Friday, December 28, 2012

Cocktail of the Week: The Liberty

One of the benefits to living in Seattle is that come the most wonderful time of the year, there’s no need to fool around with holiday cocktails. Not when plenty of bars in town are making drinks suitable to the season. Rob Roy does a full Advent calendar, offering a different concoction every night in December closing with a Blue Blazer – Scotch set afire and poured between metal mugs – on Christmas Eve. (This year’s variation featured chartreuse. I missed it.) Sun Liquor serves up superlative egg nog. Earlier this week at Vito’s I savored the warm rum variation known as a Tom & Jerry, presented in the traditional mug. Says Tom & Jerry right on it.

Still, on occasion the Christmas spirit moves me to fix an appropriate yet simple cocktail. The weather demands crispness, which sends me straight to the applejack. But around the corner is the start of the new year, with its hope of sunnier times and balmier climes. Why not acknowledge that promise with some rum?

The Liberty brings both tastes together to smashing effect. The drink is often served over crushed ice as a summer cooler. But I find that its smooth blend of introspection and anticipation, up in a cocktail glass, plays every bit as well at the holidays. (Who am I kidding? The Liberty is pure alcohol, so whatever the calendar says it packs a wallop.)

The original recipe, as it appears in The Savoy Cocktail Book and Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Official Mixer’s Manual, is as basic as can be: applejack, a smaller quantity of rum, sugar. Later iterations called for a dash of lime juice, which makes a nice addition. The Liberty may not be an obvious Yuletide option, but it’s one guaranteed to make the season bright.

The Liberty

2 oz. applejack
1 oz. rum
¼ oz. simple syrup
splash of fresh lime juice

Stir. Strain. No garnish.