THE MACKINAC LIQUOR LIST
by Brookes Moody, Co-Editor
Haven’t we all had our best buzzes during the summer? South Sides after a round of golf, shandies while sunning on the dock, an oaky Chardonnay with dinner while lightning bugs dance at the edge of the lawn during a mid-summer’s night, mudslides making glasses sweat with condensation, rosé all day, a Budweiser with necks craning up at Fourth of July fireworks (or, I don’t know, a Molson during Canada Day?)…and yes, all these are pairings from previous Mackinac Liquor Lists, which we invite you to re-read throughout our archives. But in the meantime, we give you new excuses for hangovers, while reminding you, as always, to #PleaseReadResponsibly.
An Interview with Sandra Beasley
1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Cynar
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
Dash of Bitters
Orange Slice Garnish
When asked if she had any Liquor List suggestions, Sandra Beasley told us, “Usually I’m a scotch girl, but not in a cocktail.” Well amen to that, sister! A poet and a palate after my own heart. To say that bears repeating is an understatement. For five issues now, I’ve paired poems with beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails, while hypocritically drinking Scotch on the rocks almost exclusively. That’s why I applaud Sandra for not only offering us a terrific read in this interview, but for taking steps out of her comfort zone and suggesting a truly fun concoction that makes artichokes drinkable through the Cynar liqueur. Beasley describes a Gin Cin-Cyn, a cousins of a Negroni, as “perfect hair of the dog, or perfect aperitif.” I say again, amen sister!
Kiss Me, Kate
Knudsen Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir
This is a grown up wine for a grown up poem. Full of aspirational figures, from the Notorious RBG to Shakespeare, “Kiss Me, Kate” exudes sophistication—the same refinement you’ll feel when uncorking a bottle of this Gold Medal, award-winning Pinot. The Coastal Oregon Vineyard possesses many stellar flat and sparkling wines that demonstrate their distinct geography and conscientious farming practices, but the 2013 Pinot is a standout in an already crowded field. “It superbly showcases the nuance, depth and complexity of the fruit from Knudsen Vineyards,” just as “Kiss Me, Kate” illustrates just how damn lucky The Mackinac is to count Sandra Beasley among our ranks. And what better to pair with a lively prose poem than a ruby-colored, medium-bodied Pinot Noir?
Flying Dog Brewery’s Double Dog Double IPA
This sestina, inspired by former Washington, DC mayor and very public citizen Marion Barry, Jr., pairs nicely with a microbrew also hailing from our nation’s capital. Instead of getting caught up in the current race for president, and other drama coming out of that city, enjoy the citrus hops of Double Dog Double IPA. It’s not a stretch to say you should down this brew while listening to our #CompanionPlaylist on Spotify.
Hold Your Horses Cowboy
Cedar Ridge Griff's Cowboy Whiskey, in a brown paper bag
Based in Iowa, this bourbon describes itself thusly: “We celebrate our American hero, the Cowboy. Hard work, dedication, honesty and loyalty aren’t just words. They are a way of life.” And if the directions on how to drink the bourbon aren’t clear, read the poem.
Tasting Seneca Wine
Billsboro Winery Albariño
Located at the north end of Seneca Lake, Billsboro Winery boasts the only Albariño vintage in the Finger Lakes Wine District. A stand-out wine for a stand-out poem! The unique Spanish grape, not to be confused with a Riesling, is known for its botanical aromas, which couldn’t be more suitable for summertime drinking. If you’re tasting Seneca wine or “Tasting Seneca Wine,” this is one bottle you want around.
Poem Hostile to its Reading
Skyy Vodka, in a nip
What else would work with a poem with the gripping line, “Imagine—liquor in tiny bottles at thirty-thousand feet?” It’s a match made in heaven. Or the very least the airport Priority Pass Lounge. It even works even if you’re just drinking “alcohol for its medical qualities,” as the poem suggests. Devotees will note we paired “A Ziploc Full of Nips” with Curtis Rogers' Horoscope for an Unmanned Drone in Issue #7 when we stated, “It’ll get you through airport security.” But this time, I urge you to stick with Skyy and wait until you’re in the sky(y).
A Species of Inventors
Stag Rua Irish Red Ale
This Irish Red Ale sports a label with a virile stag that looks like it sired Bambi. This is what you drink when reading a poem about the “blood of the deer.” Big malty flavors bring out the caveman in us all.
You and You
1 ½ Cups Vodka
½ Cup Sugar
½ Teaspoon Dried Lavender, Lightly Crushed
Wheels of Lemon for Serving
You (and you) can imagine Ken and Barbie on the California cost, day drinking with a luminous pitcher of something sunny. Start drinking around noonish.
