By Mary Mihaly
If there’s an ideal formula for organizing drink recipes, the author and designer of Cocktails for Cougars and Cowgirls: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Every Woman have nailed it. What’s more, Jordan Catapano and Jocelyn Dunn Muhlbach are sisters, showing how smoothly families can work together when they share a great idea – and a few good drinks.
They loosely arrange the recipes by their “mouth-feel” – in other words, by their body – taking us from light Bubbly to Savory, Blended, Sweet, With Heat, and a few stops in between. Each drink gets its own star billing: a two-page spread with full-color photo and detailed instructions and ingredients.
I’ve been selecting drinks with names that match my mood. So far I’ve made the Kentucky Flamethrower, the Sombrero and the Natural (with kale garnish!). Tonight I might try a Gin Dill Infusion.
The sisters’ brilliant stroke is the drawing beneath each recipe, depicting glassware that suits each drink. Almost all the drinks pair well with three, four or more different glasses, so you don’t need to stress about stocking the “correct” vessel. The Redhead, a concoction made with Irish whiskey and carrot juice, tastes equally good sipped from a lowball, highball or bucket glass. The Caribbean Curse, a rum-amaretto drink, works with a highball or bucket glass, or a stemmed or stemless wineglass. And for the Señorita, made with chocolate coffee tequila-based liqueur (be still my heart), anything goes; the sisters offer five glass choices.
I would have enjoyed learning the provenance of some of the drinks, though. Was the Sophisticate created in some grand Manhattan hotel bar? Is the Orange Cure a classic hair o’ the dog?
It’s a minor flaw. Cougar or cowgirl, you’ll find drinks here that sync with your personality and your friends. Buy a copy for your sister.