Make It a Strong One

Darcy O'Neil :: March 17, 2008 9:27 PM

Mm-limitone.thumbnailNo, really, I do need a strong drink. Rick, with his forethought decided on a "Limit One" Mixology Monday theme, which couldn't have come at a better time. There are times when you just need the powerfully sedating properties of alcohol, and over the past few days I've come to the conclusion, one of those drinks is needed today. I haven't decided which creative libation to mix up, but chugging from any of the bottles on my liquor shelf is a possibility. Hmm, I think Rick meant one drink, not one bottle.

Earlier today I didn't even think I was going to be able to do anything for Mixology Monday. My web hosting service messed up and failed to "communicate" important things that resulted in the Art of Drink disappearing from the Internet for about 3 days. And I'm expecting it to do a temporary disappearing act again shortly, while I transfer from one host to another, so read quickly.

I've also been working on a major presentation, due Wednesday, creating a cocktail menu for Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Dinner, due March 15th. I've also been working a day job, with my co-worker on vacation. Plus I've been doing a fierce bit of procrastinating. I did manage to clean a good chunk of the house, while I procrastinated, though.

I won't complain about the weather, but it is still very cold and there is at least a foot of snow on my back deck. This is resulting in a case of cabin fever to add to everything else.

At this point I haven't even thought about what to drink. Four finger of Irish whiskey sounds good. But that's not really mixology, more like "intoxicology".

When it comes to strong drinks there are only two places to turn; Tiki or Jerry Thomas. I've been doing Tiki tastings recently, so this time I'll turn to Mr. Thomas.

White Plush
(Use small bar-glass.)
Hand a bottle of Bourbon or rye whiskey to the
customer and let him help himself.
Fill up the glass with fresh milk.

A curious story about the origin of this drink, is thus
told by the New York Herald :

"There are some mixed drinks that are standbys, and are always popular, such as cocktails, punches and juleps; but every little while there will be a new racket sprang on the public that will have a great run for a time, and then get knocked out by another. About a month ago white plush got its start in this way : There was a country buyer down from New England somewhere, and a party of dry goods men were trying to make it pleasant for him. So they took him into a swell barroom down town, and were going to open sour wine. Same old story, you know ; get him full as a balloon and then work him for a big order. It turned out that this countryman was not such a flat as they thought him. Though he had been swigging barrels of hard cider and smuggled Canada whiskey for the last twenty years, he pleaded the temperance business on them ; said he never drank, and he guessed he'd just take a glass of water if the'd git him one, as he was kinder thirsty walkin' round so much. Well, that was a set back for the boys. They knew he had lots of money to spend, and he was one of those unapproachable ducks that have got to be warmed up before you can do anything with them.

White-plush

' 'O, take something,' they said ; ' take some milk.'
"' Well, I guess a glass of milk would go sorter good,'
said he.

"Someone suggested kumyss and told him what it was.
As they did not have any kumyss in the place they gave him some milk and seltzer. That's about the same thing. One of the boys gave the bartender a wink and he put a dash of whiskey in it. The old man did not get on to it all. He thought it was the seltzer that flavored it. The next round the seltzer was left out altogether and more whiskey put in. They kept on giving it to him until he got pretty well set up. It's a very insidious and seductive drink. Pretty soon the countryman got funny and tipped his glass over on the table. As it spread around he said :

" 'Gosh, it looks like white plush, don't it? '

" ' So it does,' said the boys. ' Give the gentleman another
yard of white plush, here ;' and the name has stuck to it ever since."

There it is, a simple drink that actually instructs the bartender to give the patron the bottle and serve themselves. Sounds like a good time.

So how does bourbon and milk taste? Well, not horribly bad. It definitely makes the bourbon really smooth and takes a lot of the heat out. I didn't use ice, but it would work better well chilled. It also seems to need a little sweetness to improve things. I wouldn't add sugar but maybe something like Benedictine or some cream sherry.

Happy Saint Patrick's day.


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