardly optional), horseradish, olive brine, or Tabasco Sauce.

We garnished ours with a classic celery stalk, but you can add a slice of lemon, olives, or any other kind of savory item. This is truly a savory drink.