What better way to celebrate a good friend’s birthday party than a cocktail competition?! Action shot (dark rum being added to the ginger beer and lime to make delicious Dark ‘n Stormys) feature my boyfriend. MAKING GIFS IS SO FUN AND EASY! Expect more! (Also, the rest of these pictures are tiny for some reason. Apologies.)
So it was Myra’s birthday and Alex requested that we dress up and surprise Myra at their place with festive, innovative, delicious cocktail creations!
Steve kicked off the night (and initiated the system of labeling our cups with sticky tabs) with Dark and Stormys (or, as he called them to jazz it up since cocktail name was part of the score, Turmientos Oscuros).
We relaxed with our drinks, and waited for the remaining competitors to arrive. At last Tiff and Tom did, accompanied by (this will be significant later) their slightly under the weather toddler daughter.
As the competition progressed, there was lots of cuddling (THIS WILL BE SIGNIFICANT LATER) of both toddler and puppy.
Tom, the classy Englishman, went next. First, a festive lining of orange peel. Then, a sugar cube sprinkled with bitters.
Brandy, then champagne (or Cava).
Pretty, festive, bubbly. Tom said his parents used to make this for school functions and just go their friends wasted, hahaha. They called it “champagne cocktail”, but since originality of name was key for a good competition score, Tom adapted it to “Secretariat”, because there’s a sugar cube like horsies eat! Adorable.
I don’t really like the taste of liquor, so this cocktail was quite strong for me. However, it was Steve’s favorite of the night.
I was up next, and Steve secretly recorded a bit of what I was doing.
Background: I polled my classmates to see whether they had any ideas for what to make for the competition. Jaclyn said, “I like making whiskey gingers with homemade ginger syrup!” BOOM. Doing that. Yes.
I was at Everything But Grannie’s Panties, the best thrift/antique store in the world, when I found a beautiful and solid antique juicer, which I bought for Myra as both a birthday present and as a tool for the night’s proceedings. I retrieved an old grapefruit from my fridge, since I love grapefruit juice passionately in cocktails. Got some whiskey. Made homemade ginger syrup simply by boiling together equal parts sugar and water to make simple syrup and infusing it with a peeled and chopped knob of ginger (I mixed the cooked ginger lumps with sugar to make crystallized ginger garnishes!)
So all together went the ginger syrup, whiskey, grapefruit juice, and some fizzy water.
And, in a moment of brilliance, because it was tan in color (roughly that of their golden-haired daschund) and because it contained Tennessee whiskey (and that is Lochsie the daschund’s birthplace) I named it “The Lochsie” in a moment of shameless pandering! (Totally worked- Myra doesn’t like grapefruit but LOVES that dog. I got the highest score thus far!)
Then Tiff was up. Tiff and Myra were college roommates and Tiff KNOWS that girl. Myra is a classy lady but has a total weakness for scuppernong wine (this unbelievably sweet beverage one can buy at gas stations in North Carolina!) The drink also involved white grape juice, thyme, an apple garnish… I forget what else. She called it “The Sagittarius”, sign of the Zodiac of the birthday girl. Myra really liked it!
And finally… oh Alex. Poll: does this look like a cocktail or a potted plant?
Alex, in a process that seems very y-chromosome influenced, simply decided to mix together everything Myra liked. That meant:
– Lephroaig (fancy fancy Scotch)
– orange blossom teavana tea
– creme de menthe (are you gagging yet?)
– chipotle chili powder (NOW you are gagging)
– fresh mint for garnish
He named it “Queen of the Forest”.
Alex did NOT win the competition.
In fact, when the votes were tallied (we were graded on appearance, taste, name, creativity, and “pomposity”) it ended up being a TIE between me and Tiff. Alex recommended a sudden death round, but I had just completed my final week of class (and was still dealing with that nagging cold) and it was late and I was falling asleep on the couch.
So Myra, who’d been solely a judge until this point, stepped into fill in for me in the sudden death round.
Alex videotaped the proceedings (which, hint hint, ended up as more of a documentary of the events leading to a disaster that awaited us… read on, friends!)
Tiff scurried around with impressive focus, and didn’t seem phased by the toddler strapped to her body (the little one ended up resting more peacefully in the carrier than anywhere else).
Myra, meanwhile, furiously worked the stand mixer, whipping cream despite the fact that the competitors were given a mere five minutes to complete their creation!
After a generous thirty second bonus granted by the timer (me) both women managed to complete their cocktails, which were pretty indeed.
Steve was named judge, a role he took very seriously. (Though whether he was reliable isn’t clear- he actually liked Alex’s horrifying cocktail).
Tiff’s, the Mint Star, was a simple mixture of whiskey and soda with a pretty mint garnish.
Myra’s, the Steve McCream (hahaha I told her Steve liked puns but then it backfired and Steve called her out for pandering) contained whipped cream, vodka, kahlua, and nutmeg. Despite her dock for the name, she won! (She was, of course, the birthday girl.)
Now, regarding all the hints earlier…
24 hours after this occasion, guess who found herself white knuckled over the toilet, barfing everything ever? Oh that’s right, me. Oh, that’s right, poor Myra the birthday girl. Oh, that’s right, Tiff, mother of the sick toddler. Oh, that’s right, Tom, father of the sick toddler.
Yes, little Patient Zero gave us all the stomach flu. I used my training in epidemiology (and later, oral rehydration therapy, oy) to deal with this outbreak. Myra contributed what seemed a very good theory, which was that though some of us were not directly attending to the sick baby, we were all cuddling with the puppy, who was constantly giving the little one excited puppy kisses. Toddler as outbreak source, puppy as vector, party guests as victims.
All but one guest, that is.
Someone please explain to me how Alex, the guy in this picture with ALL KINDS OF EXPOSURES happening, is the one person who escaped sickness?!?!?!?!