Friday, January 28, 2011

I Call It My 'Harvey Wallbanger', Wanna See It?

It's that time of the week again, another Friday night and people are getting ready making plans for the evening. Well this week let me introduce you to a friend of mine, Harvey Wallbanger. In the illustrious tradition of cleverly-named cocktails, this one might just be The Holy Grail. The choice name of a male's package AND a trendy alcoholic beverage? Don't mind if I do!

Harvey Wallbanger

 What does the Bible have to say about Harvey? Let's take a look:

Sometimes the name really makes the drinnk. Consider the Harvey Wallbanger. It's basically a screwdriver with a dash of Galliano added in, but thanks mostly to it's distinctive, vaguely smutty-sounding moniker (and a promotional ad campaign featuring a loveable cartoon character by that name) it became one of the most popular drinks of the 1970s. Legend has it the Harvey was created in the 1950s by Donato "Duke" Antone, the famed Los Angeles mixologist who also gave the world the Rusty Nail, the Flaming Caesar, and the Godfather. The name was inspired by a drunken patron who kept banging into walls one day after downing one too many. Order one up the next time you're 'flying high' (the Wallbanger became a worldwide sensation after TWA began serving it in its 747cocktail lounges) or dispense as an accompainment to a menu of old-school entree favourites, like Veal Prince Orlaff or Boeuf Bourguinon. This is powerful stuff, so don't be surprised if you're banging into a few walls yourself by the end of the evening.

"I've seen it, kid. When the man is no longer in charge, and the drink takes over." - Arnie, 75, "businessman"

I had a feeling I was being watched during that staff Christmas party! Oh Arnie, you should've come over and said hi; I'm dying to know exactly what kind of 'business' you're in.

1oz vodka
4oz orange juice
1/2oz Galliano

This drink actually gave us some degree of trouble; it was the damn Galliano! I didn't even know what the hell Galliano was, let alone that we walked halfway across town to the second liquer store looking for it only to find them closed. With a little bit of a luck (and a good cabbie) we managed to find a store that was open and made the long walk home to start the evening off.

Now lets talk about this drink for a moment. We had talked about my first drink as I was rummaging through my dad's liquer cabinet a few posts back and it was a little bit of vodka and a little bit of orange juice - a Screwdriver. I was *really* hoping to be transported back to the days of watching Bleu Nuit on the french cable channel that carried soft-core porn in the same time-slot as Saturday Night Live. The 'Return' button on the remote got WORN OUT. Sorry, got a bit off-topic there. Back to the beverage..

I think we can all get behind a Screwdriver, so the real question is: What is Galliano? Answer: A sweet vanilla liqueur. I'll take a moment for that to settle in with you.
So you've got some sweet orange juice and lets add some sweet vanilla to that as well? I think this "Duke" guy musta been a little too 'high on his own supply' the day he dreampt that up. We actually had to adjust it on the fly and we modified the recipe as follows:

2oz vodka
6oz orange juice
1Tbl Galliano

and it was MUCH better. Rock Band was played, merryment was enjoyed and for the second straight week, the 26-er of alcohol was devoured.

Final Rating: 3 Oranges out of a Bushel. I hadn't anticipated making any changes to the recipies but I think that just might be a necessary evil of this.
Next Week we're diving head-first into the Gin, I sure hope it's not like the shallow-end - there's only 1 toilet!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Cuban Cruise

When flipping through the book to find a suitably smooth entrance to the World of Old Man Drinks, there were a few strong options. We settled on a drink that I likely would have NEVER tried: a Cuba Libre.

Cuba Libre

A little background; this book is more than just a recipe book, it's a real slice of time with your Grampa. There's a little blurg of background of the drink along with the recipe and then a little quote from a 'mature man of leisure'. Here's what we have to say about the Cuba Libre.

Return to those glorious pre-Castro days when gangsters ruled Cuba and Coca-Cola flowed freely in the Mafia-owned casino's. This refreshing cocktail was first concocted in 1900, the year US soldiers introduced soda pop to the island. It later inspired a hit song by the Andrews Sisters titled, appropriately enough, "Rum and Coca-Cola". The proper toast when drinking it in is: "To a free and independent Cuba!"

The Andrews Sisters - Rum and Coca-Cola

"That's all I did on my down time. Sit around and get shitfaced. All the time. Then I'd go work for a week or so. Then get shitfaced again. What can I say, I get bored easily. It helped kill time."- Patrick, 65, Trucker

2oz Light Rum
Juice of 1/2 a Lime
Lime Wedge

I'm SO not a fan of rum. It's not as bad as Gin for me, but I can't remember a time where I've ever ordered a rum-drink so why not start here? Went out to the local adult beverage sales establishment and showed off my book, told them what I was up to and requested a suggestion for a nice starter rum to break me in. A quick stop at the corner grocer to get some limes, ice and the cola and back to my friends place to kick this off.

I love making a drink. Its like cooking, only you know there's gonna be less dishes when you're done.

I quickly set about the business of getting the out the tools to get after it.

So I've gone on record that I'm weary of rum-based drinks and it's time to admit that it was... INCREDIBLE! The citrus from the lime helped to cut the sweetness from the cola and it all came together really smoothly especially considering how strong a double can taste in a short glass filled with ice! I was instantly transported to a dominoes match in Old Havana, smoking a stogie and listening to a steel drum band.

Now, I really love the fact that we were using real limes, that is until drink #5. At about that point, you don't know any difference and you're wasting valuable boozin' time by juicing the limes. When you're busting out bass tracks on Rock Band with your close friends and talking to friends in Denver you don't have time for juicing. There's fun to be had and you don't wanna be the one in the kitchen mixing up everyone's drinks and miss out when the underwear hits the floor.

What did I think of the Cuba Libre? I give it 5 hammocks under a beach umbrella; and beyond that, this drink is going into my regular rotation and at the end of the day, what better revue can I give it than that?

Side Note: When I woke up in the morning, this song was loaded up on YouTube from at some point during the evening.. further proof of the party that is the Cuba Libre!

Mystery Track

To a free and independent Cuba!

Friday, January 14, 2011


For years whenever I'd go to a party / get-together with friends, I'd get grief for my choice of beverage.

My dad was a big rye drinker when I was growing up and that must have worn off because once I started drinking I'd help myself to the liqueur cabinet and fix myself what I had seen my dad drink. Sure through high school I tried beers but it was never my thing; I always gravitated to the harder alcohol.

My drink of choice was always Rye & Ginger.

Just look at that! Perfection.

Recently, a good friend of mine returned from a trip to Portland and phoned to tell me that she had a gift for me. She had purchased me a book entitled "Old Man Drinks: Recipes, Advice and Barstool Wisdom". As we flipped through the pages along with her husband, he suggested that I go through the book, sampling each of the beverages and blogging my thoughts of them.

And now here we are. Come along with me on my journey - from the relaxed 'Arnie Palmer', to the classic 'Martini', to the most feared drink in the book: Gin & Milk. What's in that you ask? Gin. And Milk.

Lord help me....