Memory Lane: Maker’s Mark

It was the summer of 1999, and I had just gotten back to Pittsburgh after a girlie vacation in Rehoboth Beach, DE. While there, I had discovered Dogfish Head Microbrewery, mostly because the first three days were somewhat cold and rainy.

I was single. And surprisingly restless after a 6+ hour car ride back to the ‘burgh.

So I donned the only clean clothes I had available (white pants and a navy and white tank) and went around the corner to the Lava Lounge on the South Side. It was the place where most of my friends could be found on any given night, plus I knew the bartender, plus they had live music that night.

Not that I ever got to the back to see the band.

As I was waiting to order a drink, some people of my acquaintance came in, including one guy I knew from Duquesne.

He was cute, and I was *extremely* single, and we got to talking.

“So,” he said at one point, “can I buy you a drink?”

“Sure,” I answered. “I’ll take a Maker’s Mark on the rocks.”

The look on his face was worth the price of admission. Simultaneously surprised and impressed. I think he was kind of expecting me to order a wine cooler. He didn’t know me very well back then.

We got married two years later.


For Christmas, Dan bought me a Maker’s Mark gift set, which included two square-bottomed cocktail glasses with the distinctive red “wax” enclosing the bottom and a booklet of cocktail recipes.

We’re not big liquor drinkers in general, tending more toward beer (microbrews and craft beers mostly) or wine (red, dry). But I took a little look through the booklet of cocktails, and we mixed up a couple over the New Year’s weekend.

(after dinner drink for two; serve in a brandy snifter)

3 parts Maker’s Mark
2 tbsp. powered sugar
6 tbsp. (or 1/3 cup) heavy cream
2 parts orange liquor (we used Cointreau)
nutmeg and twist of orange peel for garnish

Mix Maker’s Mark, powdered sugar, cream, and orange liquor together. Pour over crushed ice. Sprinkle nutmeg on top and garnish with orange peel twist.

This is a perfect cold winter drink. Dan and I shared one on New Year’s Eve while we snuggled on the couch and watched Super 8. It’s like a sophisticated egg nog.


The other cocktail we had was called The Pub. Dan’s favorite cocktail is a Moscow Mule, which is made with ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice, so we always have ginger beer around the house. (He also just likes ginger beer.) The Pub is made by pouring 1 1/2 parts of Maker’s Mark over cubed ice in a pint glass, and then filling the glass with ginger beer. Tasty and refreshing! We drank this before dinner on New Year’s Day.


What’s your favorite drink to share, and with whom?