Newport Storm Summer Hefeweizen
While we each have our own local microbrew near and dear to our hearts, this is mine. Plus, Newport, Rhode Island has had a vibrant summer community ever since the Vanderbilts and Astors rolled in to town in their Gilded Age bathing costumes and their Mr.-Bates-and-Annas in the basements of the mansions on Bellevue Avenue, creating one of the first Locals-Versus-The-Summer-People rivalry. Although I doubt any locals took it as far as hurling a brick through a “plate glass window.” Usually, when recommending a Newport Storm, I’d suggest their flagship Hurricane Amber Ale, named after the Hurricane of 1938, before NOAA even named storms after people (look at me dropping my local knowledge). However, it’s sunburn season, so I’m recommending the Summer Hefeweizen. According to Newport Storm, the Summer Hefeweizen has “naturally underlying, but not overpowering, banana esters arise on the nose,” and when garnished with an orange slice, this subtly fruity brew will refresh both locals and tourists alike.
The Benediction of Night
Not to be confused with something you might do with Her Majesty the Queen, we’re recommending High Tea as our first foray into #TheLegalizeItList. (I mean, I can pair poems with booze for the rest of my career, but where’s the challenge in that?) Direct from our friends at Seattle’s own Stash Pot Shop, where’s cannabis is legal (we remind you to read responsibly, but ingest responsibly—and legally—too while you’re at it) comes their extensive and highly informative menu. They state High Tea is a “perfectly balanced variety of THC-infused tea bags. Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free & All-Natural! Chai, Green, Black, and PM Sleep flavors!” At 10MG per serving, we think it would pair nicely with “The Benediction of Night,” whichever flavor you choose. It will keep you mellow as you read about “Paxil withdrawals” and “night soaked in alcohol sweat.” We wouldn’t blame you at all for if you were currently on Expedia checking flights to Washington and Colorado right now…
The Blame Game
O-Neh-Da Vineyard’s Sacramental Wine
“Jesus was never overweight” because he was too busy turning water into O-Neh-Da Vineyard’s Sacramental Wine, “the oldest authentic producer of premium sacramental wine in the New World.” (Also, the “New World?”) Never would I have thought I’d have two Finger Lakes Wines in one Liquor List, but hey, O-Neh-Da has been in business since 1872, so they must have figured out a few things at this point. Now remember: this isn’t an endorsement, it’s a pairing, because honestly, who among us has ever had more than just a sip?
G. TIMOTHY GORDON
With its light effervescence and blush of natural flavors, Spiked Seltzer's line of alcoholic fruit-flavored seltzers compliments "Coxcomb" to a T. At first taste, you might think this jaunty drink is safe to imbibe while pregnant, the "spiked" aspect is so subtle. But make no mistake, at 6% alcohol it's best to abstain with a baby on board. Brought to you by a guy trained at Nantucket Nectar, with Private Stock malt liquor lineage, and ad campaign that ripped off Vineyard Vines, we're making a prediction now: Spiked Seltzer is no fad. And at only 140 calories a serving with 4 different flavors, who would bet against them? Sip Spiked Seltzers solo, or in one of the many cocktails they recommend online.
I (too) wander’d lonely…
Liberated Sauvignon Blanc
A response to a timeless poem with none of the original’s inflated sentimentality of floral flourishes, “I (too) wander’d lonely…” is truly liberated from the source material, which is why you should read it while drinking Liberated Sauvignon Blanc. It too forsakes floral notes in favor of tasting notes of kiwi, passion fruit, lime, and grapefruit. Plus, the label is pretty kick ass, much like G. Timothy Gordon.
The Tree Is in a Book
The Dreaming Tree Sauvignon Blanc
This Sauvignon Blanc is the newest wine from the Sonoma-based vineyard founded by musician Dave Matthews. (Yes, that Dave.) My mother always schooled me on the importance of having a solid ABC wine in the house. ABC Wine = Anything But Chardonnay. And what’s a girl to do? The local distributors raised the price of the Simi Sauvignon Blanc, so out with the old, in with a musician’s vanity project. But it’s a good thing he has branched out from music, and drawing, and acting, and environmental activism, and ventured into the wine game. According to my mother, The Dreaming Tree is, “somewhere in the $13-$15 range. Not too citrusy, without that grapefruit tart thing,” (insert visual image of maternal look of disgust here). The point is, it’s a good enough bottle of wine that she’s bought it en masse to serve at cocktail parties. As previously discussed, I have to take her word for it; I’m too busy downing Dewar’s. And yet, I’m sufficiently convinced this ABC wine pairs perfectly with “The Tree Is in a Book.” It is an ABC poem after all: Anything But Common.
*You may be asking, did we pair the poem with The Dreaming Tree to pair them both with Dave Mathews Band’s “Dreaming Tree” on the Companion Playlist? No. We’re not amateurs. We picked “Stay,” also from Before these Crowded Streets and a classic summertime jam. And you know how DMB loves to jam…
Search and Rescue: Anxiety Attack Along I-74, Near Farmer City, Exit 159
2 oz. Pusser's Rum
4 oz. Pineapple juice
In the middle of a trauma—or just reading about one? A Pain Killer is the answer. The smoothing cream of Coco Lopez, the natural sugar and tang of pineapple—also the international symbol of hospitality—the fortifying, immune-boosting properties of orange juice, and Pusser’s Rum, all combine fight agony and apprehension. Finish with a dusting of grated nutmeg on top, and before you can start crying, you’ll sing.