The Stuff of Life: Paul Feig Introducing The Rake's New Cocktail Column

You’ve raised a glass to him on YouTube, now read him in THE RAKE: introducing our new cocktail column from the Hollywood director and host-with-the-most Paul Feig. This month, Paul gets you summer-ready with a ‘Palace Water’, a British twist on a Texas favourite...

The Stuff of Life: Paul Feig Introducing The Rake's New Cocktail Column

Welcome to Cocktail Time!

Yes, thanks to Tom Chamberlin and the good folks at The Rake, I, Paul Feig, your favourite Drunk Funcle, have ill-advisedly been given my own regular column to discuss all things cocktails and the art of drinking. 

We all have strong opinions about what we drink and how we drink it, and I’m no different. I have some pretty immovable views about things you might not agree with — for instance, vodka-martinis are not real martinis, and gin and soda is way better than gin and tonic (please address your angry letters to Wei Koh at The Rake). But the one thing we can agree on is that a great cocktail in a great glass in a great setting with great friends is the very stuff of life. So pull up your bar cart, put on your best drinking outfit, and let’s get started. 

Illustration: Sapper.
It's 11 am and we just finished breakfast? Time for a Spritz! It's noon and lunch isn't ready yet? Mix me a Negroni!

Now that June has arrived in all its splendour, summer is upon us. While I’m not a sun person, and my definition of hell is sitting on a crowded beach in a bathing suit with my toes in the sand (I burn easily, don’t like my legs, and hate being barefoot... TMI), I love the fact that summer practically begs you to drink when you normally wouldn’t consider it during the other three seasons of the year. The combination of heat and vacation time is like a hall pass for your vices. It’s 11 am and we just finished breakfast? Time for a spritz! It’s noon and lunch isn’t ready for another hour? Mix me a negroni! We just finished lunch and are sitting around the pool? Someone get me a margarita! The French even refer to rosé wine as ‘summer water’, so why not summer cocktails? 

If you have been to Texas, you may have heard of Ranch Water, a delicious and refreshing concoction of tequila, fresh lime juice and Topo Chico, which is an ultra-carbonated and slightly salty soda water from Mexico. More complex and friendly than any kind of booze-plus-seltzer highball, a Ranch Water is a real crowd-pleaser of a summer cocktail because of its citrusy goodness. I, however, not being a huge fan of tequila (let’s just say there was an incident one night in my twenties that involved tequila shots, pints of beer and several cordial glasses of grappa, and leave it at that), decided to put my own spin on this Lone Star state staple by substituting tequila for gin and giving it a name as regal as its main distilled ingredient: Palace Water. I’ve also added an extra element, courtesy of my business partner Laura Allen Fischer, who is a Texas native from Houston. She taught me to add a bit of triple sec to Ranch Water as a bonding agent, which also helps to mellow out the tartness of the lime juice. I decided to ‘class up’ my Palace Water by using the spicier cognac-y goodness of Grand Marnier, though any orange liqueur, like Cointreau or curaçao, can work.  

Palace Water
  • 1 ½ ounces of gin (preferably a London dry like Artingstall’s, Sipsmith or Oxley)
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce Grand Marnier
  • Topo Chico or any other highly carbonated soda water
  • Put the gin, lime juice and Grand Marnier in an ice-filled highball glass. Fill the rest of the glass with soda water, stir, and sip the summer away. 

As for how to make it, the recipe is as easy as summer itself. It’s a cocktail that you make without a shaker or mixing glass. All you need is a highball glass, a mixing spoon, a jigger and a citrus squeezer. Since I also believe that cocktail making should be a fun celebration of life, I always pair my recipes with a song to play while mixing, so put on XTC’s Towers of London and get your Palace on!

When enjoyed responsibly, cocktails can make you feel good. And when you’re feeling good, you should want to pass that feeling on to others. Since this issue of The Rake is all about the Olympics, why not open your chequebook as you enjoy your Palace Water and write a tax-deductible donation to the Special Olympics, a highly-rated international organisation dedicated to promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion through sports between people with and without intellectual disabilities. This way you can booze it up and still feel great about yourself. Cheers!