Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Name Game

The Last Word.
Corpse Reviver #2.

If you are a fan of cocktails, you know these classics. Chances are, you not only know the ingredients and have a relationship with their effects, but you likely have some sort of association with their names. The Manhattan is (dare I say it), the most masculine combination of ingredients one can pour into a cocktail glass. The first three letters are M-A-N, for godsake, and would anyone dare label the borough of Manhattan as dainty?

The Last Word? Sounds like your epic search for the ideal cocktail is over. That's that. End of story. Or perhaps the name is a warning? Either way it's evocative. Makes you ask, "Exactly what am I in for?"

Do we even need to discuss Corpse Reviver #2? If this name doesn't make you stop and ponder, you are way too jaded, my friend! When I first heard of this, my first thought was: Corpse Reviver NUMBER TWO? What the hell was number one?

As you know, here at Range we create a new cocktail every night--- which if you're counting, that's roughly 357 drinks per year--- and I'd have to say that we have an easier time coming up with the ingredients than we do the names. We don't always dig deep to find the names (see: "Peach Daiquiri" October 18, 2009), and sometimes we try too hard. For example, my first cocktail to make it on the list was "Oberon", which had pears, thyme, lemon and 209 gin. In Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, the fairies sleep in thyme, and Oberon is their king. Ta-dah... Yeah, I tried too hard on that one. If it takes more than a sentence or two to explain the name, or if you're mining Shakespeare, perhaps it's time to find a different name.

One exception is the "1794", created by former Range bartender, Dominic Venegas. The name refers to the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 in which (among other things) small farmer/distillers were taxed at a higher rate than were large farmer/distillers, and the results were ugly. At this time rye was the predominant grain used to make whiskey, but because the taxing region excluded parts of what are now Tennessee and Kentucky, the distillers of that region started producing more of what we now call Bourbon, which is made primarily from corn. The "1794" features Old Overholt rye in honor of the original American whiskey. Sure, this explanation takes a minute or two, but it's actually interesting.

Same goes for the "Zyzzyva", created by our own Brooke Aurthur. This cocktail is a take on the aforementioned "Last Word" cocktail, and as such, we used the last word in the dictionary as the name. Sadly, a zyzzyva is an African weevil that is fond of palm trees, so the reference is purely linguistic. Oh, and hostess Serena Burman thought up the name, so thank her some time.

1 1/2 oz. Old Overholt rye whiskey
1 oz. Campari
3/4 oz. Punt y Mes

Stir ingredients until chilled, and strain into a cocktail glass. Flame a chip of orange zest over the top and drop into the drink.

1 1/2 oz. Miller's gin
1/2 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz. Marie Brizard Apry
1/2 oz. lime juice

Shake ingredients and fine strain into a cocktail glass. No garnish needed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Eli in Africa

It's been just about two months since Eli's final night at Range, and he's now officially in Kenya. Well... he might be in Uganda, but he's most certainly in East Africa. We all miss you, Mr. Marias, and are jealous as hell. Or, at least this bartender is.

Not sure exactly when Eli and Erin will be returning to San Francisco (he left this information vague intentionally, I believe), but when they do, we'll be shaking up the mango concoction pictured on his website. We just have to figure out which company distributes Popov vodka in the plastic jug. Mmmmm!

Eli mentioned that there are "hidden messages" within the pictures he selected, so if you're good at deciphering, let us know what you figure out. I have my thoughts, but I've never been that great at puzzles.