Until Donald Trump, George W. Bush was slated to go down in history as the worst President ever. Now, Trump is making Bush look good by comparison. Trump isn’t even as good as Bush at the bad things about the Bush presidency.
Most recently we have sen this with ineffective attempts to use the Memory Hole. The Bush Administration was much more accomplished at making inconvenient facts disappear. To be fair – though – because of the Bush Administration, people are on much higher alert for this type of activity. So when Jared Kushner took over a recent Virus press briefing and made ridiculous statements about the Strategic National Stockpile, and then went to the website to make changes aligned to Kushner’s comments, people caught that right away.
Forget MAGA, we need MANA, Make America Normal Again. That desire likely accounts for a lot of the support that has gone to Joe Biden. That desire for normalcy was already strong before the Corona Virus, but now with so much of the country shut down to flatten the curve of new cases, such as New jersey’s Go the Fuck Home and Stay There Order from the Governor, the strains of social distancing are really starting to show as people look for an escape.
The biggest strain is coming from Trump’s desire to go golfing. Since the shutdowns and social distancing is interfering with that, he now wants everything to open up again by Easter. The medical community advises that would be disastrous, but the Trump Cult (one-time “pro-life” Republicans) says the deaths of older people is a sacrifice worth an improving stock market as we head toward the election. Trump has the wrong exit strategy. Instead, make an Exit Strategy cocktail, and dream of sitting in the ballpark with an Old Style beer in your hand, the warmth of the sun on your face as you hear the crowd roar as Kris Bryant sends another ball into the Wrigley Field bleachers.
The Exit Strategy comes via Kara Newman’s great book Nightcap, a cocktail from Natasha David at Nitecap in New York. It is:
1.5 oz Amaro Nonino
.75 oz brandy
.25 oz Meletti Amaro
pinch of kosher salt
orange peel for garnish
stir, strain onto a large cube in an Old Fashioned glass
Local and state governments are putting large parts of the country on lockdown. Who knew that being stuck in the house could be so tiring. With no end in sight, it is getting hard to look on the bright side of life. But my inner Terry Jones reminds me I have a fully stocked bar and lots of movie channels, so I shall endeavor to persevere. I have not reached the point where I miss the NJ Transit commute yet, but I can see that day coming. At least Gov. Murphy has allowed us to go out and take walks while practicing appropriate social distancing. That should help keep a level of sanity.
While our “leaders” in Washington look for ways to prop up stock prices, make yourself a Perseverance cocktail, because we may be here a while. Via Kindred Cocktail, the Perseverance is:
2 oz rye
.5 oz Ramazzotti
.5 oz Dubonnet Rouge
.5 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir over ice, strain over a large cube in a rocks glass, garnish with an orange twist.
Cheers! Stay safe!
I am by nature rebellious and insubordinate (my Army personnel file would confirm that), and it is not simply because I’m Gen X. But Gen X is also nothing if not pragmatic, with a “whatever it takes” attitude, (it’s time to do what they tell ya!) so the images from Florida of Spring Breakers gathering in large numbers in a state full of old people, or hitting the bars in NYC (endangering some of my favorite bartenders), got me a bit pissed off. There are some older and immuno-compromised folks I’d like to keep around a while longer.
Even Moronavirus Patient Zero in the White House may be starting to grasp how serious this is (but probably not) and the need for social distancing. Now that state and local governments are closing bars and restaurants, and setting curfews, you’ll need to do your drinking at home. Hopefully, while you were stocking up on toilet paper and canned goods, you made a stop by your liquor store. Gen X did, because we drink and we know things. While you’re doing your drinking from home, don’t forget to pay attention to what Cheeto Mussolini is trying to slip through while we’re distracted, like helping Putin and abandoning prosecution of the Russians Mueller found to have interfered in the 2016 election.
As you stay home to work on your home bartending skills, try the Home on the Range cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktails, The Home on the Range comes from the 1945 Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide. And it’s worth keeping in mind how sacrificing for the good of the country in 1945 meant a lot more than staying home on the couch and watching NetFlix.
See you at the bar in a couple months when we get through this.
The Home on the Range is:
2 oz rye
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir and strain into an Old Fashioned glass over a larger cube, garnish with an orange twist. (If you don’t have these ingredients but do have more than three rolls of toilet paper per person in the house, you need to rethink your priorities.)
