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The first time I ever drank alcohol (Mom, stop reading now) was at a party at Jeff Dakin’s house. I was 16, I think, and there was Budweiser in cans. As I couldn’t stand the taste of the
champagne of beer s, I emptied a can into an oversized, plastic cup and mixed it with OJ, which was all I could find in the Dakin family fridge that struck me as even plausible to combine with pissy lager. And so my career in mixology began .
I remember being so embarrassed by this that I only did my mixing when nobody else was in the kitchen, but I also remember coming up with a name for my concoction — the Rosebud — which means I must’ve talked to other kids there about it, or at least that I saw the humor in what I was doing.
If I’d known then about red wine and Coke, think 0f how boldly I could’ve plundered Mr. and Mrs. Dakin’s wine stash instead of making do with OJ’d-down, mass-produced swill. Imagine my rapt, pimple-pocked audience as I explained that rendering cheap booze palatable for consumption was a noted hallmark of youth across the seas! Think about what a precocious, pretentious ass I would’ve sounded like, expounding upon my own multiculti self-awareness. (Why, I may as well have checked my humility at the door and enrolled as one of Suri Cruise’s classmates at Avenues!)
I have seen recipes for champagne martinis that call for just vodka and sparkler. I have come across others (more than I would have guessed) that all swear by a spoonful of raspberry puree in the bottom of the glass, with some fizz and whatever else on top. And I have read that just bubbly and Cointreau is what constitutes a proper Champagne Martini — if “proper” is even a descriptor we can properly use when discussing a cocktail that bears, at best, a second-cousin resemblance to a proper-proper martini-martini.
My new favorite acronym is MINO — Martini in Name Only. It was, I will admit to you devout drinkers, a fact of life I had to swallow (straight, no chaser) when I agreed to author a cocktail book called The Big Book of Martinis for Moms. Clearly, not all 175+ recipes in the book are vodka- and or gin-based, for one thing. Believe you me, I did strive to make as many of the book’s recipes fall in line with a classic martini’s most hallowed guidelines. As it turns out, Mom does not live on vermouth alone.
Wedding season’s sprung up early this year here at the blog. Last week, besides my trucking down to NJ to attend Cousin Mark‘s fiancee’s shower, one of you e’d me desperate for help with a groom’s cocktail to serve at his upcoming nuptials. Why desperate? Because of when upcoming: This very gracious gentleman, Jon, e’d me on a Wednesday needing a recipe for the reception on Saturday. Ladeeeeez, dudes and wedding planning OMG AMIRITE??!?
Obligatory awwwWWW! pic of Mark and his fiancee, Molly!
Did you know today’s National Hangover Awareness Day? I did as of 90 seconds ago! Which is when I saw a tweet about the more-a-promotional-stunt-than-actual-commemorative-day Day. Although it makes sense, when you
read the press release think about it: The Monday after the Super Bowl, in fact, clocks more calls in sick to work than any other day of the year.
If there were an official Five O’Clock Press Release in response to the NHAD press release,
nobody would read it it would read:
Remember how I spent New Year’s Eve pouring various champagne cocktails, including The World’s Greatest Champagne Cocktail, because God forbid I let a single drop (of nastily cheap bubbles, mind you) go to waste? Well, I almost let many, many drops go to waste, as I’ve just now realized that I never blogged the Breakers 75.
I’m going to admit, I don’t entirely “get” this cocktail. For example, I don’t entirely get its name. The “75″ is referencing the French 75, no? But “Breakers,” does that mean… waves? Is this a cocktail for surfers? Was it invented at some cheesy, “nice” restaurant in the 80s? (For some reason, when I picture the word “Breakers,” that’s what I picture: A Reagan/Miami Vice-era notion of good taste and fine dining, spelled out in cursive neon. Probably bread plates that look like seashells, that sort of crap.)
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this week is unofficially-officially Leftover Champagne Week at the blog. Is this a case of bad timing on my behalf? Surely some of you poured your New Year’s Eve backwash down the drain days ago. But what about youse guys who overstocked for your year-end blowout, and now must stare down the doldrums of January while half a case of perfectly good bubbly makes eyes at you from the top of your fridge? This week’s for you.
There’s a great future in aperitifs and digestifs. I don’t just mean that in a Benjamin-Braddock-searching-for-meaning-in-the-60s-oh-I-get-it-she’s-referencing-The Graduate kind of way. Italian liqueurs are mega-trendy big right now and I say good on it, because they’re relatively cheap (~$20 a bottle, less for vermouths), a little goes a long way, they’re becoming easily available, they have the best ad posters, they were born to make nice in endless kinds of cocktail recipes, and once you start you’ll want to collect them and play with them and come up with neat at-home displays for them like you used to do with your Smurfs.
I haven’t told you yet how I spent my New Year’s Eve, have I? Silly me. You’re likely kvetching to know what a pretend professional drinker does on Alcoholics’ Feast Day. (It’s in the Bible, look it up.)
Our evening began early-ish, in the five o’clock hour (it’s not just a blog, it’s a thing you can do!), with the best pizza in the world and a list of champagne cocktails to make. Earlier, we’d picked up a cheapo bottle of bubbles, and of course to get every penny’s worth of the $9.97 you just spent on lowercase-c champagne so embarrassingly embarrassing that I refuse to even mention it by name here, you have to plan for several fizzy drinks at once.
Folks, O patient folks, cherished blog-reading folks: Mea culpa runneth over.
I am sorry I have not posted in so long. I was busy moving out of the country, then resettling in my new one. The PhoBlograpHusband will be starting his Ph.D. in musicology at McGill University this week (location: sunny Montreal, Canada), which I suppose means that in a few years his proper title will be Ph.D.oBlograPh.D.usband.
Tragically, this life upheaval included a metaphorical man-overboarding of our booze supply, in the literal form of a “Drink Us Out of House and Homeland” farewell party we held for our NYC friends at the end of July. Like most immigration policies, Canada’s rules and regs on bringing booze into the country change with every website you consult and infoline you call, but best we could tell, the first bottle per person is on the house; after that, all subsequent bouteilles are taxed at 100 percent their retail cost. Merde!
ZOMG guysies, I am still funking SmAsHed! from Wills’ bachelor party last night. Srsly, it was off da royal chizzy!!! Total bach-analia, yo!
OK, so, of course it started out totes norms and civil and whatnot, ‘cuz good, ol’ Droopy-Faced McPrincenstein was trying to prove he could still hang with the boyz and all, and I think he was getting a little wack on the stripper talking about how he wanted to be her tampon and stuff.
But finally he split, so then we were all like, “Yo, bust out dem Crack Babies!” I mean, ain’t no way we throwin’ a stag party for my dawg Wills and not do major shottage of Crack Babies. They’re his fave choice for getting royally f’ed up!