Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mixology Monday - In Which No One Is Informed Of Anything

Well December seems to have arrived and ended itself with only a slight rumbling from Reasonable Industries. Have I been dead? Or merely busy? Were the previous months of faithful updating a trick to get you to add yet another amateurish blog to a Feedly list already swollen with abandoned premises? Fear not, despite my external silence like a dormant volcano my fearsome brain has been relentlessly churning beneath the surface, waiting to unleash potent liquids on the unsuspecting Pompeiians of the cocktail world. "'Tis man's lot to wait, and the just man's to wait with trust, the unjust man's with fear".

The Mixology Monday theme, hosted by drinkstraightup.com , was Anise. Based on my experience trying to sell ouzo at the distillery, anise seems to be a Love It Or Hate It spice. I am considerably ambivalent about it, I don't loathe it but I am rarely excited by it (in liquor).  I find its numbing flavor often insipid and domineering, the office boor shouting down its fellows. However, one of my absolute favorite drinks to have in the bathtub is the Absinthe Frappe, which is very cold sweetened absinthe.

 ...I'll be honest, for a long while inspiration failed to strike. I made a shrine to anise on the bar, anisettes huddled with absinthes, Aviation Gin looming over Peychauds, the 4 bottle gift pack of Raki samples in a jumbled pile. I prostrated myself before them, chewing anise seeds and waiting to receive some holy wisdom. Nothing. I used the coffee pot to make Star Anise hydrosol. I made Pernod sugar cubes. I consulted Maude Grieve (did you know aniseed is poisonous to pigeons?!). No fundamental truth about Anise revealed itself. 

Then salvation arrived, as it so often does, in a box of cookies sent by my Nana. Pizzelle (which I had to look up to spell despite having eaten them for 28 years) are anise flavored cookies which my Nana makes by the gross every year. I always called them waffle cookies and eat them two at a time with a thick slice of ice cream in the middle (usually the vanilla carved out of a Neapolitan package).  Once they arrived, all the pieces quickly tumbled into place, an excellent-yet-totally unreproducible drink sprang forth into the world, and I can return to my dormancy, Scotch & Yogurt in hand.

Beet, Anise, and Orange are a Flavor Bible approved taste combination which, although most often combined in a salad, work well in liquid form. Making beet juice is an option for getting beet into drinks, but I Don't have a decent juicer and Do always have Beet Port (sweet, fortified beet wine), Beet Bitters, or Beet Wine laying around some where. 

'Technically A Success'

2.5 oz Beet Wine (~12% abv slightly sweet, with strong beet aroma and raisiny body)
.75 oz Royal Combier (or other Orange Liqueur)
1 Whole Egg (Fresh)
Crumbs from Broken Pizzelle which your Nana shipped across the entire country
Pour together the Beet Wine & Combier in tin, add cookie crumbs and muddle thoroughly until totally dissolved. Add Whole Egg and ice, shake and strain through fine wire mesh.

This drink requires a few ingredients that might be hard to source, namely my Nana's cookies and my homemade Beet Wine. I was going to write up a detailed description of how to make Beet Wine, but the odds of anyone anywhere in any dimension ever caring seemed so low that I didn't bother. You can certainly make your own cookies and Beet Wine. Will you? No. So let's not pretend. As a consolation, here is a Holiday Greeting from my cat BORIS.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Surfeit of Confidence, A Poverty Of Taste

At the distillery tasting room, I occasionally receive unsolicited cocktail suggestions. These I greet with sentiment ranging from gentle pity to outraged disgust. The customers' ideas are typically like a Pottery Barn catalog, something that comes to me undesired but with a frequency that makes me feel I must have through behavior or mere existence somehow requested it. Sure, I will flip through the Pottery Barn catalog if my bowels are suddenly stricken or I need to pass three minutes until Jeopardy starts, but my expectations for revelation are low. Similarly, I will listen to your terrible idea if there is still a possibility I can wring some money out of you. Some, like "my awesome Sazerac recipe" (Pottery Barn Equivalent - a cut-glass monogrammed decanter) don't harm me too much. Others, like the man who upon tasting a Pear Eau-De-Vie suggested that although he didn't enjoy it or brandy in general, thought it would work great in a cocktail he makes composed of Orange Juice, Galliano, Creme de Cacao, Creme de Menthe, and Heavy Cream. I'm not sure how the Pear Brandy was going to work into it, my attention had faded from him, and sped towards the nightmare scenarios in which such a drink might be inflicted upon me. His Pottery Barn drink equivalent is a $40 decorative throw pillow which says "Jingle".

I bring this up because I'm quite aware that someone reading the various entries on this blog might think that I need help with cocktails, desperate, bold lettered HELP. They are wrong. I am perfectly capable of creating delicious cocktails, I simply chose not to for reasons that are difficult to elucidate. However, unlike claims such as "I could've totally played in the NFL, man, I just didn't want to" I am able to back this one.

Letherbee Gin Elixir Combier Cherry Wishniak Fizz
Genius Presented Flippantly
3/4 oz Strained Lime Juice
3/4 oz Letherbee Gin
3/4 oz Elicser Combier
3/4 oz Maraska Wishniak Cherry Liqueur

(If serving as a Fizz)
1 Eggwhite

Combine all ingredients (except Soda...) If using egg white, dry shake first, then shake with ice and strain.Top with soda if desired.

The astute might recognize this as a variant on The Last Word. It works both as an up drink, as well as a Fizz depending on what time of day your liver thinks it is. In the above picture, I elegantly removed my breakfast from the background and replaced it with a vivid representation of Inspiration Striking. Elicser Combier (possibly Elixir...) shares some character with Chartreuse, not as floral (or delicious) with stronger warm, Christmas baking spice notes. Wishniak is a Croatian cherry liqueur along the lines of Cherry Heering, but a bit stronger and less cough syrup like and about half the price. I tried several gins here, and Letherbee Gin from Chicago was the best fit with the Elicser Combier (available at Binny's).  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In Which Suffering Is Touted As Pancea to Modern Ills

I often hear a lot of horseshit from people about being a misanthrope. I think they just misunderstand the dreamy glint in my eye when Deathpanels are mentioned. Also, I am frequently quoted to have said that I can't stand music which "features the sound of the human voice". Fine. While I'm not, as far as I know, in the running for next Ghandi, I'm not an inveterate hater of man. I think that people, deep at their core, probably have some worth of some kind or another. If pressed I'd say that were you to gather a group of fifty people at random, at least a handful of them leave the world in a maybe not better but perhaps not dramatically worse position for not being dead.

