Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's In A Name?

What do you do when you open the door to your liquor cabinet and all you can find among the empty bottles with yellow stickies in your handwriting that all say "I'm Sorry" on them? That was our challenge this week. Among the wreckage and 'dead soldiers' we did manage to cobble together some gin and a little bit of absinthe - but surely that wouldn't be useful for our pilgrimage through Old Man Drink-town could it?!

Monkey Gland

Not since the ill-fated experiment with  Harvey Wallbanger has the name of a cocktail so taunted us, dear friends. But when you consider the ingredients I suppose we should have been able to guess what was coming.

They say that W.B. Yeats had monkey glands implanted in his scrotum when he was an old man, to help restore his sexual potency. That revolutionary procedure, which was all the rage in the 1920s, provided the inspiration for this cocktail, first mixed up by Harry MacElhone, owner of Harry's New York Bar in Paris. The Washington Post pronounced it as the smash hit of the 1923 French tourist season, and it was later adjudged to be one of the quintessential cocktails of the Prohibition era. No representations are made or implied regarding this drink's - ahem - rejuvenating - powers, though it is a fact that Yeats got his groove back soon after undergoing the procedure.

"Jeanie is the perfect wife. She cooks, cleans, mends, socializes. One of these days she's gonna melt down, and I hope I'm out of town that day."
- Max, 66, salesman

Well put Max, well put.

2oz gin
1oz orange juice
Dash grenadine
Dash absinthe

If men in the 1920's were relying on surgically-grafted monkey test-i-cles for sexual potency I think the bad rep that the 'little blue pill' gets can just simmer down. I appreciate that for the artists out there you might need something a little off the beaten path, some Valerian root or oysters perchance, but having the balls (pun intended) for undergoing surgery in the days of cholera to stuff a few extra marbles in your skin pouch is way too hardcore for me.

I actually had some lofty expectations for this drink based on the Obituary where the absinthe was able to keep the gin-wretches (commonly called the Gretch's) at bay. And also... orange juice! I love some ice in my OJ and I'm careful not to stab at it with any knives for that would be VERY insensitve. At least not without some gloves and my Bruno Magli's.

White Bronco? Anyone? Al Cowlings?

I digress. As far as the gin drinks goes, I'd put it somewhere at the higher end of the spectrum but that really doesn't say much. There are few positives I can offer for this one - it doesn't even sound cool and your date will likely be running for the exit on her first opportunity when she learns that you'd like to sip of the Monkey Gland. And if she doesn't - YOU should be the one running for the door!! Lets just give this drink 2 gloves that don't fit out of an animatronic monkey that beats cymbals together. Yeah, cause there's nothing creepy about that at all....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Posh Pub-Crawl

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend of mine and he mentioned that his boyfriend's brother was moving here from the UK and us hetero's should hang out and do some girl-watching. Now I\m a guy that doesn't mind knocking back a drink or 2 and admiring the female form so I took out the brother on a mini pub-crawl to familiarize himself a few of the downtown Vancouver hot spots and check out some lovely ladies along the way.

Scotch And Soda

Here's one you can write the recipe for on the back of your hand. On second thought, bugger the recipe. It's Scotch... and soda. What part of Scotch and soda don't you understand? For a Scotch and water, substitute water for the soda. See how easy it is? This is a good one to make at the end of a long evening of drinking because there's really very little even an intoxicated person could do to screw it up.

"Scotch goes well with everything, especially marriage."
- Gary, 65, retired marketing manager

3oz Scotch
3oz club soda
lime twist

For our 'Welcome to Vancouver' bar, I brought him to a place called the Yaletown Brew Pub. It's a nice little place to have a bite to eat, and it also has a separate bar/lounge for optimal people watching. By the time we got there (pre-10pm) the bar was fully packed and there was a DJ spinning some tunes. We got a few drinks and made our way to the patio, so we could admire the people (read: pretty girls) walking by as well as the ones in the bar. Truth be told it was a little too packed and we moved on to another downtown staple: Doulin's Irish Pub.

If you've never been to Doulin's let me spell it out: short, plaid skirts. We got there sometime after 11 and there was no line-up at all (really odd for a Saturday night), and we quickly learned why: the entire population of Vancouver was already inside! I'd say it was packed wall to wall, but it was more like floor to ceiling; we got through the front door and hit a wall of humanity so thick that this former football player was at a loss to get to the bar. We managed to ride the wake of one of the waitresses by the bar and I scooped us up a few more drinks and in the words of Fmr President George W. Bush, "Mission: Accomplished". Oh right, but now we were stuck in the ebb and flow of the humanity as it swayed and shifted with each pass of a waitress. We were lucky enough to grab a table, but to be honest it was WAY too packed for our purposes and we moved on.

Now, if you're from Vancouver you may have heard of the final stop on our tour but even then it's highly unlikely. The Famous Warehouse (formerly El Furniture Warehouse) on the north-west corner of Nelson and Granville has long been one of those hidden gems in the downtown bar scene. We arrived just at the stroke of midnight and were greeted by a very friendly member of the staff that got the Host to round us up a few seats. An interesting note about this place is that there's no standing allowed, you mush have a seat or you're not allowed in, which REALLY helps with the laid-back and friendly atmosphere and lets the bar-staff get around quickly to deliver everyone drinks/food. We took our seats at the bar and were immediately greeted by George Harrison. The drinks flowed once more and if I might say, I *love* this bar! We were flanked on either side by really friendly couples and passed the time by playing a game where I would test my musical knowledge against their Shazam which each new song/video that came on the tv. I was only bested by one:

Oh yeah.. there was a drink here wasn't there? I'm no stranger to some Scotch (went to the annual Hopscotch Festival in November) and I like mine single-malted and preferably 20 years old ;) Is that a euphamism? Who can say... Now since I was mixing it there was no need to break the bank, so I went with a pretty stock Glenfiddich 10-year. It was an evening of drinking Strongbow ciders and this was the prefect way to finish off the evening. It's smooth, has some bubbles which pop on your tongue and instantly puts me in a relaxed, content state of mind. Also, it goes really well with a $5 burger at 1am! Seriously, the kitchen is still open and serving a full menu at 1am.. this place is magical! In a review that harkons back to the history of the bar, I give the Scotch and Soda 5 ottomans out of a chaise-lounge. Soft, relaxing and suave. Magnifique!