Who Gets the Last Word

word

We have now made it through three weeks in the reign of Donald of Orange and the planet remains habitable for humans, and the democratic traditions of the United States are holding on, albeit barely.

To paraphrase President Jack Dale in Mars Attacks, I want the people to know they still have one out of three branches of government working for them, and that ain’t bad.

In Legislative Branch, those GOP statesmen in the Senate who expressed such pre-election concern have now almost unanimously supported each of Trump’s choices for the Cabinet of Horrors. (Three Senators have each voted no once.)

Meanwhile in the House, Republicans have gutted environmental protections, such as the Stream Protection Rule, and removed requirements for transparency that combat corruption in the oil, gas and mineral industries. They are removing regulations design to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and continuing to work toward repealing Obamacare, despite getting an earful from their constituents.

As the Executive Branch makes steady progress toward the authoritarianism of rule by presidential fiat and tweet, it was met last week by the remaining (perhaps temporarily) functioning branch, the Judicial Branch. As the Washington Post reported: A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled Thursday that the Trump administration’s restrictions on travel from seven majority-Muslim countries will remain on ice while the courts work through whether the restrictions are legal.

This will still take some time to fully sort out and to see who will have the last word, but unlike Dana Milbank, you don’t need to drink Everclear while you wait. You can have your own Last Word. The good folks at Sipsmith Gin (probably Jared Brown) have a great history of the drink here.

I made it with:

1 oz Sipsmith Gin

.75 oz Chartreuse

.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino

.5 oz lime juice

Shake and strain into a chilled coupe.

Cheers!

We Don’t Need No Education

root
Root of All Evil

The administration added its latest swamp creature today when VP/GOP High Priest Mike Pence blessed the contract of sale between 50 Senators and their donor Besty DeVos, allowing her to become the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Despite her $200 million investment in the GOP, DeVos’s staggering incompetence and utter unsuitability for the position only garnered her 50 Republican senators, necessitating Pence’s vote (the first time in history a cabinet nominee needed the VP tie-breaker). This glaring example of pay-for-play has me almost feeling sorry for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich who is still sitting in prison for corruption that now seems amateur by comparison. (But only almost, he’s still pond scum.)

As she becomes the latest brick in the wall of the GOP’s attempt to prove government doesn’t work, we’re now left with her for-profit charter school education schemes. At the same time that Trump is seeking to tear down the separation between church and state when it comes to political contributions, DeVos can now steer tax dollars to religious schools. (Some religious schools anyway. I suspect Muslim schools need not apply.)

I guess in all of their own religious education our pious GOP leaders have forgotten 1 Timothy 6:10. As it says in the King James Version: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

In keeping with the Good Book, may I suggest having a Root of All Evil cocktail. The recipe is from Cocktail Virgin, and calls for:

2 oz Bourbon
.75 oz Grand Marnier
.5 oz Fernet Branca
.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino
2 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Cheers!

Yo-Ho-Ho…

marque

We’ve made it to Friday, two full weeks into the Trump presidency. For a majority of Americans, a nightmarish Running Man journey through a game zone of ill-conceived executive orders and late night tweet rants.

But on Wall Street and in the boardrooms of banks, it is time to celebrate. Trump told a gathering of the Business Roundtable today that he is taking aim at regulations put in place since the financial crisis.

As the New York Times put it:

“President Trump mounted an all-out assault on financial regulation on Friday, announcing an array of steps to tear down safeguards enacted to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis and turning to the Wall Street titans he had demonized during his campaign for advice.”

Matt O’Brien at the Washington Post tells us that Trump’s “forgotten men and women” aren’t who we thought they were, writing:

“During the campaign, Donald Trump liked to brag that, unlike his rivals, he wasn’t in Wall Street’s pocket. And you can tell that by the fact that he’s stocked his cabinet with Goldman Sachs alums, has signaled that he wants to dismantle the post-crisis rules reining in banks, and will now allow brokers to go back to giving their clients deliberately bad advice. This is Wall Street’s kind of populism.”

For most of us, the so-called dumb money, our finances are now sailing with less protection. The Privateers are free to roam again, so look closely at the flags flown by bankers and financial advisors, and keep your fingers crossed they don’t raise the Jolly Roger after it’s too late.

Rum is what this Friday calls for, so we can join the pirates with our own Letters of Marque (the license granted by the government for piracy on the high seas), a cocktail from Brad Thomas Parson’s book Amaro.

This delicious, balanced drink is:

1 oz Scarlet Ibis rum

1 oz Cynar

.5 oz Pierre Ferrand dry Curaçao

.5 oz Galliano

Stir, strain, garnish with a flamed orange zest.

Have a few, the pirates are coming. Happy Friday!

Cheers!

 

Groundhog Day

earthen

Here we are again, Groundhog Day. By tradition, this is the day when a significant portion of the U.S. population believes in the long-range weather forecasting powers of omnivorous rodents. In 2017, Groundhog Day has the added attraction of our representatives in Washington, D.C., actively working to deny the forecasts of actual climate scientists from around the globe.

The last 24 hours have seen numerous reasons to reach for the liquor cabinet, from presidential phone calls pissing off the Australians and threatening an invasion to deal with bad hombres south of the border to presidential defense of the free speech of Nazis and threatening UC Berkeley over the violent protest that broke because of it. (For the record, I am in the pro Nazi punching camp.)

But today we saw Rex Tillerson begin his term as Secretary of State; an oilman with close ties to Russia who headed the oil company that worked to cover up research on the existence and danger of climate change in the name of profits.

