Sunday night, FireFly Vodka had a launch party at Gervais & Vine. As part of the party, they also conducted a contest to name “Columbia’s Official Drink.” I was one of the ten finalists.
I did not win, place or show.
As soon as I arrived, I realized that my competition had put much more thought and creativity into their entries than I. However, my drink did meet certain requirements I thought should have been given more importance in the judging:
1.) My drink could actually be made in the average bar that does not routinely stock fresh ginger, Jello or other “non-traditional” ingredients.
2.) My drink can be prepared in a reasonable enough amount of time to satisfy someone who actually wants a drink sometime soon, as opposed to in three hours.
3.) My drink tastes good.
4.) Although it can be served in a martini glass, my drink is best consumed as a shot. If you know anything about Columbia, South Carolina, then you know that any “official drink” should be a shot.
In any case, there were some very interesting entries and a good time was had by all.
FireFly Vodka, as I have written about before, is infused with locally-produced muscadine wine. It is actually made in Florida, because of South Carolina’s archaic liquor laws.
The flavor is very interesting; there is definitely a grapey-ness to it. It would seem that this would run contrary to the nature of vodka, which is, by definition, supposed to be neutral. Eric Asimov recently posted an interesting piece on vodka and this very issue. Technicalities aside, I thought the FireFly was very good.
One side benefit of my drink-creating endeavor was the discovery of how very easy it is to make fresh sweet-and-sour mix. I will NEVER buy cheap-ass, artificial sour mix again.
For what it’s worth, my drink recipe appears below. It’s a modification of a recipe I used to enjoy back in the college days. I’m sure this same recipe is actually used in countless bars across the country and called various names. Like I said, not much thought went into this one.
The Garnet Fire (in honor of the garnet and black of the University of South Carolina)
1 ½ oz. FireFly Vodka
½ oz. Chambord
1 ½ oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. fresh sweet-and-sour mix
Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into chilled shot glasses, or strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.
Fresh Sweet-and-Sour Mix
1 part fresh lime juice
1 part fresh lemon juice
3 parts mineral water
1 part sugar
Combine all ingredients and mix. Can be stored in refrigerator for a week or two.