Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This Ain't Your Grandmother's Dragon You're Chasing....

Hey, Buddy.
C'mover here I wanna talk to you.
What do you know about Absinthe?


Old men spend a lot of time reading the obituaries. So why not drink a few while you scour the agate for the names of your old friends? This cocktail turns the Martini on its head with the addition of absinthe, which, if you were taking an extended whiz in 2007 and didn't hear the news, is now legal again in the United States. Back in the day, people claimed that absinthe could cure malaria, give you seizures, and make you see things that weren't there. All it ever did for me was turn my drinks green and make everything taste like licorice.

"If I had a nickel for every pretty girl I bought a drink, well, I'd still be far behind."
- Neil, 67, labourer

2oz gin
1/4oz dry vermouth
1/4oz absinthe

I remember a few years back a friend of mine had offered to order some special party favours from the Chech Republic when I was flying east for a friends wedding. Now I'm not going to say if the package did indeed make it's way through customs but I will say this: The bachelor party ended before 11pm. And by 'ended' I mean some people were in a heap of blood and their own vomit in a Keg bathroom while the bus-boy was offering to have his dinner brought to him in the stall. Estimated time: 6:45pm.

We did switch it up a little bit with one of 'the usual suspects' out of town on assignment, and we had a special guest in her place. We got ourselves settled and cracked open the bottles and initiated one more into the fold. On first impression we have finally found something that has been able to overtake the pungent-nose of gin. If you've ever smelled Anise (or more common, your mother's black licorice) you have a good starting place for absinthe.

I can't quite explain it.. by all rights this drink should have put us all straight into the madhouse, or at least in line for a stomach-pump. But no, it was.. dare I say... delicious? Maybe it was the teal-tinge of the drink, maybe it was the fact we finally found SOMETHING that would stand-up to this bully known as gin, or maybe it was the tall, raven-haired beauty that spoke in an eastern-block accent to me from the shadows all night; who can say? We three travelers gathered our collective shit and sat down for game-time. This week's offering actually had nothing at all to do with rawk poses or electronic key-tars; no this week we went Geek-Old-School with a role-playing game called Fiasco. Our particular story surrounded 3 strangers woven together through strange rituals, a shared calling, and a NEED ... for a drinking buddy. Oh yeah, and a dragon.

When I came to at 3 in the morning, I realized that tonight was not altogether different from that Keg bathroom. Where am I? How did I get here? and What is that taste? And what's more - a solid sense that on this night, the gin was vanquished! For that alone, I give the Obituary 5 slotted spoons over an open flame. Next time you're browsing through the classifieds and find yourself in the obituary section of the paper, you raise your glass to those fine men and women that have passed. One of them just may have thrown themselves in front of a subway train to escape an absinthe-fueled apparition.

Bottom's Up!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Voyage To The Emerald Isle (Again?)

Just because St Patrick's Day has passed us by doesn't mean that the Irish drinks have ended. For a people world renown for their drinking you had to know that any Old Man worth their salt would pay homage to them in the way they would want to be remembered - with a drink named after them!

Paddy Cocktail

I don't want to bury the lead here - so lets just get right into it.

Also known as an Irish Manhattan, this drink has a politically incorrect name but a more authentic heritage than such kitschy St. Patrick's Day cocktails as the O'Jito and the Emerald. In this case, the "Paddy" element is added by substituting Irish whiskey for bourbon. Otherwise, the proportions are exactly the same as the Manhattan. It's one in a class of ethnically insensitive riffs on classic drinks that includes the Paisley Martini and the Bobby Burns.

"I drank so much, I was sober. Then I had a few more."
- Leo, 88, retired military

That's right, it wasn't a typo - Irish Manhattan. 'Drink' that in. To say that I approached this drink with some trepidation ... would be an understatement! If you recall the conventional Manhattan - it was too sweet and generally just pretty average; but with the change from bourbon to Irish whiskey I thought that might just do the trick for it (that changing the vermouth did not).

The first sip was like looking into the eye of a storm - The Perfect Storm. Without George Clooney. And whiskey. It was actually pretty good - I wouldn't say really good, but it wasn't half bad! Once again our night hit the similar notes: drinks with a bite to eat from Dougie Dog, Rock Band 2 on the XBox, and much laughter. I'm glad drinking Old Man Drinks hasn't prematurely led me to things like searching Wal-Mart for deals, watching Nascar, and bemoaning about how kids were so much more respectful when I was young. (I complained about self-centered kids before I started this blog)!

Returning to the Irish roots of this beverage, what say we give it a Nil - Nil draw? Noone gets hurt, noone advances up the Table and noone is sent to relegation. Also this way we don't have any Celtic vs Rangers hooliganism. Always gotta try and stay safe people - keep those flares outta the stands!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Top O' Tha Mornin' To Ya

A late follow-up to the last post thanks to a rather busy holiday season but better late than never, right?! It was time for yet another Sunday morning get-together to take in the annual St Patrick's Day parade from the relative safety of a second-floor condo. I say relative because there's no telling what a drunken suburbanite is capable of - I always try to conceal my brains just in case all the excitement proves too much for them and a zombie outbreak occurs.

Irish Coffee

Could there be any other beverage for St Patrick's Day than this? Alright perhaps a Guinness drank out of a potato, but beyond that I mean...

It was a cold winter's eve in 1942, and a group of American airline passengers found themselves stranded at Foyne's Airbase in Limerick, Ireland, due to bad weather. (Is there any other kind in Ireland?) Enter Joe Sheridan, a chef in a restaurant in the terminal building, who invented this ingenious libation on the spot as a means of comforting the tired and cranky travelers. When one guest asked Sheridan if he was serving them Brazilian coffee, the chef replied, "No, that's Irish coffee." And another chapter in Ireland's rich history of drink was written.

"Can you help me write a text message to my wife? She's very upset with me and I don't deal well with cell phones."
- Gary, 68, retired bus driver

Well this is how you know he's a *retired* bus driver - any driver worth his salt can drive, text, and sip an Irish coffee at the same time. Errrr... ingredients you ask? Lets have a look before anyone notices what I just said!

1 cup hot brewed coffee
1oz Irish whiskey
1tbs whipped cream
Sugar, to taste

I feel as if every time I talk about a beverage I have to come clean about some deep seeded bias against the main ingredient (read: gin) and this week is no different. This week will come as something as a shock to you, loyal readers, as I've never been a fan of coffee. I can't say exactly why but growing up I gravitated to a hot cup of tea (or cocoa) and just never developed a taste for a french-pressed delight. The only coffee I remember drinking was back in my final year of high school where in homeroom we'd have a pancake breakfast every month and a good friend of mine thought it would be a good idea to put some Bailey's in his coffee and I helped myself to some after a successful taste-test.

I may have to re-examine this whole coffee thing cause I was OVERJOYED by the drink this week. Right up there with the Hot Toddy and the infamous Cuba Libre, the Irish Coffee knocked my socks off. A healthy dose of Irish whiskey and the WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSH of the whipped cream can and you're off. This had me grinning from ear-to-ear for hours; maybe that's why we forgot all about watching the parade, or maybe it was the Danny Bhoy line dancing through my head: fiddle-dee-dee-potato!

Ratings Time: NomNomNomNomNomNom out of More Please! I was struck with overwhelming deliciosity. Thank you sir, may I have another? I think I will just help myself to another ... how could you say no to this face?