When I linked to my “10 books I would re-read if I found out I had one month to live” post on my Facebook page, one of my friends commented that it might be worthwhile to consider the top ten drinks one might consider in the same situation.
Thus, by popular demand (well, demand of one, but she is pretty damn popular), I hereby present the 10 cocktails I would focus on, were I to discover that I had one month to live. Wine and beer deserve their own list, and that list will be forthcoming. I’ve also left off “neat” drinks – fine bourbons, scotches, and liqueurs.
10. Long Island Iced Tea. Vodka, tequila, white rum, triple-sec, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and cola. I freely admit to a weakness for this, the specialty of T.G.I. Friday’s. Back in the early 1980s I spent a lot of time at Friday’s, and this was always my drink of choice. Not terribly manly, but very tasty.
9. Screwdriver. Vodka, orange juice. A long-time favorite of several aunts, back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I remember mass hilarity ensuing on one of our Lake Tahoe trips back in the seventies when my grandma ordered a “corkscrew” at the casino instead of a “screwdriver.” Close, but no cigar. Not a drink that I would order in a restaurant or bar, but one that I enjoy every now and then at home.
8. Mai Tai. I only drink these when I’m in Hawaii, but when I’m in Hawaii, I try to have as many of them as I can. The place we stayed in Maui last summer had a killer version, featuring Bacardi 151. And the bar was by the pool…”the bar was called Heaven…”
7. Vesper. A fairly new discovery, courtesy of DeVore’s Pub in Sacramento. The coolest thing about it is that it was invented by James Bond. It made its first appearance in the 1953 novel “Casino Royale.”
"A dry martini," [Bond] said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
"Certainly, monsieur." The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
"Gosh, that's certainly a drink," said Leiter.
Bond laughed. "When I'm...er...concentrating," he explained, "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name."
Personally, I stick to vodka and gin, in roughly equal parts. I can attest that one made with Ketel One Vodka and Hendricks Gin is outstanding. And tonight, we’re going to find out how Effen Vodka and Bombay Sapphire Gin compare.
6. Jack Daniels and Coke. I usually drink these only when I am really thirsty. This is a dangerous combination.
5. Vodka and Tonic. An absolute classic.
4. Gin and Tonic. An absolute classic redux, it gets a slight nod over its cousin… but only slight.
3. Manhattan. I prefer one of these late at night, after dinner. But I’ve been known to indulge before dinner, as well.
2. Margarita. I’ve had lots of fancy margaritas in my time, with weird, exotic flavors and really expensive ingredients, but in the end you can’t beat a blended margarita made simply with Cuervo Gold, Rose’s Lime Juice, and Triple Sec. Plus a spoonful of sugar, when blending, to help the medicine go down.
1. Vodka Martini. The drink of my father, and one that I did not fully embrace until the last decade or so. To that, all I can say is that sometimes wisdom does come with age.
So there you have it, folks. Please don’t feel as if you have to contract a serious malady in order to enjoy these refreshments.