I am constantly radiating such magnanimity about the fundamental goodness of the human spirit, so I feel it's slightly unfair to label me a misanthrope. I AM, however, a strong advocate for Suffering. It seems obvious to me that one cannot achieve any meaningful measure of happiness without also experiencing a bracing dose of suffering to provide a frame of reference. How can you enjoy the warmth of the hearth without the chill of the elements? Or appreciate a finely made Negroni if you've never had one made with everclear and lingonberry syrup?

But how to make people embrace suffering? I've found the best way is to trick them into suffering against their will.
People Person
10 oz Carl Jeppson's Malort Liqueur (chilled)
12 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
2 oz Yuzu Simple Syrup*
2 packets Knox's Unflavored Gelatin
3-4 Grapefruits

Begin by taking a moment to consider how much of your morning you are willing to waste on a dumb gag that no one will really think is funny. In a rousing show of spirit, decide that you will spend all goddamn day if that is what it takes.

Put Malort in freezer. Halve the grapefruits. There was definitely a good way and a bad way to halve them, but I forget which was which. Scrape out the pulp, strain the juice out, and remove as much pith without piercing the outer peel. Heat up the juice and simple syrup, add the gelatin and stir to dissolve it. Remove from heat, add the malort and pour into the grapefruit halves. Put in the fridge for a long time, then cut up. Whammo!Feel good knowing that you will help people appreciate their next jello shot a lot more.

*There are two basic approaches to make Yuzu Simple Syrup -
1. Cut 3 or 4 Yuzu into sections, removing the pulp and seeds. Press the peel sections flat and using a very sharp knife, slice off as much of the white pith as possible. Mix 500 ml water with 500 gram sugar and heat in a sauce pan til melted. Add the trimmed yuzu peels and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Strain out peels and put on wax paper, allow to dry over night and you'll have candied yuzu peels for a fancy garnish. Allow syrup to cool before sealing, and keep perfumed syrup in fridge. This makes approx 750 ml syrup, but it's useful in Gin drinks which I know you like.
2. Don't bother, just make regular simple syrup with equal parts sugar and water. These are Malort Jello shots you're making, your not the next Jerry Thomas and no body cares if you used fancy sugar water...
If you aren't familiar with Jeppson's Malort, it is a wormwood flavored spirit that only exists in Chicago. It tastes like a grapefruit that a car peeled out on top of. It's sort of famous. Just google it so I don't have to insult your intelligence by rehashing things thousands of people have already written about.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Visions Of A Crimson Beyond

Though it's a sunny Friday afternoon, I unfortunately have some grim news to share. Several days ago while attempting to blog (read as - drinking in the basement at 10 am), I spilled a glass of Campari on the mouse. The mouse initially appeared to have survived, the red Intellimouse lights flickering on and off sporadically, like a trauma-shattered war vet. Upon clicking though, a thick ichor spurt from underneath the Right Mouse Button (RMB) and pointing functions ceased,  rendering further writing impossible.  Whatever enlightened discourse I was preparing was washed away utterly in a sticky, red tide; the same cruel God who deprived me of both a glass of Campari and my 5-year old Intellimouse has deprived you of ever reading those things.

Below, a pictorial rendering of the last moments of my Intellimouse.

Here's to You, Intellimouse. Maybe your scrollwheel is finally crumb-free in Heaven.

whisky, scotch, intellimouse, burial
Playing Minesweeper For All Eternity

1 oz cask strength Scotch
Sprinkle grated Nutmeg
1 Intellimouse, claimed before its time

Dig one small grave, sized for a trusted companion. Pour scotch, top with grated nutmeg, and set ablaze, and endure a moment of silence. Think about happier times, gleefully closing pop-up ads, endlessly scrolling excel documents. Know that Death hunts us all.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Vaulting onto the the World's Stage

As much as I enjoy toiling in near obscurity, I've decided that if I am ever going to get the free liquor samples I so desperately crave I need to up Reasonable Industries visibility in the Cocktail & Liquor blogging world. So behold, my entry for Mixology Monday . Ideally this will launch me to the twitter feeds of the world's Brand Ambassadors and Social Media Consultants, and the deluge of samples will begin (charity beings at home, Kelly @ http://housespirits.com/).

This session, hosted by the fine folks at Booze Nerds, is themed around Resin. At the announcement I'm sure the Washington participants began eagerly scraping their bongs into shaker glasses while the native Oregonians visited the ceremonial Doug Fir each had planted upon birth. I, like most midwesterners, turned to the Bible.

Myrrh, which for me ranks below Gold but way above Frankincense, is a dried tree resin with a role in traditional medicine as a "tonic in dyspepsia[...], a stimulant to the mucous tissues". Tom's uses it in their ineffective toothpastes, and that bastion of cocktail ideas the Archaeological Institute of America suggests that it can be used as effective painkiller. In liquor, it is most famous as an ingredient in Fernet Branca and was historically mingled with wine to a vermouth like effect.

It dissolves quite readily in alcohol, adding a mysteriously oriental aroma and pleasant bitterness. Based on what ol Maude Grieve had to say, I found 1 gram mixed into 8 oz of wine seemed to be an adequate amount, but I am not a doctor and if you mix things that you don't know anything about with alcohol and then die it is your fault. A sort of zippy pinot gris worked well, or more accurately, was already open in the refrigerator and my girlfriend said it was okay if I used it for some stupid project.

