Saturday, December 15, 2007

What We're Drinking: The Fez

Effervescent rocks the Fez
Is this a drink review or a Shriners head gear promotion? This month I’d like to dedicate a cocktail to the lovers of exotica and old-style lounging. You don’t have to belong to the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm Shriners or be an Ottoman Turk to enjoy the sweet and sour refreshment of The Fez.

The Lid: A fez is a brimless conical flat-topped hat with a neck length tassel attached. It is made of red or maroon colored felt and was popular in Islamic culture during the Ottoman Empire. The Shriners and Masonic fraternities adopted the Fez as a ceremonial headgear in the late 19th century. It became synonymous with the fraternal organizations, which were more known for their drinking, lounging, and carousing than their charity.

The Drink: The Fez is sweet and sour like a Sidecar but without the heavy cognac feeling. The citrus infused vodka Absolut Citron taste is enhanced by freshly squeezed lemon juice. However, the tartness doesn’t overwhelm the drinker because the Chambord compliments it. Chambord raspberry liquor is the key ingredient that gives The Fez its burgundy color, sweet fruit flavor, and swanky smoothness.

Dig it: I discovered this oasis in the sea of martinis upon a visit to the legendary Fez under the Time Café in NYC night club. It was a Thursday night; I had tickets to see the Mingus Big Band. I was in the mood for the eclectic jazz styles of the late great bassist and looking for an excuse to try a drink that didn’t involve “whisky” or “gin.” Usually, I would have skipped right over a sweet drink like The Fez but I was feeling the music.

The waitress served me a smoky crimson color cocktail with a crescent shaped lemon twist “tassel” hanging off the side. Skeptically, I sipped it and was surprised by the plethora of flavors on my palette. When I finished The Fez, I licked my lips and quickly ordered another one. Then I was off to the Casbah!
The Fez

2 parts Absolut Citron vodka
1 part Chambord raspberry liquor
¼ part of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 lemon twist

Put a Martin Denny or Les Baxter album on the hi-fi. Scoot over to your bar. Combine the ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly. Then strain into chilled cocktail glasses and garnish with the lemon twist on the side. Serve immediately.
Sit back in your Barcalounger and enjoy!

- Fredo

(originally published in Atomic Magazine 2003)

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