Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Which Palates are Atypically and Unconvetionally Pleased - Plum TUiCĂ & R. Jelínek Original Recipe Fernet

One of the excitements of making cocktails at home is that each unique drink that you undertake is a new opportunity to fail completely; to ruin otherwise delicious (and frequently expensive) ingredients, waste your time, and bespoil the mouths of friends and Margaretts. Wouldn't it be better to make a 'classic' drink, any of the dozens which have been developed by experts and refined by a century of evolution, sure to please the palate and simplify the pre-dinner hour? No. The stakes at risk in drink-making are quite low compared to most other aspects of modern life. That's not to suggest that somehow by failing at drink making you are less likely to fail somewhere else, but more that by getting accustomed to failure on the small-scale, by making failure part of life's routines, you can better inure yourself to the grand shocks that the great Thunderer surely has in store for you.

"Failure has made a good old man of me. It was horrible at first, but I'm glad I've failed. Praise be to God for the failure!"

I mention this both because I am chronically depressed and deeply pessimistic, but also as a counterpoint and reminder, because I have recently SUCCEEDED, succeeded beyond measure and precedence. My metric for concluding this is simple and iron-clad. In asking Margarett if she would like a drink, instead of requesting her usual glass of cold gin or Mezcal Sour she said "could you make that yummy cocktail again?" a heretofore unheard of experience. What could be contained in such a magic elixir? Romanian-style Tuica (Plum Brandy) and knock-off Fernet from the Czech Republic. Wham! I AM GREAT AND SMART.

Plum Brandy has become my spirit-of-choice in these last few months. Now that we have hit Peak Whiskey, I have been exploring other options in the hopes of finding a more democratic spirit. Plum brandy (or tuica, slivovitz, palinka, prune, or whatever balkanization you wish to employ) has an honest taste. The flavor says 'I am about to work' or later 'I have worked.' Perhaps that is why plum brandy fails to resonate with the puerile American tongue. The complaint that 'it's too strong' is possibly valid if you belong to a certain demographic. Even so, when someone rejects my plum brandy as being too robust a water, it is difficult not to advise them to stick with thin beef broth until their invalidity passes.

As you can see from that, while the flavor of fruit brandies move me profoundly, there are other perks to championing them.  Plum brandy, alongside grappa, provides the best opportunity to sneer at the ignorance and weakness of others. When grappa comes up in conversation, they (the philistine) will often make a face and say something with the goal of conveying "ugh, I've been to Italy, what wretched stuff." Quickly, give them a look composed of equal measures scorn and pity, as though they said something like "why should I see the Sistine Chapel, I have a ceiling at home." Your glare should suggest that they are what is holding back the progress of art and humanity, which angers you, yet you can't help but have sympathy for someone to whom so many of nature's wonders are closed to.

This cocktail features Milibit's (or possibly Lil Bit) distillery's Plum TUiCĂ, which is made in Woodburn, Oregon. It is difficult to tease out much information about them, as their website features a Geocities-era Men At Work jpeg. FACTS: It is made out of some kind of plums, and is 40% alcohol. It is also quite tasty, with a different flavor than Clear Creek / Slivovitz style plum brandies, more sour and savory, with a strong smell of fermenting plum.

R. Jelínek Original Recipe Fernet (my second trip to Wikipedia to find letters with diacritical marks...) is a liqueur from the Czech Republic which bears little connection to the Italy or other assorted Fernets I've tasted. Sweeter, far less bitter, with more of the warm fall baking spice aspects (prune, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, caramel) and less mint. R. Jelínek is known for their plum spirits, but for some reason Oregon only receives the Fernet.

oregon plum brandy tuica R Jelinek Fernet sour cocktail
I Need To See A Map

1.5 oz Plum Brandy (Mili bit Tuica)
.5 oz R. Jelinek Original Recipe Fernet
.75 oz 50/50 Lemon & Lime juice
.5 oz simple syrup
Egg White (fresh)

This is how I make a whiskey sour, but with no whiskey, and extra plum brandy and Czech liqueur. Follow general whiskey sour making procedures. This is very delicious, so after you finish this quickly prepare a bad-tasting drink to return balance to your life. I made one featuring grappa and a decoction of dandelion root and catnip that I'd prepared as a herbal remedy for my cat's dandruff problem. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MxMo LXXXIX - In Which The Treasures And Abominations of Italy Are Examined

Mixology Monday happened, but also 1500 lb of very ripe plums arrived at the distillery, so unpaid (and typically under-appreciated) content Milling was put on hold temporarily. The plums are happily bubbling away now, and boy could I go for a drink.

The theme this month was selected by Chris at A Bar Above. His blog is everything mine isn't, namely informative, friendly, and useful. To each their own. The internet is a big place, and I firmly believe there is still room for both people who want to spread knowledge that will empower people to make better drinks AND for bitter cranks with ugly, poorly-formatted sites that are useful to no one. The theme selected was "unknown"

Basically the idea is to try something new, an ingredient or technique that you’ve never had experience with before and create a cocktail around it… Use a spirit that you’ve never used before. It could be a base spirit, modifier or that Belgian Ale that rings in at 15% alcohol. Use an ingredient that has always captured your imagination in the supermarket. Maybe that weird looking fruit that you always walk by at Whole Foods, or that unusual looking vegetable that you can’t even pronounce. [or] Use a new technique that you’ve never tried, but have always wanted to. Have you been dying to make your own vermouth, amaro, or martini glass made completely out of flavored sugar.

The 'unknown' is my bread and butter around here, and I am enmeshed with it deeply enough that it sometimes becomes difficult to separate the unknown from the commonplace. In the same way if someone asked me to write about a jazz flutist, I would be left sputtering for something to say, not because know nothing but because I know too much. So basically after going uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh for a while, I decided to try a few 'italian' cocktails, ordinarily something I'd give a wide berth.

There are a few italian cocktails that have achieved fame; the recently inescapable Negroni, the mostly similar Americano, the tasty but I suspect Austrian Aperol Spritz and the barely a cocktail Bellini. All delicious things, but not a very diverse list. Should you choose to venture beyond those the options quickly narrow and grim results loom. A Manhattan ordered at an otherwise delightful piazza-side 'bar' stands vivid in my mind as one of the worst drinks I've ever paid for, and the general sense seemed to be that further exploration would not be rewarded.