The myrrh wine was paired up with New Deal Distillery's juniper-laden Gin #1, which fits the resin theme. Skinos Mastiha Liqueur rounds it out and adds a bit of sweetness. The principle flavoring in Skinos is mastic gum, another aromatic shrub resin which I would write more about but really how much can anyone read about this stuff in one sitting...The cocktail is along the lines of a martini in subtlety, without much for sweet or sour components which makes it a great apertif. A lesser man might have called it a 'Myrrh-tini', but I still have some modicum of dignity and self-respect.

The Cup Which Jesus Refused

1.5 oz Myrrh infused wine
.75 oz New Deal Gin #1
.75 oz Skinos Mastiha Liqueur
Soda water

Combine in shaker with ice, stir to lightly chill. Strain into glass and top with soda water.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In Which The Bounty of Asia is Alternatively Rejoiced and Reviled

The interminable grey slog of post-Summer has finally arrived in Portland, which apparently triggers depression in some percentage of Portlanders who are not already chronically depressed. I look forward to this time of year, because the whole of outdoors converts to the cool, dank, basement-like environment I prefer. However, there are still lots of things to be powerfully depressed about, like the pathetic state of America and also this really shitty burrito I had at The Original Taco House on Powell's which totally sucked. $11 for a Burrito? FUCK YOU. Margarett paid for it, but it still affected me emotionally.

Anyways, whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth and involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. For me, you can't get any closer to the sea than Fu-bonn Asian Supermarket. Much like The Ocean, Fu-bonn is replete with dark mysteries both enticing and terrifying (Bull Pizzle for $1.49/lb). Also, both smell like rotting fish guts. In the same way rich liberal parents recommend a semester abroad, I think Fu-bonn is a great reminder that the world is a giant place, full of things you don't understand. A trip to Fu-bonn allows you to experience every human emotion, from childish snickering (Fu-bonn's next door BBQ restaurant is called SokOngDong...), to wide-eyed wonder (how many people need a sack of 60 duck hearts), to stark existential terror (those 60 duck hearts came from 60 ducks!!!).

On a recent trip, I purchased the cleaver in the background. I found it in a pile of 30 or 40 unwrapped cleavers, which someone had obviously poured out of a box onto a shelf. It weighs 1.5lbs and has no practical purpose for me and I had never wanted a kitchen item more. It had no price tag (because it was in a pile of unwrapped cleavers), so after the check-out clerk squinted at me for 30 seconds I suggested that it was $12, and now I have a giant cleaver. If only everything in Life was that easy.

The beverage section of Fu-Bonn is always an education. For the unfamiliar, 'Bird's Nest' is the euphemistic term for the salivary excretions of the Chinese swiftlet. White Fungus is some kind of jelly mushroom, which the wonderful people at Wonderfarm added to enhance the sensation that you are gagging down congealed mucus. It glugs out of the can as a viscous syrup, rich with mystery and also weird floating bits. The nose is a treacly sweet, unplaceable vanilla something or other. A closer inspection revealed the drink also contains the alarmingly named 'thickener 466', 'synthetic flavor', and 'synthetic sweeter 950'. Alarming to think that while American food scientists are struggling away with their 'natural flavors', the Vietnamese have cracked it, going straight to the source and manufacturing pure Flavor AND Sweetness. Also, based on how this tastes I shudder to imagine tasting synthetic sweeter 1 through 949.

Anyways, after a sip of this I desperately needed a drink, and also I had a whole open can of this.
Mystery At The Expense Of Health

1.5 oz Gin
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Wonderfarm White Fungus Bird's Nest Drink

Shake all ingredients over ice. Serve to an unsuspecting girlfriend, then when she says 'ooooh, what is this?' cackle maniacally and produce the can of Wonderfarm White Fungus Bird's Nest Drink. Call her a philistine when she won't drink it and makes a martini instead. Moodily chop up a parsnip with your new cleaver while feeling unappreciated.

I additionally got a can of Foco's Aloe Vera Drink in the 'Muscat Flavor'. Despite the less esoteric ingredients, this was also a cloyingly sweet drink with viscous gobs floating in it. I liked it marginally more for the grape flavor, and marginally less because it didn't have any bird saliva in it.

This was supposed to be the same as above to highlight the difference in flavor between aloe vera and bird's nest, and the difference in gelatiniinity between white fungus and muscat grape, but I added an egg to this one because I was headed out the door right after and had skipped breakfast. I added soda also because it was distressingly thick.

More Viscosity Than I Required

1 Whole Egg (fresh)
1/2 Lemon
1.5 oz Gin
2 oz Foco Aloe Vera Drink Muscat Flavour

Soda Water to Fill

Take all ingredients and make into cocktail of some kind. Live Free Or Don't.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Return To The Original Premise

Well the Government is back in action, and so am I. Having recently returned from 'The Windy City' (some kind of flatulence thing?), I am slowly piecing back together the shattered aspects of my body and mind. The Chicago diet seems to be, as MM Piere DuPlais would say, "very defective, and can only result in a product of very bad taste, and is highly injurious to the animal economy". This is epitomized by The Slinger, a pile of steaming garbage designed to absorb/slow the rushing tide of the vat of fizzing garbage downed as a precursor. A mound of hash browns, eggs, hamburger patties, cheese and chili, buttressed by two pieces of toast, The Slinger is virtually unchanged in appearance after struggling through the human body.

Slinger, chciago, Diner Grill, Hamburger Lagoon, carb slurry

Being on the West Coast for 5-years has altered the function of my viscera, to the point that I need an array of live-culture yogurt and organic kale sweat to proceed. Without providing unseemly graphic detail, my digestion typically functions analogous to this. After a long weekend in Chicago, it's more like this.

To resolve my gastro situation, I naturally turn to the liquor cabinet. Wormwood-based apertifs and digestives have long been a cure to the Italian cuisine, but in such a dire situation I wasn't sure what the optimal one would be. Wormwood-based aperitifs and digestives are also typically peelingly bitter. The cocktail below was inspired by The New Yorkers description of the government shutdown as a "peerless episode of cynical self-immolation, ideological piety, and brinkmanship".

malort, fernet, pelinkovac, saint maria amaro, chicago makes me want to die
One Man's Struggles
1 Part Jeppson's Malört
1 Part Fernet-Vallet
1 Part Pelinkoav
1 Part S. Maria al Monte Amaro
1 Part Letherbee Malört

Waste a lot of time measuring the density of all spirits, with the goal of making a hilarious pousse-cafe. Pour them in the wrong order so that they mix together into an ominous black vial. Enjoy unironically, or not.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Importance of Failure - Why Do Handsome Geniuses That Everyone Likes Continue To Fail?

