Let Me Drown
- 2.0 oz. Captain Morgan 100 proof
- 0.5 oz. espresso liqueur (Stirrings)
- 0.5 oz. Cynar
- 0.5 oz. lime juice
Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
The song is literally about drinking yourself to death, so I needed something boozy. And with a nautical theme. So I went with a 100 proof Captain Morgan to start it off. Because the drinking is to occur all night, the espresso liqueur is there to maintain the buzz. The sweetness is then cut with the bitterness of the Cynar and the tartness of the lime. Rereading this recipe after all this time, the nutmeg didn’t immediately make sense, but I actually liked it in the final drink, mostly for the nose and its combination with the espresso taste.
It’s an odd mix of flavors, but it packs a punch, which was the main point. There’s a bit of a conflict in it, which, if you know the song, makes some sense. This was Burrs point of no return. And so a fitting end to the wild party. Drink up.
- 2.0 oz. London Dry Gin
- 1.0 oz. Maurin Quina
- 0.5 oz. Dolin Blanc vermouth
- 1 dash orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into coupe.
I have absolutely no idea where this one came from. I *think* that to represent the four singers in the quartet “Poor Child” I gave an ingredient to each, but for the life of me I don’t know why Black is London Dry Gin or Queenie is Maurin Quina (maybe I was playing on the word “Quina,” more obvious now that I type it out?). Burrs is bitter, I get it.
Whatever the concept was originally for this drink, it is tasty, so here it is. Forget the theme and just enjoy a sip. No poor child here.
Look at Me Now
- 2.0 oz. Bourbon
- 1.0 oz. lemon juice
- 0.75 oz. watermelon syrup
- 0.25 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
- 2 dashes Fee’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters
- 1 egg white
Dry shake all ingredients without ice, then shake with ice and strain into coupe.
The character of Kate in the show, in the middle of this song which serves as her introduction, has a great line: “Give me a bottle of bourbon and a half a chicken and I’ll conquer the world!” I just had to do something with bourbon and chicken. I had to.
After pondering a bit the possibility of trying to do some sort of chicken fat washed bourbon (I didn’t ponder it too long) I arrived at the idea of using the egg instead of the chicken. The rest is a bit of a modified sour, with watermelon syrup (riffing on a Southern theme) serving as the sweet. I can’t recall the exact motivation for the allspice dram, but trying the drink again after two years’ time I think it works, and this drink was my favorite of the bunch.
…though a bottle of bourbon and half a chicken sounds good, too.
Out of the Blue
- 2.0 oz. Magellan Gin
- 0.75 oz. Dolin Blanc vermouth
- 0.25 oz. Vanilla liqueur (Dr McGillicuddy’s)
- 3 dashes orange flower water
Stir above ingredients with ice and pour into glass rinsed with absinthe. Garnish with dollop of vanilla-infused whipped cream.
If you look at the image, it should be obvious that I went pretty literal for a song title that is figurative to the character. Still, I had the beautiful color of the Magellan gin and wanted to play off of that. The vermouth adds a little sweetness, but not cloyingly so. In fact, I wanted just a little more so added the vanilla liqueur (you could use a syrup instead, or, if you like your drinks drier, just skip it altogether). The orange flower water is subtle, but I felt a nice touch.
Originally I had used an alcohol-infused vanilla whipped cream. I couldn’t find it when remaking this drink (which I am glad for — I thought it was a very odd ingredient) so I simply whipped up some cream of my own with a little confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. It’s a fun effect but doesn’t do anything for the drink, so feel free leaving it off.
Of course, you could say the cloud foreshadows the events of the party. Best leave it in.
For this production I decided that all of the drinks would be based on songs, and the most appropriate way to start was with the title song.
Wild, Wild Party #1
- 1.0 oz. Applejack
- 0.75 oz. King’s Ginger Liqueur
- 5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- pinch of sea salt
Stir with ice and pour into cocktail glass. Top with 2.0 oz. Original Sin Cider.
