Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fresno, Barstow, San Bernadino...Get Your Kicks!

Two at the Most
a semi-regular column about classic cocktails

by Steve Ello

 If you ever find yourself motoring West along the part of old Route 66 that runs through Albuquerque, New Mexico (now called Central Avenue) I encourage you to find the time to stop for a while, relax, and enjoy the sunset and a cocktail at the unique, luxury Hotel Parq Central’s Apothecary Lounge. 

Specializing in pre-prohibition era cocktails (Sazerac, Pink Squirrel, etc.) it is a beautiful spot to enjoy a well-crafted cocktail in a historic building (originally a hospital for railroad employees). Dating back to the 1920s, the hotel has been completely refurbished and then reopened in 2010, incorporating elements of the building’s past  with a clean modern vibe.  After checking into a beautiful corner junior suite (at $135, a steal!) I made my way up to the Apothecary Lounge.

Looking west from the open rooftop along Route 66 off into the horizon, I swore I saw a light blue ’62 Corvette rag top pulling into the parking lot and imagined myself swapping stories with Todd Stiles and Buzz Murdoch at some point in the evening. (See footnote below.*)

Better order my cocktail now. 

Since, in my mind, all classic cocktails begin with gin, while the sky was still blue, I started the evening with an Aviation--Gin, lemon juice and creme de violette. Up.  As the sun began its slow golden descent, I moved onto a Martinez, featuring  Old Tom Gin, sweet vermouth and maraschino liquor. Watching the sun fade into the horizon and feeling a little chill in the air I left my last cocktail up to the mixologist.  I think she could tell I was old school, and I finished the night with a Manhattan made with rye, sweet vermouth and bitters. Excellent, top shelf ingredients in each expertly crafted cocktail.

In homage to both Todd’s light blue Corvette and the brilliant New Mexico sky, I think a recipe for an Aviation would be appropriate.  I find this cocktail tart and dry and the crème de vilolette gives it a light blue tint.  A little different without being difficult to make or difficult to obtain the ingredients.

1 ¾ oz gin  (Tangueray or Beefeater/dry gin, not too floral)
¾ oz fresh lemon juice, strained
½ oz Luxardao Maraschino Liqueur
¼  oz Crème de Violette

Stir vigorously and serve up with a lemon twist!

As always, two at the most…unless you are actually staying at the Hotel Parq Central.


*Editor’s note:  The column’s author—my sweet husband—is slightly obsessed with an old TV show called Route 66, which even I enjoy watching now and then:  two cool guys drive all around the country in a very cool car.  It was one of the first TV shows at the time to film on location, and the scenery is great.  And the car!  Did I mention the car?



DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.