Every day a different drink. Not just how to make them, but a detailed review of how they actually taste, photos of the drinks, and stories along the way. Starting from the beginning, The Bartender's Black Book will be our guide, taking us

(and our livers) on a journey from which we may never recover. Cheers!

February 1, 2011

#32: Alaskan Iced Tea

1/2 oz Vodka or Citrus Vodka
1/2 oz Gin
1/2 Rum
2 oz Blue Curacao
2 oz Sour Mix
In a tall glass filled with ice, combine ingredients and fill with lemon-lime soda. Garnish with lemon.

We all know the motto of the Post Office, right? well, I thought I did too. Rain, sleet, snow, dark of night, all that stuff. Here it is in full:

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,"

Except that the USPS has no official oath, or slogan. That quote is from Herodotus, a Greek historian from 2500 years ago. Back in 1896 when the New York General Post Office was being designed, the architectural firm decided to inscribe that old saying on the building, and everybody has associated it with US postal carriers.

Really, it seems like this, a catchy ditty that isn't really their motto, would be easy to get around. OK, they have to go out in the snow. Hell, kids play in it, so how bad can that be? They have to go out in the rain. Oh no, the wet! Ask anybody from Portland what all the fuss is about on that. Those people can't even walk outside without their heads down, or all their glasses immediately get splattered, so the entire city has a permanent hunch. Heat, no biggie either. I seriously doubt it's going to get too hot to even walk outside, unless Al Gore was only partly right. Someday Phoenix might be considered a healthy place to live, but until the sky actually turns green from the greenhouse emmissions, it's still not going to kill you. And finally, gloom of night. Yeah, I can't remember the last time I saw a letter carrier delivering after 5 either.

No wonder the Post Office didn't make this an oath, or anything official. Once you look at it, lots of us do jobs under tougher conditions every day. But, they do have to take a real oath, something far more serious, and potentially demanding.

Under federal law, Postal Service employees must subscribe to the following oath or affirmation:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

Now that sounds much more serious. But what are the consequences here? Has anybody thought this out? I'm not sure if I want my postal carrier being the last line of defense against "all enemies, foreign and domestic." What are they going to do when the terrorists try to blow up a building, slow him down with stacks of letters? Swing that big heavy bag at them? Bury them under junk mail? Maybe that's why the terrorists feel they have to train so hard in the deserts of Afghanistan. They just know they're going to have to go up against a postal worker at some point, and dammit, that postal worker is going to defend his or her country with everything they've got. Unless it's raining, or snowy. Hopefully we aren't attacked at night…


This seems like a bit of a novelty drink with a clever title. I didn't get why it got this name until I made it, and you can see that the ice floating in the blue really does evoke the glacier bays of Alaska.

I don't believe we've used Gin yet, so I did a little research. Gin is a spirit flavored with juniper berries. There are 2 categories of Gin: Distilled, which uses the traditional method of re-distilling neutral sprits with juniper berries, and Compound, which just flavors the neutral spirits without re-distilling. Most Gin sold in the US is distilled.

In addition, there are different styles of gin, the most common being London dry gin, which is a distilled type, and has accents of citrus such as lemon and bitter orange peel, plus some other spices. There are some legal classifications and regulations pertaining to naming where a gin is from. Looking deeper, we find that London dry gin may not contain any added sugar or colorants, only water. Other types of gin may have the ingredients, that just happens to be the most common type we find in the store here in the US, although there are lots of other types to try if you want some variety. And I do mean lots.

But back to the Alaskan Iced Tea. It is a light drink, with the sweetness of the Blue Curacao and the Lemon-Lime soda tamping down the bite of the alcohol. Actually the Gin didn't really have a bite, and Rum was pretty sweet too, so you end up with an overly sweet drink. Too sweet for me. I would like a bit more of a bite from the alcohol, at the expense of the "look" by cutting back the Blue Curacao to 1 oz.

One other note. This drink really needs to be mixed or stirred well. If you don't, the Blue Curacao starts to separate to the bottom of the glass. Actually this gives a really cool effect, by making the drink a darker blue going down the glass. But the Gin and Rum are also heavier than the soda, so they get lost quickly, and you end up drinking almost all the soda before you get to any liquor. Stir it up with a long spoon, and you get a much better flavor, and it still looks really nice.

Order this on a cruise off the glaciers, or when you are worn out from swatting mosquitoes away all day long.

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1 comment:

  1. Just testing comments on an older post. Nothing to see here, move along.