NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 11, 2013

A cocktail that's sensational this time of year

With the exception of a good margarita, I’ve never been one for mixed drinks. Which doesn’t mean I don’t like a great cocktail.

I just tend to be very selective about the cocktails I love. And the ones I love tend to be simple and made mostly from brown liquors, such as bourbon and rye. The reason is simple. I don’t like lots of mixtures of unidentifiable alcohols. Not only are they usually overly sweet, but they are a headache — literally!

And I recently learned just how important each element is to making a terrific simple cocktail. Because when you’re working with just a few ingredients, everything — even the ice — matters.

I learned this when I visited Mike Hudman, Andy Ticer and Nick Talarico at Hog & Hominy in Memphis, Tenn. I loved Hog & Hominy before I ever walked through the front door just because of the name, which is an old moniker for the state of Tennessee, as in the “Hog & Hominy” state.

Everything they do in their fused-together American Southern and Italian restaurant, they do with care. But the real reason to visit Hog & Hominy is their artisanal cocktail bar, where handcrafted “ice balls” are put to very good use. Under the guise of ordering a drink to try one of their signature BIG ice balls, I asked them to make me whatever cocktail they thought I would like.

Talk about attention to detail: The ice balls are made from triple-distilled water and hand-carved by a local ice carver. They are perfectly clear like those sculptures you see in hotel ballrooms.

The balls are about 2 inches in diameter, and they literally fill the whole glass. They are priced a la carte for $3 each. But before you gasp in shock, I must tell you that the ball will last all night and hardly melts, thus preventing that awful dilution that cocktail lovers dread.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights
Special Features