Booze, Soda Week

Spiked Soda

An E-Z guide to lazy bartending.

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Sure, the whole¬†mixology¬†thing is super, and craft bartending has ushered in a renaissance of drinking over the past decade. But some days I feel like we’ve entered a baroque period of cocktail making. Though I write about cocktails for a living, even I weary of housemade bitters and tinctures, eight-ingredient drinks, the often-nonsensical “layering” of overproof rums, precious techniques like the “hard shake,” menus where 43 percent of the offerings contain mezcal, and a 17-minute wait for my second cocktail.

Sometimes, I just want something simpler. Also: I am often impatient. Further: I am usually lazy.

Given these facts, I am never more satisfied than when I can find what I call a “One Plus One” cocktail. These would be drinks that require the mixological technique of opening a bottle of spirit and then a bottle of something bubbly, and then pouring both into highball glass filed with ice cubes. A gin and tonic would be a “One Plus One” cocktail. So would the lazy man’s best friend, the rum and Coke.

Now, a semantics argument occasionally arises over this type of beverage. Some insist that a soda plus spirit is technically considered a “mixed drink” rather than a cocktail. My advice is to avoid people who split such hairs. But if you cannot, please remind them most One Plus One cocktails also involve a garnish, a dash of bitters, or a salted rim. This means most contain three ingredients–four if you count the ice–and therefore, they can safely call them “cocktails.”

Here, I have included a half-dozen of my favorite E-Z drinks. Serve them as refreshments while the summer heat remains with us. They all prove that just because you a lazy bartender, you can still be a gracious host.

E-Z Paloma

In Jalisco, Mexico, the locals drink Palomas, not margaritas. And most of the time, their Palomas are made with tequila and Squirt soda. Replace the Squirt with grapefruit soda, such as Izze, and you have an easy, delicious margarita alternative.

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 3 to 4 ounces grapefruit soda, preferably Izze brand
  • 1 lime wedge, for garnish

Instructions:

Salt the rim of a highball glass, then fill the glass with ice. Add the tequila and grapefruit soda; stir gently. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Makes: 1

The Pennsyltucky

The PennsyltuckyOk, yes, this drink is sorta trashy, mixing Kentucky bourbon with Philly favorite black cherry wishniak. But oh-so-good. It’s especially fine with a quality, higher-proof bourbon, such as Wild Turkey’s Rare Breed or Old Weller Antique (both 107 proof). Stewart’s or Hank’s makes the most widely available brands of black cherry wishniak, but you could always order an heirloom case of Frank’s for $70. The dashes of bitters classes things up here…a little bit.

Ingredients:

  • Ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 3 ounces black cherry wishniak soda
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Instructions:

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add the bourbon and black cherry wishniak, then the bitters. Stir gently.

Makes: 1

Cuba Libre

Cuba LibreThere are many ways to make this classic drink of old Havana. Some use white rum, some go darker. Some call for Coca-Cola, others for RC Cola or natural colas such as Fentimans Curiosity Cola.

The main thing to remember is that this drink is more than a “rum and Coke.” Here’s a version with a little twist: the addition of bitters and (if you desire/dare) gin. You can use any kind of rum, but I prefer a gold or dark rum that is aged. He also suggests replacing the lime juice with half an ounce of Key lime juice or Meyer lemon juice.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 to 1 lime
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces rum, preferably gold or dark (see headnote)
  • 1/2 ounce gin (optional)
  • Coca-Cola, chilled
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Instructions:

Squeeze the lime half or halves into a Collins glass (to yield 1/2 ounce juice), then drop in the spent lime half. Add 3 or 4 ice cubes. Pour in the rum and gin, if desired, then fill with the chilled Coca-Cola. Add the bitters; stir briefly to incorporate.

Makes: 1

Calimocho

CalimochoA sort of poor man’s sangria, this drink is popular among young people in Spain, where it is known as Kalimotxo in Basque (and also sometimes called a Rioja Libre).

This concoction is surprisingly delicious, especially on a hot summer day. The Rioja stands up to the Coke, and it’s a perfect use of what remains in the bottle from the night before.

Ingredients:

  • Ice cubes
  • 3 ounces Rioja wine
  • 3 ounces Coca-Cola

Instructions:

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add the wine, then top with Coke. If desired, add vanilla simple syrup (see below). Use a bar spoon to agitate the mixture until frost forms on the glass.

Makes: 1

Campari Aranciata

One of the classics of Italian aperitivo hour, this drink is pretty, and pretty darn easy. It’s forgiving, too. If you prefer more of a bitter taste, add a little more Campari; if you don’t, add less.

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • 2 to 3 ounces Campari
  • 3 ounces Italian orange soda, preferably San Pellegrino Aranciata
  • 1 round, thin orange slice, for garnish

Instructions:

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the Campari and orange soda; stir gently. Garnish with the slice of orange.

Makes: 1

Della Mela

This drink features the brown, bitter-orange-flavored Italian soda called chinotto, which turns out to be a perfect companion for apple brandy. It allows for a wonderful, uncloying apple flavor to come through without the rougher edges. Adapted from a recipe by Jackson Cannon at Eastern Standard in Boston.

Chinotto soda is available at Italian specialty stores, such as Di Bruno Bros. or Severino Pasta.

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces apple brandy or applejack
  • 3 to 4 ounces chinotto soda, preferably San Pellegrino brand
  • 1 round, thin orange slice, for garnish

Instructions:

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the apple brandy or applejack and the chinotto soda; stir gently. Garnish with the orange slice.

Makes: 1

Photos by Michael Bucher

Comments

  1. I have to be honest, this is usually how I make my drinks at home. I leave the fancy tricks to the bartenders.

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