Presidents' Day

Thanks to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln we get a long weekend in February - and another excuse to create some art and a cocktail.  The art was easy. Since we live here in the Nation's Capital the Cocktail Artist has done plenty of sketches and paintings of presidential monuments (like the Lincoln Memorial posing with our drink). The cocktail took a little trial and error, but we came up with something that has quickly become one of our "house cocktails". This drink splits the base spirit between Kentucky bourbon (from the birth state of Lincoln) and Laird's Applejack (the spirit that George Washington introduced to the Virginia Colony). According to the Laird Company: "Robert Laird was a Revolutionary War Soldier serving under George Washington, and the Laird family supplied the troops with Applejack. Historical records show that, prior to 1760, George Washington wrote to the Laird family requesting their recipe for producing Applejack, which the Laird family gladly supplied." George Washington was the only one of our founding fathers to commercially operate a distillery - which was very profitable. The Distillery at Mount Vernon has been reconstructed and currently produces rye whiskey and, in the fall, apple brandy. If you're in the DC area they offer a great tour.

Our Presidents' Day Cocktail also contains a DC-made grenadine syrup from True Syrups and Garnishes. This is NOT that super-sweet pink grenadine syrup you find in the grocery store - please DON'T use that in this drink!  True Grenadine is made from pure pomegranate juice, cane sugar, and a touch of clove. It adds a great sweet-tart-spice balance to a cocktail.

To round things out, we used some fresh lime juice and two kinds of bitters. Our original version of this cocktail used both orange and rhubarb bitters, but we have some new additions to our bitters collection. So we tried replacing the orange bitters with Dashfire Bitters Spice Apple Bitters and think it's an excellent substitution. Garnish the cocktail with a cherry and it will remind you of that story about young George Washington chopping down a cherry tree (which is, by the way, complete fiction!)

If you can't make it to DC, you can take the Cocktail Artist's virtual tour of the sites by scrolling through the original watercolors of Presidential Monuments in this blog post.

Enjoy your weekend.

President's Day Cocktail with watercolor sketch of the Lincoln and Washington Monuments - by the Cocktail Artist

Presidents' Day

1 1/2 oz. Kentucky bourbon (Maker's Mark)
1 oz. Applejack (Laird's)
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
3/4 oz. Grenadine (True Syrups Grenadine)
1 dash Spice Apple bitters (Dashfire Bitters)
1 dash Rhubarb bitters (Fee Brothers)

Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.  Shake for 30 seconds.  Pour into a chilled gimlet glass and garnish with a cherry.

A Cocktail Artist sketch done at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate

George Washington's Rye Whiskey - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

Lincoln Memorial - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

In the Shadow of Lincoln - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

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