Excuse the title of this entry, I'm trying to get it picked up by The Atlantic.

In the past few weeks this blog has featured a dazzling array of beautiful, delicious cocktails, each one bursting with creativity and daring. How can one mere man (granted, one who is looking down at mankind from the peak of human perfection) be responsible for such a cornucopia? By possessing a strong tolerance for failure, combined with an unflappable zest in the face of horrible poisons and buoyed by a tireless, fearless liver.

While the sublime refinement of the cocktails on display might suggest that, like Athena, each concoction sprang forth from my blazing mind fully grown and well-armed, in reality many are born like side-breaching preemies, slowly and painfully, with great risk to the inventor. Below is one such disaster, which I dutiful choked down and am sharing with you to emphasize the hazards I endure in pursuit of wisdom and innovation.

I've been generally aware of the 'Bullshot' since college, when I found it in a drink recipe book I'd purchased at the Friends Of The Library bookstore for $.25. A combination of Vodka and Beef Bullion, much like WinCarnis (aka Jamican Meat Wine) I've enjoyed knowing it existed but never tried it. For the unaware, the esteemed cocktail historian David Wondrich has a nice run-down on the 'Bullshot'.

For whatever reason, after 8 years of quietly incubating, last Thursday it occurred to me that I MUST try a 'Bullshot'. I thought about it all day at work, envisioning how it's savory mix of alcohol and essential meat-based micro-nutrients would make my sinews twang with vigor and heart pump firmly once again. I imagined a flight of ethnic broths, Dashi with Shochu, Rosół with Zubrowka. After biking home in the rain, I was wet, tired, weak, ready for a restorative 'Bullshot' and to embark upon a new phase of my life replete with broth-based cocktails.

When I started to scourge up the ingredients, it turned out we were missing Vodka, Beef Bullion, and Tabasco. A lesser-man would have been deterred by the near total lack of essential components but like Shackleton I valiantly pressed on.
Substituting chicken bullion for Beef, Harissa for Tabasco, Baiju for Vodka, at somepoint in this wheeling-and-dealing the endeavor went awry. Served steaming hot, it tasted like alcoholic Pho, but significantly less good than that sounds. I would detail more what it tasted like, but no one will ever attempt to recreate it so I would prefer to be the sole holder of that knowledge.    

bullshot chicken broth beef broth vodka baiju harrisa terrible cocktail poison
'Tyler's Alcoholic Chicken'
4 oz Reconstituted Chicken Bullion
1 tsp Harrisa
1.5 oz Baiju
Shichimi Togarashi

Mix everything together, top with sprinkle of Shichimi Togarashi. When Margarett gets home ask her what Harrisa is. Hate this cocktail and the world that led you to create it.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

In Which The Egg Comes First

Bleak times in America lately.  Just the other day a girl at work interrupted the all-time rock classic 'Radar Love' IN THE MIDDLE OF RADAR LOVE to put on the same fucking Bey once album the world has been inflicting on me for the last decade. Some people might have responded by curtly snubbing her for the rest of eternity, but I spent the next hour drafting a set of guidelines for the Death Panels I will implement when I seize the reigns of our abandoned government. Also, google thinks Bey once is two words, which is fine with me. Someone once made me watch that Single Ladies video and was aghast that I couldn't appreciate how awesome all their dancing was. Needless to say, They Will Sit Before The Panel. And receive the Judgement that our absent God has failed to bestow.

Anyway, I'm going to talk about egg-based cocktails today.

A recent issue of Bon Appetit discussed how to properly employ egg whites in cocktails, ignorantly snarking
'Eggs are a breakfast staple [...] But you probably haven't been adding them to your cocktails. Well, you should.'
WRONG AGAIN BON APPETIT. At Reasonable Industries we've been sucking down raw egg cocktails for years, to the horror of our girlfriend, house guests, and anyone I/We can pigeon-hole at a party. Additionally, egg-rich cocktails have been my key to maintaining a healthy body weight. Just last night Margarett said I had the physique of a scary 45-year old ditchdigger who might stab you at a bar. This is a significant upgrade from the physique of the world's tallest Ethiopian child. I owe it all to egg-based cocktails. And also quesadillas, grilled cheeses, and pb mix-ups (as much peanut butter as fits in a large ramekin plus honey, jam, or ice cream).

Bon Appetit only covered the usage of egg whites in cocktails, but the egg is quite versatile in its effects. They are critical in a variety of old-timey drinks like sours, flips, fizzes, nogs, and boxing training montages. For people concerned about consuming raw eggs, you are either physically or mentally weak and your weakness is preventing you from living a full life.

Now, a trio of Breakfast drinks.

For Lift

Egg whites are used in fizzes and sours to add a stable foam and an airy lightness to drinks, a combination that works wonderfully with citrusy cocktails. You need to shake intensely to achieve this, much like you are creating a meringue. A dry-shake, where ice hasn't been added is almost essential. Adding the spring off a Hawthorne strainer also helps speed along the process. About a minute of shaking is close to the minimum needed. An immersion blender can help until you're fortified enough with raw eggs to handle it yourself. After a good froth has been achieved, add ice and shake again to chill and dilute. Below is my preferred breakfast cocktail from the Savoy Cocktail Book if I've got a few minutes to spare.
egg whites fizz scotch absinthe boris is an awesome cat deadly arrows cool table runner bro

'Morning Glory Fizz'

2 oz Scotch Whisky
Juice of 1/2 Lemon or Lime
1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 Dashes Absinthe
1 Egg White
Soda Water

Follow shaking procedure outlined above, strain into tall glass with ice and mix with soda water

