Mixology Monday, the brainchild of spirits writer Paul Clarke, is more pow wow than throw down. It's an online cocktail party that invites bartenders, boozehounds, and bloggers to create drinks that adhere to a central theme, chosen by that month's host. Past challenges have spun on spirits ("Vodka is Your Friend") and sentiments ("Hard Drinks for Hard Times"), but now, thanks to Cask Strength's Andrew Bohrer, they've taken on a patron saint: Tom Waits.
"His body of work spans 40 years of songs that take place in bars," writes Bohrer in his announcement of the challenge. "Every bartender has a love and a mind to switch over the tunes to Waits for the late night closing hours." And indeed the mixologists answered the bell -- cocktail creators from Seattle to London have designed drinks that speak and sing, ache and rumble, all in honor of the soaking soul's finest troubadour.
A.J. Rathbun, author of Dark Spirits among other cocktail books, threw down the gauntlet with The Hounds They Start to Roar, a bourbon-drenched nod to "Tango Til They're Sore," from Rain Dogs: "From the opening 'We sail for tonight for Singapore" to the New Orleans horns playing out the funeral at the record's end, Rain Dogs matches more moods and moodiness and must-have-a-drink-while-listening-to tracks to me than any other."
In London, journalist Kate McGinlay looked back to Waits' seminal record Closing Time, creating a bourbon-and-juice paean to "Grapefruit Moon": "For me [it] was the stand-out song for its soothing, soporific effect, which was usually much needed – my twenties were a fairly turbulent time."
From the London Cocktail Guide
1 oz bourbon
1/2 oz tobacco-infused bourbon
1 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
Dash bitters (grapefruit bitters would be nice; but I had to use Angostura)
Shake all ingredients with ice. Pour into a cocktail glass then add a spray of tobacco-infused bourbon and a grapefruit garnish – the carved ‘one star shining’ is optional – or a sprig of lemon balm.
Tip: To infuse the bourbon just add some quality tobacco or a cigar to a 1/4 bottle of bourbon. Leave to infuse for a few hours, checking the strength every hour or so. You could leave it for longer to create a more intense infusion but in that case I’d recommend using a spray to add a fine mist to the finished drink only.