Why? My time in Italy has not been extensive, but you don't need to be there very long to grasp how different their drinking culture is from Americas. Primarily, there are no 'bars' in the sense of a place you go to get really fucked up. Drinks always (and just about only) accompany food, a quick glass of wine arrives with a snack plate, or the shot of fernet you desperately require to survive the digestion of la cucina tipica will come with some cookies. The cocktails which get served are mostly low alcohol, fizzing, and served only in a slim pre-dinner window. It's outside their conception that an otherwise healthful person might want to drink 5 oz of rum on an empty stomach. So it seems other cocktails are approached from that viewpoint of befuddlement about how or why someone would drink what they are preparing.

With that in mind, lets try a few Italian drinks.

The Moretta is a hot coffee-based drink which is claimed by the town of Fano in Marche, a port town of some 64,000 souls. The wikipedia entry for this drink very tellingly claims "In the past, the poor economised, so leftovers were gathered together as a liquor. Over time, these ingredients became the basis for moretta." I've used Mistra, a type of anisette typical to the Marche/Lazio region, because this is the only recipe in the history of the world that specifically called for it. Mistra is excellent in coffee, as it contains very little sugar compared to many anise spirits.
1/2 oz Mistra or other Anisetta
1/2 oz Rum
1/2 Brandy (Grappa Piave is great in coffee)
4-5 oz espresso or Moka Pot
spoonful of sugar
Lemon peel

Rinse glass with hot water to warm, then blend together spirits (warmed in another vessel) with sugar and lemon peel. Add coffee. Pretend you are a rugged peasant fisherman, warming up after a tough day hauling in your meager bounty, rather than someone sitting in a warm house and blogging in their boxers.

You know what, I quite enjoyed that. Breakfast has been dispatched but the cutting board is still dirty so lets have Second Breakfast. This next recipe is courtesy of Renato G. Dettori's 1953 book "Italian Wines and Liqueurs". While his cocktail recipes are somewhat suspicious, in his section on "Nutritional Properties" he offers my personal credo that "alcoholic drinks are a valuable supplement to food and undeniably have a positive effect on health".

Italian Bloody Mary

1/2 Absinthe
1 Tomato Juice
1 teaspoon of grenadine syrup
Pinch of Salt

Renato's recipe didn't include directions, but I mixed everything together to dissolve the grenadine and then rolled with ice between two shakers. I also made this very small because absinthe is 64% abv, and because I thought it would be fucking horrible and I was right.

If you ordered a Bloody Mary in America and it came out like this, no bartender could complain if you socked them in the mouth. I was going to make an additional drink (an intriguing combination of gin, red wine, orange juice, and fernet) but this has crushed out my will to go on. So, as they say in Italy Non mi rompere i coglioni!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

In Which Oatmeal Nourishes Both Body And Soul

I will admit to a relatively diminished interest in whiskey these days. While much of note is undoubtedly happening in the wide world of whiskey, (Mr. Cowdery's tireless efforts to shame liars, the fall releases of unobtainables and unaffordables, the excitement about whether Chip Tate will be the first craft distiller to 'put two into the chest' of Mammon...) I am not sure that I give many or any shits at all about it. From the ever deepening trench of my poverty, my blackened groping hand finds purchase on the necks of few whiskey bottles these days. The explosion of interest and variety in whiskey is certainly a good thing, but the density of options has surpassed what I feel is necessary to enable an enjoyable life, and instead leads whiskey enthusiasts who want to keep up into a hierarchically-driven box 'ticking' mode devoid of much pleasure. "Not philosophers but fret sawyers and stamp collectors compose the backbone of society" 

As a distiller I am still very excited about making whiskey, but as a drinker it's harder to get a thirst up.

So I am moving on.

Wait, first a drink.

The production of this drink is somewhat involved, which is a twist as the recipe is adapted from Kingsley Amis' book of drinking advice "Everyday Drinking" and he sometimes felt a lemon twist to adorn a glass of gin was too much of a fussy struggle. As is likely apparent from this blog, I owe Mr. Amis many debts. As someone who has made relatively little headway into deciphering the world of wine, Amis gave me the greatest piece of advice on wine buying, easily trumping  anything Eric Asimov or Robert Parker ever supplied, to "Keep at hand a good supply of beer, stout, and cider, not to speak of stronger waters, to console you when the whole business gets too much for you".

An Atholl Brose, the alcohol version of oatmeal brose (uncooked porridge, truly the product of a culinary impoverished society), according to Wikipedia and Kingsley Amis has significantly more viscosity, alcohol, and sweetness than I desire. Below is my preferred technique

laphroaig morning drink of oatmeal
I Pity The Scottish Stomach

8 oz Hot Water
1.5 handful rolled oats
3/4 oz Smoky / Islay Scotch
Spoonful of Wildflower Honey

1. Heat up 8 oz water to tea making temperature, and pour over an oversized handful of oats. Stir to mix and allow to sit.
2. Sit outside in the garden in the chilly drizzling rain for 30 minutes while musing on how few possibilities for fulfillment the coming day will offer.
3. Strain the liquid off the oats (which should be cloudy and slightly thickened) and reheat in the microwave.
4. In a separate glass, measure out the scotch.
5. Stir a spoonful of honey into the hot oat water, and then pour into the scotch glass
6. With your steaming mug, return to the drizzly garden, and in general fell much better about the prospects of having to exist for at least one more day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Do Words Matter? An unnecessarily drawn out review of Miyazaki Kinmiya Soju

Let's talk about something complicated. Something with a lot of nuance, that requires the reader to make an effort to understand. Something that no one except me cares about in the slightest. The topic - 

"Why I am Excited To Purchase Lousy Alcohol At The Weird Asian Grocery Store"

In Oregon there is a firm bifurcation between distilled spirits and other alcohol. Non-distilled alcohol is available in grocery stores, beer shops, convenience stores, and a myriad of other places who've obtained the proper license. Distilled spirits (regardless of their alcoholic strength) are available only through the state-run liquor stores. This can lead to some head scratching situations, for instance where Cardamaro (a 17% abv wine-based amaro) can be had with a volume discount at Fred Meyers but Aperol (an 11% spirit-based apertif) is only available in liquor stores. Every state has illogical blue-laws, but at least Oregon's is a knowable quantity if you are somewhat versed in how things are made. Fermented and/or fortified = grocery. Distilled = Liquor Store.

