Served with a Twist

words and photos by Meagan Condon

Just as there is art and science in spinning yarn, there is art and science in the mixing of cocktails. My husband and long-time partner Steve has always had a passion for mixology and got his bartending certificate in 2015. It goes back to his roots in chemistry. “I find it frustrating that people separate taste from knowledge and science,” he told me. “I see it as a craft and I treat it as such. That’s what I find rewarding.” 

I swear I had absolutely no ulterior motives when I signed Steve up for bartending school – I didn’t just do it so I could have a live-in bartender to hand deliver Aperol Spritzes and Rob Roys to me at my spinning wheel. Pure intentions, I promise! What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was along for the ride and I learned that my own passion for material sciences would find me perusing his class notes and practicing pours. It was a natural progression for me to start pairing drinks with fiber arts.

Here is a list of classic cocktails and the best fibers to serve with them! For those who don’t drink, there are nonalcoholic alternatives for most of the cocktails listed below. Either way, you may find you need a cupholder accessory for your wheel going forward.

FiberFiber qualitiesCocktail qualitiesCocktail
Medium to fine woolsreliable go-to, 90% of what is in your stash right nowas classic as a cocktail gets, smooth, rich, boozyOld Fashioned  
Dual-coated woolstwo or more fibers with different qualities, usually a longer hair fiber and a shorter undercoatbright, citrus flavor with distinct layering, sweet and acidicTequila Sunrise
Down woolslofty and resists feltingfizzy, citrus with a spicy biteMoscow Mule  
Silksmooth, lustrous, drapey fiber that brings strength with its long staplecreamy, anise-flavored shot, goes down smoothSlippery Nipple
Angoraluxurious, warm, with a fuzzy halolight, refreshing, sweet, acidic, and smoothFuzzy Navel
Cashmere, yak, or qiviutultra fine, short staple, very warmwarm, spicy, soothingHot Toddy
Flax, hemp, and other bast fibersstrong, very long staple, softens with uselong, strong, a hot mess of a drink, but beloved by manyLong Island Iced Tea
Cottonshort staple, wicks moisture, breathablea shot with distinct layering, looks good, goes down easyB-52
Alpaca, llama, or camelfine, warm, drapeysweet, spicy, warmMulled Wine
Mohairlong, lustrous, strong, resilientboozy, beautiful, strong, James Bond’s drink of choiceVesper
Dog or catsoft, warm, off the beaten pathrefreshing, acidic, sweet, mintyMojito
Angelina, Firestarall things glitterybubbly, refreshing, elegantMimosa  

If all of these manage to miss the mark and you’re still looking for the perfect drink to put next to your wheel, I’ve got a custom cocktail that might just do the trick; try the Niddy Noddy! My personal bartender – I mean husband – approves! This variation on a classic fizz combines the malty flavor of scotch whiskey with citrus and herbal undertones for a mellow aperitif with a touch of foam. It pairs well with salty snacks like cheese, pretzels, or nuts. If a niddy noddy doesn’t sound like something that will make you tipsy, I don’t know what does!

Niddy Noddy

2 oz scotch whiskey

1 oz lime juice

¾ oz simple syrup

sprig of fresh thyme

1 egg white

club soda

citrus peel to garnish

In a shaker, muddle lime juice, simple syrup, and thyme. Add 3–4 ice cubes, scotch, and egg white. Shake vigorously for 45 seconds. Double-strain into a chilled tumbler glass and top with club soda. Citrus twist to garnish.

Note: Don’t try to substitute dried thyme in this cocktail. Not only is it not potent enough to transmit the flavor, but there is nothing sexy about bits of herbs stuck between your teeth. 

Egg whites are a traditional method to add a frothy texture and foam to cocktails. For those who fear raw egg whites, have an egg allergy, or are vegan, try substituting aquafaba (chickpea juice) for the egg white. You can also find information about egg safety in cocktails at CocktailSafe.

If you do imbibe, do so responsibly, friends. There’s only one wheel you should get behind while drinking and that’s your spinning wheel! Never drink and drive, but feel free to drink and draft all you want!

What cocktail did we miss that you think belongs on this list?


Bio

Meagan Condon is a librarian and fiber artist. With more than a decade of spinning experience and a focus on digital connection, she teaches spinning in person and online and live streams to a diverse community of spinners. You can follow her at luthvarian.com.

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