Thursday, July 30, 2015

Oklahoma City, Part 3

There is no doubt that we could have easily spent the rest of our night in Oklahoma City at Whiskey Chicks, but with more of the Bricktown neighborhood to explore, we made our farewells and walked back out into the summer heat.

Part of the construction of Bricktown included an artificial riverwalk called Bricktown Canal and a large amount of the Thursday night music drew us to that area. Unfortunately, since we were out on a weekday, many of the places were closing, though people were still having a good time canalside at last call at Jazmo’z Bourbon Street Cafe and Captain Norm’s Dockside Bar. Loudspeakers were blasting rounds of Billy Joel and Journey songs from the nearby Michael Murphy’s Dueling Pianos; we tried to get in, but they were going to charge us a late cover so we moved on.

A local blues band was just finishing up on a patio on the west end of the canal, so we headed over to see what they had left. The patio was attached to a nondescript dive bar, a bit tattered but clean, everything screamed that a shot-and-a-beer was what you’d get here. The bar used to be called The Biting Sow in its heyday (if it had one), but now it was called Mojo’s Blues Club for his nightly live blues. We took a seat at the bar and both ordered 7 and 7s. Our bartender, Jay, obliged.

As we cooled off with our second-to-last drinks of the night, a bar patron on my right struck up a conversation with bartender Jay, reminiscing about the last time he visited Mojo’s; the bored female half of a couple that had already been sitting at the bar prior to our arrival, decided to light an entire book of matches up for her own amusement. She dropped the flaming cardboard into an ashtray, which Jay promptly smothered with a second ashtray. She smiled craftily and said something to Jay who looked more and more like he wanted to go home for the night.

Instead, I extended his night. The rule for drinking creatively at a dive bar is to scan their top-shelf liquor for something you rarely have (or never have had) and think of a common mixer that can go one-to-one with it. So for my nightcap, I saw a dusty bottle of Old Overholt rye. I called Jay to mix me up and Old Overholt and 7. After procuring a second bottle of rye (since the dusty bottle was down to dregs), Jay poured up a sweet, spicy treat to end the night.

Drink: Old Overholt and 7
Establishment: Mojo’s Blues Club     
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
First Connoisseur: Holly

1 part Old Overholt rye
1 part 7up
Fill a large mason jar with ice. Fill ½ of the jar with Overholt. Stir. Top with cold 7up. Give the drink a couple of gentle stirs. If you really need to, you can garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Oklahoma City, Part 2

Last time we introduced you to Oklahoma City’s best-kept secret, the Bricktown neighborhood, starting with Bricktown Brewery. Continuing down Sheridan Avenue, you will encounter a myriad of restaurants and tap rooms including the titan-sized Spaghetti Warehouse, the swanky TapWerks Ale House, the tagged-up Crabtown and its watering hole, the down-home Wormy Dog Saloon, and the burlesque lounge Dollhouse.

Already full from our meal, Cindy and I avoided the dance and food vibe of Sheridan and walked down to the southern border of Bricktown, Reno Avenue. There we stumbled upon blaze-red fronted Whiskey Chicks Parlor, fully prepared to quench an Oklahoma summer thirst. Immediately we were greeted by Elizabeth Haden, a tatted spitfire in daisy dukes who guided us to a table and a drink menu. A look around the bar’s decor which alternated between suicide girls’ boudoir and bourbon distillery, which obviously speaks to guys, but the bartender skill and wait staff enthusiasm keeps you coming back to the cocktails. Our first round were Whiskey Chick creations; here are our recreations of both.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Oklahoma City, Part 1

There’s a good chance that our family vacations are a bit different from yours. Of course, the trips are mostly about the kids, but if we get the opportunity to bring something back for the Firewater Lounge, we take advantage. So we drove 3000 miles round-trip to catalog our some of the cocktails of the south and we will present them to you starting with one of the best kept secret drinking locations in America: Oklahoma City.

Ground zero for this drinking adventure is OKC’s downtown historic Hotel Skirvin. The Hotel Skirvin, first opened in 1911 and then re-opened in 2007, is allegedly haunted. As the story goes, the hotel owner, Bill Skirvin had an affair with a maid and got her pregnant. To avoid scandal, Skirvin locked away the girl on the 10th floor of the hotel. When the child was born, Skirvin still would not released her, so in her depression, she jumped with her child from one of the hotel windows.

Most of you will not believe this, but I knew none of this before check-in. As the concierge collected my information for our reservation, he slowly asked without looking up, “Is a room on the 10th floor o.k.?” Thinking I had a shot at an awesome view, I said, “Sure” not knowing that we would be sharing the floor with a 100-year ghost chick and her spawn!

Regardless, the hotel bar is not even close to as awesome as their ghost stories, so it was off to the restored warehouse district, named Bricktown, a mere two blocks from the Skirvin. Sandwiched between Sheridan Avenue and Reno Avenue on its respective north and south sides, and bordered on its west by the Cox Convention Center and its east by Redhawks Stadium, Bricktown is an amalgam of drinking establishments and restaurants that caters to all tastes, from breweries to burlesque, from piano bars to shot and a beer saloons.

