Cocktails Of The Week: The Letters R & S:
Red-Headed Woodpecker And Sputnik
It's funny. When I made the New Year's Resolution to have "a cocktail a week," my friends had said, "Well..work your way through the alphabet a few times," and here it is with the end of the year approaching, and only if I'm diligent will I have made it through once. With a record like this, how will I ever be part of that louche lush life society?
The cocktails this week were "R" and "S": Red-Headed Woodpecker and Sputnik, followed with some Lemon Drop Martinis to cleanse the palate. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to do with the photography. It would involve my brother's skills, so I took the drinks out to the bar's patio area, and I used my black coat as a backdrop to set the drinks off in the light. A man who looked vaguely like Joe Isuzu came wandering out with his drink and a cigarette and said, "Are you getting ready to do a magic trick?" Well. In a sense I was, through the wizardry of Photoshop, but more on that later.
I used to have about four or five species of woodpecker come into my yard. Most are smaller with dots of red on their heads, but every so often I would see a pileated woodpecker which is the largest species in North America (19 inches) and is the origin of the Woody Woodpecker cartoon character with it's shock absorbing red crown. Sometimes you will see things in nature that will stop you dead in your tracks, and this bird can do it. Here's how you make the Red-Headed Woodpecker cocktail:
2 ounces Malibu coconut rum
1 ounce Amaretto almond liqueur
2 ounces orange juice
2 ounces pineapple juice
splash of cranberry juice
Pour ingredients into shaker with ice and serve in a hurricane glass. I garnished mine with a strawberry impaled on a straw to duplicate a woodpecker's head with the green of the strawberry duplicating it's crown.
When the Russians successfully launched their satellite called Sputnik in 1957, it heralded a turn in the Cold War. It was the first time the Russians had the chance to control space with the threat of nuclear power always looming large in the background, but it affected culture as well.
You can still find retro Sputnik light fixtures at auctions, and Vegas lounge singer Louis Prima recorded a song called "Beep, Beep, Beep," that was basically a song about his girlfriend going to the moon, and as the lyrics tell you:
My baby's going on a trip to the moon,
And she won't be back soon.
She doesn't write me, and I can't sleep
All I hear from her is BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
All of the beeps and bloops were not provided by the singer, but rather sound effects culled from cheesy sci-fi flicks. And the space race began. Here's how you make the Sputnik cocktail. I borrowed some toothpicks to decorate the cherry and keep the drink thematic:
1 1/4 ounces Vodka
1 1/4 ounces Peach Schnapps
3 ounces orange juice
3 ounces light cream
Mix all ingredients in shaker with ice until frothy. Pour into brandy snifter glass and garnish with cherry with four toothpicks to duplicate the satellite. The original instructions say to garnish with a peach slice, but I prefer my method for the visual.
*** I would like to thank my brother, battling the flu, for using his graphic artistic talent in creating these images. I provided him with the raw material, but it was his skillful manipulations that really made the pictures work.