50 Shots of America–Louisiana


Yes, I know, I’m skipping over 4 states in the whole date-of-statehood-order but I have a really good reason:

First, today is my birthday and if you can’t bend (your own) rules on your birthday, what’s the point?

Second, it’s also Louisiana‘s anniversary of statehood. So happy birthday to both of us!

And, in case you missed the memo, I spent the first 6 years of my life in and around Ponchatoula, LA, before I was rudely dragged to Florida to live out what seems to be the rest of my days. Seriously, all I remember about that trip was laying down in the back seat, as furious as a 6-year-old can be, absolutely insulted that we were moving so far away from all of our family.

Louisiana and me? We go way back. So that’s why I’m bending the rules. I promise I will go back and give the 4 states we just leap-frogged their Friday in the sun and delicious cocktails.

My grandfather on my father’s side was an honest-to-goodness hobo during the war. Long after that he built my grandmother her dream home and it’s the home I remember most from my childhood since we lived there, too, for a while. I’m still a little irked that my uncle sold it out of the family more than a decade ago. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a farmer and grew prize-winning strawberries and assorted veggies. It’s his strawberries I remember best, which he made into strawberry freezer jam and made his own strawberry wine, and the annual Strawberry Festival held every April (and still going strong) in our little town.

And, oh, the daiquiris! Obviously I do not remember these so much from my childhood, at least not directly! Not the classic lime daiquiris,but thick, frosty frozen daiquiris absolutely chock-a-block with strawberries. Oh, so good.

Chocolate Covered Daiquiri

1 medium strawberry, hulled and quartered
1 tsp superfine sugar
3/4 oz light rum
1/2 oz strawberry schnapps
1/2 oz chocolate liqueur

Muddle the strawberry, sugar and rum in a sturdy mixing glass until the berries are thoroughly mashed. Add the schnapps and liqueur and top with plenty of ice. Shake it like a last booze run before the storm comes in and strain it into a chilled cordial glass.

This is not too sweet, not too chocolatey, it’s just enough. And if you have trouble tracking down superfine sugar just buzz some regular granulated sugar in a food processor or spice grinder for a bit.

The Daiquiri


Why is the rum always gone?!?!

I did have that thought tonight as I realized I was almost out of white rum. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself…

The little town I grew up in (Ponchatoula) may now be an antiques mecca but when I was small it was mostly known for it’s strawberries. And every April they would have (and still do) a Strawberry Festival that beats the pants off any of the community festivals they do around here. (No offense intended to my adopted home, but what do you expect from a place that’s an hour from New Orleans and in a state where it’s said they have a parade every time a pig’s born–they just know what they’re doing!)

Of course, the house drink at such a time (or anytime, for that matter) was a strawberry daiquiri, a smoothie-like concoction spiked with a good dose of rum. Granted, mine was the virgin variety, but this is what I think of when I hear daiquiri. Did you know that in Louisiana they have drive-through daiquiri parlours? It’s true! The leave the lid unpunctured so they can legally sell them to drivers, then you’re on the honor system til you get home (or to work, my cousin would routinely go on daiquiri runs for the doctor’s office she worked for).

So I was surprised to learn that the daiquiri did not start out as a spiked smoothie, but a shaken lime-rum concoction. Even though I learned this tidbit a couple years agon, I had never tried the original–until tonight.


3 oz white rum
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
crushed ice
lime wedge for garnish

Combine rum, lime juice and simple syrup in a shaker with ice, shake til a wee bit frothy and then strain into a glass 3/4 full of more crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

from Good Spirits, AJ Rathbun

Now, be prepared, folks, this is one TART drink. But after the bracing nature of the first sip, the rest goes down nice and easy.

Returning to the beginning of this post, I found out that I’d somehoe managed to nearly run out of white rum. How that happened I’ll never guess (especially since I’ve been drinking the spiced or coconut varieties of late), but I had just enough for the one drink. Wanting to make Todd one, as well, I figured I’d use the Appleton Special Jaimaican Rum from the cabinet (it’s a golden rum, for the record) for the second drink and he could have his pick.

Oh. Oh no. I’ve never had a truly BAD cocktail but this one was in contention. The golden rum just wasn’t the right spirit and it totally overpowered the lime juice. Just wrong, wrong, wrong. Stick to the white rum, folks, TRUST ME! Not wanting to waste the booze, though, I topped it off with 3 oz of pineapple juice and it actually was drinkable at that point. I don’t know what it was, but at least it didn’t make me shudder.

Have a good weekend, gang, and see you in 2 weeks when our blog features return to their normally sceduled content. Until then, safe sipping!