Wild River Review
Wild River Review
Connecting People, Places, and Ideas: Story by Story
May 2010
Open Borders

November 11, 2011

Some notes about the loss of electricity, a Scotch tasting, Leslie Carothers and a small request to visit the website named- Modenus

Photo: Warren Bobrow

Some musings by warren bobrow cocktail whisperer and author/Williams-Sonoma Cocktail writer

Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m plenty passionate about oily, aged Rum.  So much so that during the power failure a few short weeks ago- I warmed up the sailor’s way- drinking hot buttered rum.  Not for the buzz- it was there- but to heat my bones from the inside out.  Water heated on top of a Jotul woodstove just tastes better.  Why?  I don’t know- but it was 40 degrees in our kitchen and I didn’t feel like boiling water on the stove.  The art studio- where we sleep has a woodstove that does a pretty darned good job heating that side of the house upstairs.  It was about 73 degrees in there.  Rather nice actually, but hard work keeping the stove going 24/7 for 6 days straight in sub-freezing weather.  I loved toasting bread on top of the cooking plate.  Crunchy goodness over a 600 degree stove!

IMG_3773 a little movie off my iPhone.

I wrote this piece about two weeks ago- We’ve lost electricity again.  This time, instead of the mid-summer with broiling heat and extreme humidity, it’s about thirty degrees outside.  I have two wood stoves singing along, yet the rest of the house is quite cold- I hope the pipes don’t freeze tonight.  That would really make my week complete.  The electricity is out because of a freak snowstorm that dumped in some places near here nearly nineteen inches of heavy, wet snow.  We were fortunate that only about a foot fell.  The trees made sounds like they were crying out, before they shattered with a sound not unlike gunfire and fell.. In mid- winter there would be a few limbs down more than usual after a storm like this.  However this time the leaves have not fallen off the trees yet.  Weighed down by hundreds of pounds of snow, the crowns of many of the oldest and most glorious trees have given in to the power of weight and fallen.  A section of deer fencing sat pressed down by a rather large specimen tree and the omnipresent deer were curiously approaching the garden.   I was able to nip this situation at the bud with the expeditious use of the chain saw and my scent that will keep them at bay for at least a couple of minutes.  On our barn there used to be a flying pig weather vane.  I just heard a massive crunch as another snow-laden branch has separated itself from the rest of the tree, smashing into the barn roof.  Bye-bye pig.

Our radio weatherman is calling for sixty degrees by Thursday; this hint of warm weather cannot come any faster!

The Shoemaker’s Rickey.  The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Ed.,1 reads that the Rickey cocktail originated in a bar named Shoemaker’s.  The first person to make this drink in the early part of the 20th Century enjoyed a recent import, the citrus fruit called a lime- in his cocktails.  Either the pulp or the juice would do.  The introduction of sparkling water and sugar or sugar syrup would be a festive way of enjoying Vermouth, Rum, and a host of other liquors.  Soda fountains sported Rickey’s as a non-alcoholic version with lime- juice and seltzer water.  Coconut cream and rum and lime made its debut served in a half of a coconut shell with a nod of the head towards the Tiki Bar craze that swept the nation in the forties, fifties and early sixties.

I propose a cocktail that speaks of the upcoming holiday named Thanksgiving in a citrus tinged, celebratory Rickey woven with the spirit of the holiday in mind.

The Shoemaker’s Rickey Redux (This cocktail serves two or more very comfortable drinks.)


4 shots over-proof white rum (Think 151 or at least 100 proof)

Fee Brothers Mint Bitters or Angostura Bitters with chopped FRESH mint added

Mint simple syrup- prepare a batch of simple syrup- ¼ – ½ white sugar to ¾ water boil, cool, add 2 tablespoons of chopped mint, add more water if syrup is too granulated and refrigerate overnight, strain into a clear glass jar and use within two weeks. Must be kept refrigerated when not in use.

Freshly drawn Seltzer water

Juice and pulp from three limes

In a cocktail shaker fill ¼ with ice, add 4 shots of white rum, juice and pulp of 3 limes, and about 1½ shots or more of the mint simple syrup.  Add the Mint Bitters or Angostura Bitters.  Shake and strain into small coupe’ glasses and top with a cheery squirt of freshly drawn seltzer water.

Garnish with a few leaves of slapped mint.  *How do you slap mint? Put a nice piece of freshly washed mint into your hand and slap the other hand into it.  That motion releases the oils in a most effective manner.  Editor’s note: My friend Adam Seger (HUM Liquor) taught me this.

This drink makes a fabulous and celebratory welcome to a cocktail party and can be served in a punch bowl, just count 2 shots of punch per person on volume.  Place some old-fashioned Seltzer bottles on the side for ease of service!

