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Ideas for small cocktails


MaggieL
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Usually, I enjoy a good challenge in the kitchen. However, when it comes to cocktails, I'm at a bit of a loss. I tend to gravitate towards beer and wine myself. I am hoping that someone here can help steer me in the right direction.

I am trying to find some ideas, inspirations or (best of all) recipes for a party that I am throwing tonight. (I am asking very last-minute, and I don't expect too many replies in time for the party--but your answers will come in handy for me later anyway, as you'll soon see.)

I am throwing a bachelorette party for a close friend of mine. Her whole wedding is vintage themed (both the bride and groom have a wicked rockabilly sort of style), so we're steering the bachelorette party in that same direction. I found a vintage 1950s/60s era cocktail decanter, and this will be our present to the bride. We are hoping to introduce her to her present by actually using it at the party.

It is fantastically kitschy:

gallery_47802_4897_7318.jpg

It is a decanter/shot-glass set that is shaped like a bowling ball, with a pump on top, a small spout, and space to fit some ice around the outside of the decanter.

The one we found resembles the above photo in design, but is actually made of chrome (more like this one).

It's amazing.

But it confuses me. What does one do with such a thing? Is it really just used for pouring shots? Or is there a way to incorporate this decanter into making longer, more dignified drinks?

If it is just for shots, I'll mix up some sort of shot concoction (any good recipes? I'm just planning on googling for some) and then make a big picture of something like whiskey sours or mojitos. (I'd also love any good recipes for making big-batch mixed cocktails for 6-10 people).

Alternatively, I was thinking we could mix up our liquor base in the decanter, measure this out in the shot glasses, pour this into proper glasses and top off with club soda/tonic/ice/simple syrup/etc. Any recipes that would be conducive to this would also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much, in advance. It'd be great to give my friend some usage tips along with the gift.

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What if you filled 5 of the shot glasses with vodka, gin, rum, tequila and triple sec. Fill the last one with lemon juice, and have some simple syrup and coke to finish it. Pour all the shots into the decanter, shake, top with coke and have the kitschiest(sp? is that even a word?) cocktail for frat boys and 18 year olds around.

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While I love the Long Island Iced Tea idea, I think you need to serve Harvey Wallbangers out of this thing to really go all retro and kitschy. And it'll be easy to make new batches as there are only 3 ingredients.

Nice score on the decanter, BTW! It's really cool! I love old barware and have a collection of stuff spilling out my cabinets already... :rolleyes:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I also love Long Island Iced Teas--it was one of the first drinks that I ever had (such a deceptively innocent name!). But I think I like the idea of using the shot glasses more for output than for input.

Thanks for Harvey Wallbanger suggestion KatieLoeb. It seems right to put a retro drink in the retro decanter.

But here is where I get confused: how do you think I should go about serving the H.W's from this fancy carousel?

I have two strategies in mind.

Strategy 1:

Mix the OJ, Vodka, and Galliano in the decanter.

Provide tall glasses and ice.

Allow my guests to dispense their own shots from the dispenser, and then pour these over the ice.

Downside: since H.W. is a rather long drink (I think?), I'm not sure how many I could fit in the decanter before needing to re-fuel.

Upside: really simple for my guests.

Strategy 2:

Mix Vodka and Galliano in the decanter.

Provide tall glasses, ice, and OJ.

Allow my guests to dispense their own alcohol, and then pour this and OJ over ice.

Upside: the decanter would last longer.

Downside: more work for the guests.

I think that Strategy 2 is perhaps how the decanter is meant to be used. The shot glasses then would be for pouring, and not to be drank from directly.

It a confusing set-up. I'd find it much more logical for cocktail making if either:

- the accompanying glasses were larger (each person would then pour their drink from the spout into their own glass, and be done), or

- there was just one shot glass (each person would just use this one glass to pour the alcohol-of-choice into their cocktail glass).

I'd like to think that I can find a way to incorporate the bar tool into making cocktails, but the set-up does seem to work best with shot-pouring/drinking.

Am I missing something?

Are there any other good retro drinks that would work with Strategy 2--e.g. that involve a few mixed alcohols plus a mixer? Or even any drinks that would be just straight mixed alcohol on the rocks?

[Thanks, too, KatieLoeb for your enthusiasm about my find. I was pretty happy. We also bought the happy couple a 100-year old copper Turkish coffee set from the same store. It was a great day for antiquing.]

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Honestly, the easiest answer to this question is to make up a big batch of Harvey Wallbangers in advance and just keep filling up the fun decanter. In a perfect world you'd do the "float" of Galliano, but honestly it's easier to have one sober person do the batching ahead and make sure it tastes right, and damn the specifics of the recipe. All you need is one or two folks to overdo it on the freepour of the float of Galliano and now everyone hates the drink or is speaking ill of it, even if their shot glass was fine. Just make a big container of it and keep filling up the dispenser. It'll be fine and low maintenance so you can have some fun too... :wink:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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How easily cleaned are the works inside the pump thingy?  I'd be wary of putting something pulpy like OJ into it if it's got fiddly little tubes that the pumping actions sucks stuff through.

That is an excellent point. My impression is that these types of devices were meant to dispense just plain spirits--I would also be very wary of putting juice of any kind into it. You could perhaps get away with a more spiritous cocktail like a Manhattan but your entire crowd may not appreciate it in the same way.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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How about just filling it with Rye? Very Mad Men, and period appropriate.

"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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Too late but with my crowd I might just do chilled schnaaps of some kind

tracey

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How easily cleaned are the works inside the pump thingy?  I'd be wary of putting something pulpy like OJ into it if it's got fiddly little tubes that the pumping actions sucks stuff through.

I agree that this is an excellent point I hadn't considered. Of course one could merely mix the vodka and Galliano and then pump it into iced cups and top with OJ. But I'd certainly consider the cleaning aspect. I'd probably want to fill it with warm, lightly soapy water and a Tablespoon of vinegar afterward, pump it out and then finish with hot water until no smell remained.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Thanks for all of your suggestions. cdh, I think you are entirely right about the potential pulp problem. It is a wee little pump!

As it turned out, we had to use the decanter as a purely decorative piece at the party. I gave the whole thing a good cleaning, and was dismayed to find that I couldn't get the pump to actually work. I'm hoping that it's just clogged, but the actual pumping mechanism doesn't seem to make much sense. I think it might be missing a piece. Now to find a bowling ball decanter repair-person...

Regardless, I did feel quite inspired by both the decanter and this thread so I stayed in the realm of cocktails and made whiskey sours and mojitos for the group. They turned out great! The bride-to-be was thoroughly impressed.

Thanks again, all!

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