Down along the Texas Gulf Coast, there is a sprawling, cosmopolitan metropolis known as Houston. Within the downtown district of the 600 square mile city, there is a tire store that has been converted into a bar, that now bears the name Anvil. I have never been to this particular bar, yet I read a very interesting article in the Houston Press yesterday that put this place in one of the top 10 bars in the country that I would like to visit. The staff at Anvil have put together a list of 100 essential beverages(most of them cocktails by definition) that they feel everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. I have tried many of these libations already, but there are numerous of which I’ve never even heard of. Anvil has issued out a card with the full list on the front and back, and every time a customer has partaken in one of these beverages, they cross it off his/her list. Even though I am unable to do this at Anvil, as I do live quite some distance from Houston, I CAN do it myself, and look to do so over a long period of time. For now, let’s look at some of the more interesting concoctions on this list, and some of the ones that I have already experienced.
Posts Tagged ‘cocktails’
After writing the Spirits of the Oval Office article, I realized that I had so much fun doing the research for it, that I wanted to continue writing a series of articles based on that topic. After a couple of weeks stewing on it, trying to figure out where exactly to go with it, I now present to you, the Sophisticated Elite, the next installment: Spirits of the British Empire, which will give us some insight into the drink preferences of some of the most influential and renowned political figures, past and present, of our cousins across the pond.
This list will start with the Queen Mum, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who lived from 1900 to 2002. She was the Queen of England during World War II, and Hitler once described her as being the most dangerous woman in Europe. Always a popular figure in Great Britain, she was well known for her love of gin. Her cocktail of choice was Gin and Dubonnet (according to sources, mixed 3:1, Dubonnet). Dubonnet is a French aperitif, otherwise known as an appetite stimulant. It is a combination of fermented wine, spices, and quinine.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Queen Elizabeth II, who has been occupying the throne since 1952, is also a lover of gin. Her cocktail is a Gordon’s gin and tonic, with three slices of lemon. This takes me back to the second article that I wrote, ‘Hold The Lime,’ in which I argued in favor of substituting lemon for lime in vodka tonics. The present Queen of England opts not for the traditional garnish of a lime wedge, and instead goes heavy with three lemon wedges. It sounds delicious.
President Obama has garnered a lot of attention lately with the so-called ‘Beer Summit’ at the White House, between himself, Harvard professor Henry Gates Jr., and sergeant James Crowley of the Cambridge, Mass. Police Department. The story between these three is well documented by every major news outlet in the country, so rehashing it here seems redundant to me. My interest in this stems from the President using beer as the medium to sort out their differences, and that has caused me to do some research into other spirits of the Oval Office. What have been the preferred beverages of some of our notable Commanders in Chief?
George Washington (1789-1797) was regarded as the most successful whiskey producer in the country after his tenure of President was over. His Mount Vernon distillery produced 11,000 gallons of Rye Whiskey per year, but within a decade of his death, it fell into disrepair. Washington was also known to have dined and drank whiskey at Charleston, South Carolina’s famous McCrady’s Tavern in 1791, during his Southern Tour.
Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) is regarded today as one of the healthiest early American presidents, and also the foremost wine connoisseur to have ever held office. According to a letter to an inquiring doctor in 1819, he would drink 3 to 4 glasses of wine at dinner, but never a drop otherwise. He wrote that he did not drink ardent wines or spirits, and he would also water down his wine so as to weaken its effect on him.
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) was born into a bourbon family; His father was a distillery hand at the site that Knob Creek bourbon is named after today (in a distillery that was owned by one of Daniel Boone‘s relatives, no less!). Reaching adult hood, he applied for and received a license to sell alcohol in Illinois, and went on to operate numerous taverns. Despite the taverns and a grocery store that sold primarily whiskey, his personal stance on alcohol was one of educated, responsible drinking in moderation. As for his personal tastes, it’s hard to figure out because he spent a good portion of his political career appeasing the Temperance group, which eventually evolved into the Prohibition group.