Gratitude, Day 3: Cocktails

NOTE: I am a fan of 30-day challenges, and November is traditionally a time of two: National Novel Writing Month, and 30 Days of Thanks. As I am not a fiction writer, this year I have chosen to publish a daily blog for the entire month, expressing my gratitude. This may not be entirely food-focused, but expect recipes aplenty. Feel free to join me in the comments below. What are you thankful for today?

Is it wrong to be thankful for cocktails?

Conversation starter.
Conversation starter.

I don’t wanna be right.

Apparently, ’tis the season, because back in October of 2015, I wrote this post about fall cocktails, including the Hanky Panky and a chipotle cherry bourbon smash, among others.

I think I also celebrated National Margarita Day shortly thereafter (and I am not sure it was actually National Margarita Day).

Anyone reading this blog might think I have issues with alcohol, but truthfully, I drink infrequently and selectively. My days of falling over are, well, over (minus one memorable reunion evening last year with very, very old friends), but I do enjoy a finely crafted libation from time to time.

Trouble is, many trendy cocktails have just one ingredient too many, especially in my neighborhood which is overrun with mustache wax and beard oil. That one extra ingredient might be a trendy bitter or smoke flavor or some other kind of bullshit that adds a potent medicinal quality to what otherwise might have been a simple and delicious beverage.

So today I am grateful for cocktails that get it right, that strike the balance between boozy and flavorful. Those cocktails that walk the line between innovative and traditional.

Tonight I am giving thanks with a Red-Headed Ginger; recipe from the original blog posted back in February of 2016.

“And since it is February, a month that simultaneously screams love and death in the Kolbeck household, red seems a perfect color. And ginger beer is appropriate anytime of year, but the bite of this one will wake you up, keep you focused, and make you talk.

Drink this with Florence + the Machine in the background, but just lightly. You know, so you can talk.

Redheaded Ginger

2 ounces Lillet Rouge

4 ounces ginger beer

splash of grapefruit juice OR dash of grapefruit bitters

Two possibilities here:

Pour Lillet over ice in a Collins glass, top with ginger beer and splash of grapefruit/bitters, or combine Lillet/grapefruit/bitters in cocktail shaker and shake 30 seconds. Strain into martini glass, add ginger beer and serve with grapefruit slice.”

What are you grateful for?

National Margarita Day

Turns out February is a cocktail-heavy month.
Turns out February is a cocktail-heavy month.


Monday, February 22, 2016 is National Margarita Day. I am giving you a full week to prepare.

In my neck of the woods, where the handlebar mustaches are still in season and a full beard is properly oiled and trimmed, mezcal is the next big thing.

It’s not National Mezcal Day, though (which is October 21st, so proclaimed by a Tennessee country singer named Toby Keith in a bit of shameless self-promotion for his new branded mezcal. Because as we all know, there is a ton of mezcal in Tennessee. #ThatsAboutTenTonsOfBullshit).

To set the record straight, every tequila is mezcal, but every mezcal isn’t tequila. Tequila is made from one plant only (blue agave), whilst mezcal can be a delicious blend of 30 different plants.

Let’s be honest, though. Unless you are still in college and paying for booze with student loans, it’s time to grow up and drink better than that. Sure, you can make margarita with some sour mix and rail tequila, but as a thinking, rational adult, why the hell would you?

Do not fuck around.

Fresh lime, Cointreau (orange liqueur), and high-quality tequila.

That’s it. Three ingredients, so they all have to be spot-on.

But not precious. It is, after all, a margarita.

And for fuck’s sake, please don’t drink it frozen. It’s not a goddamn Slurpee.

You get a free pass if you are on an island, in a swim-up bar, or that’s what someone makes at a party and puts in your hand. #BeGraciousSayThankYou

It is this blog’s not so measured opinion that margaritas should be consumed on the rocks with a heavy salt rim, no straw.

Give it a try. You have your assignment.

The Only Margarita Recipe You Need #Trust


2 oz. high quality tequila (if you wouldn’t sip it neat, don’t use it)

1 oz. Cointreau

1 oz. fresh lime juice (back away from the plastic fucking lime. Jesus.)

Coarse salt, lime wedge


Rub the rim of a rocks glass with a lime wedge. Dip rim in coarse salt. Fill glass with fresh ice. Set aside.

Throw all liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until it is icy cold and frothy as hell.

Strain over ice. Serve with a lime wedge.