How did I end up with half a dozen astronaut high-ball glasses and a 20-ounce container of Tang powder? It's a long story that starts last December at my daughter's school fundraiser where we auctioned off dinner for six at my house. Bidding far exceeded expectations, and the winner ended up being a friend who bought the dinner for her partner's birthday.
Here's the kicker: The winners requested a dinner based on the White House state dinner given by Richard Nixon in honor of the Apollo 11 astronauts. They sent me the original menu.
After some head-scratching, we worked through each course and developed more modern versions. It was a stretch, but I kept telling myself, "I'm a professional; this shouldn't intimidate me." Then I got an email from my friend.
"The birthday boy requests a Tang-inspired cocktail."
We had to take some deep breaths. Tang? What's next? Freeze-dried ice cream?
After playing around for a few days with the sickly sweet stuff (the Tang rim was fun, but reminded us more of Fun Dip than a lavish White House state dinner), we called upon our mixologist friends, Paul Zablocki and Steve Schul of Cocktail Buzz.
Their idea was brilliant — they stuck to the deep, dark, wintery flavors of Scotch and Amaretto, and added a flamed orange peel. And just a hint of Tang. The truth is, I prefer it with fresh orange juice, but for tomorrow's big event, we're going all the way; straight to the moon.
A Midwinter Tang Cocktail
1 1/2 ounces light blended Scotch whiskey
1 ounce Tang (2 tablespoons in 1 cup water to make it) or 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 ounce Amaretto
1 dash Angostura bitters
Orange peel, expressed through a flame (optional, but it adds more depth of flavor)
Shake the Scotch, Tang, Amaretto, and bitters with ice for 15 seconds and strain into a chilled rocks glass (with large ice cube) or a chilled coupe. Express orange peel through the flame of a lit match over the drinks and drop peel into glass.