Fine. Rules Are Rules. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) does me many solids in my professional career, so I won't carp too much. However, I still get a perverse joy when something slips through the cracks, and I find a distilled spirit in the grocery store. Such is the case with Miyazaki Co. LTD's Kinmiya "Soju".  There it was, camouflaged among the Mirin and the incomprehensibly Chinese 'Special Pickle Wine'. When trolling for weird booze at the grocery store, keep an eagle eye for "1.5% Salt Added". To avoid excise tax for beverage alcohol, producers render their cooking products 'non-potable' with salt. This is how our country poisons the poor degenerate souls who have the audacity to try enjoying shaoxing wine. Someday in the future, we, the downtrodden and despised drinkers of cooking sherry will RISE UP, and say NO MORE. NO MORE WILL WE SUFFER YOU TO POISON US WITH SALT MERELY FOR TRYING TO DRINK COOKING SHERRY. But for now, the salt remains.
soju shocho kinmiya JFC International Fubonn
Miyazaki Co. LTD Kinmiya Soju

Founder Miyazaki Shozaburo
Anyways, once you've located something interesting looking without any salt it's time for focused googling. Miyazaki Hoten was founded in 1846 as a producer of Sake, Mirin, and Shochu. In 2005 they won "The Best Prize at the '100 Selected IT Business Models.'" In between those events, invariably much occurred that might be of interest but I will allow to peruse the Company Newsletter at your leisure. Mostly it seems to be poems written by Dali about Japanese Highschool baseball.

The Kinmiya is their flagship shochu brand, an affordable high-volume spirit with a minimal taste. By their description

Nicknamed "Kinmiya shochu", turtle Miya shochu has gained popularity in the Kanto area from ancient times. Mellow taste to use the subsoil water of pure Suzuka River sprung from Suzukasanmyaku, and clean it features. Design also incorporates the design of the gold seal turtle Miya shochu tradition, it is proposed the products that can be enjoyable temporary gatherings.
So keep that in mind for your next 'temporary gathering'.

But wait, what's all this shit about Shochu when the bottle is clearly labelled "Soju"? While it says "Soju" (a Korean spirit typically produced from rice or sweet potatoes), the Kinmiya is in fact actually Shochu (a Japanese spirit which can be distilled from a variety of raw materials). Why the mislabeling? Ahem, go ahead wikipedia

The liquor licensing laws in the states of California and New York specifically exempt the sale of soju from regulation relating to the sale of other distilled spirits, allowing businesses with a beer/wine license to sell it without requiring the more expensive license required for other distilled spirits.The only stipulation is that the soju must be clearly labeled as such and contain less than 25% alcohol.
This had the knock-on effect of traditional japanese shochu producers diluting their products and labeling them as "Soju" to sneak into this lucrative loophole. This loophole doesn't apply in Oregon, but there are still many Shochus in the liquor store marked as Soju because of the size of the California and New York markets. This is an Okinawan Awamori, something with a proud history, bottled at a pathetic 20% and disgraced with the label "Soju". 

"Blah Blah Blah" you might say. "Soju and Shochu are the same thing, who caaaaares." You are Wrong, and I would strike you if I had enough internet bandwidth and appropriate haptic techonology to do so. I think this misconception occurs because some people prefer to deal in generalities. "Both Soju and Shochu are asian and they are spelled almost the same, so they ARE the same. Case Closed. I don't have time to care about this, I have pressing TV shows to watch and my countdown timer for the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes needs to wound." They shellac these generalities into a thick shell which protects their flabby brains from the Heavy Facts and Sharply Specific Truths which the world is truly composed of. In fact, Shochu and Soju are made by different people, in a different way, out of different materials, for different reasons. In a similar way to how Ten-High Blended Whiskey is different than an Islay Single Malt, even if the philistine calls them both whiskey.

That was a wonderful tirade. Very invigorating. And it was for the most part true. Unfortunately, complexity looms. While most Soju (like Jinro, the most popular spirit in the world) is highly-distilled flavorless ethanol, made industrially and artificially flavored with sweeteners and thickeners, there are traditionally made Sojus  which use mixed culture fermentation and small pot-still distillation to produce something similar to a traditional honkaku Kome (rice) shochu. And conversely there exists Japanese Shochu called korui or new style shochu, which is highly-distilled, nearly flavorless ethanol, made industrially for mass consumption. Such is the case with the Kinmiya "Soju", a VERY lightly flavored spirit distilled from sugar cane.  

How about a review? Been a while....

Nose - Slight sharpness, with the medicinal / tool-cleaner aroma common to mid-grade vodka. With some air this dissipates and yields a vaguely sweet, mellow sugar cookie aroma but you really have to jam your nose in there. A splash of water nullifies the aroma, not surprising given the low abv (20%).

Taste - Tastes fine. Mild, smooth, and clean with only the tiniest hint of flavor. There is some brown sugar to the midpalate, and a bit of heat to the finish but otherwise slips down pretty unnoticed. While
honkaku shochu can be earthy and savory, or bright and fragrant, this is neither and resembles nothing so much as an acceptably bland vodka which has been heavily watered.   

Value - At $15/750ml for a 20% spirit, it's certainly a stretch to say this is a deal. However, when compared to other Japanese shochus available in Oregon it is a more appealing proposition. Also, the thrill of buying alcohol at the grocery store in defiance of Oregon God and OLCC is difficult to put a price on. Also, I had fun reading their newsletter in the course of writing this, so that gives them a bump. I will say a 6 for value, but your scale may read differently.

Thus concludes the most comprehensive english language examination of Miyazaki Hoten's Kinmiya shochu. I hope this helps the other 3 people in the world who might be desperately googling.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Florentino Liqueur - My Personal Cross To Bear

I think I've cracked the nut of the mysterious Florentino Liqueur, a traditional elixir long savoured by the indigenous people of Cleveland Ohio. Ohioans typically drink it straight, or cut with Mountain Dew, in an effort to as rapidly-as-possible reach the LD50 threshold for FD&C Yellow #5, I believe with the goal of ending their miserable existence. I lack the fiery spirit and Devil-May-Care attitude of the blazing Buckeye, and so find Florentino is best enjoyed sparingly over the course of an entire lifetime, with as much delay between samples as possible. There has been surprisingly limited research into the effects of Florentino on the human endocrine system, but here is a link to a study about feeding food coloring to albino rats because Progress Is Cruel.