Even before the COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020 was shaping up to be a pretty crazy year, we could all use a vacation by now. Of course with all the social distancing and cancellations of cultural and sporting events that draw any sizable number of people together, it will be hard to take a break.
Going out for dinner or a drink has even become taboo. Despite the fact that my favorite NYC bars (Amor Y Amargo and Blue Quarter) are small, and could never physically be accused of holding a mass gathering, my home bar will be my watering hole for the Duration. Air travel is certainly too risky right now, and don’t even think about taking a cruise, we’ll have to find our escapes where we can.
If we had an accurate picture of where the Corona virus is, it would be easier to avoid it while searching for our escape. Trump, however, is still getting his taxpayer-funded trips to Mar-a-lago for golf, but he keeps running into COVID-19 infected people there. While we have no baseball, hockey or March Madness to watch, Trump has his golf escape hatch while his pals in the shale oil industry who are hurting in the price war between Trump buddies in Russia and Saudi Arabia will get a Corona virus related bailout. We just have to stay healthy enough until Jared figures it all out like he did Mideast peace.
In the meantime, create your own Escape Hatch. The Escape Hatch cocktail via Kindred Cocktail is:
1. 66 oz Bombay Gin
.5 oz Lychee liqueur
.5 oz Cointreau (triple sec)
.66 oz lime juice
Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with an orange twist
We hear all the time these days about how polarized America has become. One aspect of that polarization was on display when Trump’s lawyers began their defense in the Senate Impeachment trial. They simply denied the existence of the testimony and video evidence the House Impeachment Managers had presented over the previous few days, including provable lies about House depositions and the inclusion of Republicans.
The divide between facts and alternative facts did not start with Trump, though, it goes back roughly 16 years to when George W. Bush declared Republicans would no longer be a part of the “reality-based community.”
The polarization is not simply between Republicans and Democrats, however, and a piece in The New Republic by Tom Geoghagen called “Educated Fools: Why Democratic Leaders Still Misunderstand the Politics of Social Class,” looks at the polarization within the Democratic Party. Geoghagen does offer a potential direction for finding a pass across this great divide that is worth considering.
Still, the reality-free stream of nonsense spewed by elected Republicans and their Fox News propaganda apparatus has earned the label “Earth 2.” While I agree with the sentiment that those making or believing such BS must be on another planet, I think the idea of Earth 2 suggests a much closer association with this world than can usually be found in statements from Trump or Fox News. It would be more appropriate to put a couple billions miles distance between reality and Republicans. That distance puts the GOP on Uranus. Yes, I hear you doing the Beavis and Butthead laugh. I do believe we will have to find the common ground that unites us and at least all get back on the same planet before we can get back together as part of the same country.
To help think about the distance we need to overcome, have The Seventh Planet cocktail (Yes, that is Uranus). Via Sother Teague in his book I’m Just Here for the Drinks. The Seventh Planet is:
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz Blue Curaςao
2 oz Reposado tequila
Combine all ingredients except the Proseccco in a shaker with ice, shake well and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The Articles of Impeachment against President* Trump are due to be sent to the Senate so the trial may begin. Since the Articles passed the House, more evidence has come to light of Trumps direct involvement in holding up aid to Ukraine and former national Security Adviser Bolton has agreed to testify. Whether either of those things appear in the senate trial has yet to be determined, but it seems unlikely.
In a separate, but not unrelated development, the Administration is being to provide the evidence (and therefore a legal justification) in the killing of Iranian General Qasem Suleimani. Trump’s aversion to transparency is on full display in the shifting reasoning that is filled with hedging weasel words. “We believe he could have perhaps maybe been imminently targeting four of our embassies, but we don’t know where or when.”
Whether Iran or Ukraine, Trump says he has the evidence and we should trust him. Nevermind that no American politician in history has lied as much as Trump. To fill the gap of the information he is not providing, may I suggest an Evidence cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktail, the Evidence is:
1.5 oz gin (earl grey infused) – or you can take the shortcut like I did and use the Earl Grey Gin from Jersey City distillery Corgi Spirits
1 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
.5 oz lemon juice
1 oz ginger ale
Combine ingredients other than ginger ale in a shaker and shake over ice, then add some of the ginger al and stir, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, add the rest of the ginger ale to top it up. Lemon garnish
Over the past weekend a lot of people on Twitter were talking about the work America has ahead of us to clean up after Trump. I couldn’t agree more, and I have written about it before, first here and most recently in June.
