My Half-Century Cocktail Recipe

New Year’s Eve is coming up, so I thought I’d reprint this cocktail recipe. If you want to make it for New Year’s Eve, start making the cardamom simple syrup now-ish.

We invented this cocktail recipe for my 50th birthday (a few years ago — I turn 53 on December 31), and I like it so much I’ve made it several times since. I’m calling it a Half Century. It’s not wildly freaky or anything — it’s roughly a whiskey sour made with lime juice and cardamom simple syrup — but it’s awfully damn delicious. And it has qualities both of a classic cocktail and a weird modern spicy cocktail, which seems appropriate for the occasion it was named after. Plus it has cardamom! Nature’s perfect food.

Half Century

It’s just:

2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. cardamom simple syrup (see below)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

Shake with ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Guzzle.

Cardamom Simple Syrup

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup whole shelled cardamom

Bring water and whole shelled cardamom pods to a boil. (You can get the unshelled kind and shell them yourself, but it takes for freaking ever — for this recipe, the freshness you’ll get from shelling them yourself is not worth it. It is still plenty cardamomy with the pre-shelled kind.) Stir in sugar until it’s fully dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in fridge for 3 days, checking frequently to make sure it still smells totally awesome. Try to resist temptation to taste it. Fail. Luxuriate in the glory that is cardamom. After 3 days, strain. (I thought this was going to be a huge pain in the nuts involving cheesecloth and whatnot, but a smallish sieve totally did the trick.) Admire the gorgeous amber color. Lick the spoon. Resist temptation to take the strained-out, sugar-saturated cardamom pods and rub them all over your body. Experiment with different cardamom-based cocktail recipes until you get schnockered. Try to figure out correct spelling of “schnockered.” Spend rest of evening driving your best friend nuts with stories about how cute your cats are.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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My Half-Century Cocktail Recipe

4 thoughts on “My Half-Century Cocktail Recipe

  1. 3

    I love anything cardamom. Probably one of the most delicious flavors in the spice world, I think.

    Also, one of my fondest memories of being an exchange student in Germany was teaching my host mother the English words for different levels of drunkenness. I don’t remember if “schnockered” was one of them, but I do remember sloshed, wasted, and hammered. She got a real kick out of hammered.

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