For Body

Egg whites have little flavor on their own, and can be slipped into people's cocktails without their knowledge (look out party guests!). Whole eggs on the other hand are difficult to miss. They have a thickening effect, adding a silky body and a heavier mouthfeel to drinks. Flips are the simplest whole egg drinks, typically being Spirit + Whole Egg + Sugar, while the more popular Noggs include milk or cream of some variety. Ale Flip is a different beast, closer to an 18th Century Knife Hit and will be covered at a future date. The creaminess of these drinks gives them a warming, nourishing quality. Another breakfast classic from the Savoy:

Savoy cocktail egg nogg flip whole egg brandy milk Wodehouse For Breakfast

'Breakfast Egg Nogg'

4 oz Fresh Milk
(in the old tymey days you apparently had to specify 'Fresh' milk, which is something to really think about the next time you're at the grocery store)
1.5 oz Brandy (I use Laird's Bonded Applejack)
.5 oz Curacao (I use Royal Combier)
1 Fresh Egg

Combine in shaker and shake well with ice. Strain and top with grated nutmeg

For Horror

sherry whole egg breakfast drink english people go figure existential horror
'Sherry & Egg Cocktail'

Place an Egg in Large Port Wine Glass, being careful not to break the yolk.
Fill glass with Sherry
The Sherry & Egg cocktail isn't so much a cocktail as a caliper of the soul. While you might drink a Morning Glory Fizz to fortify yourself for the day's toil, the Sherry & Egg bluntly askes "Are You Fortified?" When the morning is feeling bright and the world full of possibility, a quick Sherry & Egg is a great reminder of all the agony that a human being can inflict on themselves and others.  

If you are wondering how it tastes, you missed the point, but I will say that it is a considerably nicer tipple than an Amber Moon. The Sherry & Egg is perhaps the adult (or English spinster) version of eating worms. If you are accomplished at suffering, a Sherry & Egg will roll off your back like water while still prompting gasps of horror and nausea from all around you. Which is of course a very Powerful feeling.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

In Which The Terrors Of Existence Are Balanced Against The Prospects Of Having Another Drink

Until I get Health Insurance, this IS my Health Insurance.


"A Drop To Cut The Phlegm"

horehound syrup elixir combier scotch highball health insurance sore throat remedy

1.5 oz Scotch
.75 oz Horehound Syrup
1 tsp Elixir Combier

Combine ingredients in a glass, top with soda.

Monday, September 23, 2013

He Announced Laconically

My semicolon usage in the previous post was deemed '100% correct'. To celebrate, a drink designed for a vacationing Conan The Barbarian.

'The Lipid Panel'
1/2 Avocado
1 Whole Egg
2 oz Coconut Cream
2.5 oz Gin
.75 oz Torani Amer
.75 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 Lemon
1/2 Lime
Soda Water
Blend all ingredients except soda water (duh, you idiot) with your immersion blender. If your immersion blender caught fire and died because you were using it to puree 8 gallons of malted corn, have your girlfriend buy a new, better one. A minute of blending basically makes pudding. Add ice and shake hard (~2 min). If you can't shake a shaker for 2 minutes, consider eating more whole eggs, you whimp. Strain into glass, mix with ~8 oz soda water, get into the tub. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Desperately Seeking Calories

It has been a trying week at Reasonable Industries. With the last drops of alcoholic yoghurt consumed, my umbilical cord to cocktail inspiration has been severed. I will compound what looks to be a promising new elixir, sure to impart vitality and stimulate the tastebuds in heretofore unimagined ways, and upon reaching for the Yoghurt Liqueur my hand will close on nothingness and all my mighty works turn to ash in the mouth. 

Valiantly, I press onward.

Without yoghurt, the primary aim of my cocktail consumption this past week was to dramatically up the calorie content of the drinks. I think this puts me into a very small niche, as the google results for 'how to make more fattening cocktails' yields the exact inverse of the information I seek. I have been working an extraordinary amount (nearly 35 hours some weeks)! As a consequence I've been shedding weight like a thing that sheds a lot of weight <ed note - insert analogy or metaphor later[look up difference between analogy & metaphor]>Thus the need to bump the caloric content of my beverage intake.

Reverse-engineering Forbes list of the 6 most fattening summer cocktails, I've identified 3 levers to tweak.

1. Sugar - Sugar has calories in it, no shit...This proves not to be a useful lever, because I don't like sweet cocktails. You can cram in a little bit more, but it requires a horse-sized dose of something reproachably bitter like Vallet Fernet to counter-act it.

2. Alcohol - The internet and 'Medical Doctors' claim that alcohol has calories, and theoretically calories are fattening. However, my metabolic pathways are attuned enough that all alcohol is immediately processed into Power, which is transmitted quite rapidly to my Brain and lesser muscles. This surge of Power causes the affected areas to burn up non-alcohol based nutrients, sort of like how using a Nitrous Boost on a car still uses up your gasoline just faster (is this true? All automobile knowledge I have was gathered from Need For Speed 1 for 3DO which had neither Nitrous Boost or a Gas meter). This is the reason that for every 4 alcoholic drinks I consume, I need to consume one Burger or two Quesadillas.

Did You Know
that my internet browser's spellcheck doesn't know the word Quesadillas and always wants to substitute Quadrilles? (Quadrille is a historic dance performed by four couples in a rectangular formation, and a precursor to traditional square dancing)

Additionally, my level of alcohol intake can't really be tweaked to garner more calories; if an individual drink has more or less alcohol, I will just have more or less individual drinks. Margarett, I just tried using a semicolon but I don't know if I did it right. Please berate me later for my incompetence.

