Archive for the ‘booze’ tag
my attempt at making a Rabbie Burns aka Robert Burns cocktail…
The peculiar habit among Americans to call Burns “Bobby” (or “Bobbie”) has long been an object of derision. Ogden Nash proclaimed in the New Yorker: “That hero my allegiance earns/Who boldly speaks of Robert Burns.” His 1951 poem “Everything’s Haggis in Hoboken” lampoons “coy and cute” faux-Scots who “turn all doch-an-dorris” at the mention of Burns. “I have an inexpensive hobby,” Nash wrote, “Simply not to call him Bobby.” Noting that he would no more speak of Tommy Hardy or Bernie Shaw, Nash penned this indelible couplet: “And I yearn to shatter a set of crockery/On this condescending Bobbie-sockery.” Nash liked a drink, but he wouldn’t have dreamed of ordering a Bobby Burns.
In the U.K., the problematic diminutive isn’t Bobbie, but “Rabbie.” Many Burnsians take it as a mark of the neophyte or poseur when they hear someone praise dear old “Rabbie.” Others get downright offended. Cranky Glaswegian politician John S. Clarke wrote in 1925: “To refer to Burns as ‘Rabbie’ at this stage in world history is a piece of disgusting insolence.” I quail to think what Clarke would have said of the Bobby Burns cocktail.
The drink makes one of its first appearances in the 1930 “Savoy Cocktail Book,” published in London. The cocktail is called the Bobby Burns, and is made with Scotch, sweet vermouth and a bit of Benedictine. But that may not be the original Burns Cocktail. “Old Waldorf Bar Days” was published in 1931, but its recipes were those served at the Waldorf Hotel before Prohibition. The book includes not a Bobby Burns but a more formally titled Robert Burns. (The author, Albert Stevens Crockett, isn’t sure whether the drink was christened for the famous poet or for a local cigar salesman of the same name.) Instead of adding Benedictine to the Scotch and vermouth, the Waldorf’s Robert Burns cocktail calls for a dash of absinthe.
Further complicating matters, the Burns hasn’t always stuck to Benedictine or absinthe. Kingsley Amis, in his book “Every Day Drinking,” stated that “Bobbie Burns” cocktails were to be made of Scotch, vermouth and Drambuie. He had good reason for this recommendation: David Embury, author of the indispensable 1948 “Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” defines a Bobbie Burns cocktail as a “Rob Roy with the addition of 1 dash of Drambuie.” Embury notes that “Benedictine is sometimes used in place of Drambuie,” but he says that “Drambuie is preferable because it is made with a Scotch whisky base.”
Embury also suggests adding a dash of Peychaud’s bitters to the mix. I’m not so sure about the Peychaud’s, but I do prefer the drink made with Drambuie. You may disagree — it’s worth trying the Burns cocktail all three ways to find out how you like it best.
(click here to continue reading A Birthday Toast to Scotland’s Bard – WSJ.com.)
For the record, I tried all three (using only 1 oz of Scotch, and other ingredients proportionately adjusted), and liked the Benedictine version best, the Drambuie variant second best, and the Absinthe version was a bit overpowered by the Absinthe. Final verdict was: worth trying if you want to drink a Scotch cocktail. I’ve had this bottle of Dewar’s White Label for a long, long time, might as well drink it up, and celebrate the poet.
Burns, in common with many other great figures in history, did indeed have a colorful and eventful life during his 37 short years upon this earth, his early demise due in no small part to the doctors of the time who believed that standing immersed in the freezing waters of the Soiway Firth would benefit his failing health.
But his lifestyle is not the reason for his everlasting fame. That is due simply to the wonderful legacy of poems and songs that he left to the world, and which most certainly deserve to be read more than once a year.
Robert Burns was a man of vision. He believed absolutely in the equality of man, irrespective of privilege of rank or title. He detested cruelty and loved the gifts of nature.
It is undeniable that Burns liked the company of women, but what is not generally recognised is that he was a strong advocate of women’s rights, at a time when few men were.
He despised false piety and consequently was unpopular with the church as he mocked their preachers mercilessly.
I have, however, heard an eloquent Church of Scotland minister describe some lines from the Bard’s works as being no less than modern proverbs, and it is difficult to disagree with that statement when one considers the depth of meaning in some of the words that Burns wrote.
‘The best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley!’
‘Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!’
‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!’
‘An honest man’s the noblest work of God!”
The works of Robert Burns are indeed full of wisdom!
Burns’ poems and songs are wonderful to read, but as many are composed in what is virtually a foreign language to the bulk of English speakers, they can be heavy going to the non-Scot, or non-Scots speaker.
This book contains a varied selection of Burns’ works, some well known, others less so.
(click here to continue reading Understanding Robert Burns.)
