Toasting March Madness

OK We admit it: We have Final Four fever. And the only cure is…well, more basketball.

And if we’re going to stay inside Saturday watching games, we want to be drinking something good, too. So, naturally, we turned to top mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, who famously set up the cocktail program at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas when it opened in 1998. He’s slaked the thirst of countless sports fans who flock to the city every year during the NCAA tournament.

What goes best with buzzer-beaters and triple-doubles? Abou-Ganim recommended two recipes from his new book, Vodka Distilled, which was published this winter.

Abou-Ganim suggests starting out with his Bloody Bull (pictured above). The spin on the Bloody Mary, includes Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco Sauce and some beef bouillon—the perfect pairing for a testosterone-fueled contest (not to mention a late brunch).

You deserve a reward if you catch both semi-final matchups, so make Abou-Ganim’s tropical Monkey Shine, which he calls “tall, restorative and refreshing.” It combines vodka, Campari, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice and pink guava nectar. We think it tastes like sweet victory.

Bloody Bull

Contributed by Tony Abou-Ganim
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 2 oz Tomato juice
  • 2 oz Prepared beef bouillon
  • .5 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt
  • 1 pinch Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Garnish: Lemon wedge
  • Glass: Collins

PREPARATION:
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Roll the shaker back and forth until everything is well mixed. Strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Monkey Shine

Contributed by Tony Abou-Ganim
INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • .75 oz Campari
  • .75 oz Cointreau
  •  1 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 2.5 Pink guava nectar
  • .5 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
  • Garnish: Mint sprig and lemon fan
  • Glass: Collins

PREPARATION:
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon fan.

(Photo courtesy Tim Turner Studios)

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