November is one of the best months of the year for many reasons: Southwest Florida’s weather changes for the better, this infernal election will finally come to an end, THANKGIVING! and it's one of the best month for movies. Academy Award heavy hitters start rolling on the silver screen with fervor, ringing in big box office bucks and serving as a welcome distraction from all the holiday shopping—and music—that spreads through retail like a tidal wave. So this weekend, we’re giving the played “I approve this message …” a break and dedicating this round of cocktails to some of the upcoming flicks that I’ll be throwing my hard-earned cash at this month.
Friday Happy Hour: Skyfall
We here at Naples Illustrated love 007 (just read Howard’s blog on monthly car pieces; there is bound to be a reference in there somewhere, somehow). And in my book, Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond is the best of the six actors. So we’re giving a dose Double-O in anticipation of Skyfall (November 9 release) with a sip Bond and Ian Fleming made famous, the Vesper.
The Vesper is the original Bond martini, invented by Fleming in the first 007 novel, Casino Royale. When Craig ordered it in his installment, the Bond world was righted, helping ease the pain inflicted from those dark Brosnan/BMW days. This is a heavy-hitting martini, so you may want to find a D.D. to drive that Aston Martin home tonight.
- 3 measures of Gordon’s Gin (3 oz.)
- 1 measure of vodka (1 oz.)
- ½ measure of Lillet (½ oz.)
Method, as quoted from film: “Three measures of Gordon’s; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel.”
Enough said, enjoy!
Saturday Night is for the Great Emancipator, Lincoln
Come November 16, the sixteenth president of the United States gets his day on the silver screen, and this time he’s not fighting zombies. Daniel Day-Lewis, quite possibly the greatest actor of this era, takes on the top hat in Lincoln, a biopic war drama helmed by Steven Spielberg. This thing has Oscar written all over it, but coming up with a cocktail from Lincoln’s era is, well, difficult. Not only was ice hard to come by back then, but also if history is not your strong suit, there was a war going on, and the Temperance Movement was really hitting its stride (eventually leading to Prohibition). For the most part, soldiers and citizens were imbibing on ales, ciders and spirits—straight up, as cocktails were finding footing in barrooms and saloons. With that said, a few cocktails survived those dark days by way of Jerry Thomas—the father of American mixology—and his book, The Bon-Vivant’s Companion, published in 1862. Below, you’ll find recipes straight from the first American cocktail book, and as you will see, they are quite sweet, heavy on presentation and a bit time consuming.
Mint Julep No. 1
- 3 oz. brandy or cognac
- ½ tsp. rum
- 2½ tbs. water
- ½ oz. sugar
- Several fresh mint leaves
Thomas: [In a large bar glass] “Add one tablespoon of white pulverized sugar in two and one-half tablespoons of water, mix well with spoon. Take three or four sprigs [I personally use two] of fresh mint and press them well in the sugar and water, until the flavor of mint is extracted; add one and a half wine glass [3 oz.] of Cognac brandy, and fill the glass with fine shaved ice [slushy consistency], then draw out the sprigs of mint and insert them in the ice with the stems downward, so that the leaves will be above, in the shape of bouquet; arrange berries, and small pieces of sliced orange on top in a tasty manner, dash with Jamaican rum, and sprinkle white sugar on top. Place a straw as represented in the cut [across the top], and you have a julep that is fit for an emperor.”
“This beverage is simply a julep on a small plan.”
- ½ oz. white sugar
- ½ oz. water
- 1 wine glass (2 oz.) brandy/gin/whiskey
Thomas: [In a small bar glass] “Fill two-thirds full of shaved ice, use two sprigs of mint, the same as in the recipe for mint julep. Lay two pieces of orange on top, and ornament with berries in season.”
Sunday Funday: Ode to Russia
On November 16, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina—what has been called the “greatest novel ever written”—gets an over-the-top Hollywood makeover. This period-piece film, starring Keira Knightley as Anna and Jude Law as Alexei Karenin, is sure to be Oscar bait, especially in Best Costume Design, and another feather in the cap for director Joe Wright, who led Knightley in Atonement and Pride and Prejudice.
To get our late-nineteenth century Russia swerve on, we’re offering up a few Russian ditties that’ll keep you warm at night.
- 1 part vodka (1 oz.)
- 1 part coffee liqueur [Kahlua works well]
- 3 parts sparkling wine
Shake vodka and Kahlua over ice; strain into glass. Top with chilled sparkling wine.
- 1½ oz. vodka
- ¾ oz. coffee liqueur
Pour into an old fashioned-glass filled with ice. Stir gently.
*For a White Russian, float fresh cream on top, stir, et viola.
If you would like to nominate a cocktail recipe to appear in our latest series “Weekend Cocktails,” email the online editor here.
Tools of the Trade
Become a master mixologist, or at least look like one, with the tools that make the trade.
- Muddler: This little tenderizing stick is a godsend and a must for any home bar. If fruity cocktails are in your future, the muddler is the only way to unlock fruits’ flavor.
- Handheld Citrus Juicer: Nothing beats freshly squeezed juice, but it can be a pain. Invest in a handheld citrus juicer; they are cheap and do the trick tout de suite.
- Cocktail Shaker: Don’t be a chump stirring your martini like a noob; purchase a nice shaker and become a master home barkeep.
- Jigger: This little apparati will make mixing the perfect drink as easy as pie. It's equipped with 1½ oz. and ¾ oz. cups for perfectly measured pours every time.
*Pictured available at Williams-Sonoma