“…The world can be a cruel place and we figure the best response is laughter. In the spirit of the Tough Luck Club, don’t take it too seriously and have some fun tonight. After all, things could always be worse….”.
With the 45th presidency in full swing, I think I speak for much of Tucson when I say, “I need a drink.” Luckily, I found solace in Tough Luck Club’s sixteen page, unputdownable, homage to “tough luck, heartbreak, and disaster.” Tough Luck Club released its 2nd Anniversary cocktail menu book this month, and just like everything Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink and the T.L.C. does, considerable time and effort went into making this bar bible. Inside you’ll find not one, not ten, not twenty, but twenty four phenomenal new recipes; everything from tried and true to, “why haven’t I thought of that before?”
My meager liquor cabinet had a go at some of the recipes (have I told you how much I love my job?) and tackled some of the Happy Hour drinks. There are twelve classic Happy Hour cocktail recipes in the book, including Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Moscow Mules, Palomas, Gimlets, and more. These Happy Hour cocktails are offered at Tough Luck Club for $5 (regularly $7) from 5:00-7:00pm and 12:00am-closing on Monday-Saturday and all day Sunday.
The reason I first walked into the T.L.C. was because I heard they had a bitchin’ Old Fashioned. I was not disappointed, so I decided this would be the first drink I should try to replicate. I fancy myself a drinker of things and not a maker of them, but I found this incredibly easy to make, and the perfect way to start my at-home mixology course. Next, I moved on to the Gold Rush (bourbon, lemon juice, honey) which was also very easy to make and is now my new favorite drink. The most fitting way I can describe this drink is as a cold hot toddy; it’s absolutely wonderful. With a Gold Rush in hand I marched forward and proceeded to make a Manhattan and a Martini – both of which were exactly what they should be.
The cocktail book is an insight into the lives of the mixologists at T.L.C. and is a clever tribute to the flavor and intensity of life-changing events beyond our control. For example, in the “Stirred” section of the book, the cocktail 2 Years, 4 Divorces was created by four of T.L.C. bartenders, all of whom went through divorces in the past two years. This cocktail is dedicated to the heartache they each experienced; surprisingly it doesn’t come on the rocks. Get it? Okay, I’m putting the Gold Rush down. The “Dead to us But Not Forgotten” cocktail section features signature creations from three former T.L.C. bartenders who have gone on to other jobs.
The menu boasts a well-stocked selection of wines and spirits (you can find an impressive selection of beer upstairs in The Beer Garden) with special mention given to the private label barrel of cask strength Whiskey del Bac Dorado, exclusively bottled by Hamilton Distributors and recommended on the rocks, in a classic Old Fashioned, or in a Manhattan for $12.
You haven’t seen a cocktail menu like this before.