I wasn’t sure I had a fourth Fun Home cocktail in me. For a while I had been playing with a Paper Plane/Aviation hybrid to riff on the “I wanna play airplane” lyric, but that didn’t pan out (mostly because I’m not that crazy for either of those cocktails anyway). There was nothing else really thematic that was striking me. But it was the last week of the show and I knew I wanted to do something. I was very close to taking one of my pre-existing unnamed drinks and giving it a Fun Home title, something I’ve really tried to avoid here up till now.
In the end, though not directly tied to a strong, unified drinklist theme (which none of these Fun Home cocktails has adhered to anyway — one being a song, another being a twist on a lyric, another being a line from the show), I did hit upon something. There are a few ingredients that are referenced, in one way or another, here and there in the show: cherry (the casket wood), coffee in the diner, chocolate in the NYC scene. I thought these would all fit nicely into one drink. As for the name, our scene breakdown provided such a great offering I had to use it:
My Newfound Queerness
- 1.5 oz. silver tequila (Corzo)
- 0.5 oz. mezcal (El Búho)
- 0.5 oz. Tempus Fugit creme do cacao
- 0.25 oz. St. George coffee liqueur
- 0.25 oz. Leopold Bros. Michigan tart cherry liqueur
- dash of mole bitters (Bittermens)
Stir with ice and strain into a Nick and Nora (why not?).
The St. George offers a nice bitter coffee taste, so that, along with the mole bitters, counters the chocolate nicely. The cherry in Leopold Bros. is especially tart, compared to, say, Cherry Heering, so that adds some needed brightness. And these ingredients just screamed tequila/mezcal to me. It might not fit a theme, and the name might not be evocative of the ingredients, but it’s sure tasty. Sometimes I should just worry about making a good drink.
This one is short and sweet. I was given the name “Oh My God, Danke?” as a drink name which is a line from the show Fun Home, and I decided to basically throw whatever German ingredients I had at a cocktail over something American (preferably Pennsylvanian) as a sort of cover up. The result:
Oh My God, Danke?
- 1.5 oz. Wigle Landlocked Spiced
- 0.5 oz. Blackberry liqueur (Echte Kroatzbeere)
- 0.5 oz. Jägermeister
- 0.25 oz. Bärenjäger
- 0.25 oz. lemon juice
- dash of Underberg bitters
Shake with ice and strain into coupe.
Wigle is a Pennsylvania distillery, and their honey-based Landlocked Spiced is a great base for this drink. Add to that blackberry, a honey liqueur in Bärenjäger and an herbal liqueur in Jägermeister and you have a complex — and sweet — spiced drink. The lemon helps bring out the blackberry and the bitters (also German) help to balance out the sweetness. Austrinken!
This was a tough one. The joke of the title (the song in Fun Home is “Changing My Major to Joan”) was one that was told me before the show was even fully cast, and I knew I wanted to do something with it. But beyond it containing gin what should the cocktail be? The song doesn’t really give any hints like the House On Maple Avenue did, and I wasn’t sure I just wanted to do a generic gin drink with no theme. I thought perhaps I could take a popular drink with another base spirit and swap in gin (Changing Mojito to Gin, perhaps?) but swapping in gin (or another spirit) is fairly common and though I tried some Manhattan variations that stayed closer to a Manhattan than a Martinez nothing really took off. I also tried to do a mixture of gins — adding in an barrel-rested gin with a London Dry, then some Damson Gin liqueur or Sloe Gin for sweetness — but this wasn’t successful.
That’s when I turned to a gin cocktail I had previously developed but had yet to name or feature. In itself it is tasty but nothing out of the ordinary. I just really wanted to use Pamplemousse Rose, a wonderful and delicate grapefruit liqueur. But what attracted me to it was the fact that there was an ounce and a half of gin with three other ingredients that were simply stirred, not shaken. Because of that, I thought it would be interesting to mix up the other ingredients, without ice, and then split the mixture into thirds. I could then mix a half ounce of gin with each and have a single cocktail flight — or study, hey! — where the same flavors could be tested against three different gins. You could do it with three London Drys, or three New Western, or one each from several categories, which is what I chose to do in the end, splitting the cocktail into one London Dry, one Genever-style and one Old Tom. I found it worked with each.
Changing My Major (to Gin)
- 1.5 oz. London Dry gin (Bombay)
- 1.0 oz. Cocchi Americano
- 0.5 oz. Pamplemousse Rose (Combier)
- 0.25 oz. Maurin Quina
Stir with ice and strain into coupe.
Alternatively, mix all ingredients but the gin without ice. Split this into thirds. Pour 0.5 oz. of gin into each third, stir with ice and strain into separate glasses. Class dismissed!
It’s been a while, but after some requests from my colleagues to come up with some drinks for my current show, Fun Home in Boston at SpeakEasy Stage, I thought I might put up one or two (or more) in the next couple of weeks. I’ll start with an easy one that sort of defined itself.
House on Maple Avenue
- 1.5 oz. Don Q Gran Añejo rum
- 0.75 oz. maple syrup
- 0.5 oz. lemon juice
- 0.25 oz. Fernet Branca
Shake with ice and strain into coupe.
This song in the show is a classic list song, so I just scavenged what I could: the rum for the “bust of Quixote”, the lemon for the “Lemon Pledge”, the Fernet for the eucalyptus that needs wiping, and the maple syrup for obvious reasons. Simple and yum.