Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cocktail Wednesdays: The Brandy Buck

The Brandy Buck

You may have noticed that we've been doing a series of tall iced drinks for the last few weeks, and there is good reason for it. Summer has finally arrived here in Michigan, and we've needed some cooling off. We've also been avoiding using the air conditioner. In fact, we haven't turned it on at all, despite the mercury's climb the yesterday up to 97ºF. Today is a beautiful 79ºF, thanks to last night's thunderstorm, and predictions for the rest of the week and into next show highs continuing in the 70's. At any rate, I'm sure you can all understand our desire for a nice cold drink, and I expect the theme of cooling it down for the summertime to continue.

This week, we turned The Buck, which has a history going back to the mid-to-late 1800's, and is really an entire family of drinks involving spirits and ginger ale or ginger beer. Ginger flavored drinks go back further than that, of course, but the drinks involving ginger ale or ginger beer came to the forefront at the same time as the rise of ginger ale as the first bottled soda, beginning with Detroit's own Vernor's. Of course, we had to try bucks with Vernors, though I now find that the popularity of the buck during prohibition may also be what led to the rise of "dry" ginger ale! Vernors is much closer to ginger beer than other ginger ales, and it's even aged in barrels. Vernors has more ginger bite, and it's apparently considered a "golden" ginger ale.

We debated between trying the Gin Buck, which was most popular during Prohibition, and the Brandy Buck, though several spirits were in the running. See here for more history on The Buck. I don't know if it was fondness for a certain Meriadoc or a particular affinity for brandy last night, but Scott selected the Brandy Buck, and I'm glad he did. I can hardly imagine that the gin version could be so nice.

The Brandy Buck:

1.5 – 2 oz Brandy
Juice and Shell of half a Lemon
4 – 6 oz Ginger Ale

Squeeze lemon or lime juice into a collins glass
Add the juiced shell of the fruit
Add a couple of lumps of ice, then the spirit
Top with ginger ale

The verdict: The Brandy Buck is essentially a richer, more well rounder version of the ginger ale. The flavors of the Vernors, brandy and lemon were all discernable, but they blended together nicely and really complimented each other, elevating the whole thing to another level. It was rich, and cool, and refreshing. Just lovely.

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