I’m writing a piece for Foodista right now- on Scotch Whiskey.  Here is the rub.  I never did enjoy it.  Not sure I do now and it’s causing me all kinds of problems.  I am forced to be absolutely objective with a spirit that tastes differently from what I usually drink.  That drink is rum.  Sometimes Bourbon.  Absolutely Botanical Gin.   Quite possibly Absinthe and sometimes Calvados.  So I return to Scotch.  After leaving her as a teenager.   The drinking age at that time was still 18- but I may have been younger.  The occasion was one of those prep school parties.  I was going to Morristown-Beard but had many friends from Gill St. Bernard’s where I attended school for ten years.  One of my peers was quite a bit younger, but her family parties were legendary.  Not because they were wild, far from.  Sure, everyone got smashed- some didn’t make it home at all- but the ones who did- will never forget the liquor imbibed at this particular home.  The owner of the home was a former secretary of the treasury.  Life and business had been very kind to him.  He invested well and amongst his investments were vast wine cellars and Scotch aging cellars.  This man was fond of investments as well.  He invested in Scotch Whisky futures.

Not as a monetary investment.  He wanted the thirty year old Scotch to drink with his friends!

This gracious old man would sit in his garage wearing a tweed coat- in front of a blackened 55 gallon wood cask in front of him.  A hole was cut out of the top.  He had this ladle and he was pouring cups of his liquid fired investment into mugs for the crowd that had gathered.  He was an extremely generous man with his priceless Whisky.  But it was wasted on me.  I just didn’t care for it.

I never tasted it again until I was in college.  My roommate was very fond of Johnny Walker Black Label.   I found it too smoky.  I didn’t enjoy it any longer. The end.

Last night I did an informal tasting of Whisky and captured my thoughts for OKRA Magazine.

Pure lust is the first thing I taste when I drink Macallan Sherry Cask Scotch Whiskey.  The nose is smoke, peat and wet wool shorn from sheep accustomed to living outdoors.  There is a fire burning in the fireplace in the cottage and it is a slow burning peat fire- smoldering and giving off little bursts of wet soil, charred wood, more wet wool, sweet toffee and a lingering, charming -dried fruit finish.  The Sherry nose is immediately apparent through the attack of sweet/spicy and the sophisticated elegance is long lasting in your glass.  There is no doubt that this is Scotch Whisky (spelled without an e)

So I didn’t forget you Scotch.  I just wasn’t ready to drink you again.  Now, at fifty years of age- I can say hello Whisky.  In small metered amounts of course.


Leslie Carothers is one of my friends.  She is a creative, design driven internet personality who types with a smile.  Her enthusiasm brims with positive energy and the use of the media (Twitter) for her craft.  She engaged my cocktail writing services and continues to test my creative sensibilities.  Plus, it’s fun to be creative for her! I like what I do for her- and her guidance and creativity is refreshing.

To toast the debut today of http://spiritofsports.com, a site dedicated to selling the work of artists and artisans producing fine art, sculpture and luxury gifts searchable by your favorite sports activities, like tennis, sailing, golf, fishing,  etc. I’ve mixed up this delicious cocktail! Please join me in toasting the success of Spirit of Sports!

Also, please notice the beautiful design work of Lisa Ferguson, Jennifer Brouwer, Michelle Jennings Wiebe and Jacqueline Corea on their homepage! All of these designers can be found giving you great design tips for your living rooms and family rooms  on http://decormentor.com as you prepare your homes for entertaining for the upcoming Super Bowl and London 2012 Olympic season!


Here are their social media channel URLS:



I created a cocktail called the Finish Line Cocktail for Leslie and Spirit of Sports.  Cheers and enjoy!

The Finish Line Cocktail

This drink speaks to our desire for flavor with that special spark. Crisp and tangy citrus with cool mint and aromatic rum.  A WIN WIN!

2 shots White Rum

1 tangerine segmented

1/4 grapefruit (for muddling)

1 lemon juiced

1/4 lemon (for muddling)

1/4 lime (for muddling)

Spearmint for muddling and garnish

Simple Syrup or Agave Syrup

Aromatic cocktail bitters (available most everyplace)

In a mixing glass, muddle fruit segments to a nice pulp.. Add a few leaves of mint and continue to muddle.  Add a few splashes of Simple Syrup

Add White Rum, Add a few shakes of Angostura Bitters

Ice to a mixing glass (about 1/2 full)

Add muddled citrus/rum/mint mixture to ice

Shake until shaker is nice and frosty, then strain into a small coupe’ glass

Garnish with fresh mint and sip your way to an early finish!


My small request is to visit the web-page of my friend Veronika Miller.  Veronika allows me the honor of publishing a Friday Cocktail on her gorgeous site.  Please leave me a comment if you have the time.  Cheers!  wb

To support our mission and passion for good storytelling, please help support my work and make a tax-deductible donation by clicking here:  Wild River Donation.

Wild River Review/Wild Table editor, Warren Bobrow grew up on a Biodynamic farm in Morristown, NJ. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston- with a degree in Film, he spent his senior year of college as a research assistant in visual thinking. (Center for Advanced Visual Studies @ MIT)

To learn more about Warren, click here:  Wild River Review.

Please follow me on Twitter @WarrenBobrow1

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1 Comment »

  1. I’m not a Scotch drinker but having tasted these there is a lot to learn about it – but that wood stove did work wonders during the power outage!

    Comment by julie — November 11, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

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