3. Other - Glorious, glorious Other! This has always been the category where I excel.

An Examination of the Vagarities by Which Man Greets The Day

I Got Shucked At the 10th Anniversary Oyster Cloyster

2 oz London Dry Gin
1 oz Coconut Cream (the heavy shit that solidifies in the fridge and contains 100% of your lifetime Saturated Fat)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Half a Lemon
1 Whole Egg
3 dash Orange Bitters
3 oz Sparkling Wine
Mix Gin, Coconut Cream, Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice, Whole Egg, and Orange Bitters and dry shake for as long as you can manage (for me that is totally a long time cuz I'm like really, really strong). It should froth intensely. Add ice and shake for 10-15 seconds until frosted. Strain into glass (ideally hilarious novelty stemware obtained at a Coastal Town Fundraiser) and top with sparkling wine.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Containing the Metaphysics of Indian-Hating

While I know just about everything there is to know about alcohol, there are unfortunately many other glaring gaps in my knowledge. The sum total of my knowledge of India is based on that one episode of Seinfeld where they go to India and also what Margarett told me of her summer there. She said that it was incredibly hot, crowded, and you can't hardly get a drink. These two pieces of evidence were all I needed to cement in my mind that India is the Worst Country In The World, even though a five minute glance at bbc.com handily proves that Every Country is the Worst Country In The World. Anyway, this has lead to a number of conversations along the lines of:

Me - Man, India must be the worst place on earth.
Margarett - You are an intolerant bigot.
Me - *grumble grumble while searching for an article at The Atlantic to provide liberal support for my intolerant bigotry*

Margarett's efforts to persuade me that India is in fact NOT the world country in the world never really succeeded because I had a personal reason for perpetuating my belief: I used to have an Indian coworker (Indian in that he lived in India...) who I despised. Every episode of his incompetent bungling and mealy-mouthed buck-passing would cause me to rain curse down on a country that could allow his existence. I didn't think that India was a bad place because it was full of treacherous half-wits like him, I WANTED it to be a bad place so that his every moment would be suffering. I wanted his environment to punish him in the same way his voice punished me during 6 am phone calls. That is the danger of a 24 hour global economy, it forces you to hate others very early in the morning...

Anyways, I've left that job and have been able to find forgiveness in my heart now that I'm not presented daily with evidence that he hasn't died. And just this week, thanks to the peace bringing, brotherhood stimulating power of Bol's Natural Yoghurt Liqueur, Indian culture has provided the inspiration for a daringly delicious new beverage.

I was gonna type some stuff talking about what Lassi is but I am tired so here is wikipedia --->>>>>>  Maybe I will come back later and add useful information. Basically, it is hot in India and you sweat a lot, so Margarett says they drink salty yoghurt drinks to rehydrate. I also sweat alot because I work in an unairconditioned building tending to pots of boiling alcohol. So I took their Idea but made it have alcohol in it because I have the power to do that (Thanks Bols!)

As a point of biography, I'm tired because the coffee I had this morning was made from Starbucks beans which expired in 2008 that Margarett brought home out of a roadside 'Free' bin. I think perhaps at some point in the 6 years since its roasting it lost some of its mentality-boosting power.

Also, this is the last post in Yoghurt Week both because I am out of Yoghurt Liqueur and because weeks are traditionally held to be 7 days long. Bols, if you would like me to continue writing about your wonderful Natural Yoghurt Liqueur, please email me for information on where to mail a case of free product.

'What's That Lassi, Trouble At The Old Mill?'

4 oz Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur
1 1/2 Limes (juiced and strained)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sage-smoked sea salt)
1/4 oz Ginger Simple Syrup
6 oz Soda Water

Strip to your boxers and pile your sweat-soaked clothes in the middle of the kitchen floor. Add together ingredients (except soda) and muddle to dissolve salt. Depending on the results of your fearless moral inventory, add a shot of vodka or gin. Shake and strain into a 20 oz pint glass filled with ice. Top with soda water and gently stir to mix. Take glass to basement and drink in your underwear while fantasizing about the Coming Of A New Ice Age. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In Which Humankind Progresses Via Alcoholic Yoghurt

Upon embarking on The Yoghurt Project, I received a lot of 'ewwww's and 'why?'s from the simple-minded plebs I'm often forced to converse with. Those familiar with the histories of Art & Science know that similar questions often plague the careers of all true Achievers. The boilingly virile minds of  modern Prometheuses such as myself and the geniuses at Bols are the true engines which drive forward Humankind. The Nattering Nabobs of 'Why?' & "Ewwww' are anchors which work to keep the ship of Progress mired in the stagnant swamp of Ignorance. Why do we need Yoghurt Liqueur, when there are many other non-yoghurt based alcoholic beverages? Why do we need the telephone, who could possibly have more to express than the telegraph will allow? Why do we need to go to the Moon, we already have Arizona? WHY INDEED.

So, in the Spirit of Heroic Discovery, this first batch of cocktails will be rated using the Apollo Missons. Much like Apollo Missons, I don't have all the photos you might expect but I assure you I didn't fake these.

'Stuck at PDX For Christmas'

2 oz Gin (Aviation)
3/4 oz Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur
1 tsp Cherry Heering
1 tsp Apricot Brandy (liqueur)

Combine ingredients with ice, shake and strain into chilled glass.
This is a modification of the New York Bartender's Guide's version of an Aviation cocktail, using cherry heering instead of maraschino and Bols Yoghurt instead of lemon juice.

Rating -
Apollo 8. The First Manned Flight for Bols Yoghurt Liqueur, while drinking felt like "first humans to see the far side of the Moon and earthrise over the lunar horizon with their own eyes", but other than profound inspiration to make more Yoghurt cocktails it was only sort of meh tasting.

'Rafia Song About Teethbrushing'

1 oz Leopold Brothers Highland Fernet
1 oz Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur

Shake with ice and double-strain into chilled glass.
Rating - Apollo 1. Fire erupted during testing which killed 3 astronauts. The yogurt added a toothpaste-like texture to the already toothpaste flavored Highland Fernet.

'A Raja At Blandings Castle'

1 1/2 oz Tawny Port
1 1/2 oz Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur

Chill port & yoghurt liqueur, then combine in chilled sherry glass. Alternatively, you can make a pousse cafe with the yoghurt at the bottom. Take the pousse cafe as a single gulp.

Rating - Apollo 13, with the original cocktail representing the craft during oxygen tank explosion, and the pousse cafe the dramatic and heroic recovery. This tastes like a piece of cheese cake with berry sauce on it. I had to strong arm Margarett into trying it, but she ultimately approved. Tastes like something a teen girl with a fake ID would try to order at a bar.

