Now that the excitement of building something, with my own two hands (out of cheap t-shirts and carboard, seriously), that makes my pictures look slightly cool has worn off, I have to admit that you’ll all probably see a lot of poorly taken pictures, still, but with nicely dispersed lighting.  This is gonna take me a while to work out.  Right now I’m struggling to convince my cheap snapshot digital that I really do want all that lovely light I went to all the trouble of crafting.

I’m mostly done with Drink, having worked my way up to Prohibition.  Among many things, Gately mentions a rum-runner, William S. McCoy, famous for never watering his bootlegged booze, as the origin for the phrase “the real McCoy”.  Wikipedia seems to disagree with this attribution, a fact I mention only in the spirit of scrupulous fairness; my main interest lies elsewhere.  While I enjoy lexicography and etymology as much as the next guy, mainly I am really bad at cocktail naming.  I try to keep an ear out for names and places that seem to deserve to be namechecked in my next mediocre mix of mid-shelf liquors.

As far as I can tell, there is no cocktail named the Real McCoy.  I assume the real McCoy was a rum man, given his chosen occupation (his first, that is – once he got out of prison, he became a real-estate developer in Florida), but I just got a bottle of the 7-and-a-half-year Laird’s and I’ve been dying to play with it.  It has a taste halfway between the Christian Drouin Calvados I’ve been making into Orchard Keepers and the usual Laird’s Bonded, which makes it an interesting combination of surprisingly fresh apple and oaky vanilla.  Real smooth to sip, too.  I wanted to make something classical with it, hence the following.

The Real McCoy

  • 1 1/2 oz Laird’s 7 1/2 Year Apple Brandy
  • 3/4 oz Dubonnet rouge
  • 1/4 oz Maraschino (I just got a bottle of Maraska, which I used)
  • 1/4 oz Fernet (I prefer Luxardo Fernet because it is less minty, but I’m sure Fernet Branca would be fine)
    Stir over ice.  Strain and garnish with a brandied cherry.

I wanted something deep and spicy without either overwhelming woodiness, as in many Manhattans, or pronounced sweetness.  This really hit the spot.  I made a couple versions, fiddling around with the amount of Maraschino and Fernet.  The first, with less Maraschino, was too aggressive, while the second, with a reduced amount of Fernet and more Maraschino, was a little boring.  As written, this should put hair on your chest without requiring that your loins be actually girded, as such.  Appropriate, as it were, for a post-Monday pants-less cocktail hour.

What, you don’t do that?  It’s totally a thing.