Saturday, April 3, 2010

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This Mother in Law's Welcome Any Night

Jim Beam isn’t my go-to bourbon, but it's a good value and I do like it enough to buy 1.75 liters at a time. This amount, just shy of a two-liter, is a measurement we call a handle around here. In the back of my mind, I knew that our hall liquor closet held an unopened handle of Beam somewhere. Hauling it out last week and regarding its heft made me think of one cocktail in particular: Brooks Baldwin’s Mother in Law cocktail.

Brooks didn’t name the drink. In fact, when he wrote about it to Chuck Taggart in 2003, it didn’t have a name at all—just a New Orleans heritage and a notable lack of being listed in any of the cocktail books. For something that was practically unknown a decade ago, the drink’s gained a wide circle of fans. Taggart tells the tale of its discovery here.

Some—such as Dale DeGroff, Ted Haigh, and Taggart himself—have offered smaller versions, but the original recipe was for about a quart of the stuff, made up at home and poured as needed. After whipping up a sample batch of this bitters-heavy cocktail, I went for the whole batch. Here’s how:

Mother in Law Cocktail

2.5 tsp Peychaud’s Bitters
2.5 tsp Angostura Bitters
2.5 tsp Torani Amer (or vintage 78-proof Amer Picon)
1.5 oz Maraschino liqueur (Luxardo or Maraska)
1.5 oz Cointreau or high-quality orange Curaçao
1.5 oz simple syrup
One 750ml bottle bourbon

Combine ingredients thoroughly and pour into a clean one-quart bottle. To serve, pour three ounces into a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Stir for no less than thirty seconds, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a stemless cherry.
On the nights I want something stiffer than tea, more complex than whiskey alone, and about as easy as opening a bottle, I reach for my mother in law.



Chuck said...

We offered an attempt at a single-serving version for the faint-of-heart, but at home we always mix her up by the bottle too. :-)

Michael Lazar said...

Mmmm. So many excellent flavors in one place. I look forward to making up a batch soon. I'll be curious to compare it with the Rock 'n' Rye I already keep about the house for the occasional cough. ;->

(P.S. Luxardo or Maraska? The latter is distinctly drier than the former. Do you have a personal preference?)

frederic said...

First time I had this drink was at a speakeasy event held on a riverboat (docked); the drink was poured out of a big tea pot looking cocktail shaker into our tea cups. Between a few of those and the other drinks served that night, you couldn't tell whether it was you or the waves moving the boat that was moving...