Rabbie Burns Cocktail
1 one-inch strip of orange peel
1 1/2 ounces Dewar’s White Label
1/2 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
3 dashes Bénédictine.
Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with the orange peel. Shake the other ingredients in a glass with ice. Strain into the cocktail glass and garnish with the reserved peel.
Drinking Like a Poet
My photo was used to illustrate this post
Bourbon is a uniquely American distillation of whiskey named after the region of Kentucky that perfected the process. Photo by Swanksalot (flickr).
Bourbon is a subtype of whiskey. For whiskey to be bourbon whiskey, it must be distilled from a grain base of at least 51% corn. More importantly, it must also be made in the United States.
click here to view:
Bourbon: the Exclusive Whiskey of the United States
automatically created via Delicious and IFTTT
Organic botanical gin, at that. Hadn’t heard of this before yesterday’s sojourn to Whole Foods, but I like it.
Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone
Lens: John S
Film: Ina’s 1935
in this age of everything artisanal and organic, you now have Farmer’s Gin. It’s a small-batch production from the people who make Crop Harvest Earth organic vodkas, based on grains from organic farms in the upper Midwest and infused with classy herbs like elderflower, lemon grass and angelica, besides the required juniper.
It’s fragrant, a bit floral and not as bone-dry and piney as a typical London gin. You might spike lemonade with it, and appreciate the 93.4 proof. I like it neat, on the rocks, with a generous squirt of lime
Via Florence Fabricant of The New York Times.
Actually, after I took this photo, I added a splash of Vya red Vermouth
bonus: Onion video that caused a bit of a ruckus at the Chicago Tribune, and got Chief Innovation Office Lee Abrams suspended:
VH1 Reality Show Bus Crashes In California Causing Major Slut Spill
Today is Day Five of my annual detox1 — the goal is to totally eschew alcohol, all grains with the exception of brown rice, breads, pastas, sugars, dairy, and even legumes. Mostly subsist upon fruit, vegetables and eggs. And lots and lots of black coffee. I’m also taking a sauna every day for about 30 minutes, and trying to get more than 6 hours of sleep. I’ve been too busy this week2 to really exercise, hopefully by next week I’ll be able to get in 30 minutes of cardio or more a day.
There are herbal supplements that are part of the detox, these I’m less convinced are effective, but they don’t hurt, and actually quiet my stomach’s rumbling on occasion.
My typical diet consists largely of fruits and vegetables already, but with the addition of lots of bread, cheese, and noodles. And booze, of course, which if I’m honest with myself, is probably the biggest factor in my expanding waistline. I estimate my booze belly consists of 25% beer, 40% wine, 20% whisky and whiskey,3 13% gin or tequila and 2% other. For me to become a teetotaler would be quite difficult, even with my compromised liver. So I take a few weeks every year to clean my cells out. Sort of like Lent, but without the ridiculous religious aspects.
Speaking of moving, I think our haggling over the detailed conditions of our lease will be finalized today, and we will be able to start packing this weekend in anticipation of a move-in date in the middle of next month. Moving is a stress, but also exciting – everything is still possible, even where our rooms will be located. We’ll have slightly more space than we have currently, and in a building that isn’t falling down around our ears. We haven’t totally finalized our plans with this place, either we rent it out and let it pay for itself, or put it on the (admittedly soft) market to sell. Or both. Either will require we make dozens of cosmetic repairs, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, painting, yadda yadda. While we are doing these chores4, might still use this space as an office. We are lucky that the place was purchased before the massive real estate inflation, so covering the cost of the mortgage doesn’t seem unreasonable. Renting a different place is a lot easier than getting a new mortgage, especially since the banks are less likely to allow self-reported income. Small businesses often get the shaft despite the number of times politicians mouth support for them.
Wow, a confessional blog post! So unusual – I usually prefer to keep my emotional and personal life in the margins, but here we are. Wish us luck!Footnotes:
My favorite drinking game.
Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone
Lens: John S
If I’m motivated, can drink three drinks with the same ice cubes (i.e., before they melt). Personally, love good whiskey-with-an-E best when the ice has melted maybe 10%. Enough cold water to blend, but not too much to dilute it.
Anyway, I think it’s time for me to pour today’s cocktail, as I’m too tired to work on anything important today.
A (better) photo of my delicious Manhattan
Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, Angostura bitters, Cinzano “Rosso” vermouth
shaken over ice cubes for 20 seconds before pouring into a cocktail glass. And slurped down.
Screw that funky (music white boy) cherry thing. No seriously, Maraschino Cherries are not part of my everyday repertoire.
Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone
Lens: John S
If I’m going to drink bourbon1, a deftly-created Old Fashioned is probably my favorite way to drink it.