On aforementioned nut cracking - lime is the key. Also you want to use a darkly color liqueur to disguise the diabetic urine glow of raw Florentino. I have now ruminated on Florentino longer than any soul not consigned to Purgatory and I still have little positive to say about it. Why do I return so frequently, to a well so dry? Florentino is distressingly the only search term which is driving traffic to my still basically undiscovered blog. And so, thou faceless truth-seekers of the great Network-In-The-Sky,  thy weird, desperate will is my command. 

The Will Of The People Is A Specious Directive
1.5 oz Cranberry Liqueur*
1 oz Florentino Authentic Ohioan Liqueur
1/2 lime
Sprig of Mint

This drink is good. If you are burdened with a bottle of Florentino this is so far the best option. To make this cocktail, use the ingredients listed about and combine in some fashion. I find that if you pour them into an old paint can (use only oil-based paints, NO LATEX) with some ice and take them to the paints department of your local hardware store, they will often let you use the paint stirring machinery to achieve a sublimely thorough mixing.

*Stonebarn Brandywork's Cranberry liqueur is particularly dry, so an effective replacement would be natural cranberry juice touched up with a bit of vodka to "cure" it
This is an excellent breakfast drink. Some of the more moralistic may look askance at drinking in the morning, but they are chowderheads who have no grasp of how to create Joy in one's own life. They cast a shaming eye towards my post-breakfast Watermelon & Absinthe Blender Potion, yet these same hypocrites can often be found on Sundays bright and early guzzling down wine with their good-time buddies merely because it has been ordained 'The Blood Of Our Saviour'...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

In Which Grain is Exchanged For Grape, with a great spiritual uplifting

Well it seems even my quiet lobe of the internet (the lobe that is whiskey-related, not streamable jazz flute music or the history of exotic tree barks) has been invaded by Big Media, with the recent deluge of taunting clickbait about the looming "whiskey shortage". Is nothing free from the charnel taint of the Content Mill? I put "whiskey shortage" in quotation marks to show that I know the entire concept to be spurious, just another cataclysm-of-the-day aimed at gumming up a news cycle already swollen with dubious threats and tedious regurgitation. If the inability to purchase Pappy Van Winkle, something you possibly neither knew or cared about 3 years ago, causes you heartache then perhaps it serves you right to suffer. You Will Die before even the worst liquor store has less than an aisle of whiskies available for you to purchase, many of them cheaper than even a mid-range bottle of wine.

While shortage is the wrong term, there is unquestionably a whiskey Gentrification of sorts occurring. Prices (not costs) are up across the board, with the sharpest increases among enthusiast whiskies (aka "lawyer whiskey") which reluctantly prices out many who have never IPO'd. Oh well. Yoghurt Liqueur is still affordable.

Should your preferred bottle become hard to find, maybe that is a sign from God that you should stop being so boring and branch out. The world of whiskey is broad, with enormous variations in flavor and something for everyone.  Bourbon is often characterized by its sweetness, heavy with vanilla and cinnamon. Scotch, more expansive, is iconically linked with the honeyed Speyside malts or the bolder peated whiskies of Islay. Craft Whiskey is most profoundly flavored by oak; raw, overextracted, sawdusty oak, like a chair leg jammed into a bottle through a perverse combination of greed and incompetence.

Why the polemic? The topic has been on my mind, as I am struggling to find a purpose for a particularly egregious craft whiskey. I'm not one to turn my nose up at anything with liquor in it (see my ongoing battle with Florentino) but something about a less-than-year old whiskey that is RED gets the bile duct on overdrive.

Well I've been sitting, staring at the bottle of it now for an entire bowl of oatmeal and have made little progress towards acceptance. Let's have some grappa.

The Herb-of-Grace bestows some civility on a fraught morning
Rue (ruta graveolens), Herb-of-Grace, is a Mediterranean herb once fairly common which seems to have fallen out of favor. It was used for many unlikely purposes, as you might imagine a pre-Internet civilizations would try to apply something they grew in the their gardens to the problems at hand. Eyewash, an anti-magical herb to prevent witchcraft related indigestion while eating with strangers, and also fried in batter or as a salad green. It was also a universal poison antidote, despite being somewhat toxic. I know more about it but am tired of typing, so visit this wonderful site to learn more. The most lasting use and the one most relevant to me, has been to aromatise and flavor grappa. Grappa alla ruta. It adds a heaviness to the grappa, a slightly vegetable bitterness, with a musky lemon aroma. Quite nice. Easy enough to make, just snip a few fresh leaves prior to flowering from the plant you had the foresight to plant 2 years ago, and allow to macerate in grappa or white brandy for 1 month. The plant can cause Phytophotodermatitis in hot weather, so avoid that.

Let's end this post on a different note than we started, with some Elizabethan poetry.

'Then sprinkles she the juice of rue,
With nine drops of the midnight dew
From lunarie distilling.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

In Which The Root of Shirking Is Uncovered

One of the greater obstacles to keeping a rigorously updated blog, beyond the crushing limitations of time (DEATH IS INESCAPABLE), is my lack of empathy for the audience. All day long, my glowing brain churns up a frothing slurry of brilliance, my skull crowding with spiteful bon mots and ferociously innovative cocktail ideas. Meanwhile the oppressive specter of Charity nags that I should share these delightful insights with the teeming throngs. Why should one so obviously gifted in such a gamut of capacities not try to brighten the days of the Damned?  But once I settle in to really GIVE BACK to society, Charity is quickly bludgeoned into silence by Desire For Nap and the luminous pearls of the day's mental exertions slip through the cracks.

Where does Desire For Nap come from? The original germ of it doesn't lurk in my blood, being built from robustly Puritan stuff my heart beats to the scheme of "WORK HARDER - MAN'S LOT IS TO TOIL". So the desire for a nap must be a foreign importation. Perhaps it lurks within the Absinthe Milkshake?

Free Will & Divine Providence

1.5 oz Absinthe
4 oz Avocado flavored Ice Cream which is a real thing and not a sick joke
1.5 oz Mint Simple Syrup
1.5 oz Some Kind Of Dairy (I Forget)
1 Egg
1/2 Lime

Step 1 - Make a To Do list. Don't feel limited to things you have to accomplish today, go ahead and include broad, far-reaching goals like "Grow Even Taller", "Make A Shitload Of Money" or "Wash Dishes".
Step 2 - Stare at list for 10-15 minutes, with increasingly mounting anxiety. Feel depressed that item #1 is "Eat Breakfast" even though it's past 10.
Step 3 - Get out blender to make yogurt smoothie, realize that you are out of yogurt but have plenty of Absinthe.
Step 4 - Combine ingredients and blender to milkshake consistency. Quickly decide that this would taste better in the bathtub.
Step 5 - While using To Do list as bookmark, accidentally render illegible by dropping it in the tub. Interpret this as Divine Providence, and when done in tub take a nap.