As the song begins with the story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit, using Original Sin Cider just seemed a natural choice. I immediately gravitated towards Applejack, and to spice things up I added both the ginger liqueur and a healthy dose of Peychaud’s which also contributed greatly to the color. I liked it, but it was tamer than I thought it should be. Thus:
Wild, Wild Party #2
- 1.0 oz. Rittenhouse Rye
- 1.0 oz. Aperol
- 3 dashes cayenne hot sauce
- pinch of sea salt
Stir with ice and pour into cocktail glass. Top with 2.0 oz. Original Sin Cider.
I liked the rye base much more as it stood out against the cider, yet worked well with it. The Aperol gave some great color and a little sweet and bitterness, and the necessary sinful bite was added using the hot sauce. A much more wild variation.
But the party’s just getting started.
Here’s a show that I did over two years ago (that’s me looking all angry in the upper left of the image) based on a Jazz Age poem about.. well, a wild party. The poem was “rediscovered” by Art Spiegelman (of Maus fame) who illustrated a new edition right at the time it became public domain. Famously, two different productions were then presented in NYC, one on Broadway and another Off Broadway. This was the Off Broadway version, with book, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa.
I got to play one half of the dysfunctional couple who served as host, a violent, abusive and drunken Vaudeville clown (literally a clown — I smeared face paint on while face down in a bathtub in one scene). I loved it. I don’t often get to portray the villain of a piece (such as it is — everyone’s pretty awful), and I ate it up.
Behind the scenes I of course conceived some drinks for our own wild parties. It was only my second time out experimenting with themed cocktails of my own, so I was still getting my footing, but going back now and tasting some of the results I wasn’t altogether displeased (though I admit to a couple of tweaks and, “What was I thinking there?”).
“We’ll be having a wild, wild party!” we sang. I was doing my part to contribute!
Back in January I created this poster for a production of Rabbit Hole. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play deals with a family that has recently lost their young boy in tragic accident and how they cope with their grief. A beautiful and heartbreaking piece.
The director, Eric Butler, had the concept of the photograph of the happy family between the grieving couple. The photographer, Paul Bobkowski, took a number of pictures for both settings, with me to the side saying, “look this way,” “look that way,” “look at her,” etc. Really, it was to find the right pose for the final poster.
When I received the photos, though, there were several that I liked, and they were all so similar, that it occurred to me that I could use multiple photos to multiple effect: to show the deterioration and inner thoughts of the couple, and to demonstrate a sci-fi concept discussed in the play where there exist multiple parallels of our world with sometimes slight and sometimes major differences (your basic multiverse set-up, and the reason for the shows title, where you could fall through a rabbit hole into another, better world).
Moving forward with that, I created a more ethereal feel for “reality” and a more saturated and warmer feel for the photograph itself. The multiple photographs also suggested the repeat of the title, which allowed for a nice and natural separation of all the credits and tagline.
I rarely get to work with photographs in my posters, due often to the fact that a) I am not a photographer, and b) the posters usually come before there are costumes and sometimes a cast. This was a fun change for me, and I was really pleased with the result.
Before the next batch of cocktails for shows, I thought I would present a couple of the posters for shows I created earlier this year. First was for the classic Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate.
In Kiss Me, Kate, there is a show within a show, as performers present a musical adaption of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, so I wanted to be able to represent that love-hate duality present in both Shrew as well as Kiss Me, Kate. The costumes themselves are obviously there to help evoke an Elizabethan drama, the footlights and spotlight to show a theatrical setting.
Once again I went with silhouettes, which I recognize as a bit of a crutch, but when these posters are completed often before casting (or any photography of cast) and people should be represented, I find it is the best way to accomplish that. Plus, in this instance, the overlaying images are much easier to read, I feel, as solid shapes without details.
The fonts and colors were chosen for a 1940’s theatrical poster feel. The harlequin diamond texture in the background was included as a nod to the original Kiss Me, Kate art, and provides a bit of visual interest through texture, while also evoking old theater.
