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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Won by a neck

Race to it.

As Churchill almost said, “Some horse, some neck!”
This cocktail, famous as it may be, looks nothing like a horse’s neck, despite its taxonomy. Yet, as London Cocktail Week fades to a memory, I thought I’d better throw in my tuppence worth with a classic – but with a twist, naturally.
Click on the picture below for a bigger image.

The neck in question is supposedly represented by the curlicue of lemon peel residing in the glass then hanging out over the rim, in the way that a horse’s neck might.
I mean, who thinks these things up?
What you must have, however, is a small but very sharp knife in order to slice the peel off a lemon in one piece. The phrase ‘Don’t try this at home’ should really apply here but not to the rough tough type who enjoy a cocktail.
"Hey, I just did a 12-hour shift down a tin mine" doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid, with the fearless cocktail provider.
“Just drink this Horse’s Neck and give us peace. But wash your bloomin’ hands first!”

Before we start, have a listen to the following track. I know it’s a Stones song but this version is ten times better…

Back to business. The classic Horse’s Neck cocktail is not unlike a Rye and Dry, ergo in my own recipe I like to jazz it up un peu.
On no account, entertain any so-called cocktail barman aficionado who, when commissioned to prepare this recipe, shakes his weary head and sneers, “Yes, hmm, but it ain’t a Horse’s Neck.”
Fact is, cocktail recipes change with the winds that blow these so-called aficionados in and out of town. One Horse’s Neck recipe might suggest bourbon as the main ingredient while another would plump for brandy.
So who cares? Be an iconoclast. It’s your personal taste that remains the only concern.
Here we go …

Horse’s Neck


2 fl oz good bourbon (Jack Daniels will do nicely)
8 fl oz ginger ale (a ratio of approximately four to one in favour of the ginger ale works best for my gang)
Juice of 1 lemon (strained)
Juice of 1 small orange (strained)
4 dashes of Angostura bitters
4 ice cubes
Peel of 4 lemons


Place ingredients – NOT the ginger ale –  in a cocktail shaker and give it a vigorous workout.
Pour into a large jug and add the ginger ale.
Into 4 small tumblers, insert the sliced peel of each lemon, allowing the “neck” to hang out. (see picture above). Fill each glass up with more ice cubes then pour in the mixture from the jug.
Serves four but there will probably be enough left for a top-up. Always be prepared, as good Scouts would.

As with other healthy cocktails in my previous posts, this Horse's Neck can count as one of your five a day.
With trends like these, who needs enemas?

Do not, most definitely, try the following at home …

Monday, 10 October 2011

Berry poetic

THE best strawberries come, some might say, from the Clyde Valley. Others would argue in favour of those from the farms of Fife around the Leven area. Southerners would naturally plump for the strain from the great Garden of England that is Kent.

Plump, however, is the operative word.
Thin strawbs don’t cut it.

Get some quick as there are not many local varieties left now that summer has rapidly disappeared down the plughole.
To the cocktail I’m proselytising about here I’ve added, in elegiac mood, a splash of rosewater. Ergo, the last rose of summer …

As the great poet of the so-called Scottish Renaissance might have put it...

The cocktail of all the world is not for me.
I want for my part
Only the frozen strawberry daiquiri of Scotland
That tastes sharp and sweet
And goes straight to the brain.

With apologies, of course, to McDiarmid, who perhaps might not have minded, given that he tried just about everything himself. And Scottish Renaissance? When did it ever die so that it required rebirth?

The cocktail lovers among you can continue with the occasional Banana Daiquiri that will see you through the winter and spring months, but if it’s local ingredients that you’re after in that green way of the ecological cocktail champion, then get this one over your neck sharpish.

Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri
Makes 4 (see pic above)

14 decent sized ripe strawberries. Plump!
2 fl oz white rum
1 fl oz crème de framboises (or some sort of Strawberry liqueur)
1 tbsp caster sugar
Juice of two limes
Juice of 1 orange
Dash orange bitters
Splash of rosewater
4 ice cubes

Retain 4 of the strawbs then plonk the rest of the ingredients in a jug blender and whizz the mixture like it's the Large Hadron Collider
Rub a slice of lime over the rim of each glass then dip it in sugar up to a couple of millimetres.
Pour into four cocktail glasses
Do something fancy with a strawberry and skewer it along with a quarter slice of orange and lay it in the glass.

Don’t forget to say “Cheers!” or some other convivial toast.

Sip, don’t gulp.

Coming up in a future blog …
Why I’d rather sip a horse’s neck than tip a horse’s ass.
Hee haw! (Sorry, that was a donkey).