Friday, April 3, 2009

To Have and Have Not--A Cocktail

Two nights ago while hanging out Steve (husband) and Hot Pants (BFF), I decided to whip up a night cap with whatever we had on hand—a bottle of top-shelf bourbon, lemons, limes and agave syrup. A little of this, a little of that, thrown over ice and presto—a drink that manages to hit several notes and still be refreshing. When you drink it, you notice only the slightest bit of sweetness, followed by a citrus tang, and finally, a luscious hint of smokiness. Like all my favorite drinks, it takes you on a journey, from an open air bar in Key West to the sweaty decadence of the Mother-in-Law Lounge in New Orleans—all in one sip.

We spent the rest of the evening trying to come up with a name for my new concoction. Something that would embody all the elements. It would need to be an American name, a nod to the distinctly southern roots of bourbon. But also tropical due to the addition of Agave syrup, from the blue Agave flower which grows in Mexico and is used to create Tequila, among other things. But there is also something really sultry to it, in a "it's midnight and the bar is packed and hot and your hair is sticking to the nape of your neck" kind of way.

Steve nailed it when he thought of the Humphrey Bogart in the movie To Have and Have Not. The cool sophistication of the weary, and wary, American. The depression of Bogart's gait. Lauren Bacall and her sleepy eyes. Taken from the book by Ernest Hemingway, screenplay by William Faulkner and directed by Howard Hawks --the film is American at its alcohol-fueled best.

To Have and Have not. The name works because it also seems to capture the current mood—who doesn’t feel like Bogart, distrusting everyone, tired of being ripped off, feeling alone in a sea of deceit? then again, there is a whisp of hopefulness--perhaps good will come from our economic woes. Perhaps the best is yet to come. In one small instance, having no money might force us to entertain more at home, to have more intimate conversations, to learn to have more with less. To feel content having a friend over for an inexpensive meal of cauliflower and potato curry and then coming up with drink names the rest of the evening. To Have and Have Not.

Or maybe it’s just a really good drink.

To Have and Have Not

1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
4 ounces top-shelf bourbon, like Maker’s Mark
1 tablespoon Light Agave (found out Whole Foods or Trader Joes)

Combined all ingredients in a large glass jar with a lid or a cocktail shaker. Add a few splashes of water and fill with ice. Shake and serve in a large glass with lots of ice.

Makes two cocktails.

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