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What To Drink In A Financial Crisis

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It's Fall, and already there's a hint of wintry chill in the air—especially down on Wall Street, where it looks like there won't be as many wads of cash to throw on the fire this year when the wind blows cold.

What's a newly-chastened plutocrat to do? As the New York Times has reported, as the economy tanks, it's time to get tanked as well; bars are suddenly jammed with worried finance folks drowning their sorrows. It pains me to see that most of them are drinking beer. This crisis calls for a cocktail.

2008-10-02-widowstouch_250.jpg has a couple of good offerings, like the Widow's Touch (pictured left). Created by John Gertsen of Boston's No. 9 Park, the drink is an apple-floral riff on the 19th-century Widow's Kiss. The Moscow Mule is a classic for vodka lovers. The owners of the Cock 'n' Bull bar in Hollywood created the drink in 1941 in order to sell exotic "white whiskey" (a.k.a. vodka) and move a supply of ginger beer. Or try the perfect-for-fall Northwood #2. A blend of apple cider, maple sugar, and rum, it was created by a Brooklyn bar owner as an ode to the New England woods.

But I think the events of the last couple of weeks deserve a signature cocktail. I have here a modest offering to commemorate the recent financial meltdown.


Serves one (you), right.

In a double old-fashioned glass, place a thick slice of blood orange (try to keep your hands clean; if you can squeeze blood from a turnip then use that instead), a large piece of lemon peel, and a teaspoonful of sugar. Add three dashes Angostura bitters and mix with a muddler until everything is completely muddled.

Toss in a pony of Cointreau and two jiggers of Old Overholt rye whiskey—Old Oversight would be preferable but it hasn't been available for years, having fallen out of fashion. Anyway, it tastes sweeter when no one is watching.

Shake with ice, or with trepidation, whichever is most handy, and strain into a cocktail glass. Add several ounces chilled champagne; the $700,000,000,000.00 Dom Paulson variety if you can borrow some, although the cheap stuff will do. The champagne will have bubbles, but at least they are small and cause no harm when they burst. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, for a bit of forced gaiety.

Drink it while you can, or you may have to share it.

Chris Hall writes for's Project Recipe and is cooking his way through the's Top 100 Dishes.