Hi, I’m Jay Erisman from The Party Source in Bellevue, Kentucky, guest blogging for Julie. I attended my second Tales of the Cocktail, the huge cocktail festival and convention, this past July in New Orleans. (By the way, if you think it’s been hot in Cincinnati lately, try New Orleans in mid-July, where the weather considers we humans as so many oysters to be broiled. Fortunately, we had plenty of cocktails to chill us out.) I walked into my first seminar, on my first morning of Tales, and who do I see at the table, laptop at the ready, cocktail in hand? Why, it’s Julie and The Boyfriend! So in honor of friends and fine cocktails, I thought it appropriate to offer my take on the cocktail scene, nationally and locally.*
Mark Twain once stated he wanted to be in Cincinnati at the end of the world, because everything happens there five years later. He was dead right when it comes to the latter day revolution in cocktail culture, which, although it’s been percolating for many years, might be conveniently dated to August, 2005 with the opening in New York City of mixology bar Pegu Club. Now even Cincinnati has a real live classic cocktail bar in the form of Tonic On Fourth. Together with such bartenders as the 19th-century styled Rommel Wells at The Rookwood, Molly Wellmann with her tobacco bitters at Virgil’s in Bellevue, and the improving cocktail lists around town, we can say the cocktail wave has crested over the Queen City. Personally, from the aisles of The Party Source I’ve felt like a voice in the wilderness when it comes to mixology. So I’m personally thrilled to see so many people taking an interest in their mixing and shaking and drinking, not to mention folks like Julie spending their free time writing about it.
This new golden age of the cocktail—the concoction that the self-proclaimed “omnibibulous” former Cincinnati resident H.L. Mencken called “the greatest of all contributions of the American way of life to the salvation of humanity”—has proven a strong incentive to the creation of entirely new styles of spirits, as well as the resuscitation of a goodly number of formerly extinct libations. Examples of the latter include the violet liqueur Crème de Violette, the long missing ingredient in an Aviation cocktail. And an example of the former would be Esprit de June, a French liqueur introduced in 2010. which incorporates a distillation of grape vine flowers into a gently sweet liqueur. If we could be allowed to swap out the June for the Violette, we can make a nifty new drink, just the thing for our wonderful humidity.
1½ oz dry gin, such as G’Vine Nouaison
½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ oz Esprit de June
1 teaspoon Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
Combine with ice in a shaker. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon strip or, even better, an edible flower.
Finally, can I take a moment to tell Julie and Terry, no doubt reading this in some far flung hotel room, some good news? That gin you discovered at Tales of the Cocktail, from the makers of Esprit de June? Yes, G’Vine gin, that’s the one. Well, my sweeties, I have it here waiting for you when you get back. In big bottles and little minis for the suitcase. I expect they are leaving skid marks en route to Bellevue this very moment.