Finally, to make it seem like vintage poster art from that particular era of the show (the 40’s) I aged the final piece with some texture and filters.
It’s been a while since I participated in Mixology Monday, but with my next block of cocktails re-presenting drinks I made for The Wild Party nearly two years ago, one of which was a non-alcoholic offering for one of my castmates, my drinks to catalog coincided perfectly with the theme for this month, Temperance. As presented by Scott at Shake, Strain & Sip:
While many of us today think of overly sweet and unimaginative uses of fruit juice combinations when we hear of nonalcoholic beverages, there is a growing resurgence and movement of creating real craft “mocktails” in cocktail bars around the world… As such, this month’s theme challenges you to create unique craft “mocktails” only limited by your imagination. Perhaps you have an abundance of that homemade lavender syrup sitting in your fridge? Maybe you’ve been thinking about creating a non-alcoholic version of your favorite cocktail. Or maybe you just wanted an excuse to mix up an Angostura Phosphate you saw in Imbibe. Oh yes, non-potable bitters are fair game here since they are legally classified as nonalcoholic in the states. However, if the Teetotalist inside of you won’t allow it, you can go without them. Cheers!
When I worked on The Wild Party menu (drinks to follow), a non-drinking castmate asked if I might prepare something for special for her. I did, and I named it for for her.
- 2.0 oz. orange juice
- 1.0 oz. lime juice
- 1.0 oz. Orgeat
- 4 dashes Fee’s Aztec Chocolate bitters
- 4 dashes Fee’s Old Fashioned Aromatic bitters
- 4 dashes Ponzu
Shake with ice, then strain into old fashioned over ice, topping with 2-4 oz. club soda.
So I generally get fairly positive reactions when I mix my drinks for my friends. Occasionally they might be too strong, and at times they aren’t to the taste of everyone, but for the most part I’ll get a thumbs up (and they’re not always sparing my feelings!). With this drink, though, I received more praise than I had for any other drink I mixed at that party, and I had requests for it all night by drinkers and non-drinkers alike. I like it particularly for the saltiness that comes from the Ponzu in combination with the tart of the lime. The bitters along with the sweet orgeat introduce some exotic undertones that help to relieve the drink of its simple fruit juice mix origins.
Top with as much club soda as you need to lighten up the resulting mixture, which is yummy, but thick — not in a viscous way, but rather in concentrated flavor. It also helps to extend the life of the drink, which, for me, disappears pretty quickly. Case in point: after the picture you see above was taken, the drink was downed before I even made it back to the kitchen. Ah well. I’ll just have to mix another.
- 2.0 oz. Cognac
- 0.5 oz. Pavan
- 0.5 oz. orange blossom honey syrup*
- 2 dashes orange flower water
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Stir with ice. Strain into a snifter.
* 1:1 water and orange blossom honey, reduced by half
For the final cocktail in The Secret Garden series, I grabbed another floral liqueur I had on the shelf, Pavan, which consists, among other things, of orange blossom essence. I’ve always liked orange with brandy, so I went with a Cognac base. That alone with the Pavan didn’t have the depth of sweetness I would have liked, so I thought a rich honey syrup would help with that (and in keeping with the orange blossom theme). The drink at this point was pretty sweet, so I added some orange bitters in there. The orange flower water is probably a bit unnecessary — I couldn’t detect it in the final drink — but I kept it in the recipe nonetheless.
The name is not the genus of flowering plant, as in the other drinks in this series, as the flower is actually the blossom of the orange tree, and naming the drink “Citrus” (the orange tree genus) just didn’t sit right. In looking for a picture of “orange blossom,” though, I was faced with several images of a My Little Pony, which really gives a whole different twist to the drink. Still, Orange Blossom it was, and the garden was complete.
And if anyone ever casts me in a My Little Pony stage musical, I am already one drink ahead.