Here's mud in your eye.
I've been giving a lot of thought to house cocktails lately. A few months ago, House Beautiful asked me to come up with a cocktail that would be fitting to serve at one's mountain house. The first thing that popped into my head was "Southern Cola", a cocktail for which I absolutely cannot take credit. The creator of this libation was mixologist extraordinaire Greg Best of Holeman & Finch in Atlanta. The drink, by the way, is made of Coca Cola, Amaro, and a lime juice ice cube, and it's really quite delicious.
More recently, my neighbors David and Scott served me a variation on the Satsuma Mojito, a drink favored by Julia Reed. David's version- he calls it the Satsuma Stinger- consists of Satsuma juice, soda, vodka, and mint. It was refreshing and fizzy and yes, it's so good that before you know it, it's 1am and you're stung. This needs to become David and Scott's house cocktail.
And finally, over Saturday lunch with my Charleston friends Mitchell and Randall, I asked what the hot cocktail of the moment was in their hometown. The response was spritzers and cocktails made from Elderflower syrup or St-Germain (an elderflower liqueur that's especially delicious when mixed with champagne and soda.)
All of this talk about cocktails led me to the decision that I need to come up with a house cocktail to serve my guests over the coming months. This actually is of vital importance to me as I live in a building where all we seem to do is eat a lot, drink a lot, and stay up well into the night discussing important matters like gossip, old Atlanta, and decorating. Hey, why not when all you have to do to get home is simply get on the elevator and press a button-hopefully the correct one to your floor.
I do already serve Kir Royales from time to time, so this could be an option. It's classic, something that I like. In fact, I believe that the first time I had one was at The Carlyle when I was college-aged, so this drink just might be the sentimental favorite for me.
Of course, I could channel Nan Kempner and start proffering Bull Shots to my guests. Don't we all remember that W article in which Nan downed her Bull Shot, claimed she was "pissed drunk", and then proceeded to say that she "loathed fat people"? Do you think Bull Shots make you fat?
Maybe I need a house cocktail that contains Bourbon because after all, I'm a Southerner. If you could bottle Sid Mashburn's classic and cool, traditional yet hip Southern vibe and mix it with bourbon, then that just might be the perfect Southern cocktail.
If all else fails, I could serve what I oftentimes do: Riondo Pink Prosecco. The taste is crisp and dry, the hue a rosy shade of pink, and the bottle's label is chic. What's not to like? But it's a new year, and it's time I venture out of my cocktail comfort zone and serve something different. I need help! You're a fun-loving group of people. What do you think?
Top image from House Beautiful, Fernando Bengoechea photographer; champagne photo from Glorious Food by Christopher Idone; Campbell's Beef Broth silkscreen by Richard Pettibone; julep cup photo from Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations: Entertaining at Home with New York's Savviest Hostesses; prosecco photo by Jennifer Boles.