I consider the Absinthe Suissesse to be in the Pantheon of breakfast cocktails, the bibulous and overstuffed Dionysus compared to the Gin Fizz's Hermes. While I'm sure this imbibe recipe produces an excellent drink, I dispense with much of it and retain only the Absinthe, Heavy Cream, Egg and simple syrup (ideally mint, but practically whatever is in the fridge). For lighter fare, I will omit the Egg & Heavy Cream and instead use Soy Milk which is bizarrely tasty. For heavier fare, see the above recipe. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mixology Monday LXXXV Nuts - In Which Jupiter Features Prominently

I received another reminder of just how rapidly my life is speeding away from me, as apparently somehow it is again time for another Mixology Monday.*  This month is hosted at the distressingly well-photographed http://stirandstrain.com/, with the theme of nuts.
Nuts? Yes! A few months back I tried, and was wowed by, a peanut-y take on an Old Fashioned at a bar here in L.A. They had infused peanuts in bourbon and with a touch of honey had made magic. Nuts of all sorts make it into cocktails now. Some black walnut bitters here, the sweet almond flavor of orgeat there… circus peanuts. Your challenge is to utilize nuts (and since we’re NOT adhering to the strict rules of what are nuts, peanuts and walnuts both count) in any way you see fit to create a cocktail. Infusions, bitters, almond tinctures are all game. Amaretto, homemade nocino, Frangelico too. Go nuts!
I was aware that peanuts are in fact not nuts, having heard people tediously repeat that they are legumes for my entire life, but transmuting that fact into knowledge requires adopting a more complicated and nuanced world view than I feel I really require. The idea that walnuts are not nuts either is almost too much to bear. Verily, is there any logic to the world if the nuts of Jupiter, King of the Gods and Lord of Thunder, can't lay claim to the title?  

Jupiter chillin on a Cloud with some nymph
Walnuts, Juglans regia (lit. Jovis glans or 'Jupiter's Nuts'), have an array of uses, few of which are suggestive of a gastronomic delight. Did you know the fruit can be used for hair dye, the bark used for 'healing indolent ulcers', the nut meat for furniture polish, and according to good ol' Culpepper the leaves if "taken with onions, salt, and honey, they help with the biting of a mad dog"? That was a very long sentence and I have significant doubts whether it was properly claused and punctuated.

Additionally, if the unripe, green walnuts are chopped and soaked in alcohol for a while they will yield a surprisingly normal tasting digestif liqueur called Nocino (or possible Vin de Noix or maybe Orohovac). Slightly bitter with a warming baking spice (cinnamon, powdered ginger, clove, brown sugar) flavor, it makes an excellent post dinner drink or a more-versatile-than-anticipated cocktail ingredient.

According to tradition, in Italy the walnuts are picked the night of June 23rd for the Feast of John the Baptist. A website which Google very poorly translated for me claims that in addition to nut gathering-
People started from all the districts of Rome , by the light of torches and lanterns, and concentrated in St. John Lateran to pray to the saint and eat snails in the inns and cabins specially prepared for the party. The snails were a customary dish , because the tradition was " a lot of snails , so many horns for witches ."

In Portland, the walnuts seem to be ready around then too or maybe a little farther into June. If you aren't able to find green walnuts, just drink one of the several thousands other liqueurs that are available in your local liquor store. The internet is teeming with recipes and there is a lot of latitude for process and ingredients. Basically you want to chop up around 25-31 nuts per liter, soak them in alcohol for about 2-3 months maybe with a bit of clove, lemon zest, cinnamon or vanilla, then strain, add cold simple syrup to taste, rest 3 months, then strain again and bottle. At the distillery, we make Nocino with a mixture of unaged Rye Whiskey and aged Pinot Noir Brandy because we fancy. At home, I make it with rum because there are many cheap delicious rums. The internet tells you vodka, but the internet is composed of the same people you see when you are out in the world at the post office or grocery store and so I don't tend to put too much stock in their advice.

This particular batch was made by Margarett, so the recipe details are unknown but in general it follows the above guide lines. It tastes best after sitting in bottle for at least a year. What to do with it? How about a Manhattan? That seems easy and doesn't require me to get the citrus juicer dirty.

While some might shrivel at using a $50/half bottle of whiskey in a cocktail, I would suggest that those people need a remedial class in Ballin' (Ballin' 101 - How to Silence Your Inner Critic). More practically, my degree in accounting tells me that using $6 worth of whiskey at home is still cheaper than spending $12 for a drink in a bar, with the almost priceless bonus of being able to drink it in the bathtub. Also, the bottle was free...
house spirits westward whiskey nocino manhattan walnuts

Not Effective As Hair Dye
1.5 oz Whiskey (I used Westward Whiskey, a bourbon would suffice)
3/4 oz Nocino
Dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Mix over ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain and the spend the rest of the evening struggling for a name that isn't a groan-inducing 'nut' pun. 

*Some might assert that it is actually Tuesday and not Monday, but they are operating under the fallacy of linear time.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In Which I Learn A Lot About Armenia But Relay Little

Things might appear abandoned round these parts, but fear not, while Hephaestus may be a spotty chronicler, the forge fires still burn bright. Why, you might wonder, in the face of utter indifference, continue to struggle onward? "What is it that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! [...] To give birth to an idea - to discover a great thought - an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plow had gone over before."

Sometimes, to some people, that nugget is a drink. Like all triumphs, this was born out of great suffering - namely, Margarett cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem" cookbook.

While some households accumulate dust on the flat surfaces of their home, ours accumulates cookbooks. And also dust. And liquor bottles. And cat hair. The dust and cat hair are hard to divine any significance from, but the cookbooks are the tea leaves by which I read the upcoming week's meals. Some sightings, like a bookmarked page in Tadashi Ono's "Japanese Soul Cooking", can lift the heart as much as any rare bird. "The Joy Of Cooking" is as constant a presence as gravity, and doesn't provide many clues since it includes seemingly every existent and non-existent (Woodcock In Cream Sauce) human food. Others are a portent of grim times and empty bellies ahead; perhaps a vegetarian cook book left open on the bowel shredding, indigestible Sunchoke, or a dog-eared recipe for 'lentils' with a handwritten note to "Feed Andy More Punishment Food". When Yotam Ottolenghi's "Plenty" makes an appearance on the bedside table, I know I'll need to tighten my belt another notch and starting hunting for fast-food coupons. I've come to suspect that an Ottolenghi cookbook is a mandatory inclusion in the Yuppie Gourmet Starter Kit, along with your maldon salt and 'eco-friendly' bamboo cutting board.