Our tour of Bricktown starts with its namesake brewery for supper. Bricktown Brewery sports a huge array of tasty accompaniments to suds. Our family partook in corn dogs, quesadillas, barbequed pulled chicken and the Oklahoma state meal- chicken fried steak with black-eyed peas. Naturally, the food required beer. So, let’s give you drinking notes to a couple of their brews.

The first draught we encountered was the 46 Star Oklahoma Amber Ale, which was the standard light-bodied ale of the brewery. Low in bitterness, but decent depth of malt and pretty lacing makes this beer a great all-around selection for pizza, burgers, and nachos. Since I had the chicken fried steak, I asked for another round; this time ordered up the Remington Red Ale, another malty delight that brought more hops and paired wonderfully with the Oklahoma state meal as it would with pulled pork, barbeque brisket, and ribeyes.

You know that Bricktown cocktails are our next stop, but for that, you’ll have to wait until our next entry...

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Canadian Wildfire Cocktail

Today, we got more smoke than we bargained for. It was the Fourth of July, of course, so we were expecting fireworks smoke, barbecues, and the like, but the high altitude smoke from raging Canadian wildfires had drifted south. An hour before sunset, the sun was beet red and hazy. It gave us inspiration to create a drink.

We have never smoked a cocktail before. We, instead, often use ingredients that are smoky prior to the construction of the actual drink like a Laphroaig wash or the addition of smoked salt or sugar. To smoke a cocktail efficiently, most bartenders now use a cold smoke gun. They get the job done for about $100. Now, I know most of the Lounge Lizards aren’t going to drop a Benjamin on a smoker, even if you can use it for food too. So we used wood chips (toothpicks) to light a mound of tea to gather our smoke and it worked pretty well; what you have to remember is that gas from a lighter and sulphur from a match don’t taste very good so do not use these as your smoke source.

If you would like to use a smoke gun, you can see mixologist Jamie Boudreau apply one using tea leaves here:

Canadian Wildfire Cocktail
Holly’s Original

1 1/2 ounce Canadian whisky (We used Canadian Club 100)
1/2 ounce Cointreau (or premium triple sec)
Dash Angostura bitters
Contents of a bag of Chai tea

Combine whisky, Cointreau and bitters in a service vessel.

Open the tea bag and pour out its contents in a flame retardant container (we used an aluminum pan). Alight the tea with a wood chip. Invert a glass over smoke for a short time. Extinguish fire.

Add a large ice cube to smoked glass. Pour the cocktail over the large ice cube. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Memories and Happy Fourth of July!

Our 15th Anniversary party was a success. We thank all of you who came out to spend the evening with us, especially Marilyn, who removed Jason’s kitchen shackles for at least one night. In many ways we wouldn’t be the people we are without all of you.

Most of the night we reminisced as much as we drank, and a few times we reminisced about drinking! Since some of you couldn’t make it for the drinking how about repeating some of these college classics for your Fourth of July weekend.

Corrie, M.J., Aaron and I were pondering the oldest bottle in the Firewater Lounge, a bottle of Aftershock. We rarely pour the cooling cinnamon schnapps, especially since Firewater was the mainstay of Winterfest. However, we did have this college shooter we used to evaluate the worthiness of friends-of-friends that would come to our parties. The shooter is half Firewater, half Aftershock, poured over a speared cherry. We would tell newbies that this was a sophisticated little drink that you should be able to tell the cherry nuances after pounding the shot. In reality, the drink is 90 proof, so no one but suck-ups would claim they taste cherries. Those people were soon to be very, very drunk (or out snipe hunting).

Iron Maiden
Holly's Originals

3/4 ounce Aftershock cinnamon schnapps
3/4 ounce Firewater cinnamon schnapps

Use cocktail swords to skewer a maraschino cherry like shown in the photo. Place speared cherry on a shot glass. Pour liqueurs over the cherry into the shot glass. Remove cherry and shoot! Taste like cherries?

A second shooter we tested the green drinkers with is the classic cement mixer. Purposely, this shot coagulates in your mouth and has caught many a college drinker off-guard and those in the know, loving it.

Cement Mixer
Classic Pour

1 part Bailey's Irish Cream
1 part lime juice

Pour both ingredients in a shot glass. Take the shot, but retain it all in your mouth. Shake your head like you are a dog with a fun chew toy. Chew and swallow.

If you haven’t caught on, we have given you a red drink and a white drink, so how about a blue one to complete our Fourth of July/15th Anniversary/college memory blog post. Often times we need a name for a newly concocted drink. Back in the day, we leaned on M.R. Hoffman to do the honors. This is what he came up with for this one...

Floating Blue Balls
Holly's Originals

1/2 ounce Herbsaint (or Absinthe)
1 1/2 ounce pineapple rum
1 1/2 ounce blue curacao
1 ounce Champagne (we use Aria Cava here)

Wash the inside of a cold Champagne flute with the Herbsaint, then discard remainder. Stir rum and curacao on ice (I added five drops of Boker’s bitters to make this a true, tastier cocktail) in a separate vessel. Strain contents into your Herbsaint-prepared flute. Add chilled Champagne. Garnish with blackberries.