'Two Great Tastes'

1 1/2 oz Torani Amer
1 1/2 oz Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur

Combine Amer & Yoghurt in a highball glass with ice. Top with soda and stir gently to integrate. Garnish with orange peel.
Rating - Apollo 11. Finally, success! Landing a man (me) safely in the Sea of Tranquility, this tastes like a fizzing, lightly sweet orange creamsicle. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

In Which a Picture Stands In For Many Of The Words

This is a picture of a drink I invented called a 'Scotch & Yogurt', served in a chipped glass and resting on the floor.  Welcome to Yogurt Week at Reasonable Industries, where I will be drinking only Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur based cocktails all week. 

'Scotch & Yoghurt'

2 oz Trader Joe's Brand Scotch (because fuck it)
1 oz Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur
3 oz Soda Water
Pour together the Scotch and Yoghurt liqueur into a glass of ice, top with soda and mix lightly. Sit on the floor while your girlfriend calls you a depraved weirdo. Wait for her to go to bed, then drink as many Scotch & Yoghurts as you want, because you are totally the boss and just because you want to stay up late drinking scotch and yoghurts and listening to atonal jazz doesn't make you a depraved weirdo. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Confronting The Inevitablilty Of Death With Simple Crafts You Can Do At Home

There are a lot of days where I wake up, and stare at the ceiling for a few moments and think to myself "well Andy, no escaping it, Death will claim you and everyone you know". This might drag a lot of people down, but fortunately I've found a foolproof remedy for Existential Crisis - edible busywork.

Making flavored sugar cubes is one of those things like making vinegar or baking bread that is incredibly easy, but where also no one believes you when you tell them it is incredibly easy. People say "Oh my god how did you make those?!" and then you say "It's really easy, you just" and then their eyes glaze over because most people are lazy. Perhaps their laziness stems from not acknowledging that Grim Death is hovering over their shoulders?

This latest batch was made with Fernet Leopold Highland Amaro, an American-made Fernet style digestive liquor with a distinct mint flavor. How distinct? To approximate:
  1. Grab a tube each of Tom's Wicked Fresh Spearmint Ice & Cool Peppermint Toothpaste, some unsweetened cocoa powder, and a friend.  
  2. Fill your mouth with a tablespoon of cocoa powder
  3. Insert the end of both tubes into your mouth. 
  4. Close your eyes 
  5. Have a friend squeeze both tubes simultaneously into your mouth as hard as they can. Ideally you'll want a friend that has known you long enough that they will relish the chance to make you suffer.
Anyway to make sugar cubes, you'll slowly mix in about 1.5 tablespoons of liqueur into 3/4 cups sugar. As you mix it should take on the consistency of damp sand, add more of either ingredient until it feels about right for building a sand castle. Spread on wax/parchment paper into a layer the height of desired cubes and let sit for 15 minutes while you contemplate how little the universe cares about you or your sugar cubes. While an almost overwhelming wave of hopelessness and despondency washes over you, preheat your oven to 150. Use a knife to divide the sugar into cubes, if they look shitty and irregular, well that's probably how you look too. They'll need about 20 minutes in the oven to dry out, once they feel pretty solidified remove them to cool totally and then artfully arrange in a glass to impress others with how little value your time must have if you have time to make flavored sugar cubes.

They will keep for months and are a useful addition to coffee, champagne, or in creation of an Old-Fashioned.   

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Confluence Of Happenstance

Waking up at 5 am for work every day has crushed out my will to communicate, but I know the teeming masses must be appeased. It is hard to have a sense of humor when you leave the house while it is still night time. The sense of humor is replaced by the sense of injustice, and the desire to communicate funny things is replaced with the desire to avenge yourself against those who wronged you. Like Batman.

Anyway it turns out there are lots of awesome things you can do in the world that aren't update a blog, like cut your finger nails or write haikus about your overweight house cat.

BORIS, you wide wad
You'll get fed when you get fed
So stop your whining

But the whole time you are haikuing, something is nibbling away inside. GUILT. Guilt that you are forsaking your duty, to alert the world to horrible poisons. So here I am.

The pickleback has been kicking around for a bunch of years (New York Times wrote it up in 2010), and is perhaps old news to many but two recent gift of some delicious pickles as well as some Jameson brought it back to the fore at Reasonable Industries. The Portland Mercury also mentioned it in a review this week, stating
As if to make a position statement, the bar offers a Pickleback: a shot of pickle brine that washes away a shot of bad whiskey—an efficient tool for those only interested in one aspect of their drinking. It lives at the end of the cocktail menu, a white flag of capitulation after all that trying.
He's got it a bit backwards - I enjoy the pickleback, but primarily because I want to drink a shot of pickle juice and this is a good format. Having a shot of pickle juice by itself seems highly depraved, like something a 45-year old bachelor named 'Uncle' Tony would do to 'replenish the salts'. Turning it into a novelty bar shot moves it from weird and depraved, to weird and debauched, which is always an easier position.

AskMen.com gave the Pickleback at 98/100 "Hair On Your Chest Factor". But AskMen.com also has a story titled "Do Real Men Wear Louis Vuitton Watches?" which is the question of someone who might balk at the pickle back. For the rest of us who use a $15 cracked-screen burner phone to check the time, the pickle back is a soothing treat.  
Shown after Margarett's small, birdlike sampling

'Behind The (New York) Times'
2 oz Whiskey (Jameson or Old Crow)
2 oz Pickle Juice

Pour them, then drink them, then quickly do it again while your girlfriend is in the bathroom so she doesn't look askew at how much whiskey and pickle juice you really want to drink on a Wednesday. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Worth the Consideration of Those to Whom it May Prove Worth Considering

Today is Derby Day at Reasonable Industries. This Labor Day neatly closes my first year as a 'laborer', so in the proud American tradition I've scraped together one mop-handle calloused handful of cash with the intention of investing it at the horse track, rather than blowing it on something stupid like health insurance or vegetables. In prep for the all you can eat Prime Rib Buffet, I've seasoned my innards with the classic horse racing cocktail The Mint Julep.