The bit about great suffering was actually a rare moment of hyperbole. The 'Chicken with caramelized onion & cardamom rice' was perfectly fine and choked down without issue. (Ed note - To be fair, I just flipped through "Jerusalem" and some of it looked tasty. I can't seem to find any of the pathetic grain salads Margarett served in lieu of actual dinner. Maybe I should complain less. Well, rather than try to revise the previous paragraph to fit my now altered world view, I will press on to the cocktail section.) The recipe also yielded roughly two drinks worth of barberry flavored simple syrup. Barberries are quite tart, with a somewhat similar flavor to currants. Arak (a broad array of middle eastern anise spirit) would have been a more thematic choice for liquor, but my robustly American sense of geography is poor enough to think that Armenia is pretty close. Churchill is apocryphally quoted to have said that the keys to longevity are "Cuban cigars, Armenian brandy and no sport!" something that rings quite true to my ears. It was difficult to find more information on this particular bottle, as I'm not sure how hard you have to hit the keyboard to produce that letter in the middle. AP [something foreign] AX yielded few google results. To finish, a sliver of salt-cured preserved lemon which adds a quite nice something or other to the proceedings.
This was a hit.
Purely Decorative Tajine
1.5 oz Armenian Brandy
3/4 oz Barberry Simple Syrup
Juice Of Half A Lemon
2 thin strips of Preserved (salted) Lemon Peel

Mix all ingredients except lemon peel in a shake with ice, and make a cocktail out of them. Then, once you have the cocktail, garnish it in a nice way with the preserved lemon. Maybe rub a bit on the lip of the glass, unless you have bloody lips for some reason, in which case you would find their salty acidity quite painful.

Barberry Syrup was made by simmering an ounce of barberries in a 1:1 simple syrup for ~15 min, and then straining once cooled.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MxMo LXXXIII - Preserves - In Which Savoriness Is Proven To Be Additive

Another Mixology Monday has rolled around. Margarett has previously suggested that my Mixology Monday posts are among the weakest I've cobbled together, by which she means the least glowing gems in a vast treasury of splendors. While this might seem unduly harsh,  I recently told Margarett that the cabbage soup she prepared for dinner (after working a 9-hour day, most of which I'd spent idling in the bathtub) was unfit for P.O.W.s and that I was prepared to sue if it ever blighted our dinner table again. I feel Honesty is critical to relationships and also to not getting fed cabbage soup that you hate.

Anyways, after my homage to the world's greatest Taiwanese Distilled Cooking Spirit was 'mistakenly' left out of the roundup for Highballs (possibly due to my inflammatory opinions on Southerners) I sulkily absented from February's theme of Sours (i.e. was busy working 50 hours a week making alcohol). This month's theme of 'Preserves' hosted at 'A World of Drinks' was more difficult to resist, as through a masterful feat of prescience I began preparing for this theme 2 years ago.

The basis of this drink is a batch of Marmalade Sherry, the creation of which was a peerless example lemons-to-lemonade, of American Ingenuity snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. By coupling a sale on Seville oranges with a dubious recipe from the internet, Margarett and I produced a extra large batch of marmalade which never set. Instead of a firm jelly, we had a chunky puddle. The flavor was quite nice, but the consistency was such that it left your toast looking like a poltergeist had ectoplasmically copulated with it. We were left in, what might vulgarly be called 'a pickle'. Enter - A Genius. With a brix refractometer I diluted the marmalade with water and using White Labs Sherry Yeast let it ferment for 1.5 years to produce a wine of ~15% abv with a bit of residual sugar. I then used a tasty brandy to kill off the flor (the white coating which protects fino type sherries from oxidation) and fortify the wine to 19%. The taste is similar to Vin d'Orange (an excellent and informative recipe for which can be had here) but with the nutty character of sherry and a fair bit less sweetness.

For a while I've been enjoying it in a highball with House Spirits Gamle Aquavit, a star anise & caraway flavored spirit aged in used wine barrels. Anise & Orange is always an acceptable pairing to me, and the slightly bitter savory character of the marmalade sherry is a good match to the savoriness of the aquavit, like rye toast with jam. From there, I add Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur because it exists and if I dont use it it often seems like no one will. It adds a nice suggestion of apricot as well as some sweetness and moutfeel. The glass is empty because man as a creature is defined by his appetites, and also because my phone wasn't charged when I needed to take the picture. If your imagination should be insufficient to color in the void, perhaps vapidly staring through another episode of True Detective will help?

Soon To Be Featured At Bröder
3/4 oz Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur
1 oz House Spirits Krogstad Gamle Aquavit
1.5 oz Marmalade Sherry*

Shake together with ice. If you don't have marmalade sherry because you don't live with me, you can attempt a blend of Amontillado sherry, white wine, and an orange liqueur. Roughly 1/4 oz sherry, 3/4 oz wine and 1/2 orange liqueur seemed somewhat close, but I didn't test extensively because I still have a gallon of marmalade sherry. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

In Which No One Appreciate My Struggles

My limited pool of acquaintances (Margarett....my cat....my intense sense of guilt) hound me relentlessly about updating this blog, but I am finding them increasingly easy to ignore. I'm not sure they grasp the strain that it takes to communicate. "Seldom have I known any profound being that had anything to say to this world, unless forced to stammer out something by way of getting a living" For me, writing is like mining. When considered in its totality, mining takes precisely one eternity. While I'm tending the stills or mopping the floor, any number of brilliant ideas tromp around my brain, like ponderous dinosaurs. Eventually they die off as my mind repopulates with increasingly urgent and desperate thoughts about what I will have for dinner. As layer upon layer of daily silt (blog posts about 'normcore' fashion, trying to remember the difference between Crimea and Cimmeria, joint pain anxiety) accumulates atop these ideas, the intense heat and pressure of my intellect is slowly transforming them from mighty giants into compact nuggets of snarky 'content'. When the time is right, an expedition is mounted to the last known site of these ideas and the heavy digging begins. The coal is always black, the ground is always cold and hard. Once I've extracted what ever slim bucketful of ore I can, usually some form of refining (writing) is needed to transform the damp, polluted lignite ("Florentino is gross") into gleaming anthracite (The Internet Is Terrible And So Is Florentino). 