In Congress, meanwhile, the Senate voted to remove the Stream Protection Rule opening the door to a return of coal mining pollution. New EPA chief nominee Scott Pruitt received committee approval for the post despite regularly suing the agency. And of course, scientists are being told not to release information on climate change.

Under these conditions, the drink for tonight is the Earthen Infusion. Despite the name, it has nothing to do with tracking runoff. Pulled from Kindred Cocktails, the drink is equal parts (.75 oz in this case) of Salers Gentiane, Campari, Cynar and Fernet-Branca.

The drink is herbaceous and bitter. It is not a strong drink, but what it lacks in alcohol it makes up for in bitterness. Just like the Earth is feeling now. This is a drink for the adventurous, those who know they like bitter drinks. Well worth it though. Just put the ingredients on ice, stir and strain.

Cheers!

Refresh and Restart

gintonic

A brief scan of the headlines or just a few minutes of TV news is all it takes these days to leave you feeling like you could use a drink. I’ll try to help with that.

The world is a different place than it was the last time I posted. As the band Firewater says, These are Dark Days Indeed. So I began rethinking my approach to this blog and what I wanted to write about.

As I came to the conclusion that nearly every day there were events practically crying out for the cocktail that would help make the day easier to swallow, someone at Quartz had a similar idea. On Inauguration day itself, Anne Quito wrote “Death in the Gulf Stream” to tell us Ernest Hemingway has a cocktail recipe for days when you’ve had just enough of the world.

Anne notes the drink, Death in the Gulf Stream, is strong and bitter as it is essentially gin, lime juice and Angostura bitters on ice. Hemingway called it his salve for the dark year of 1937, when he was a war correspondent in Spain.

The choice of 1937 to pull a drink from was appropriate, not simply because it was an even 80 years ago, but because Hemingway gave a speech that year that resonates with the events of the past couple of weeks. In his book To Have and Have Another, Philip Greene tells us Hemingway said: “There is only one form of government that cannot produce good writers, and that system is fascism. For fascism is a lie told by bullies. A writer who will not lie cannot live or work under fascism.”

Greene was making the point in talking about Hemingway’s short story “The Denunciation.” It is a very good, and often overlooked, story about responsibility set in Civil War Madrid, at Chicote’s bar (it is still there and on my list to visit should I ever get to Madrid). It is well worth the read, and timely as we are all being tested on our responsibilities to each other and ourselves.

Like Greene, I’ll turn my focus to the drink in the story, a gin and tonic. For Hemingway, it was Gordon’s gin and Schweppes tonic, and there is the suggestion that some Angostura may have been involved. For Hemingway, in besieged Madrid, it was a marvel. Today, however, Spain is the epicenter of amazing creativity in gin and tonic, or gintonic as it’s called.

Typically made in a copa de balón, Spanish G&T’s are known for a wide variety of garnishes. This could be fruits, veggies, spices, herbs or a combination. The end result is always refreshing, and refreshing is something we could all use right about now.

I made mine tonight with 2 oz of Opihr gin, Fever Tree tonic, juniper berries, and lime. You can find more recipes here and here.

Cheers!

 

Happy Friday! Drinks Links 8/19/16

Eating is cheating

Friday Rules: Eating is cheating

Very good news (and pic above likely in one of those pubs) Wandsworth Council protects 120 pubs from redevelopment (Press Release)

Yes! This autumn less pumpkin, more porter! Brewers scramble to find pumpkin for seasonal ales as supply tightens (CNBC)

But gin sales are up! Travel Retail Spirits Sales Sink 4.2% in 2015 (The Spirits Business)

Great gin primer. What Exactly Is Gin, Anyway? (Ginerations)

Yes. Yes it is. THIS “GINTERNSHIP” MAY BE THE COOLEST GIG EVER (Liquor.com)

But can you open carry your blaster? DRINK LIKE HAN SOLO AT THE STAR WARS CANTINA BAR (Liquor.com)

Health Booze, meh. Big Alcohol Tries to Go on a Health Kick (Bloomberg)

One less thing to carry. Corona Extra partnership makes beachside beer delivery a reality (Chicago Business Journal)

Let’s be careful out there. The Two Words That Could Save You (And Your Career) From Burnout (Tales of the Cocktail)

DIAGEO ‘NOT WALKING AWAY’ FROM MASTERS OF WHISKY (The Spirits Business)

KYOTO DISTILLERY UNVEILS JAPAN’S FIRST GIN (The Drinks Business)

TEXSOM 2016 Takeaways (Imbibe)

 

 

Underrated Cocktails

Pegu Club Cocktail

A new article out from Liquor.com lists the 16 most underrated cocktails according to a collection of bartenders from around the country. It is not a bad list.

I was happy to see my go-to cocktail, the Negroni, was listed, though I think it is getting a lot more attention than it used to get. The inclusion of both the Vieux Carré and Sazerac is something I am in complete agreement with, particularly in the case of Vieux Carré.

In further proof of how underrated it is, the Martinez did not make the list. With the right marketing, the Martinez could easily be the most sought after classic cocktail. But since I recently wrote about it, I’ll add another; The Pegu Club.

It’s not just the current heat wave that has me thinking about this very refreshing drink, but it doesn’t hurt. This is a simple and under appreciated cocktail that easily should have made the list. I typically work off the recipe from Brad Thomas Parson’s Bitters book:

2 oz London dry gin, usually Plymouth, sometimes Bombay Sapphire (as pictured above)

.75 oz orange Curaçao

.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1 dash Angostura (or Orinoco Bitters)

1 dash orange bitters

Shake, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

And, of course, if you’re in New York, it’s always worth having a Pegu Club Cocktail at the Pegu Club.

Cheers!