Welcome to Don’t Shoot the Food, a regular series where I combine my love of gaming with my love of cooking and eating.
Los Angeles, the City of Angels, where every woman has stars in her eyes, every man has dreams of making their fortune and every cop has something to hide. It’s a place where dreams can blaze up and flame out in the space of a heart beat and where salvation lies in the barrel of a gun, or the mouth of a bottle.
As you can tell, I’m knee deep in LA Noire, and I thought it would be an excellent source of inspiration for this week’s food column, but as I did my research, I found two things. First is that cooking in the 40’s was somewhat of a dicey proposition what with all of the rationing for the war. If you want several different recipes for vinegar pie, I’ve got you covered, but as for something I’d be comfortable sharing, well, not so much. The second thing I found is that while food may have suffered, drinking sure as heck didn’t as the 40’s were definitely the decade of the cocktail.
I’m not a big drinker. I have a beer with my pizza on Friday night’s and the occasional vodka and tonic while relaxing with a fine bit o’ digital entertainment, but for the most part, I never get too fancy. I do love a good cocktail though. The preparation, the fancy barware and shiny mixers. The theatre of mixing, shaking and pouring an carefully constructed, sometimes brightly colored libation that tastes wonderful and makes you feel just a mite bit classier for as long as it takes to drink it. So with that in mind, we’re having a meal of a different sort this week. Make a trip to the liquor store, dust off the cocktail shaker and start practicing your best Tom Cruise impression. We’ve got drinks to make.
While not invented in the 40’s, the origin of this drink going back to WW I, the sidecar was one of the drinks mentioned in the classic 1948 mixologist cookbook, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury. The glory of the sidecar lies in it’s simplicity. Three simple ingredients, some ice, and voila, you’ve got a classic.
1. 3/4 ounce Cointreau
2. 3/4 ounce lemon juice
3. 1 1/2 ounces cognac
4. Additional lemon juice
1. Coat the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with lemon juice and then set the rim of the glass in the sugar, coating well.
2. Mix the three liquids in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Shake well and strain into the chilled glass.
3. Raise your glass to the valiant men and women of WW I, drink and enjoy.
Blood and Sand Cocktail
Blood and Sand was a silent romance film that came out in 1922. With 1940’s Los Angeles obsessed with the making of movies, this drink is only appropriate, if somewhat odd. It’s one of the few mixed drinks to include scotch, something you can bring up when people wonder just what in the name of Rita Hayworth you’re serving them.
1. 1 jigger scotch
2. 1 jigger cherry brandy
3. 1 jigger sweet vermouth
4. 1 jigger orange juice
1. Shake everything together with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker.
2. Serve strained into a cocktail glass.
Peach in Champagne
Who the hell cares where it came from and who made it, is there anything as delightfully impressive as a giant, ripe peach spinning in an effervescent shower of champagne bubbles? For my money, no, but what do I know? This drink is kind of like a bellini, but more visually impressive.
1. 1 peach
2. Lots of champagne
1. Poke the skin of the peach with the tines of a fork. The more holes the more bubbles, so do it up.
2. Place the peach in a large pitcher, or goblet if the peach is small enough.
3. Pour enough champagne in the container to cover the peach.
4. Get the peach spinning and let it fizz for a good minute before serving. If you want more peach flavor, add a dash of peach brandy.
The martini is probably the most classic cocktail ever made, and over the years people have added this and that to it to make it their own. Los Angeles and Hollywood go hand in hand, so why not use the Bijou, a Hollywood sounding version of the drink if ever there was one.
1. 1 jigger gin
2. 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
3. 1/2 oz green Chartreuse
4. Maraschino cherries for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker 3/4 with ice.
2. Add your ingredients and stir for 20 seconds, adding more ice if the ice gets submerged in the liquor.
3. Serve strained into a chilled cocktail glass.
4. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Our final drink is also listed in Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, as one of six basic cocktails, which surprised me as I’ve never heard of it. Now that I have though, I wish to eradicate my ignorance of this particular drink as quickly as possible. Fellow liberal progressives take note, this drink is a favorite of Rachel Maddow although that shouldn’t strike it off the drink list of our conservative readers as good booze is good booze, no matter who drinks it.
1. 1 1/2 oz applejack
2. 1/2 oz grenadine
3. Juice of 1/2 a lime
1. Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with as much cracked ice as you can fit and still allow fore vigorous shaking.
2. Shake it like the devil and strain it into a chilled cocktail glass.
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