As you can see from that painfully contorted analogy, it can be a taxing process. When you factor in that there are ZERO returns on any effort invested, every post I make is actually a sparkling miracle of selflessness and near-Divine sacrifice.

In the vein of martyrdom, I am continuing to grapple with drinking the Florentino Liqueur. In an attempt to articulate the aroma of the spirit, I mixed some vanilla extract with cough syrup, anise seeds, and a mushed up banana. Right before Margarett was about to go to sleep I had her don a blindfold and smell the two ramekins I had prepared.

Mar - This one smells like that gross knock-off thing. This one smells like cough syrup with a banana mushed up in it and some anise seeds.

Perhaps a sign that we have been living together a bit too long. The mushed up banana with cough syrup went down alright after topping with a bit of soda water.

The problem with finding a Florentino cocktail, is that it is difficult to find a Galliano cocktail that I would entertain the thought of drinking. Most appear to be a random assemblage of of the sweetest liqueurs from an 80s Sorority party (http://www.webtender.com/db/drink/4752). There are a handful of more modern Galliano cocktails, but they use the reformulated 'Galliano L’Autentico' rather than the ghastly sweet version that Florentino is modeled after. I'd hoped by the time I got to the end of this post, my frantic clawing of the internet would have yielded a suitable recipe, but alas. Below is a not very inventive reformulation of the weissbanger, with the addition of some lime juice to decrease the sweetness, gin to decrease the banality, and egg white to decrease the chance that you won't get salmonella. If you've noticed that just about every drink I make is some combination of gin, egg whites, and unpalatable liqueur, perhaps you've also noticed that this photo is lit by the rising sun, a phenomena which occurs roughly between 7 and 9 am...

gin florentino the galliano knock off beer orange juice
Redundancy As The Foundation Of Tradition
1.5 oz Aviation American Gin
1.5 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Florentino Liqueur
1/3 oz Lime Juice
1 Egg White
3 oz dry wheat beer

Mix together all ingredients except beer and dry shake. Add ice, shake, strain into glass with 3 oz beer. Relish your morning and the temporary assuagement of your guilt about not updating your blog enough.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

In Which The Scheme, Having Yielded Dubious Profits, Is Revealed

As you might have derived from the title, this blog was founded with the idea of each post reviewing one of the many strange and relatively undocumented spirits the adventurous might encounter.  I hoped to parlay these reviews into internet notoriety, which could then be leveraged to extract free liquor from the many desperate PR reps and Brand Ambassadors of the liquor world. These free samples would fuel more deranged reviews, and voila! we have what my Big 10 college degree in business called a ‘Virtuous Circle’.

If you have been following along for a while, you are undoubtedly aware that I somehow lost sight of my grand stratagem and have primarily busied myself posting cocktail recipes that no one would possibly ever make because they either sound bad or contain ingredients that exist solely in my refrigerator.

All of this occurred to me because I recently reviewed the Search Keywords which have brought you meager handful of wretched souls here. Margarett has several times declared my blog to be ‘advanced’ by which she codedly but hurtfully means useless to everyone. WRONG.

Searchers I’ve Helped

‘Torani Amer Review’ – I crushed this one. It was like I wrote the exact thing you were searching for. I hope you really enjoyed it. If you did, you should write Torani and tell them to blast some product my way. This was from back in the salad days of my blogging career, when I had a purpose and vigor and was also only working like 20 hours a week and had plenty of time to make amusing charts.

‘Maraska Wishniak cherry liqueur blog’ – I have to imagine you were overjoyed at finding my post. An excellent cocktail recipe, a rib-tickling anecdote about how much I really dislike everyone, and a useful comparison description of a product you’ve never heard of! In doing a recent similar search the only other close to helpful link was on Drink-think.net, a spirits consultancy, which prompted a revelation.  Dear Lady From Drink Think I met one time, I now realize that when you said you hated Fernet Branca and much preferred the markedly obscure Croatian wormwood digestive Pelinkovac made by Maraska it was exactly because you are their Oregon distributor. I love Pelinkovac too and will say nice things about it, if only I had some samples to utilize in innovative cocktails. If not, I am happy to post my upcoming companion piece about how Maraska stole Luxardo’s Zara distillery after communist partisans murderously forced the Italian population into exile.  

Searchers I Didn’t Help

‘handsome geniuses’ – I wrote a clickbait title and you clicked it. “Though man loved his fellow, yet man is a money-making animal, which propensity too often interferes with his benevolence”.

‘poison pear liqueur’ – Would that I could have helped you, but alas I believe you were actually searching for how to make something out of this. But I salute you for expanding my own pool of trivia, for in trying to determine what the hell you were actually looking for, I learned that this tree is “is known for its distinctive smell which is similar to a cross between rotting fish and semen.”

Well, to close this distasteful session of SEO analytics, a distateful cocktail. This is the otherwise tasty Harvey Weissbanger created by Jacob Grier, but given a Reasonable Poisons twist where I used a mysterious, abominable, bottom-shelf Galliano knock-off called Florentino, straight from the homeland of fine herbal liqueurs Cleveland Ohio. The below is actually the ONLY image of Florentino that I think you can find on the internet, so consider yourself privileged in a modest fashion. 

Florention Liqueur with orange juice and beer harvey weissbanger wallbanger variant
The Sunshine, The Beauty, The Romance, The Glamour

2 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1 oz Florentino Liqueur
6 oz Wheat Beer (I used a very dry wheat saison)

Mix orange juice and florentino with ice, strain into chilled glass while simultaneously pouring in beer. Ruminate on whether you should be more concerned about diabetes or Yellow #5. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

7 Signs That Everyday A Small But Vital Portion Of Your Life Force Is Eroding Away, And 1 Weird Trick You Can Do To Stop It

The trick is that you can't stop it, even as you read this you are at some perceptible level aging and Death is inching closer. Weird, huh?

Recent circumstances beyond my control have put me on a temporary hiatus from cocktails. Or, more accurately, my lack of control in recent circumstances lead to me throwing up Haggis in bed and then I got a cold so I decided to 'stop drinking' for a week. I discovered that 'not drinking' is a euphemistic term.  Should you attempt it literally you will gradually dehydrate and begin to suffer mental and physical ailments. It feels like a betrayal that even if you abstain from alcohol you have to continuously pour liquid into your body. After a few days this got to be very boring. The endless monkey-go-round of staying hydrated really wears a person out. It's almost enough to make you give up the whole endeavor.

