Drink Off

January 30th, 2007

Three glasses, a pile of pickles, and two friends, recently convinced me that my birthday party should be all vodka and pickles. Reading Absurdistan might have helped in that as well.

Before that though, I’ve gone on a mixing spree. This lead to another look around the cocktail blog scene, which took me back to Slakethirst by way of Brilliant Cocktails. You might also want to check out A Dash of Bitters

Brilliant Cocktails is a nice little site that has a video podcast feed of the cocktails being made, which is nice. That said, I don’t always go for the same stuff that the host, Chris Doig does.

He seems to be a professional bar tender at some place that actually cares. So the ways in which drinks differed from how I mixed them always had a reason, sometimes the simple fact that he can get better booze than I can. In some ways it’s just refreshing to watch a guy mix a drink and clearly know what he’s doing and care about the tradition. Sometimes I order a gimlet, just to gauge the bartender. A martini is going to lead to all sorts of trouble, a gimlet is so simple I usually figure it for a good, if sugary, baseline. At least I did, until a guy put hazelnuts in one. Two little brown nuts in a lime green concoction filled with ice. I’m never going back to that bar.

Anyhow, watching the podcasts was a nice diversion, and I learned a few cool sounding variants on what I’d been doing. Thank you Mr. Doig.

Slakethirst also recently mentioned a drink called the Lucien Gaudin. It was a piss pour night at work (Redefined it as a matter of fact. I can now die, having heard a woman call upon the power of Jesus to fix her son’s Xbox. It wasn’t broken.) and so I mixed myself up one of these. It did not disappoint.

Wild Sheep Chase

December 10th, 2006

A while ago I read A Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami. I kept talking about it until Mark asked me to let him borrow it. He liked it too. The other day we came up with a drink we were both quite happy with, and we decided to name it A Wild Sheep Chase. While it’s served cold, I do think think it’s a nice winter drink. Here’s how we made it.

A Wild Sheep Chase
2 1/4 oz dark or medium rum
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes lemon bitters (we had Fees)
1 dash aromatic bitters (again, Fees)

I’m thinking of making it two dashes of the aromatic, but that’s because I love aromatic bitters, and on some level I want to add them to every drink I make.



November 26th, 2006

Thanksgiving came and went in a long drawn out night of wine and turkey. It was a good time, though the girlfriend was in Iowa. In the two days since, I’ve felt, not entirely hungover, but as if my body wasn’t good at putting itself together anymore. No headache, though there was that stupid feeling you get when you drank a lot, the one where you just know you’re about two steps behind where you normally would be. Muscles have been knotting up though, in weird ways. Yesterday my left side had that tingly pinched nerve feeling that starts around your collar bone and seems to radiate out, all the way to your eye. Today I had more or less the same feeling on my right side. It’s a little uncomfortable bringing my arm up to the height of my computer. I think I must have slept on one side wrong, and then slept wrong on the other side the next night to compensate.

I finished reading Hermit in Paris today. It’s a collection of Calvino interviews and musings. He never got around to writing an autobiography, and this was put out by his wife as a stand in. I think it could have been shorter, indeed should have been shorter. About half of it was worth reading, with the other half either being repetitious, or tedious. She says in the introduction that it is not meant as literature, but as a way for the average reader to get closer to Calvino. Even if it’s not literature, he would have been better served by not printing everything he’d written about his trip to America. It’s pretty clear that large portions of the book were not meant to be read by others, and some of it might not have even been used for an autobiography had Calvino gotten around to it. Near the end is some nice material, and a few things scattered here and there, but overall it was dissatisfying, thought I don’t entirely know what would have satisfied me.

Replacing it among the books I am reading, is Norwegian Wood, by Murakami. Reading the opening of the book created in my a weird mangled memory. I recall my friend Brad, who speaks and reads Japanese, reading it on a plane, but I am pretty sure that we were never on a plane when he was talking about the book with me. The book, however, starts on a plane, with the main character wearily flying into Germany. Given that the novel, at least as far into it as I have gotten, deals with how memories are fleeting and unreliable, I thought that this was an appropriate opening to my reading experience.

Drinking, R.A.F.

November 21st, 2006

A few days ago Mark and I went to Surdyks, where I picked up a bunch of different bitters. I also put together a homemade grenadine, the cold process over at Cocktail Chronicles. I wanted to find something that used both the orange bitters I had picked up, and the grenadine. I found the R.A.F. cocktail.

2 parts gin (I used Tanqueray this time)
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part dry vermouth
dash of grenadine
dash of orange bitters

It was good. I had worried that it would be too much vermouth for a single drink, as I generally don’t like much vermouth at all. I was amazed by how much it blended. The sweet vermouth peaked out a little too much at the end, but that was probably due to it being the first time I’d mixed it.

I’m starting a big writing push tonight, so there will probably be more posted, as I take breaks from the fiction from time to time. I’ve had a few things I’d been meaning to post about.

Tazer Me Badd, Bitter

November 18th, 2006

Well, thank God I’m not in college any more, I don’t know that my heard could handle all those tazerings, and the threats of tazerings. I have a fragile constitution. I mean, I know they’re for my safety, but after my doctor ordered three martini lunches, I just don’t know how my system would respond. The saddest thing is that this story is the second time I’ve found myself ACTUALLY THINKING that L.A. would be better off with vigilante justice. Here’s an article on it from people closer to the source. I’m not going to link the video from YouTube, as it makes me sick to watch. No one I am related to will ever go to UCLA, or maybe even vacation in L.A., if I can help it.

It was a nasty looking day outside. I went and bought four kinds of bitters from the liquor store. I had intended to buy six or more, but they didn’t have all the brands that I wanted to try. It’s sad when you don’t have all the bitters you want for winter.

Mark went with me, and he bought some lillet. When we both got home we mixed drinks, 20th Century coctail, Sazerac, and Manhattans. It was good, except for the drink I mixed with amaretto. I don’t know why I bought that. It really did seem like a good thing to get. Then I wasted scotch mixing it into this horrible drink called a godfather. Mark poured it down the sink when I wasn’t looking. That man saved my life.

I also went to see Stranger Than Fiction, which was pretty good. It didn’t change my life, but I did enjoy it. I was a little intoxicated while I was watching it, see the previous paragraphs, and there were a couple of moments where I had ideas for things of my own to write, but alcohol swept them away in the great mass of other thoughts, that probably weren’t worth writing in the first place. I was frustrated for a moment when I was walking out of the theater. That was followed by me remembering how many of my ideas I did remember had not been fully written yet.

I did at one point lean in and chat with a friend of mine who’s at the University of MN for creative writing. We agreed that the movie made writers and publishers look hunormously more wealthy than was realistic. I wish I lived in a huge apartment with wood flooring and modern furniture. No, wait, I like my apartment. It’s cozy.



April 30th, 2006

Mark found Fee Brothers Bitters on the last trip to the liquor store. We got a couple of bottles, specifically peach and mint. I’ve put some into soda water. The end result is delicious. More important thought is the delightful shade of green that the mind bitters turned the beverage. It almost glows in the light of the lamp.

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