I took a couple of days off with the family to wander around the mountains of North Georgia, do some hiking, pan for some gold, just get away from home and see something new. It had been over a year since we had spent the night in a hotel, which is the first time that has happened, probably in forever. The wife and I are fully vaccinated, as are most of the rest of the family, but we are still taking precautions to keep ourselves and other folks safe. It ws a little strange to be back out in the world, but good to get away from home and spend some time together playing and exploring, safely. On the way home, we made a swing through Atlanta to grab lunch to go from Fred’s Meat & Three in Krog Street Market, which meant we had to walk right past one of my favorite cocktail spots, which inspired me to try one of their signature drinks. Since I happened to have a new julep cup at home just itching for a drink, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Ticonderoga Cup.
This one, rather obviously, comes from Atlanta’s famed Ticonderoga Club. I have always enjoyed there drinks and vibe, even during quarantine. On previous episodes we have enjoyed their bourbon and peach tinged Nihilist Sour and the daiquiri/negroni mash-up, More Supreme. If you’ve tried those, you know why I am excited to dig into this pineapple and sherry inspired riff on the classic Julep. This one has a lot going on and a special ingredient to make first, Golden Pineapple syrup. To make this you will need a pineapple, golden, presumably, though I see that my grocery has a pink variety “limited edition” available this week. Peel and core that pineapple, cut it into cubes and place in a sauce pan with 2 cups of water, 1 cup of demerara sugar and 1 cup of white sugar. Cook over low heat stirring occasionally, till it breaks down then increase the heat to medium and cook, without boiling, till volume is reduced by half. Remove from heat, let cool and strain, being sure to press all the liquid from the pineapple. Discard the fruit and strain it again into a bottle. This amazing elixir should keep in the fridge for about 3 weeks.
To make the drink, grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of english style rum, 1 ounce of cognac, 1/2 an ounce of oloroso sherry, 1/2 an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 an ounce of that golden pineapple syrup. Add ice and shake well to the beat of “Shimmer” by Shawn Mullins, since that’s what was playing when I was there and he’s from Atlanta anyway. When well chilled, strain into your new julep cup over pebble ice, thank you Sonic. They suggest you garnish with a “forest of mint” and luckily my homegrown mint garden has filled in enough for me to muster at least a thicket of mint. You do what you have to in these uncertain times.
Of course, this is wonderful. We knew it would be. That pineapple syrup is amazing. The drink has a nice edge to it, overall and I’m surprised at how present the sherry is. You can absolutely taste every ingredient, distinctly and that’s a good thing. As good as this is at home, I can’t wait to get back down there and have one of these sitting at their bar. Seriously.
Probably the best part about this drink is, I did not have to make it. I just stepped right up to the counter and swapped money for a bottled cocktail to go. Not only did this appeal to my lazy side, but drinks just taste better when someone else makes them. Additionally, I got to enjoy an actual Ticonderoga Cup in the comfort of my home, a couple of hundred miles way, rather than my interpretation of their signature drink. There is a lot to be said for authenticity. There is also a lot to be said for getting back out into the world and supporting these places we all love. We have lost an awful lot of iconic bars and restaurants over the past year. As things get better, we need to do our best to help the survivors make it through this next stage. I have always said you have to step up and support the things you want to see in the world, so if you want cool bars and quirky restaurants and burlesque shows and concerts and amazing books and great coffee and all those things you love to exist in the world; show them with your dollars, your voice and your support. We are still in this together and no one is getting out alive anyway, so do what you can to make things better while you are here. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane my friends.