In 2011 we'd served gimlets for guests of the Key West Literary Seminar from my brother Josh and sister-in-law Bonnie's Airstream--the beast was out of commission last year, getting a new engine and various upgrades by mad inventor bro, and this year she was back in full effect. We decided to serve from the Airstream at a party held on the lawn of Harry S. Truman's Little White House. But first she needed to get a good sprucing up. And: we had to come up with some cocktails for the evening.
A huge fan Aperol, I had been struck by an ingenious cocktail of Enzo Lim's that he'd made for me at his bangin' Fhilipino restaurant in the East Village, Maharlika. "The Fort" is a beguiling fusion of Aperola,
guava juice, lemon juice and celery bitters. Front-loading a drink with Aperol is a ballsy move and this one really succeeds. When I found myself staring at the 6 bottles of Aperol I'd ordered the morning of the party I decided to attempt to recreate "The Fort" in punch form, following Enzo's proportions. Worked out quite well, particularly for the Aperol lovers in the crowd. In an attempt to retrofit this one to our Graham Greene theme I dubbed the punch "The Power and the Glory" after Greene's novel--the boldness of the drink just seemed right for that title. So, with huge thanks to Enzo:
THE POWER AND THE GLORY a.k.a. THE FORT
Our cocktail lounge on wheels.
Our home for the evening, with Hannah Scott along for the ride.
Sean was mixing up a vodka based punch, silky and smooth and friendly and as usual the hit of the evening. A more herbaceous variation on his "The Third Man" from our opening night party, "The Loud American" employed fresh thyme and lemon balm which I'd picked up (potted) at Key West's amazing nursery, The Marc House.
THE LOUD AMERICAN
2 Lbs. sugar
2 bunches fresh thyme
2 bunches fresh lemon balm
Muddle peels of citrus and herbs in sugar and let sit for at least an hour, muddling periodically.
Brew 64 oz green tea (10 tea bags) 2 min.
Pour hot tea over muddled peels, stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add roughly 16 oz lime juice and roughly 16 oz lemon juice to stock mixture. (to taste)
Add 3 litre bottles of Absolut vodka and 3-5 liters of soda water and serve over ice.
Garnish with lemon wheels, a few sprigs of fresh lemon balm & fresh thyme.
We served through the Airstream's windows, but many if not most of our guests stuck their head into the cab and it became quite the ad hoc VIP lounge.