RARELY HAS OUR renascent cocktail culture seemed quite so appealing. So without trivializing the various reasons people might be taking to drink right about now, we can still hail the variety and downright playfulness of offerings for the home bar.
Millennials may well have been responsible for reviving the “Mad Men”-era cocktail custom (though perhaps not the apocryphal, I hope, three-martini lunch), but the rest of us have happily followed along. There are innumerable versions of cocktail glasses out there—old-fashioneds, double old-fashioneds, martini and margarita glasses, hand-cut crystal, patio-safe acrylic, etc.—but you may have to go to Alexandria, Virginia, to the incredible Hour Shop (as in cocktail hour, of course) to find such things as vintage Collins glasses (as in Tom Collins, a tall drink that seems to have slipped from sight).
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that not since Nick and Nora Charles, from “The Thin Man” series, with William Powell and Myrna Loy, have we seen so many bar carts on offer. (For that matter, when’s the last time you came across a baby named Myrna?) Williams-Sonoma has bar carts; Restoration Hardware offers a dozen of ’em, from about $500 to $2,800; the DC-based online Mintwood Home has 12 of its own offerings, from $300; Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams has a couple; CB2, Crate and Barrel’s younger brother, will have the petite, round, well-priced ($199) Ernest bar cart in February.
When we launched MyLittleBird back in March 2014, we partied down with an MLB cocktail, devised for us by the great folks at Bacardi Ltd. And this winter, for the milestone birthday of one of us (ahem), amateur mixologist Walter Wisniewski devised the—what else?—Fancy Nancy.
A bright and refreshing drink with a subliminal hint of spice
2 oz vodka
3 oz cranberry juice*
½ to 1 oz simple syrup, to taste
1 oz lemon juice
½ oz dry vermouth
1 to 3 drops Tabasco (or to taste)
Dash of ground mace
Dash of ground cloves
Fresh cranberries, for garnish, optional
Fresh mint, optional
* If using unsweetened cranberry juice, adjust simple syrup accordingly
Stir first five ingredients together, taste for sweetness/tartness, then add spices. Shake with ice and pour over an ice ball in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with fresh cranberries (soaked in grenadine, if you wish) and (optionally) a bit of muddled fresh mint.
A couple of glasses of the Fancy Nancy and you may not even notice the next four years.
LittleBird Nancy is managing editor of MyLittleBird.