04 March 2009

Mixological Reconaissance

A few weeks ago, when my aunt and uncle were visiting, we went to one of the swankier Prešov establishments (my aunt's refrain for the evening: "What a hip city Prešov is!" -- I agree!), and everyone else in the party was ordering mixed drinks, a specialty of the establishment, so I decided to not do my usual and have a Stella (a favorite beer, the only one this place carries, only bottled).

Growing up, my mother always told me, "Maria, it's better to be classy rather than crassy." One of the true gifts she gave me to aid in classiness was the whisky sour. Yes. She does have a wider drink repertoire than Berenger White Zinfandel. This drink came to me via her youthful days listening to Billy Eckstine at the historic Crawford Grill -- though I can still remember the first time I was with her when she ordered one (a rarity), because it was a combination thought of "my mom so doesn't drink this sort of thing (heretofore I had only seen her drink wine)" and "cool, my mother drinks whiskey (definitely not a girly drink)." So, when I'm in the mood or it's an appropriate time to have a mixed drink instead of my usual beer (and rarer, wine), I get a whisky sour. Which is a totally classy drink, because it's got this old-school, hip, jazzy vibe to it - there's nothing apple-choco-frappuccino-cosmo-tini about it.

So fast forward like 45 years from the Crawford Grill to Prešov, and I get my very nice whisky sour with the above garnish (with sexy dried leaves) on my glass. Niiiiice -- and great taste in this mysterious fruit. But what was it? The bartendress gave me the Latin name (that's how they teach kids here, it boggles my mind a bit) and then a moderately anti-semetic name for it that I won't write here. I couldn't remember the Latin, because I had just drank a whisky sour.

Fast forward another 2 weeks, and today at the grocery store, I saw them: physalis. I whipped out my notebook and made a note of it. Also called Cape Gooseberry. And because now you're curious, here's a recipe, and another.

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