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Blogging is emotional, people, and here’s why. One day I’m confessing to you all the twists and turns, dead ends, missteps, frustrations and, ultimately, the satisfaction that comes from fashioning a cocktail recipe outta nada. And we liked that, right? The Bathtub Gin(ger) — it sounds delightful, no? We picture, like, those fantastical, Depression-era black-and-white flickers with the Mae West and the Ginger Rogers and the silky peignoirs and the heart-shaped hotel bathtubs on pedestals. Don’t we? (I have a pretty active imagination.)
And then the next day, what I have to confess to you is this: I found this other cocktail site that is a pretty excellent resource for mixologists of all levels, a really thorough, user-friendly, cleanly designed database of drink recipes that absolutely merits my recommending it to you, and now y’all are gonna leave me, I just know it. Boo hoo hoo! Now I’m picturing a Douglas Sirk B-grade weepy in which Barbara Stanwyck slaps the dickens out of her unrequiting lover because she is mentally unhinged and afraid of losing him.
Kindred Cocktails lets you browse recipes by author, ingredient, base liquor or most-recently-added recipes. Anyone is allowed to contribute. The guy who runs it calls himself “Chief Swizzlestick,” which your Head Blogtender finds almost but not quite as clever as Head Blogtender.
I am writing to you from on a cocktail high. It’s almost noon yet I’m still riding my 3 a.m. buzz. Last night, I competed alongside 11 of the city’s best bartenders in the first-ever Montreal Bar vs. Chef competition. It was like PROM FOR COCKTAIL NERDS!!!
The contest was held at Le LAB, my maison away from maison here in Montreal. (The first night Sean and I went there, I got just pickled enough that I started blabbing about my cocktail blog, and next thing I know the LAB staff and the PhoBlograpHusband had conspired against me to sign me up for the contest, despite my being neither a French-fluent nor an actually-employed bartender.) It was sponsored by Appleton Estate and consisted of three parts:
The moral of this week is: Take things literally. Yesterday I blogged about my Breakfast of Champions, an original cocktail o’mine that bears more than a passing resemblance to a Moon Over My Hammy at Denny’s – and yes, it’s a little embarrassing for a
high-functioning alcoholic mature mixologist to admit to such levels of kitsch. Today’s recipe, while not quite so blatant, was likewise created via an over-the-top approach.
The basic premise was to construct a swizzle using the sweetest ingredients we (Sean and I) could think of, but somehow manipulate them into a drink that tasted better than, say, a shot of insulin with a Blow Pop chaser. Our secondary goal was to make a juice-less swizzle — which, according to rather strict definitions I’ve found and mentioned here before, means it technically wouldn’t be a swizzle, but whatevs — as our at-home citrus stock was low.
Dear Tri-State Weather,
You are being a whiny little beeyotch this week. After putting up with all your petulant bullshit throughout the entirety of spring (wait, what spring? Exactly), now you are ruining Summer Cocktail Week. I plan a Mai Tai post and you decide that it’s a good day for intermittent drizzle and an overcast sky that can only be described as pawn-shop pewter. Do you see a dot-uk at the end of this blog’s url? You’re just fucking un-American, weather.
The World’s Greatest Mai Tai
1 1/2 ounces Myers Rum
1 ounce of another dark rum of your choice
1/2 ounce orange curacao
1 1/4 ounces lime juice
1/2 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce orgeat
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Orange peel and cocktail umbrella, for garnish
Combine all liquid ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Strain into a Pilsener glass that has been filled with crushed ice, swizzle-style. Garnish.
As both a maker of cocktails and a plier of the written word, I am wholly offended by garish concoctions (cocktastrophes, perhaps?) that look like this and, insult on top of insult, co-opt the nomenclature of “daquiri”:
And so, welcome to reason #I-lost-track of why I so thoroughly enjoyed pitching drinks at The Royale, where the Holly Hills daquiri looks like this:
When this blog was still but an emptyish Google docs folder, my webmaster/husband, at one point needing to throw some dummy text into WordPress, cut and pasted a few grafs from a paper he’d presented at McGill University in March. He studies musicology, so next to a photo of the Autumn in New York, it read:
“The modern conception of the blues has come to be associated with two essential elements; a strict formal construction of twelve bars in common time divided into three four-bar phrases, and a cyclical repetition of that construct featuring melodic, textural and timbral variation. Blah, blah, blah.” [Ed. note: “Blah, blah, blah” mine.]
We joked about how awesomely trippy it’d be to just make the blog nothing but photos of cocktails juxtaposed with chunks of musicological academia, and leave it up to the reader (of which there’d surely be even fewer than there are now; bless you (plural?) all!) to divine what the hell it all meant. There is one drink, however, which would’ve let the two appropriately coalesce: the Robert Johnson Swizzle, a cocktail invented at my own, personal Valhalla, Death & Co., and named after the father* of the Delta blues.