After a few hours at a poolside cocktail party in Key West the cocktail-y fixins and punches had been run through, and the group was onto beers--a natural evolution, as all the sugar & citrus and the general high-proof factor wears a little thin after awhile, and the beer slowdown is often the smart move. One particularly hardy guest wasn't down with proper drinks, however, and I looked at our limited resources and threw together a rye & soda with a twist, the go-to for our wine writer Stuart Krimko. Erin had a brainwave that really elevated the Bogart & Bacall era classic into new territory; we had some calamondin on hand for a rum punch, and Erin cut one in half, squeezed it and dropped it bang into the glass. The hard to describe citrus (tangy, sweet, bitter, complex) is as hard to find as it it to define--if you're living outside of Southeast Asia, The Phillipines or Hawaii. But I'm lucky enough to be in Key West right now where a friend has a tree in the backyard, and the odd zing of that citrus combined with the herby, sedective sweetness of a rye & soda--pretty tough to beat for essentially a two-ingredient cocktail.
After shooting the drink a couple days later I stuck the demo drink in the freezer to return to it later--2:00 P.M. seemed a little early that particular day to hit the rye. When I came back to it at cocktail hour it had frozen into a crystallized cylinder. I left it out in the low 80s afternoon air and sipped the high-proof run off as it thawed. Adult slushie, sweet, tangy and perhaps a little too easy to throw back.