The classic liquid lunch
The Bloody Mary
Rumors have it that this relatively simple combination of vodka and tomato juice, a stalwart of brunches and tailgate gatherings alike, is named either for Mary I of England, a woman who earned the title "Bloody Mary" for her penchant for burning religious dissenters at the stake, or a girl who worked at a bar called the Bucket of Blood Club.
The drink, often served as a hangover "cure," originated in the early 1920s at a Parisian bar that was a hangout for American expatriates and artists such as Ernest Hemingway.
Done right, a Bloody Mary is more than a drink; it's an appetiser in liquid form that greets both crisp autumn mornings and steamy summer afternoons with a peppery slap on the back.
It's one of the classics, and a good Bloody Mary isn't something you have so you can get drunk. It's a drink of enjoyment, really as all drinking should be.
It's the perfect morning drink with a bit of heat. Take your choice of vodka, add a bit of Tabasco, horseradish and Worcestershire, and you're all money. Try olive juice for a Dirty Mary kick, and if you can, don't forget celery sticks, olives and black pepper to finish it off.
With a history as muddled as the mint leaves at the bottom of a Mojito, the Margarita is possibly named after either the daughter of a German Ambassador to Mexico or a Ziegfeld dancer, or it was invented by Dallas socialite Margarita Sames at her Christmas party in Acapulco, Mexico.
Whatever its back story, the Margarita is a favourite as much for its simplicity as for the multitude of ways you can serve it. On the rocks, with salt, shaken, frozen, straight up, blue, strawberry, lemon or lime, you can adapt the Margarita to the whims of the drinker.
It's as simple as picking your favourite high-quality tequila, three parts mix, a spritz of lime and some salt on the rim. Go the extra mile and add some crushed mint, basil or even ginger sugar to create a much more sophisticated twist.
When Leonardo da Vinci said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," he could have been referring to the Mimosa. One part champagne and one part chilled orange juice, there are very few ways that you can foul up this refreshing brunch bracer.
It's another breakfast cocktail classic, and it's also another one that's not only easy to transport, but easy to serve.
You can mix this classy favourite with a touch of pom juice, cranberry juice or even a grate of ginger to really impress.
The Gin and Tonic
One of the more enjoyable results of British colonialism, the Gin and Tonic was first introduced to the world by a British officer.
In the 19th century, tonic water contained a large amount of quinine, which was used to prevent malaria, but suffered from a bitter, unappealing taste. An inspired soldier found that adding gin to the tonic made the malaria safeguard much more enjoyable to ingest -- and the G&T was born. A drink born of necessity, which flourished because of its simplicity, it's the perfect afternoon concoction for the modern tailgate.
Think of it as a crisp, savory, timesaver with a wedge of lime.
The Hot Toddy
Bearing a name that will never strike fear in the heart of any opponent, the Hot Toddy conjures up images of men in full-length fur coats and straw hats. As unfortunate as its moniker may be -- and as unclear as its origins are -- the Hot Toddy is that unsuspected game-changer as the weather turns blustery and the wind is more chilled than the ice in the cooler.
It turns out that a shot of good whiskey, some hot water and a teaspoon of honey is a simple combination that goes a long way.
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