Mr. Food Dude hasn’t been able to participate on this site for a bit, so others have been filling in, putting up new posts & polls, and moderating comments. If you don’t get an immediate response to a question, or things look strange, please be patient. A few of us are doing the best we can to figure out how all of this works.
Here’s a bit of Dude trivia: he’s not only a really good cook – his Sunday dinners for friends are legendary – but he’s also an awesome bartender. As a matter of fact, his first foray into the food industry was as a bartender at The Magic Pan Restaurant in Los Angeles, back before it was legal for him to do so. The Dude was actually working on his degree at the time, and had just taken the job for a weekend to help out a friend. Then a girl came along (isn’t that always the case?), and with his typical determination, he decided to keep the job a bit longer as an excuse to see her again. These days I think you’d call it stalking, but back then it was love at first sight.
Food Dude still looks back on those years of bartending with fond memories. There was the time he was working in a dive bar in California, when a customer came up and asked why there were no fixtures in the bathrooms. Turns out someone has unbolted them and snuck the porcelain out the back door. One time a woman he’d made the mistake of turning his back on after he asked her to leave, broke a beer bottle over his head. The Dude’s dad had always said, “no matter how bad it hurts, always get up smiling”, and he did, totally unnerving the woman before he picked her up by the belt loops, and threw her through the double swinging doors. Those downtown LA bar-fights were legendary; more than once he ended up in the hospital, more often he’d send unruly patrons flying through those doors. He finally had enough when someone stabbed a buddy of his, and the man died in his arms before help could arrive.
Ever since those few years of bartending, Food Dude has made a point of coming up with a special cocktail every year. I’m going to run last years post again, because it has been such an incredible hit. I swear, he gets invited to summer parties just because people want him to bring this drink. Last winter I was having a party and despite his objections that it wouldn’t be good because things were out of season, I talked him into bringing a bit. He showed up with three gallons. There were less than 25 people at the party, but we ran out in 90 minutes. Don’t even get me started on the desserts he brings to potlucks! Don’t you wish he’d come to your gathering?
On a hot day, there is nothing better than this drink. Here is Food Dude’s post from last summer:
When I was a youngster of 20 or so, I did time as a bartender. Every so often I would be scheduled to work Sundays, which were incredibly slow. For lack of anything else to do I would experiment, learning old drinks and attempting to invent new ones. These were before the plethora of infused vodkas that exist today, so options were a bit more limited.
Ever since, I have devoted several days each year to coming up with a new cocktail to dazzle and amaze my friends. Last year it was a simple, updated version of the Orange Drop. This year it is an incredibly refreshing drink for hot weather. Be warned, you must know how to boil water to make this cocktail.
Food Dude’s Cucumber Lemonade Martini
1/2 oz fresh mint-infused simple syrup
2 oz good quality vodka
8 thin slices good cucumber
Fresh squeezed Lemonade
Make Mint Simple syrup by boiling together 1-cup sugar and 1-cup water boiled until dissolved. Add 1-cup fresh mint leaves and steep for 30 minutes, then strain out the leaves. Chill before using. Keeps in the refrigerator for weeks, ready whenever you need to dazzle your friends with a refreshing drink.
Muddle Ice, about ½ oz. simple syrup, and the sliced cucumber together in a shaker. Add 2 oz. or so of vodka, and top with lemonade. Shake and serve in a tall glass with ice. Smooooooooth.
Notes: Use fresh squeezed lemonade if you’d like, but if you are feeling lazy Columbia Gorge Organic is the best I have found. I get mine at New Seasons Market, or hidden along the back wall of Whole Foods.
Muddling – smoosh it around, bruising the cucumber with the ice to get it to release its oils & juice.