Monday, May 30, 2011

Mint Julep Day!

The Derby may be over and Bing Crosby's horse still hasn't come in yet, but today is

National Mint Julep Day

Those from Kentucky may take umbrage at this, but I didn't make this up. The Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau - Fun Facts claim that the Mint Julep originated at Mint Springs in the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi. This fact is hotly contested. The first appearance of a mint julep in print came in Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States of America, a book by John Davis published in London in 1803, where it was described as "a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning."

I leave this up to you.

Traditional Mint Julep

  • 1 scant ounce minted simple syrup
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 2 ounces bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve)
  • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

To highball glass or silver Julep cup (see above image), add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to almost fill glass. Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.             

Recipe Adapted from The Old Steelbach Bar, Lexington, KY.

The Bing Crosby reference is a running gag about the entertainer's notorious losses at the track.

©2011 Wait At The Bar

Friday, May 27, 2011


This being the official start of the Summer season (it's Memorial Day weekend here in the states, y'all), it's only appropriate for it to be :

National Grape Popsicle Day!!!!

Those long scorching summer days. The eternal "Family Vacation" where the only bright spot came frozen on two sticks. The familiar crack of the rock hard pop against a convenient straight edge, splitting it in two, so that you could share it with a pretty girl. The satisfaction of whittling down the stick to make a crude weapon (some of us had urban upbringings) and be "menacing" or king of the playground.

Fondness all around, from baseball diamond to city stoop, nothing can ever top these.

The Grape flavored ones were always the most sought after, especially here in New York City, where I grew up. The Orange and Cherry flavored pops were inferior, despite the fact that these were the only flavors that any ice cream cart seemed to carry. Living in an ethnic neighborhood, the shaved ice guy would come by with his 50 lb. block of clear ice and rainbow coloured bottles of flavoured syrup. However, these shaved ice sno-cones, despite having more flavour, were not the same. Personally, I think everything had to do with the sticks, but that's just an opinion.

Invented in 1905 in San Francisco by 11-year-old Frank Epperson (he accidentally left a cup of powdered soda flavoring and water with a stirring stick in it on the porch on a chilly night only to find frozen icy nirvana the next morning), it would take an additional eighteen years and a patent application for the Popsicle to achieve its legendary status.

"It was originally available in seven flavors and marketed as a "frozen drink on a stick." The form is unique, with two parts joined together on two sticks, so the two sections could be divided and shared. The flat wooden stick, similar in shape and size to an emery board, with round ends used as a handle became as well-known as the treat, commonly used for craft projects by children and adults." Source : WikiPedia

Now, for those not familiar, Popsicle is actually a brand name, and, therefore, should always be capitalized when writing; but, then again, shouldn't something this awesome always be capitalized? Popsicle brand, not to be confuse with other, inferior, types of "ice pops", is owned by Unilever, the proud manufacturers of AXE Body Spray, Vaseline, and Slim Fast products (see Unilever, if you don't believe me).

Just as wonderful as our childhood treat is, leave it up to some moron in the marketing department to maximize it into oblivion :

The $1,000.00 Dollar Popsicle

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How To....

That's right, all of the rumors are true.

You too can actually distill Absinthe at home!!!

Our good friends over at English Russia have come up with a step by step method with all of the ingredients that you will need including an accompanying photo essay.

Homemade Absinthe is all the rage among the literary and artistic cognoscenti, especially these days. Now, for those not so cosmopolitan or bohemian enough, Absinthe was the drink that inspired, destroyed, and basically made men mad. Some notable Absinthe drinkers were Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest "Papa" Hemmingway, Oscar Wilde, Pablo Picasso, and Edgar Allen Poe, just to name a few.

So, what exactly is Absinthe??

"Absinthe is a drink that contains a high-level of alcohol, typically 68%. The most important ingredient of Absinthe is the herb wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium); it is what sets it apart from other drinks and is how it acquired its name. The essential oils in wormwood contains the chemical Thujone, which is a toxin when taken in large amounts. Thujone is said to be responsible for Absinthe's mysterious effects."

Taken from Absinthe History

Thursday, May 5, 2011


For “Cinco de Mayo”, I turn to an old friend.

He and I grew up together in New York City and were forever trying to discover good authentic Mexican food, and, not to mention, good Mexican beer to go with it.

One day he wandered in with this -


Beautiful label, dark bottle, an air of mystery.

Could this even be imported during the ’80’s without NAFTA??

The questions abounded.

The only available “brands” at that time were Tecate and Dos Equis,

This was New York City. A haven for many emigrés; so, why were there no more than two flavours of Mexican beer to be found?

 Both of those other brands were good, but what was this "Pacifico"?

Amber in colour and loaded with flavour, honey and flowers. Smooth and flowing.

How could this even be beer?

The real question was what to do with this nectar besides simply enjoy it on Cinco de Mayo?

One of my friend's "surprise" meals (you know the kind; put every viable leftover from the fridge into a skillet ad add some soy sauce, an egg, sauté, and "SURPRISE!" it's actually good?) was clearly not an option.

This beer deserved more.

Photo : Sian Kennedy

Holiday Pork Posole

Recipe after the Jump