Ring the bell, it's time for Last Call, where JK Grence, bartender at Shady's, serves up booze advice and recipes. Got a burning question for your bartender? Leave it in the comments and it might be answered in a future column.
The other day, someone emailed me an excellent question. Namely:
What tips do you have for a great Irish Coffee?
--Scott, Middle of Nowhere Idaho
Scott, I'd love to answer your question. Judging by the Idaho weather forecast (lows below freezing already?!), I'm sure you'd love it if I answered this. Alas, down here in Phoenix, about the last thing on our minds is a hot drink. Have patience, though. I love a good Irish Coffee, and look forward to writing about them when it starts getting cold down here.
Until then, I have for you a pair of my favorite after-dinner drinks. They both make excellent alternatives to a traditional dessert, and serve double duty to help settle one's stomach after a heavy meal.
First up is the Stinger. I keep hoping that someone will rediscover it. I adore the Stinger because of an odd quirk in preparation. Usually, drinks made entirely of spirits (Martinis, Manhattans, etc.) are stirred to chill, while drinks that include juices or dairy products (Margaritas, Ramos Gin Fizzes, etc.) are shaken. The Stinger is the only drink to my knowledge that bucks the trend, being shaken despite being made of brandy and white crème de menthe. A common variant is the Vodka Stinger. It's more fun (especially this time of year) to call a Vodka Stinger by its other name, the White Spider. Either way you go, keep a light hand with the crème de menthe. Add too much, and it's like drinking mouthwash.
The other drink this week is the Golden Cadillac, a creamy counterpart to the clear Stinger. If you've ever had a craving for a Harvey Wallbanger and bought a bottle of Galliano (a terrific Italian anise/vanilla liqueur), this is your answer for what the hell to do with the rest of the bottle. The Golden Cadillac hails from Poor Red's BBQ, a little rib-slinging biker dive bar up in northern California halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. Despite the remote location, they are by far the leading user of Galliano in the United States. Once, they went through a staggering 87 bottles in a single night. I think most bars don't go through that much Galliano in a decade. While Golden Cadillacs are most commonly served straight up, they're quite nice when blended.
The recipes: Stinger 1 ½ ounces cognac (or vodka for the White Spider) ¼ ounce white crème de menthe
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Shake well with ice cubes. Strain into a double rocks glass over fresh crushed ice.
Golden Cadillac 1 ounce white crème de cacao 1 ounce Galliano 1 ounce half-and-half Dark chocolate shavings, for garnish (optional)
Up: Shake well with ice cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with chocolate. Blended: Blend with 5 ice cubes until smooth. Pour into a goblet. Garnish with chocolate.