Stay Cool with Amaro-and-Ice Cream Shakes and Floats
"I'm your ice cream man. Stop me when I'm passin' by."
Due to the long Fourth of July Holiday Weekend, LAST CALL HQ will be closed through next week. At some point I’m sure I’ll be grilling some Hoffman German Franks (my favorite hometown hot dog from Syracuse) and making salt potatoes (served with a cup of melted butter), and baked beans. And I’m sure there will be a strawberry or cherry crumb pie (though I’m currently having a one-sided feud with Four & Twenty Blackbirds), or maybe a grilled slice of poundcake topped with macerated strawberries and mascarpone-whipped cream. But rest assured, while LAST CALL may be dark I will be writing, as my life is one big never-ending deadline.
Plus, I have to prepare for LAST CALL’s return on Tuesday, July 11 with a collector’s edition 1-Year Anniversary dispatch!
In the meantime, I wanted to share a special Saturday dispatch with some amaro-spiked ice cream drinks that should fit in (bitter)sweetly with any of your holiday plans.
Happy Birthday, Ed!
July first means rent is due, and it’s also the birthday of my dear friend, frequent collaborator and creative partner, the talented photographer and designer Ed Anderson. I’ve known and worked with Ed for 13 years (we’re old) and he’s been by my side (and on my sofa) with my books Bitters, Amaro, and Last Call (he sat out on Distillery Cats as it was illustrated), and we’re currently working on my fifth book (our fourth book together) with Drinking Italian (coming, G-d willing, October 2024). I love you, buddy. Happy Birthday!
I have over a decade of memories of working and hanging out with Ed and I think he would agree that some of our best times together are when we’re on the road on a photo shoot as that’s when we’re vulnerable and exhausted. It’s when we tend to laugh the most, usually as a relief from long hours, late nights, and unexpected complications. And as an added bonus, we’re typically encountering interesting, creative people and experiencing cool bars and restaurants alongside excellent food and drink.
In 2015, on the day after Thanksgiving, we both flew to Seattle to work on work on Amaro. Over several days we had a number of photo shoots lined up at bars and restaurants around town. But when it came time to tackle “The Bittersweet Kitchen” chapter of the book—which includes cookies, confections, and ice cream/gelato drinks made using amaro—my dear friends Amy and Crasta offered us their home kitchen to make and shoot these recipes while they were both at work.
Amy warned us that their cat, Rafaella Gabriella Sarsaparilla, would likely be a little upset with us being in the house without them at home. As you all know, I love cats, and had known Rafaella during my decade living in Seattle. But I had also been bitten, scratched, and frequently attacked by Rafaella over those years in her presence. I admit, I may have come on too strongly with her, chasing her or trying to pick her up, but she (bless her soul) was the kind of cat who would just walk up to you and aggressively bat her paw or hiss at you for no good reason. But of course, I still loved her.
But I don’t think Ed was prepared for her and as we unloaded our gear and grocery bags with the ingredients for the shoot she immediately started hissing and then took to rapidly cuffing Ed’s ankles while he was setting up shots with Ed hopping around muttering, “Ow… Ow… Stop… Ow…”
Seeing that we were spending a lot of time in and out of the refrigerator, the ever-savvy Rafaella set up base camp atop the freezer and any time either of us dared to open the door or even stand near the refrigerator we would be met with a battery of fiercely swift and startling swats to our head. We took to holding up a large serving dish as a shield in an attempt to fend off her attacks.
We were thankful when Amy and Crasta returned back home as they were able to distract Rafaella but they also came armed with pizzas from Pagliacci which we ate and finished with all the leftover ice cream and gelato. My thanks to Amy and Crasta, and even Rafaella, whose legend lives on, for hosting us.
I hope you enjoy these amaro-spiked shakes and floats this weekend, or anytime this summer, and never forget that we risked life and limb to get you these beautiful photos.
Pamela Wiznitzer, The Dead Rabbit | New York, New York (2014)