The Great Divide

7th Planet

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

Prosecco

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.

Cheers

Hide & Seek!

Evidence

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

Cheers!

What Matters Most in 2020

Crux

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!

Cheers!

Corrections

Prohibition

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

Cheers!

 

An Informed Electorate

UptoDate

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

Cheers!

The Kurds of 5th Avenue

5th Avenue

At a campaign rally in Iowa, in January 2016, Donald Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” and then folded his fingers into the shape of a gun.

But Trump’s abandonment of our Kurdish allies, and their subsequent attack by Turkey,  may have more of an impact than just some random guy Trump might shoot on a street in New York City.

This move comes at a time when Trump’s foreign policy moves are already under scrutiny for being less about America’s global interests than his own.

The stunning betrayal of our closest ally in the fight against ISIS is cause enough for a strong rebuke of the President*, but the way Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria played into the hands of Erdogan, Assad and Putin, just adds an extra bitterness that is even hard for Republicans to swallow. The Russian flags raised over bases in Syria that were just vacated by U.S. troops only adds to the evidence for Trump as an asset of the Kremlin.

This particular 5th Avenue-moment for Trump has finally cost him with Republicans in Congress, as a majority of the House GOP sided with Democrats to voice opposition to the move in Syria.

Trump has a history of not paying contractors, and the Kurds did the heavy lifting in the fright against ISIS, so there would be some poetic justice if his betrayal of the Kurds (not paying an important contractor) led to his downfall.

The Kurds are in the middle of 5th Avenue and Trump handed the gun to Erdogan, now we’ll see whether it costs Trump.

So Have a 5th Avenue Cocktail created by Jim Roundall and taken from Brad Parson’s great book Bittersthe 5th Avenue Cocktail is:

1.5 oz London Dry Gin (Martin Miller’s is called for, I used Ford’s)

.5 oz Dolin Blanc vermouth

1 teaspoon yellow Chartreuse

1 dash absinthe

2 dashes lemon bitters

Garnish with lemon twist

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cheers!

That’s Gonna Leave A Mark

Black Spot

The impeachment of President* Trump is under way.

Despite his protestations that no president has ever been treated worse, Trump, from the White House lawn, continues to abuse his power openly, calling for Ukraine and China to interfere in the 2020 election and investigate a political rival.

His flailing over the past week and the meltdown it has exposed it not simply impacting His Orangeness, it is also unhealthy for our country. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked what future historians will see when they look back on this period in our history, she said “an aberration.” Let’s hope so. The blemish Trump is putting on our democracy cannot be allowed again.

Getting through the crazy days ahead, with Rudy Guiliani subverting U.S. foreign policy on a global wild goose chase to track down ridiculous conspiracy theories born in the farthest reaches of the right-wing fever swamps, is going to take a few stiff drinks. An appropriate one would be The Black Spot cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktail, the Black Spot is:

1 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum

1 oz Jamaican Rum

.75 oz Coffee Liqueur (Mr. Black)

.25 oz Islay Scitch (Laphroiag)

.25 oz rich demerara syrup

3 dashes orange bitters

Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the Laphroig. Do not discard. Stir other ingredients over ice and strain into the glass.

Cheers!

Unfit At Any Speed

Chaos Monkey

President* Trump is doubling down on one of the most bizarre weeks he’s had in office (King of Israel and The Chosen One being key moments). Today he is busy embarrassing America on the world stage at the G-7 meeting in France, being Putin’s errand boy arguing for Russia to be re-included in the meeting despite its being kicked out for invading Crimea. And he is trying to claim other world leaders are asking him, “Why the American media hates your country so much. Why are they rooting for it to fail?” But it’s probably just all the unborn chicken voices in his head.

Coming on the heels of Trump’s remarks on his trade war with China on Friday that sent markets into a tailspin, the Disruptor in Chief has been even more erratic than usual, prompting James Fallows to write a piece for The Atlantic called “If Trump were an Airline Pilot,” examining how if Trump were in any number of regular jobs of responsibility and exhibited his recent behavior he would likely be removed.

  • If an airline learned that a pilot was talking publicly about being “the Chosen One” or “the King of Israel” (or Scotland or whatever), the airline would be looking carefully into whether this person should be in the cockpit.
  • If a hospital had a senior surgeon behaving as Trump now does, other doctors and nurses would be talking with administrators and lawyers before giving that surgeon the scalpel again.
  • If a public company knew that a CEO was making costly strategic decisions on personal impulse or from personal vanity or slight, and was doing so more and more frequently, the board would be starting to act. (See: Uber, management history of.)
  • If a university, museum, or other public institution had a leader who routinely insulted large parts of its constituency—racial or religious minorities, immigrants or international allies, women—the board would be starting to act.
  • If the U.S. Navy knew that one of its commanders was routinely lying about important operational details, plus lashing out under criticism, plus talking in “Chosen One” terms, the Navy would not want that person in charge of, say, a nuclear-missile submarine.

