The Perfect Nails, The Perfect Whiskey Sour

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 13.266% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I had just gotten some Very Bad News, and I needed Muppets.  So Gini and I headed down to the theater…
…and the theater had a bar.
The bar was new.  They were renovating the AMC down the street, and had added larger screens and reclining seats and more 3D, and they were unpacking a bar.  (Called, amusingly, “MacGuffin’s.”)  So we sat down and ordered a drink.  Since I wasn’t in the mood for the full burn of Scotch (which I couldn’t really nurse through a Muppet movie anyway), and they had no beer as of yet, I scanned their offerings and ordered my grandmother’s favorite: a whiskey sour.
It was the perfect whiskey sour.
It shouldn’t have been.  The bartenders were operating off of flashcards and pre-canned mix, and it took them fifteen minutes of consultation to cobble together something from Maker’s Mark.  Yet there is a certain mysticism in getting the right drink at the right time, and this whiskey sour vibrated through me, giving me the perfect notes of whiskey offset with a little sweetness, worked through with a hint of bitterness that let me forget all of my troubles and sink into my own palate in a delirium of drinking.
Since then, I’ve been trying to recreate that magic at home.  We bought a shaker:
And got a recipe from the legendary Velvet Tango Room, courtesy of its owner Paulius, which looks a little like this:

The recipe is this, straight from Paulius’ mouth:

In this order, put this in your shaker:
1 egg white ( if even a drop of yolk gets in, start over)
20 grams simple syrup
15 grams lemon juice
5 grams lime juice
40 grams whiskey
Shake without ice for 15 seconds. Fill shaker with ice, cover, and shake another 30 seconds. Maybe 20 seconds as the longer you shake, the more you dilute. Try to use ice cubes, not smaller forms and no shards. They melt too quickly.
Sit back, relax and enjoy. You can make 2 at a time, but not three…

These whiskey sours are very good, even if I have yet to make one.  Which is to say that I am terrible at following directions, and so I keep fucking them up: first time, I doubled the recipe and put in the wrong amount of whiskey.  Second time, I didn’t shake without ice first.  (It does, amazingly, make a difference.)  And this time I realized that I didn’t put the ingredients in the proper order last night, and if Paulius tells me to put them in in that order, then I’d better damn well put them in in that order.
(Fun fact: I do not at all see why gentlemen should not wear hats inside.  But Paulius tells me that I should not, and if Paulius tells me this then it must be true.)
So thus far, I’ve quite enjoyed the whiskey sours I’ve had, but I am still attaining perfection.  It’s actually a lot of work, as getting the egg whites is a huge pain in the ass, and we currently have a glass filled with nothing but egg yolks in search of a custard.  I’ll let you know if and when I finally nail this sucker.
Speaking of nails, I finally got to use my Nailed It! nail art, and I got good results that nevertheless disappointed.  If you’re not familiar, Nailed It! are little nail stickers with nerdy designs – Doctor Who, steampunk, glittery tentacles – and according to the package, you can put them on in about fifteen minutes.
…or, if you’re a professional nail tech with slightly perfectionistic tendencies, about an hour.
The stickers look like this:

And when they’re done, they look like this:

Which, you know, hey, for zombie nails! But they look a little cheap, to me. Cutting them to fit my cuticles leaves gaps, and no matter how many times my nail tech tried to smooth them down there are tiny wrinkles that are supremely evident to me. They don’t look like nails, and already they’re starting to peel, so I’m not a fan thus far. I’d rather have the glossy layer of polish all the way up to hug my precious, precious cuticles.
But we’ll see! I haven’t been out and about, so perhaps when I set out this weekend and have people gasp, I shall reconsider.
The good news is, even if the Nail Art doesn’t ever pan out, it’s still been totally worth it. The only person at my nail shop who would attempt this new-fangled technology turned out to be the most adventurous nailist in the shop, and we spent the time with her showing me her 900 photos of nail samples on her iPhone and explaining all the techniques she wanted to try. I told her that I would cheerfully be her lab experiment, and we agreed that I could walk in to an appointment with her and say, “Surprise me.”
I love The Venetian, as they’re really detail-oriented – I love the way Lan gives me three coats on dark colors because she wants it to be bold and not thin – but they’re not really experimental, and I am forever in search of the next Thing I Have Never Tried. If the Nail Art has done nothing else it’s put me in touch with a fellow mad scientist of nails, and I think that partnership will pay off.


  1. Aerin
    Mar 28, 2014

    One good use for leftover egg yolks is Hollandaise sauce! Delicious over asparagus, and can be made in a blender or on the stove.

  2. Tone
    Apr 4, 2014

    I love your nail mad scientist and want to adopt her.

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