Yucca and Boogie Beans

Posted on July 6, 2010


Each year, my sister and I throw a Christmas bash at the house we used to share. The first year was a big success, with close to 70 people in our 1000 sq ft space. The second year I broke my ankle days before the party and spent the whole time sulking. The third year was pretty sedate, because we were forced to hold it on a Friday due to a friend’s untimely 40th birthday party…or maybe because we are old enough to have friends turning 40, and every party from here on out will inevitably grow gradually more sedate.

When my sister and I split households, I decided I needed a party of my own. My apartment is a sprawling two bedroom “English basement” (read:dive) in Mt. Pleasant and I adore everything about it. The walls I painted myself, the air-conditioning I irresponsibly set at Arctic levels, the freedom to call my damn landlord when something goes wrong instead of handling it myself…heaven. Perhaps the best feature is a private patio, so last year I threw myself a belated housewarming barbecue for the Fourth of July, and this year I decided to make it an annual tradition.

One thing my sister and I fight about when planning parties is food. I want more of it, and she wants less. I think if you wind up with about 50% more than you needed, you’ve hit it right on the head. She thinks running out just as the party winds down (I can barely type that sentence without a little agita) is ideal. We had plenty of food Sunday, and more importantly we had a repeat of last year’s signature cocktail: the yucca.

No, not the root. This drink is made possible by my brother from another mother K, a professional bartender and all-around excellent person to have at your party (he also makes the signature Christmas party cocktail, pomegranate sangria.) Yucca is magical, with the singular ability to take a perfectly nice party and transform it into a great party in 20 minutes. It’s definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Best served in the backyard on a really hot day with at least ten people to share the joy.

      • Ingredients
    • 1 gallon glass jar with lid (like the kind olives come in at bars–befriend your bartender today!)
      1 fifth of decent vodka
      1 cup sugar
      3 limes
      3 lemons
      1 beach towel

      In the jar, combine the booze, sugar, and cut-up citrus. Pack the jar as tightly as possible with ice. Wrap jar securely in a beach towel. The mixture must be hand-shaken for exactly 20 minutes, and everyone who will taste it must participate. At the end of 20 minutes, unleash your inner bohemian and pass the jar around, drinking straight from it. Finish within 20 minutes. Everyone will get quite buzzed for about a half-hour, just long enough to decide that they are all best friends and that this is the greatest party ever. Then the buzz magically fades, but the bonhomie remains.

      Bonus recipe: Boogie Beans

      These are named for an old family friend, though they have been generously adapted by me. Even people who purport to hate baked beans (like me) love them.

      2 26 oz can homestyle baked beans (I like Bush’s)
      1 smaller can homestyle baked beans (I think these are like 11.5 oz)
      I package sauerkraut (refrigerated kind is best, though Libby’s canned variety is also good and readily available)
      6 slices thick bacon, cubed (not too small)
      Blackstrap molasses
      Maple syrup
      Dijon mustard
      Cayenne pepper

      In a large stovetop pan, fry the cubed bacon until just crisp. Drain off all but 2-4 TBSP of the grease and reserve the bacon cubes. Add the 3 cans of beans and half the drained sauerkraut (reserve the rest for topping your hot dog or bratwurst.) Add 2-3 generous glugs of molasses (about 1/3 cup). Add 1/3 cup or so of good maple syrup. Add 4 TBSP dijon. Add 1 tsp cayenne (you can add more to taste later.) Cook on the stovetop low and slow for as long as possible, at least 2 hours. Add bacon just before serving. Probably don’t plan to sleep with someone new for a day or so, as sauerkraut and beans is an evil combination and you will undoubtedly overindulge.

  • Ingredients

Posted in: DC, Where I Come From