Cocktails and card games go hand in hand, so the board members of The Saline Fiddlers have piled a staggering variety of liquors worth more than $600 into one giant basket for the silent auction at tonight's Casino Night fundraiser, which begins at 7 p.m. at Tri-County Sportmen's League, 8640 Moon Road, Saline. Throughout the night, professionals will deal blackjack and Texas Hold 'em, and there will be roulette, craps and performances by The Fiddlers too. Other items up for auction include concert, NASCAR and theater tickets, exclusive use of a luxury suite at Little Caesar's Arena for a Red Wings game and more. The event is open to the public and admission ($50) includes fun money, silent auction tickets and free hors d'oeuvres. Tickets can be purchased in advance through Evenbrite or at the door.
Here are some classic (and hipster) cocktail recipes that the winner of the liquor basket can put to good use after the event:
BOURBON AND HONEY SAZERAC COCKTAIL: The Sazerac is a classic whiskey cocktail invented in 19th Century New Orleans that draws its complex flavors from rye or bourbon whiskey, absinthe, simple syrup or a sugar cube muddled with Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters, and a generous slice of lemon peel. This flavorful recipe is a tad sweeter and smoother but with multiple layers of flavor.
1 ½-ounces bourbon whiskey
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Fresh lemon peel
Directions: Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe. Stir in the honey and water until dissolved. Add a large ice cube, top with bourbon and bitters. Stir to chill the drink and garnish with lemon peel.
THE MANHATTAN: This whiskey cocktail purportedly was first mixed at a New York City Bar in lower Manhattan some time around 1860. This straightforward cocktail uses Noilly Prat Rouge, a red vermouth from the south of France. There are close to 50 herbs and spices used to create this spirit, including cardamom, lavender, cinnamon, rose petals and vanilla.
2 ounces rye or bourbon
1-ounce Noilly Prat Rouge
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Cocktail cherry, for garnish
Directions: Stir ingredients over ice until chilled, about 30 seconds. Don’t shake – it will make the drink cloudy. Strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with cherry.
THE RUSTY NAIL: A favorite at the 21 Club in New York City, this simple, two-ingredient cocktail pairs scotch whisky (usually a blend) with Drambuie, a liqueur made from a secret blend of Scotch, honey and spices. Note that whiskey is spelled without an “e” when referring to Scotch. This drink can be served on the rocks in an old fashioned glass, or chilled over ice and strained into a champagne coupe. A popular ratio is 3 parts scotch to one part Drambuie.
CORPSE REVIVER #2: As the name suggests, this bracing drink was originally intended as a “hair of the dog” remedy but it is best enjoyed on the patio before dinner. It was invented by Henry Craddock, the legendary bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London. The Lillet Blanc (an aromatic French wine) and Cointreau are available at Tippin’s in Saline.
1 ounce gin
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce Lillet Blanc
Directions: Pour a small amount of absinthe into a martini glass and wash the sides of the glass. Pour the other ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into the martini glass.
ELDERFLOWER THISTLE: This cocktail is basically a Rusty Nail that substitutes St-Germain, a French spirit made with thousands of elderflower petals, which are picked once a year in the late spring. It has gentle floral and citrus notes.
2 ounces of Scotch
1-ounce St. Germain
1 dash Angostura bitters
A generous piece of lemon peel expressed over the drink to release the oils
Instructions: Mix the Scotch and St Germain in a mixing glass, strain it over fresh ice, add a dash of bitters and garnish with lemon peel.
ELDERFLOWER OLD FASHIONED: A traditional Old Fashioned, first served at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1880s, is a build-in-glass style cocktail. First, coat the bottom of your service glass with simple syrup or drop a sugar cube into the glass with a splash of club soda, then add the Angostura bitters. Add an orange slice and a cherry and muddle again. Add ice and bourbon, stir, and garnish with a generous twist of orange peel and lemon peel. An Elderflower Old Fashioned is even simpler. Dispense with the sugar and muddled fruit, and simply stir 2 ½-ounces of bourbon, ½-ounce of St. Germain and 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters with ice then strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a strip of lemon zest.
ELDERFLOWER DAIQUIRI: Here is a French twist on the classic Daiquiri, which was first mixed by an American mining engineer in Cuba about the time of the Spanish-American War.
2 ounces of light rum
1 ounce of St. Germain
½-ounce of fresh-squeezed lime juice
Instructions: Pour everything into a cocktail shaker, shake vigorously, then strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of lime.
THE CUCUMBER COOLER: Summer drinks don’t necessarily have to taste sweet. This refreshing libation shows off the versatility and subtlety of St. Germain.
1 ½-ounces of vodka
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce St. Germain
3 cucumber slices
5-8 fresh mint leaves
Instructions: Muddle the cucumber in a cocktail shaker, then add the other ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a tall ice-filled glass, when top with about an ounce of club soda. Garnish with mint and a cucumber slice.
- Stir don’t shake whiskey cocktails or they may become cloudy!
- When muddling citrus, only mash the fruit, not the pith or peel or the drink will be bitter.
- Make your ice in silicone molds with hot water so the cubes will be clear.
- Simple syrup (equal measures of sugar and water heated until the sugar dissolves) mixes better than sugar cubes. Caster sugar (finer than granulated sugar but coarser than powdered sugar) also mixes well.
- If you overdo things, take an Uber of Lyft home, then eat a big southern breakfast the next morning.