Whether you’re chugging boxed wine straight from the spigot (what? I would never…) or finally uncorking the “the good stuff,” I think many of us can agree we’re g’damned grateful that alcohol provisioners were deemed essential.
And while some of us drown our sorrows without discrimination (whiskey is whiskey if it does the trick, amirite?) at least one DMV couple who I may or may not know has decided to pass some of the month-long hours of #quarantinelife with a toddler by dedicating themselves to perfecting the art of the craft cocktail, and sharing their journey and some great tips via Instagram.
Introducing @libations_for_isolation. The pics are pretty, the recipes are straightforward (and waste-reductive!), and the booze is strong. Read on for the backstory from the newly minted mixologists, and then click on over for some Insta inspo.
District Fray: First off, who are the contributors behind the concoctions?
Rachel Coonce: Myself and my partner, James Skinner; Jacquelyn Fradette and Lee Goldsmith; and Danielle Roe.
I think I know the answer to this one, but how and why did the idea for libations_for_isolation come about?
Two parents (myself and James) who found themselves drinking a lot more in quarantine and getting bored with the same old Moscow Mule or Old Fashioned asked their cocktail-genius friends, Jaqueline and Lee, who are known for making cocktails in a serious way to share their recipes. Then another friend (Danielle) – an ex-bartender/bar-owner – joined in the fun of finding and sharing interesting recipes. We all happen to be parents of toddlers as well – coincidence? Doubtful.
How have you been getting creative with ingredients?
A lot of our experimenting has been based on what we have around the house, because, you know, quarantine. Our “Kiwi Mezcal Smash” for example used kiwis from our Hungry Harvest delivery. If there are recipes that call for something we don’t have, we try to find something that will pair well or complement the alcohol available – like in our “When Life Takes Your Limes, You Make Pineapple Lemonade.” We try to reduce waste, so we’ll make a Whiskey Sour with egg whites when we just used the yolks for dinner.
We’ve also been doing cocktail battles such as the Last Word with gin versus Mezcal, and also coming up with some originals. We start with a classic cocktail and bend the ingredients into something new with a certain feeling or theme in mind. Our “Spaghetti Western” started out as a Negroni and then we adjusted flavors in order to make a Tex-Mex drink. If you want to experiment, use small amounts, add some water to mimic stirring on ice, and use a straw to taste test. It never feels good to forge ahead with a new cocktail only to waste 3-4 ozs of good booze.
Who are your favorite distillers/what are your favorite products?
In terms of favorite products, we do what we can to support our local businesses. DC Embitterment by Modern Bar Cart offers lots of interesting flavors to experiment with, Dogfish Head has complex flavor profiles in their gin and rum, Sangfroid Distilling has great apple and pear brandies, Tenth Ward Distilling offers new twists on classics, and Cotton & Reed has amazing rums. In terms of favorite spirits to incorporate, definitely Mezcal, Lillet Blanc, and Luxardo.
Can you share your favorite recipes?
The Mexican Firing Squad
2oz Mezcal or Tequila, 3/4 oz Lime Juice, 3/4 oz Grenadine, shake with ice, serve on the rocks with lime garnish.
Long Island Sweet Tea (original)
1.5 oz tea infused bourbon, 0.5 oz Rye Whiskey, 0.5 oz Brandy, 0.5 oz Applejack, .75 oz lemon juice, .75 oz grenadine. Shake with ice, serve on the rocks with lemon twist.
Sayonara Sammy (original)
2.5 oz gin, 0.5 oz lemon juice, 0.5 oz simple syrup, dash of Japanese bitters such as Iki by DC Embitterment. Shake with ice and serve on the rocks with lemon garnish.
2 oz bourbon, 0.5 oz lemon juice, 0.5 oz Orgeat, 0.25 oz cinnamon syrup, 0.25 oz Cynar, dash of orange bitters, dash of allspice dram. Shake with ice and strain into coupe glass, garnish with lemon twist.