That’s when I come back to the Old Fashioned. As prone to becoming the subject of polemic, revisionism and endlessly repetitive arguments as any other cocktail — barring perhaps the cult-like madness that often accompanies the martini — when the computer is turned off and I place the whiskey and bitters on the kitchen counter, ultimately it’s just a drink. Not that I don’t recall the nagging questions as I mix, nor the ways I’m sure the drink would annoy partisans at polar ends of the mixological range: first a dab of sugar syrup in the bottom of a glass followed by a couple of dashes of bitters (hardcore Old Fashionedistas mandate the physical crushing of a sugar cube, possibly with a swath of orange or lemon peel); then a measured dose of bourbon or rye whiskey, depending on the mood; a quick stir for everyone to get acquainted in the glass, followed by large chunks of ice and, for that inner five-year-old with maturing tastes, a single bottled Italian wild cherry for color, rinsed of any cloying syrup
[Click to continue reading Are You Friends, After an Old Fashioned? - Proof Blog - NYTimes.com]
Personally, I skip the cherry, and usually skip most of the sugar syrup too.
Jonathan Miles adds, in a requiem for the decade just over:
No, the real story was in rediscovered in drinks like the aviation cocktail, a sublimely floral combination of gin and maraschino liqueur (and later, as cocktail historians dug deeper into its origins, the violet-flavored crème de violette) that was a Web sensation before bars like Milk & Honey started featuring it on cocktail lists.
Or the old-fashioned, once dowdy but reinvigorated by bartenders like Don Lee, who recast it as the celery and nori old-fashioned at Momofuku Ssam Bar, and Phil Ward of Death & Company, whose Oaxaca old-fashioned — with tequila standing in for whiskey — proved how versatile a spare, 200-year-old formula could be.
These were artisanal drinks with history and gravitas and a contrapuntal range of flavors — sweet, sour, savory, bitter — that hadn’t been balanced in generations. They’re representative of a lost American art — the art of the cocktail, as practiced by pre-Prohibition bartenders — that, after the ’00s, can no longer be called lost.
[Click to continue reading Shaken and Stirred - The Last Decade Was Good for Cocktails, Anyway - NYTimes.com]
You’d have to add Mad Men chic to the equation too: the Old Fashioned was Don Draper’s signature drink, the drink that won him Connie Hilton’s ad business, as described amusingly at A Dash of Bitters.
It happens to all of us, eventually. You’ll be at the country club, at a party hosted by your boss, who’s in the midst of a humiliating midlife crisis. He’ll be the fool in blackface, serenading his new bride, who’s 30 years his junior. Disgusted, you’ll walk away and seek out another old-fashioned. Alas, no bartender will be on duty, and the famous hotelier who’s rooting around behind the bar will declare that he’s on the same mission as you, but to his dismay, there’s no bourbon.
With a James Bondian flourish, you’ll leap over the bar, rummage a bit, and find some good Old Overholt. You’ll take a couple of glasses, drop a sugar cube in each, and dash in some bitters. While the bitters soften the sugar cubes, you’ll find any old tall glass behind the bar and fill it about halfway with ice. Free-pour the rye over that, open a bottle of soda water, and splash some in. Muddle the sugar cubes. Roughly thrust a barspoon up and down in the tall glass three times, and then pour the drink, ice included, half into one glass and half into the other.
You’ll drop a wedge of lemon into each glass, then, but you won’t bother stirring the sugar into the drink, probably because you’ll be making out with someone else’s spouse by the time you’d reach the sugary sludge. And you’ll have yourself an old-fashioned rye cocktail. Hand one off to the hotelier and drink up.
[Click to continue reading Don Draper’s no-nonsense old-fashioned for two — A Dash of Bitters]
Indeed. No precision required, just American can-do-ism.Footnotes:
- not in my top ten of alcoholic drinks, well, maybe number 10 or 11. [↩]
A few interesting links collected December 18th through December 23rd:
- Climate Change Deniers vs The Consensus | Information Is Beautiful – point by point refutation of climate change deniers
- Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon Recipe « Knopf Doubleday – Cooking – "one of Julia Child’s signature dishes: boeuf bourguignon. In case you’d like to follow in her footsteps, we are a sharing a PDF of the recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking."
- Make: Online : Flashback: The Sweet Sound of Particleboard – The Sweet Sound of Particleboard
Beef up the tone of open-back amps with a little thrift shop help.
- Featured Article – Bourbon versus vodka: Bourbon hurts more the next day, performance is the same – While the toxic chemicals called congeners could be poisonous in large amounts, they occur in very small amounts in alcoholic beverages," explained Damaris J. Rohsenow, professor of community health at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. "There are far more of them in the darker distilled beverages and wines than in the lighter colored ones. While the alcohol alone is enough to make many people feel sick the next day, these toxic natural substances can add to the ill effects as our body reacts to them."