Holiday Gift Guide
When I committed to making the Happy Hour column a regular Wednesday thing, I realized that either I'd have it pre-written and ready to be posted at the designated time (ideal scenario) or that I'd write it on the day of and post it immediately. What I didn't take into account is that I'm sort of a perfectionist, and like to constantly tweak something either until I consider it perfect, or until I no longer have the option of doing so, such as when there is a due date attached.

Far too often I found myself in the latter of the two scenarios, still working on college term papers just hours before they were due, or working on an exam until the very last second until the proctor yelled "pencils down!" Truth be told, I really didn't care, and in fact took pride in my ability to ride close to the razor's edge and not just survive, but thrive.

Well, that's fine for college exams and such. Not so much for writing about cocktails which often entails, well, creating original cocktails--especially because I'm slavishly opposed to the idea of letting anything go to waste. Yes, when I do wine tastings, I don't spit out the wine. And yes, I'm sad to admit, that from time to time I neglect the homies that have passed away by witholding their share when I crack open a forty.

So it's a nice, warmer than-usual-Wednesday afternoon in February, and I'm sloshed. Yes, such is a hazard of endlessly tweaking a cocktail that for all intents and purposes was finished the night before. But of course, by noon the next day I had to tweak a bit further. This is, after all, going to be released into the blogosphere. And I don't like polluting the blogosphere. Thank goodness I'm not an alcoholic, or else I'd really be worried.

So enough drunkblogging, and on with this week's cocktail. If you recall a couple of weeks ago I showed you how to make your own strawberry liqueur, and promised once it was ready to show you how to incorporate it in a cocktail. Well the liqueur's finally ready, and I've created a cocktail with it that I call the "I Love Lucy." Apparently there's some douchey shot drink of the same name that showed up on a Google search, but frankly I don't care, as I'm usurping the name for myself. After all, the legendary lady's name should be attached to something more befitting than a date-rape aid. So here's the recipe:

I Love Lucy
2 parts Irish whiskey (can use Scotch if you're more partial to her father's side)
2 parts Strawberry liqueur
1 part French vermouth
Dash Angostura bitters

Place all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Now I know, I know, I got some splainin' to do, as you may be wondering how I came up with this cocktail and its name. I actually came up with the name afterward, which is my usual order of operation. When devising the cocktail itself I wanted to create something that would be appropriate for Valentine's Day without being overly sweet, that members of both sexes could enjoy (and order without shame at a bar). And in coming up with a name--which for me is usually more difficult than composing the cocktail--I tried to avoid the easy trap of cliche yet still keep it thematically appropriate. And of all the names that I ran through my head again and again this one just seemed to stick. So there you have it. Cheers.

Come back every Wednesday for Paystyle's weekly Happy Hour column.

Photography by Vanessa Bahmani