Spring arrived 5 weeks ago and with it the spring fever that has been taking its toll on me the past few weeks. It’s not creating a frenetic push, rather it’s leading to a dreamy – almost delirious – state of plotting details for upcoming travels and planning opportunities to dine out at new restaurants.
Here in Alaska spring does not always translate to warmth, as temperatures easily drop into the 30s during the night. It’s nippy enough that a cracking fire helps take the chill out of the evening air. Before a leisurely dinner party, I find it’s nice to relax by the fireplace, chat with my friends, and nibble some appetizers before putting the finishing touches on our dinner. For a retro-twist, it’s fun to serve a classic cocktail to sip alongside with those appetizers.
Yes, I realize this site has the word “wine” in the name — but sometimes it’s interesting to shake things up a bit. Literally. Everyone should have at least one or two traditional shaken cocktail recipes in their repertoire. Here are three versions to file away for your next dinner party or “Mad Men” themed evening. Cheers!
Classic Vodka Martini (Adapted from The Spir.it)
2 ounces vodka (Skyy or Absolute)
1/2 ounces dry vermouth (Martini & Rossi or Noilly Prat)
Olives for garnish
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with skewered olives.
Classic Gin Martini (Adapted from Chow)
2 ounces dry gin (Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire)
1 ounce dry vermouth (Martini & Rossi or Noilly Prat)
Olives or a twist of lemon, for garnish
Preparation: Place a cocktail glass in the freezer to chill. Combine the gin and vermouth in a shaker, fill it halfway with ice, and shake vigorously until well chilled, about 20 seconds. (Some purists claim that shaking “bruises the gin” and suggest stirring the mixture.) Strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with olives.
Classic Manhattan (Adapted from The Spir.it )
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1 ounce sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi or Cinzano)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 twist of Orange Peel
1 Maraschino Cherry
Preparation: Place ice in a shaker. Add the bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Stir vigorously or shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the orange peel and cherry.
Please be watching for some of our new appetizer recipes that will be featured soon on our sister site, An Alaskan Cooks.
And an important reminder: Always drink responsibly and have a designated driver.