Thursday, February 14, 2013

calamity jane

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Amaro Abano
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup

Shake with 2 orange slices and ice. Double strain into a cocktail glass.

One of the drinks that my partner-in-crime, Katie Emmerson from the Hawthorne, created was a tribute to Calamity Jane. That night in service, I used the mnemonic of Calamity Gin to remember which recipe the name referred to. For an amaro, she opted for Luxardo's Abano, but the ingredient that got the most praise was the ginger syrup which was freshly juiced ginger with sugar. People figured that the "ginger" in the ingredient list was a more subtle ginger liqueur, although that would work in a pinch here. My favorite part of the recipe was the inclusion of two orange slices in the shake that reminded me of Sam Ross' Too Soon?. While I only got to straw taste the drink and thus have no written tasting notes, people seemed to enjoy this libation tremendously that night. Instead, I can offer my notes from the Facebook event page:
Another of the drinks on Monday the 11th is named after Martha Jane Canary, or more specifically after her nickname Calamity Jane. Back in the day, women were not allowed to do certain jobs; therefore, Martha began to dress in men's clothing and built up a reputation as a hard drinker (see the event photo of her) who could out swear, out spit, and out shoot any man. She became a solider to explore the Black Hills and during an Indian ambush, she gained the name Calamity Jane when she rescued her injured captain and brought him to safety.

Her colorful life included nursing the victims of a smallpox outbreak in Deadwood, but it was joked that those that she cured would end up with other diseases as a crack about Calamity working a brothel or two amongst her many other professions. After her time saving stage coaches, swimming across rivers to deliver communications, and the like, she became a part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show -- at first as a sharp shooter and horse rider, but later as a storyteller. This lasted for a bit with the stories getting bigger each time until she was fired for her frequent drunkenness and the antics that followed.

She led a good life and for that we should toast her! And she got her dying wish -- to be buried next to Wild Bill Hickok, a man she was infatuated with but would not return her affection. The drink named after her is spicy, rich, and complex and Calamity Jane wouldn't want it any other way.
Besides the ginger syrup, Katie also prepared a pineapple syrup for pineapple as many darker amari pair quite well with it. She was running low on time, and I recommended a choose-your-own (or bartender's choice) amaro Fix. For a recipe, she based it off of the Fernet Fix and figured out that Averna was one of her favorites in this combination. The biggest fan perhaps was Deep Ellum's Max Toste who ordered this drink a few times with a different amaro each drink. For a name, she wanted something trampy -- someone from the Wild West who got around (given the open nature of the recipe). For a name, Katie opted for Kitty Leroy who was performing in dance halls and saloons by age 14. By age 15, she was married for a brief time; the marriage failed for she was promiscuous and too wild. Later, she became a card dealer and often dressed in men's clothes. After becoming a skilled gambler and then a saloon owner, she was on to her third husband. The two of them got into an argument and she attacked him; when he would not fight back and strike a lady, she returned dressed in men's clothing and attacked again. This time with a gun, and she shot him dead. Actually, he was not her husband then and not quite dead yet, but they got married in the few days left in his life after the incident. A little bit of prostitution, gambling, and another two husbands before one of them shot her dead. To make this promiscuous drink:
Kitty Leroy
• 2 oz Amaro
• 3/4 oz Pineapple Syrup
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Fill with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with berries in season.

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