Back in the 1990s, I probably feel more shame admitting that I was a club kid than a poor-choice drinker. I used to spend a lot of time at goth and industrial dance clubs and punk, hardcore, indie, and experimental shows, with little going out merely for drinks other than getting beers with coworkers. While I cannot recall drinking much at music shows, dance nights were drink related with pre-gaming, during, and after-parties. Then again, I was a destitute grad student at the time, so I really did not drink at clubs all that much, but I had definitely tried my share of the house specialties like the Mind Eraser served in a pint glass with a few straws and downed on the count of 3. One night, I bumped into one of the sales reps who used to stop by my grad school lab every two months or so. At some point in the conversation, he asked if he could buy me a drink, and his tone suggested more a mixed drink than a beer. I panicked and declared, "a Red Death." He replied "A what?... I mean I'll get it for you, but I want to know what it is." "I don't know, it's red, it's strong, and everyone orders them from [bartender] Terri." At that moment, I felt shame. Red Deaths are merely boozy fruit punch that defy ingredient definition. The next day, I decided that I was going to learn how to drink a business appropriate drink and later began getting Manhattans elsewhere; while I could have gotten a Manhattan at the club, it would have felt weird drinking it out of a plastic cup filled with ice. While this is the first time I am coming clean here about this here, bartender and owner Josh Childs did trick me into talking about it in an interview he did with me about my Drink & Tell cocktail book.
Red Death (Redux)While the end result was not very red and more of an Orange Death due to the dearth of artificial colors in the mix, it was indeed more Tiki than Hawaiian Punch. The new Red Death began with caramel rum aromas. An orange, caramel, and lime sip gave way to more rum flavors, nutty orgeat, and bitter fruit notes from from the sloe liqueur on the swallow. Perhaps reducing the orange juice volume to minimize its flavor smoothing character could have helped bring out some more distinctive notes, but having a slightly more gentle disposition was truer to the original.
• 1 1/2 oz Amber Rum (Appleton VX)
• 1/2 oz Triple Sec (Senior Curaçao)
• 1/2 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds)
• 1 oz Lime Juice
• 1/2 oz Sloe Gin (Atxa Patxaran)
• 1 oz Orange Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a Tiki mug, Collins, or Double Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice and containing a spent lime shell half. Add a straw.
So thank you to Whitney for picking the theme running the show, and getting me to talk about embarrassing drink recipes and moments, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for stepping up and admitting their shame and keeping the spirit of the event alive!