Drinks for the Resistance!

coup 1

A new bar opened in New York City over the weekend called Coup, as in coup d’etat designed for resisting the Trump regime.

All of the bar’s profits will be donated to various organizations fighting or being defunded by Trump. Owner Ravi DeRossi and his partners Sother Teague and Max Green have placed six jars around the establishment representing different non-profits for patrons to drop tokens into after purchasing a drink.

coup 3
 Manhattan & token jar

In the first two nights, Coup reportedly sold $20,000 worth of drinks that the donations
will be drawn from. Planned Parenthood saw the most donations, which could be due to recent defunding efforts, or that it was easier to get to their jar. The ACLU was second.

I got the chance to chat with Ravi on Friday night and the parallel motivations behind Coup and this blog were clear, to take something you know how to do well and use it to fight to make things better.

Coup has received some very good coverage from The New York TimesFood & Wine, and Saveur, among others. There was a nice opening weekend video interview with DeRossi here. And definitely keep an eye on coupnyc.com for the list of guest
bartenders.

The place was intimate and comfortable, and drinking for a cause is likely to make everyone that much more friendly. Opening weekend staff made it difficult to tell they really hadn’t worked together before (at least from my side of the bar), and Coup has a no tipping policy.

coup 2
Dark & Stormy

If you’re in New York, regularly or just visiting, Coup is a must for your cocktail itinerary. Located at 64
Cooper Square, it is very close to the Astor Place subway. (It is also very close to Amor y Amargo and Death & Co.)

 

Have a cocktail — the Dark and Stormy was both tasty and fitting for the times — and discuss the resistance. I’ll likely see you there.

Cheers!

All Blown Up

Philabuster

As the smoke clears on week 12 in the Reign of Error, we survey the damage from bunker busters in Afghanistan to the filibuster in the Senate. Clearly the most explosive week yet.

Employing his “Bomb-the-shit-out-of-them” strategy for defeating ISIS, Trump ordered the use of the GBU-43/B MOAB, which stands for Massive Ordinance Air Blast, or more popularly as Mother Of All Bombs. It is the most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever used by the U.S. in combat, and was dropped on Islamic State tunnels in Nangarhar province. The $314 million weapon reportedly killed 36 militants.

Shortly after dropping the MOAB, Trump scurried off to Mar-a-Lago for yet another round of golf, and perhaps to contemplate nuking North Korea over chocolate cake. He also faces the tightening noose after the bombshell report about campaign aid Carter Page.

The Washington Post reported that the FBI got a FISA warrant to monitor Page last summer as part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign.

The Page news had come quickly on the heels of the Sean Spicer implosion while attempting to use a Hitler analogy to defend the ineffective airstrikes in Syria.

On Monday, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice to complete the GOP theft of this seat. The heist began about a year ago when Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Republicans refused to even meet with President Obama’s nominee. Before they could get to Monday’s ceremony, however, McConnell had to use the “Nuclear Option” to get Gorsuch approved. Last Friday, McConnell dropped the Mother of All Bombs in the Senate and killed the filibuster so Gorsuch could be confirmed by a simple majority.

Of all the explosions over the past week, killing the filibuster and confirming Gorsuch is likely to have the greatest impact. This is true both for the way the Senate has historically  operated (though the filibuster had been abused for some time), and for the country at large as a relatively very young right-wing ideologue now has a lifetime appointment to the highest court.

To wash away that Nuclear Senate residue and try to forget that the patriotic Republicans have just handed a stolen Supreme Court seat to a corporation-favoring tool, chosen by a puppet of the Russian government, I suggest a Philabuster cocktail via Kindred Cocktails.

1.5 oz rye, Rittenhouse 100

.5 oz Aperol

.5 oz Cocchi Americano

.25 oz Cynar

.12 oz Fernet Branca

1 dash grapefruit bitters

1 twist grapefruit peel as garnish

Stir, strain over rock, highball, garnish

Happy Friday!

Cheers!

Demonize and Distract

Satan

Quite a day for Trump spokesman Sean Spicer yesterday. While attempting to defend Trump’s ill-conceived and ineffective airstrikes in Syria, Spicer (in the way only NPR could describe it) “overlooked the Holocaust.”

Saying that Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons in World War II as proof of the need to bomb Syria drew a response from the White House briefing room. As the New York Times reported:

Asked to clarify his remarks, Mr. Spicer then acknowledged that Hitler had used      chemical agents, but maintained that there was a difference.

“I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing,” Mr. Spicer said, incorrectly, before mentioning “Holocaust centers,” an apparent reference to Nazi death camps.

This brought about a clamor on social media that threatened to drown out the United Airlines re-accommodated passenger story, and brought calls for Spicer to be fired. Spicey, though, wasn’t finished. He went on CNN to apologize for the remarks, but he said he did not want his comments on Hitler to distract from Trump’s attempts “to destabilize the region.”