Unfortunately for America, President Looney Tunes isn’t going anywhere because his Republican enablers in Congress clearly put party over country. Still, you have to wonder if it might sink in with Republicans that this force of destruction could endanger their own reelection prospects. Which also makes it curious why they wouldn’t just remove Trump (impeachment or 25th Amendment) and be just as happy or happier with a less erratic but even more Christian Right-wing President Pence.

While you sit back waiting for the next lunatic thing from Trump to emerge from the G-7 Summit this weekend, have a Chaos Monkey cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktails, the Chaos Monkey (named for the book about Silicon Valley) is:

2 oz Scotch, Monkey Shoulder

.5 oz Creme de banane

.25 oz Amaro Montengro

1 barspoon Amargo-Vallet, or substitute with a dash or two of Angostura bitters and a dash of demerara syrup

Lemon twist

Stir over ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large cube/sphere. Garnish with a lemon peel, expressed.

Cheers!

 

 

China Fight!

China Fight

The King of Israel, who lost his bid for Greenland, is now telling American companies to withdraw from China after China imposed a retaliatory $75 billion in Tariffs today.

Despite the assurances of Cheeto Mussolini that Trade Wars are easy to win, the current spat with China is threatening to send the U.S. economy into recession, even though his Royal Orange Geniusness wants to blame the bad wishes of democrats. This Friday night it is definitely time to put this week of bad craziness behind us.

Despite finding out the president is the “chosen one” and the “second coming of God” he apparently couldn’t keep GOP benefactor David Koch alive or keep the Amazon from burning and worsening the climate disaster now unfolding. In all of the ridiculous unprecedented madness of the Trump era, this past week may become especially noteworthy, and I’m sure Putin was certainly enjoying himself.

As a cap for the week, and an aperitif for Americans heading into the long holiday weekend next week, have a China Fight cocktail via Saveur Magazine. It is the creation of Aymeric Tortereau, of Café Juliette in Lyon.

The China fight is:

1.5 oz cognac

.75 oz Bigallet China-China

.25 oz elderflower liqueur

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish with an orange twist.

Happy Friday, Cheers!

 

Full Reverse

Fallback

It should come as no surprise that a politician with an ill-defined slogan to “Make America Great Again,” would end up spending a lot of his time looking backward. Trump’s governing approach puts a lot more emphasis on “again” than “great,” so he ends up retreating from many of his own policies.

The latest came today, as Reuters reports Trump is telling advisors to calm Midwest farmers upset over the administration’s decision to allow refiners to add less ethanol into gasoline.

This comes at a time when concerns of a recession have begun to get under Trump’s skin, posing a potentially bigger threat to his presidency than impeachment. Along with the Trade War with China, the ethanol issue is just one more self-inflicted wound that is especially damaging in the Midwest, where Trump will need a strong showing to win re-election. The Washington Post reported on another key self-inflicted Midwest wound last week, citing Trump’s failure to make good on promises of expanding the Navy, which is likely to cost many jobs in Midwest shipyards and elsewhere. Really just political malpractice.

Despite strong and historically significant signals from the bond market about the potential for a recession, Trump and his minions continue to trot out echoes of President Herbert Hoover claiming our economic fundamentals are good, just as Hoover did in October of 1929.

Meanwhile, the economy, as measured by a number of factors, including job growth, is falling back to levels not seen since we began climbing out of the Great Recession. Proving that Trump is falling behind the achievements of president Obama, and Trump knows it. But his economic team does not appear up to the task of heading off, nevermind recovering from, a recession.

Backtracking for Trump isn’t limited to the economy, either. After seeming to embrace an overwhelmingly popular (supported by 90% of Americans) gun safety measure with stronger background checks, Trump is backing off and siding with the NRA again.

As Trump moves backwards on guns, and the economy moves backward to dangerous territory, have a Fallback cocktail from Sasha Petraske (originally meant for an Autumn menu but I’m as ready for a season change as a regime change at this point). The fallback is:

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

.5 oz Amaro Nonino

.5 oz Carpano Antica

1 oz applejack

1 oz rye whiskey

orange twist garnish

Build in a whiskey glass, adding the bitters, amaro, Carpano Antica, applejack and rye add 1 large cube and stir until chilled and garnish.

Cheers!