Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Have a Heart Cocktail
The unfortunately named Have a Heart Cocktail.  It looks an awful lot like a Bloody Monkey, but the resemblance pretty much ends there. [Click to embiggen.]

...Hey, hey, have a heart, hey, have a heart.
If you don’t love me, why don’t you let me go?
Have a heart, please, oh don’t you have a heart?
Little by little you fade while I fall apart...

                          - Bonnie Raitt, “Have a Heart”

The Have a Heart Cocktail was not inspired by Bonnie Raitt’s 1989 hit song - it’s far older than that.  Created in 1934, it was named for a forgettable movie released that year featuring Jean Parker, James Dunn, and the redoubtable Una Merkel.

They could’ve named the drink for Una Merkel, as far as I’m concerned.  It wouldn’t have sounded nearly as lame.  In fact, it would have been a wonderful way to remember an underappreciated (today, anyway) comic actress.  With that in mind, I am happy to present...

Have a Heart Cocktail (AKA the Una Merkel)

1½ oz gin
¾ oz Swedish Punsch
¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ oz pomegranate grenadine

Combine ingredients in an ice-filled shaker; shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lime wedge.  Delicious and complex.

In the event you find yourself scratching your head over some of the ingredients, a few words of explanation and/or background:

In a better world, the term “pomegranate grenadine” would be redundant.  Grenadine, by definition, is made from pomegranate (grenada, in Spanish) juice.  Alas, many of the commercial grenadines sold in your supermarket’s mixer section have never been within a mile of a pomegranate, being concoctions of high-fructose corn syrup, food coloring, and artificial flavoring.  It was not always this way: Just two nights ago I found, in the recesses of a friend’s liquor locker, a half-century-old bottle of Giroux grenadine that actually contained cane sugar and pomegranate juice.  You won’t find a bottle like that today, not any more.

My solution is to make my own, using this excellent recipe.  Best. Grenadine. Ever!  It adds a little sweetness and color to the drink, but most important, it adds its own subtle flavor.

Swedish Punsch?  WTF is that? you may ask.  It’s a sort of spiced rum-like mixture made with Batavia arrack (an Indonesian-style rum), tea, lemon, and spices: a true punch.  You can find it in your local Booze-Shoppe if they carry obscure alcohols, or you can make it yourself... if you do, and you can’t find the equally obscure Batavia arrack, just use cachaça (Brazilian sugarcane rum).

Swedish Punsch goes exceptionally well with a full-flavored gin, adding layers of complex aromas and flavors.  Both my Aunt Marge and I thought this drink was a real success - try it and see whether you agree!

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