The Mint Julep is by all rights a pretty shitty drink. Depending on which 'classic', 'proper', or 'traditional' recipe you follow you'll end up with a drink that is somewhere between VERY SWEET and MASSIVELY SWEET. A sugary slush for the infantile palate of pablum-seeking sweet tea drinkers. That doesn't bother me too much, as we all need some pablum to help spoon us along through the everyday horrors of everyday existence. There are lots of shitty, sweet cocktails out there and none of them do me much harm. I guess the Mint Julep gets my sap up a bit because of the legion of Southern-for-A-Day experts who slather the drink with false nostalgia, beating on endlessly about how  the Julep is a indispensable Southern Institution. The Julep may in fact BE a Southern Institution. Just like Lynch Mobs, Humidity, and Losing Your Foot To Diabetes.

The Julep (or some form of it) is reputed to be one of the oldest cocktails in existence, put in print for the first time in 1803 according to wikipedia. Well, despite what Portland bartenders would have you believe, it's not the 1880's anymore. Time and Science have propelled us pretty far since then. People in the 1800's didn't even have pagers. Why would I take their advice on a drink? 

The Mint Julep is also somewhat unique in that it is NEVER at the right dilution. Prior to the ice melting, each sip yields a meager trickle of sugar thickened bourbon along with a mouthful of ice chips. This stage goes on for approximately 3 hours. Seemingly between hours 3 and 3.15 hours, all of the ice melts simultaneously and you now get to pound some mint flavored water because all the bourbon was sipped out in the first 3 hours. The Julep is touted as a drink designed to last you the whole race day (with some recipes calling for a Senator-worthy 8 oz of bourbon). This is highly Southern to me, because I think of Southerners as lazy idiots, and only a lazy idiot would make one drink that is bad 80% of the time instead of 4 drinks that are perfect 100% of the time.

Anyway, I still made one and it still tastes fine regardless of how much bile the topic of 'The South' excites from my spleen.

"Pregnant At The Waffle House"

3oz Bourbon or whatever whiskey you find if you aren't a fascist
1 tbsp superfine caster sugar
10 mint leaves (spearmint ideally)
Most of the Ice From Your Freezer
Grab your tablespoon measure and stare at it, trying to imagine how this isn't way too much sugar. Add to glass along with mint leaves, and muddle a bit with 1/2 oz spirit or hot water to melt the sugar. Add 2 oz spirit. Fill one of the good dish towels with ice, then smash it against a tree stump until it is finely cracked or until you feel too guilty about using one of the good dish towels. Pack the glass with ice and pour over whatever amount of whiskey you want because you just put like 10 oz of ice in the drink so who fucking cares how much alcohol is in it. I used an applewood smoke infused blended scotch, the muddle mint was spearmint, and the garnish is mojito mint.
This drink lasted me the entirety of a documentary about a man and his pet elephant.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Royal We

A few nights ago we spent about 4 hours creating baijiu cocktails. We as in the plural 'we' of 'Margarett and myself', rather than the singular 'we' of 'We Demand Obedience!'. It turns out 4 hours of baijiu cocktails takes us from an aperitif drink to awaken the palate before dinner all the way to something to clutch with while I lay on the floor and loudly moan until Margarett agrees to make me a quesadilla. The purpose of all this SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH was to select a cocktail to accompany Mar's upcoming piece on Vinn Distillery, a Portland distillery making a traditional rice spirit called Baijiu. If you aren't familiar with Baijiu stay tuned for a pedantic future update where I regurgitate 30 minutes of Wikipedia research in such a way as to make it seem like I've been drinking baijiu for years and am actually one of the world's premier experts on it.

Rice Baijiu seems to taste a fair bit like a Japanese Kome Shochu or Taiwanese Michiu, which makes sense because they are all similar things made in somewhat similar ways. Below are our tasting notes:

Mar - combines the vegetal qualities of tequila with the earthiness of sake. Notes of unsweetened chocolate, mushroom, black pepper, and rain-soaked soil are supported by a backbone of toasty brown rice and a slight sour-sweetness.
Me - tastes like vodka but like you are also licking an unwashed potato.

 I still had a bad cold at the time. It's not as off putting as that sounds, or maybe it is for some people. I don't care about those people. I don't actively wish for bad things to happen to them, but I hope they can't find true happiness.We liked it enough to make about 8 cocktails a piece.

Our Findings....
* If Hunger Level surpasses Fatal Hunger Threshold, Patient's death typically occurs within 1 22-min episode of 'How It's Made'

Also  we found that Vinn's baijiu works good-to-great in all vodka cocktails, but gets lost in the mix pretty easily. Like (some) grappa, it has a unique and distinctive taste but is subtle and seems to work best as a shot. At work people ask me all the time for good cocktails to make with grappa. It is a struggle because I desperately want them to buy it but I also think that a grappa cocktail is for someone with more money than taste. I imagine it is how Apple must feel when people say 'I like this iPhone, can you recommend any Swarovski Crystal studded cases?' The simultaneous urge to take their money but also beat them with a lead pipe to prevent them from befouling what you've created with their philistinism. Maybe that is more Steve Job's view than Apple. He seemed like a jerk. Also he is dead. Causation? Correlation? The facts are there, you decide. How about a drink?

  "Contents of a Human Stomach"

1 1/2 oz Vinn Baijiu
1 1/2 oz grapefruit juice
3/4 oz 1:1 simple syrup
1 diced vinegar pepper (hot)
2 oz sparkling water or wine

Rummage in the fridge for the oldest jar of hot peppers you can find. Have you located one that has been in there AND open for at least 6+ months? Is the package mostly illegibly foreign? Perfect. Eat a few to make sure they blazing hot. Your mouth should now be so numb you could drink 4 oz of house paint and think it tastes great. Stem and dice pepper and add to shaker. Add ice, Baijiu, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, shake. Add 2 oz champagne to glass and strain drink into it. Think ruefully about those hot peppers as they begin fomenting acidic despair in your empty, quesadilla-less stomach.