The question of how we rebuild our democracy, our alliances, and our standing in the world in the wake of the Trump presidency will define the opposition to Trump in the election. This Restoration I believe is a key source of Biden’s strength. Even some MAGA-types seem to recognize that now we actually need to “make America great again.”
Much of America’s authority in the world came through “soft power” and it will not be regained simply by removing Trump. With a planet in the midst of a climate crisis, America will not restore its standing while one political party, representing a significant portion of the government, favors superstition over science. For this reason among many others, Joe Biden would be better off choosing Kamala Harris rather than a Republican as a running mate. Beside the fact that she would naturally be better than a republican, It also nicely sets up a successor. Others, such as Elizabeth Warren do seem to understand that before America can move forward with the best progressive plans, we first have to at least get back to where we were in our position in the world. (Or at least stop being a proxy for Russian positions.)
It won’t be easy, but I believe the candidate with the best plan to clean up after Trump will have the best shot at replacing him. As we Officially move into 2020 tonight, have a Crux cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktails the Crux is:
1 oz Cognac
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.75 oz Dubonnet Rouge
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
As a side note, I began this blog 6 years ago today. It was just as my exploration of cocktails and their ingredients was beginning (more of that story here), and while I wasn’t well versed in the cocktail blogosphere of the time, I thought I’d take it from my business journalism background. That never really went anywhere, so I rebooted Gin & Bitters into what you’re reading now in January 2017. The world is so different now than it was 6 years ago. Hopefully this time next year I will be looking for a new angle for this blog because we won’t need a stiff drink just to watch the news anymore.
Happy New year!
This past week was a historic one. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the move to expeditiously draft Articles of Impeachment against President* Trump, she chose a historically appropriate day to do so. Thursday Dec 5, was the 86th anniversary of the end of Prohibition, and proof that America can correct its mistakes.
As Pelosi noted, Trump has forced this course of action through his abuse of power. The fact that there were some (Democrats) in Congress who spoke about impeachment almost from the day Trump was sworn in is neither surprising nor disqualifying since Trump campaigned as a wannabe king/dictator.
The Intelligence Committee hearings have only added factual proof of abuse of power. Meanwhile this week also saw Trump‘s insane ramblings about toilet flushing, as he and his GOP enablers continued to spout Kremlin propaganda. Trump also took to doing PR for the Saudi royal family this week when a Saudi “trainee” gunned down several Americans at Pensacola Naval Air Station, including a young recent Annapolis graduate just learning to become a Naval Aviator. But Trump says it’s all OK because the Saudi King will send money.
This came on the heels of Trump being laughed out of Europe at the NATO summit. This is a mistake America really needs to correct, though it will likely take all of us to help Republican Senators find their spine so that the articles of impeachment set in motion on Repeal Day might bring about Trump’s prohibition.
While we watch the Judicial Committee hearings on the articles of impeachment, have a Prohibition Cocktail. From the Prohibition-era Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930, The Prohibition Cocktail is:
1.5 oz Plymouth Gin
1.5 oz Kina Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
2 dashes orange juice
1 dash apricot brandy
Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist
Thomas jefferson is reported to have said: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” Whether he said it or not, staying on top of the news always carried an element of civic duty. In the age of Trump, Jefferson’s admonition of it being requisite for our survival is not hyperbole. As the public hearings in the Trump Impeachment have gotten underway, both the importance and the difficulty in staying informed have been escalated. Trump’s GOP minions are doing everything they can to confuse the issues.
That is nothing new. The effort to stay informed these days is both tiring and tiresome. As one Twitter wag put it on election night a few weeks ago, “I look forward to when I don’t have to be emotionally invested in the off-year Kentucky Governor election.”
Keeping up with the news and staying informed may be a critical civic duty in the era of the Trump administration/crime family, but it’s not very pleasant medicine. Help wash it down and make the Impeachment Hearings more enjoyable with an Up-to-Date Cocktail. From Talia Baiocchi’s A Modern Guide to Sherry The Up-to-Date cocktail is:
1.25 oz amontillado sherry
1.25 oz rye
.5 oz Grand marnier
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir over ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist