Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Picon Punch

I was recently invited to my sister Linde’s boyfriend Mike’s 40th birthday celebration in which the plan was to climb Job’s Peak and celebrate after at the locally famous JT Bar and Grill in Gardnerville, NV.  Unfortunately, living in Bellingham, WA and having two young children to care for made it impossible for me to go back to my hometown for this fun celebration.  So for this week’s Thirsty Thursday recipe I honor Mike with a cocktail recipe because, well, he’s one of my new favorite people and I never got him a present.

I had met Mike quite a few years ago but I don’t remember it.  He and Linde had dated briefly in high school and in his memory of me I am told I was about 8 years old and in my pajamas.  Sorry, Mike, you were just a dude and I totally don’t remember meeting you.

So for our second meeting, I was 30 and he was 39.  He and Linde had recently re-connected and I had flown into Reno to help celebrate Linde’s 40th birthday with 4 of my 5 siblings.  There was a HUGE party at a Basque restaurant/bar in Reno, in fact, for a while we couldn’t even move there were so many bodies.  And since we were in a Basque restaurant, we felt we should do as the Basque do and order Picon Punch’s to drink.

Let me back up for a moment and let the Reno Tahoe Dining Blog explain:  The Picon Punch is a famous Basque drink which is ubiquitous in Northern Nevada, brought to the region by Basque immigrants who came from Spain and France to herd sheep.  Today, the connection to Basque tradition remains alive in the many local decedents of the first settlers, the Basque restaurants and serve their famous food and the festivals that celebrate Basque heritage.

Also according to the Reno Tahoe Dining Blog: “Drink one Picon Punch and you might be alright. Drink two and they’ll call you a cab. Drink three and they might have to call the paramedics.”

When I asked Mike if he wanted a sip of my Picon Punch he crinkled his nose and said, “no.”  I responded with an uncharacteristic, “What are you, a fillintheblank?”  Apparently, having your girlfriend’s baby sister, whom you had recently only remembered as an 8 year old wearing pajamas, call you a fillintheblank is like, the highest form of peer-pressure ever.  So Mike took my glass from me and in one giant frat-boy-like gulp, my entire Picon Punch was down his gullet.  Impressive.  The next day he blamed ME for his hang-over.  And also told Principal Pirtle (my mom) I used the P word. Nice.

So when Mike’s birthday came around this month I was sad I couldn’t celebrate with him and Linde.  We had so much fun in April.  Instead, the night before their planned hike up Job’s Peak I sent him a picture of a Picon on Facebook and told him not to be a… well, you get the idea.  The next day, after their hike I got this series of pictures from Linde’s cell phone of Mike at the JT Bar and Grill:

6:33 p.m.
6:57 p.m.
7:41 p.m.

Yes Mike, you sure can drink those Picons.  But are you still standing? 

So without further ado here’s the recipe.  Drink at your own risk!

2 oz Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
Soda Water
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz brandy
Lemon peel (1/2 oz Lemon juice)

Directions.  Shake the amer picon, lemon juice and grenadine well with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with soda, garnish with fruit, and serve in a highball glass.



  1. Great post and story. These sound dangerous and I love it - Sometimes you just need a cocktail that will get the job done! Happy 40th to Mike – I don’t know you but I’ll drink in your honor!

  2. I can assure you that yes I drank all four of those Picon's and I have plenty of witnesses! You were the highest form of peer pressure! One thing to add about the Picon, once you finish the first the rest are much easier. After 40 years I think I have finally aquired the taste.

    Mike Lawton


  4. This post is so funny!! I have to admit, I feel like a fillintheblank, though! I'm scared of these! :P
    I think I'll wait for a non-work-night to attempt this one!!

  5. I miss those picons and my fun family! All right. We'll try to make them in Tucson....And ditto about Mike! Principal Pirtle

  6. "Pansy," right? That was the fillintheblank, right?

  7. I have had these from the JT many times. Good memories.

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