“If the real thing don’t do the trick, you better make up something quick.” Ann sang the words angrily, as she should have. Her righteous indignation was totally justified. When their reality did not seem racy enough, the promoter started a rumor about an incestuous affair between her and her sister, presumably because that would help sell records? Sure, it would get people talking, but still, it seems an odd tack to take. Whatever the motivation, you have to hand it to the Wilson sisters. When someone pisses me off, I get angry, I kick rocks, but I don’t go off and write a classic rock song that is still relevant 44 years later. That’s why I am here writing about drinks and not off somewhere cataloguing my vintage rug collection while my assistant polishes my gold records. I guess we all have our ways of dealing with things. So, in the spirit of doing something productive with your anger and avoiding sore toes, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Barracuda.
This is an award-winning classic cocktail with a somewhat unusual origin. It was created in the late 1950’s by Benito Cuppari aboard the S.S. Cristoforo Columbo, a transatlantic cruise ship operating under the Italian Line and sister ship to the S.S. Andrea Doria. Yep, that same Andrea Doria which sank after a collision south of Nantucket in 1956. The drink evolved over the years, originally served in long form which would see it win the 1966 Italian National Cocktail competition, it was then adapted and served in a half pineapple shell, before Galliano created a pineapple shaped ceramic souvenir cup for the onboard Bar Lido as this became the signature drink on the S.S. Michelangelo. These days it is, almost exclusively, served in a chilled coupe, a change which no one seems to want to take credit for.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of gold rum, I chose Ron Zacapa 23 because I was feeling fancy; 1/2 an ounce of that wonderfully herbal Italian Galliano liqueur in that distinctive bottle we have all seen a hundred times and rarely tasted; 1 1/2 ounces of pineapple juice, 1/4 ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice and a dash of rich simple syrup. Add some of that artisanal ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Heart’s “Barracuda“, natch. When your tins are well-chilled, double strain into a coupe and top with about 1 ounce of champagne, I went with Aldi’s second best, Burlwood Brut, before garnishing with a lime wheel.
That is surprising, not at all what I was expecting. I figured that this would lean tiki, but it is more of a pineapple rum sour, and there is nothing wrong with that. The real kick here though is the Galliano. Honestly, I bought this bottle, just so I would have it. I mean I had seen it on backbars around the world for most of my life and I am not sure if I had ever tried it. That distinctive tall, tapered bottle filled with super yellow mystery, I had to have it. It does have a really nice vanilla and herbal thing going on, a kind of warm, soft spice that has a lovely menthol finish that surprised me. Just like this drink. It reminds me of the Kräuter Sauer or the Ice-berg. It has that same wonderfully evolving taste as those, while this one leaves a really interesting chocolate mint finish that makes no sense, but is delightful. It also has a bit of a sharp edge to the taste, that I really liked. I am pretty sure it was a combination of the bubbles in that brut and a particularly tart lime that left an almost prickly feel on the tongue. The whole drink is odd, but it works.
Without really meaning to I took a week off from making cocktails and writing about them. What can I say, I have been busy. Well, that and a bit depressed about the state the world and that always takes a toll on any sort of creative endeavor. Honestly, I had to make myself get in there and make this drink. I just wasn’t feeling it. I could not escape the allure of this one, though. First off, Heart has been on my mind ever since we “threw the drink” to the beat of “Magic Man” while making the Smoky Worm. Plus, it called for Galliano, that beautiful bottle on my shelf that I had no idea how to use. So, when I read the drink and Ann and Nancy started rocking in my head I was inspired. I always loved the song Barracuda, but it was not till years later that I learned the story of how and why it was written that it really came home to me. While I appreciate the art, it’s a damned shame that they had to deal with the slimy, predatory fish who inspired it. Of course, that was 1977, a less evolved world, right?
To be fair, there sure have been a lot of barracudas in the waters lately. Those same kind of cold fish, the ones who believe they know better than you do. Folks who take it upon themselves to decide how women’s stories should be told and what rights they should be able to exercise. It’s kind of crazy that a lot of the same folks who have spent the last year screaming “my body, my rights” in order to avoid taking medicine or being inconvenienced to protect others; suddenly are very interested in making sure they can tell other people what they can and can’t do with their bodies. That is always the way though isn’t it? The folks who care deeply where other people pee are the first to complain when they feel like anything interferes with their privacy or “right” to not have to deal with anyone different. I have learned to not really expect any sort of consistency when it comes to whatever is being used to whip folks into a froth this week, but its getting to where you get whiplash from trying to keep up with who believes what. Best I can tell is there is a vocal minority who will fight to the death for their right to make sure other people don’t get the same rights they enjoy because…well, it gets a little nebulous from there. I do know this, a big part of having freedom comes from respecting other folks freedom. We are different, thank goodness, because that’s where our strength comes from. Remember the old melting pot thing from Schoolhouse Rock? They weren’t just talking about people who look like us and think like us, they were talking about everyone getting in there and mixing things up, respecting each other and finding room at a longer table for all different beliefs and viewpoints. We ought not be afraid of being able to live and let live. Seems pretty easy to me, since I don’t have a uterus, I don’t have a lot to say about how they are used. Make choices for yourself, respect other folks right to make their own choices and stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.