The Makeshift

a Daniel Handler Original

1.5 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Orange Bitters
Splash of Kübler Absinthe

Chill a rocks glass with ice. Discard the ice and then rinse the glass with Absinthe, coating the entire inside.  Discard the Absinthe.  Set aside.
Add rye and both bitters to a mixing glass.
Shake with ice and pour (ice and all) into the rocks glass.
A twist of lemon might be nice.

* * *

When we switched out our 12 Bottle line up – replacing Peychaud’s Bitters with Orange Bitters – we had one notable casualty:  the Sazerac.  As classic cocktails go, the Sazerac is at the top of the heap, so it wasn’t an easy decision to hang up its number for 12BB posterity.  Thankfully, Daniel Handler has come to our – and the Sazerac’s – rescue.

In our recent post about the Buck family of drinks, we mentioned FUSSYlittleBLOG’s Unfussy Cocktail, whose central tenant is that, while a masterful cocktail is always welcome, sometimes you just want to splash a few things into a glass and kick up your heels.  Such is the case with the Makeshift.  When we asked celebrated author Daniel Handler what he’d make with our toolkit, his answer was an ersatz Sazerac – a jigger of booze plus a few dashes of this and that compounded so quickly that you could whip one up and still be on the couch in time for Jeopardy.  We like that kind of thinking.

As you’ll soon be reading, we’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last week traveling and cozying up to some of the best bartenders in Northern California.  For each, the story was the same:  Yes, they love their spirits and the almighty perfectly-made cocktail, but hey, there’s no reason to get too serious about things.

Daniel Handler’s Makeshift is a testament to the above sentiment– after all, a great part of a drink’s allure is in the consumption.   The Makeshift is certainly the kind of drink that men like Hemingway and Kingsley Amis liked to throw together – one that states the maker has better things to do than be on the cocktail clock.  In so many ways, the Makeshift is the antithesis of Bernard DeVoto’s violet hour Martini, and it’s nice to find such polar opposites embraced by a man like Handler.

As with both life and cocktails, there’s a time for improvisation and a time for exactitude.  The Makeshift reminds us that whenever we get too specific and too nerdy about ingredients (which we do), we need to remember that not only is it okay to have some fun while we’re mixing drinks at home, it should be Rule #1.  So feel free to splash a few things into a glass and see what happens.  As the history of cocktails has proven, every mixological mandate most likely began as someone’s “makeshift”.


Fun and Games: When’s the right time for which drink?  Since drinking and aquatic sports are both about getting wet, we refer you to the sage advice of Demetri Martin —

“Swimming is a confusing sport, because sometimes you do it for fun, and other times you do it to not die. And when I’m swimming, sometimes I’m not sure which one it is. I gotta go by the outfit. Pants – uh oh. Bathing suit – okay. Naked – we’ll see. Should I be swimming faster, or am I getting laid?”

As the man says, when in doubt, go by the outfit.


One response to “The Makeshift

  1. Less is more! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s