I explored drinking coffee, tea, water, boiling pitch and oil of vitriol  but found them to all be lacking in a certain something (Ed Note - ALCOHOL, you idiot). Coffee was palatable but anything beyond the most meager dosage conveys an unacceptable level of explosiveness to all manner of my bodily conduct. Tea makes me feel like an old geezer gumming broth, I never feel satisfied but I try to make the best of it as I know it's just about all my frail inner working can handle. The only teas I could find in the cabinet that seemed to be adequately flavored all had either real or imagined sedative properties.  It didn't really matter, as without the prospect of a drink it was tough hoeing to find a reason for staying awake past 6.

Making soda at home seemed the only passable option, and was an agreeable distraction. You could call them mocktails if through some terrible accident your dignity was removed and replaced with a hatred for language.  

I enjoyed lavender soda quite a bit, made by flavoring simple syrup with lavender flowers from the backyard. It was like taking your mouth on vacation to Aunt's bathroom.

Indian Sarsaparilla, in addition to its wonderful aroma and flavor can be used "for inveterate syphilis, pseudo-syphilis, mescurio-syphilis and struma in all its forms. Also valuable in gonorrhoeal neuralgia and other depraved conditions of the system". Just what the doctor ordered.

No picture because who wants to look at fucking soda

3/4 oz Indian Sarsaparilla Syrup
1/2 Lime
Regan's Orange Bitters

Heat up 1 cup each sugar and water with a pinch of citric acid / acid blend / lemon until steaming hot, pour over ~4-5 gram Indian Sarsaparilla root in a canning jar and seal. Once cooled, strain out root (I use an aero press). Sarsaparilla will lose a lot of its aroma if boiled or simmered, so do it this way. Or you could make a tea with hot water, and once cooled add that to sugar syrup. This drink very easily accommodates additions of rum, whisky, brandy, gin, vodka, or mezcal. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mixology Monday - In Which I Actually Enjoy A Drink For A Change

This month's Mixology Monday (hosted at Southern Ash) was Highballs. Aka a "_____ & Soda". I drink quite a lot of high balls. I think this stems from the fact that I am a Drinker first, and someone that gives a shit about fancy drinks second. As a Drinker, it is quite helpful to have something that is moderate enough in alcohol that I can still face tomorrow after 4-to-10 drinks on a Tuesday. I make soda water in 5 gallon kegs and blow through about one a fortnight. Margarett likes me to make the soda water with around 5 volumes of pressure, which I think is double what commercial soda water is. I find that to be on the threshold of painfully fizzy, but it is worth enduring for the times when guests attempt to serve themselves, and the soda water rockets into their glass and sprays their drink all over them.

One of my favorite highballs is the Grapefruit Chuhai served at Tanuki, a weird bar place in Portland. Tanuki is the only place I've ever been close to a regular at, and it's a great place to go if you are able to slam 4 beers during happy hour and then eat 15 different ocean creatures while a giant tv plays videos of tentacle horror softcore. A Chuhai was originally a shochu highball, which through the Japanese love of packaging became a canned Mike's Harder-equse alcoholic soda / premium malt beverage. Tanuki serves theirs with a big whack of bitters in it, which is nice.

While shochu would be a great choice, I selected Taiwanese cooking 'wine' to stay truer to the canned Chuhai experience. Michiu is something like a kome shochu, a spirit distilled from rice. I say something like, because I really don't know much about it except what the label tells me and what light googling yields. I DO know that it costs $5/bottle and is 19.5% abv, and tastes pretty good. This version has no salt added which is HIGHLY IMPORTANT. Is there shame in drinking cooking wine? I say no. Good enough for teens good enough for me.

If you have grapefruit soda I bet that would work. I had a Florida grapefruit that someone mailed me for Christmas because they aren't aware that we have grocery stores in Oregon now. This was great, and I expect the first one will pair well in my stomach with the four that will be following it over the course of Robo Vampire.


1 half grapefruit
3 oz Wan An Farm & Pastoral Co LTD Taiwan Michiu
1/2 oz Palm Sugar Simple Syrup

Slice grapefruit in half, place on pan and sprinkle on brown sugar. Broil in your oven for like 5 or 10 minutes, until it looks good and broiled. Juice the grapefruit, which should yield about 3 oz juice. Mix together juice, michiu, and simple syrup, shake with ice and strain into a relatively clean glass (a dirty glass will work if you can't find a clean one). Blast in some ultra carbonated fizzy water and top with a float of angostura.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Fallacy Of Hope

Well another year has finally ground itself out, with the usual depredations on my hairline, joints, and conviviality. I marked a significant milestone in my descent-toward-middle-age when my girlfriend had to berated me to 'put on your Nice Pants' for her company holiday party rather than the stained jeans I had planned on. What will 2014 hold for me? Pleated front khakis? White New Balance 'Dad' shoes? Fortunately, in Oregon I have an alternative recourse should things grow so grim.

While I might sound a bit down about it, I typically look forward to the New Year. Mostly because I enjoy making New Years Resolutions

2010 - Eat More Hollandaise - Killed It.
2011 - Drink More Gin - Crushed this one.
2012 - Achieve Spiritual Enlightenment - I guess I failed this one, but I at least kept up the momentum on gin drinking from last year. Also, I did a lot of stretching.
2013 - Embrace Love Of Classic Rock / Drink More Wine Spritzers - Mixed - I must have listened to Inna-Gadda-Da-Vidda 40 times and this is being written to the dulcet strains of Space Truckin'. If you haven't made your NYR yet, go ahead and open THIS and hopefully it should become clear. I made some headway on wine spritzers but at about the midpoint of the year I subconsciously started substituting gin for wine.

I usually give myself a few weeks into the New Year before selecting one, but some options include

Drink More During The Day
Visit Weird Asian Fish Store Down The Street
Develop 'System' For Horse Track

....Well I wrote all that on Dec 31th, and now this morning with a partially shattered brain and a burning need to read more Judge Dredd comics in bed I am struggling for a conclusion.

The Dying, The Dead & The Damned
1 Mug 'Joint Comfort' Herbal Tea
1 Glass Lagavulin 16

May 2014 relieve your suffering, but hopefully not in the permanent way.