It just feels like there’s a Freudian slip in here. It is hard to believe the level of stupidity and incompetence we have seen from the Administration, so it is only natural to believe this is part of some master plan of deception and distraction.

The Washington Post story that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page only fed the idea that Trump needs to distract us from what is seeping out about his campaign’s collusion with Russia during the election.

Applying Occam’s Razor, however, the more likely explanation is that Spicer simply bungled his Hitler reference (owing to an already apparent tentative grasp on history), which was made in service of justifying a bungled response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons by using the well-worn playbook of demonizing your enemy.

The author of that playbook, Lucifer, just kicked back, twirled his mustache, and awaited some new arrivals. As the demonizations continue, the rest of us can kick back with a Satan’s Whiskers cocktail to see whether Spicer gets fired, or was just following orders. The recipe via Brad Thomas Parson’s Bitters is:

.5 oz gin

.5 oz sweet vermouth

.5 oz dry vermouth

.5 oz orange juice

.25 oz orange curaçao

3 dashes orange bitters

Shake over ice, strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass, garnish with an orange twist

Cheers!

Greatest Show On Earth

Barnum

Exactly seven weeks from today, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will bring an end to nearly a century and a half of entertainment as its tours conclude and it folds its tents one last time.

Never fear, though, the calliope plays on in Washington D.C. After the GOP primary clown car of 17 major candidates, we elected Donald Trump to make sure the circus would continue.

Trump can draw a line from the great showman P.T. Barnum, who started with his American Museum in downtown New York City in 1841 and revolutionized the circus by adding the freak show. Meanwhile, Trump continues to fill out his cabinet. As Trump settles the $25 million lawsuit over Trump University, we can be reminded of the saying P.T. Barnum is famously credited with, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

And as we see Nick Kristof’s report in the New York Times today, “In Trump Country, Shock at Trump Budget Cuts, but Still Loyalty,” the obvious drink tonight is the Barnum (Was Right) Cocktail.

Pulled from Dr. Cocktail Ted Haigh’s book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie and Beyond, the drink was clearly in reference to Barnum’s sucker quote. As the cocktail is a slight variation on a Pegu Club cocktail, and similar to others such as the Barbara West Cocktail, Haigh said cocktail patrons inevitably would find themselves muttering; “Hey! This is nothing but a blah blah cocktail with a little blah blah in it! Barnum was right!

2 oz gin

1 oz apricot brandy (Haigh suggests Marie Brizard’s Apry)

.5 oz fresh lemon juice

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist.

Cheers!

Drive On, Don’t Mean Nothing

Maine

The Reign of Error has reached week 10, and once again this week we have been overwhelmed by details of scandal, malfeasance and just outright stupidity. Before it slips down the memory hole under much bigger news, it is worth mentioning comments the Grifter-in-Chief made about Iraq this week.

On Tuesday, Trump made comments about things going well in Iraq to a group of Senators at the White House, saying “our troops are fighting like never before.” The near universal response, particularly from veterans, was: Asshole!

Among others, Montel Williams took to social media to respond:

“Mr. President, you signed up to be the Commander in Chief, HAVE YOU NO DECENCY SIR. Thousands of troops paid the ultimate price on Iraq while you were on the NY social circuit and hosting a reality TV show. Many more thousands came back badly wounded, more still came back with invisible injuries they may well bear for life. Their sacrifice, their blood, sweat and tears in battle, should not be denigrated by a television star, now President whose only military experience was dodging the draft.

“On the issue of the civilians apparently killed in a coalition airstrike, while likely just
imprecise words, I certainly hope the death of civilians doesn’t constitute ‘fighting like never before’ in this President’s mind. It’s for the military to figure out what happened, but one thing I know for sure, for certain is none of the troops involved joined to kill civilians.”

I agree with Williams, particularly on the point that Trump may be making good on the GOP carpet bombing talking point from the Primary with the civilian deaths from this airstrike. However, I remember a time before any mention of military service was not reflexively met with “thank you for your service.” I enlisted around the time Magnum P.I. began changing the image of Vietnam vets from being a deranged baby-killing criminal to a cool badass. So with everything going on, I will apply that lesson I learned long ago; Drive on, don’t mean nothin’, not a thing.

The language Trump uses is often questionable, self-aggrandizing and propagandistic. This seems to fit that pattern. The problem with Trump’s language is that he leads a party with control of the executive and legislative branches of government, so just how far will the sycophant Fortunate Sons in the GOP go to please what they believe are the boss’ wishes.

At a time when some half-baked slogan from Trump could have history-altering impacts, it seems only right to toast the weekend with a Remember the Maine cocktail.

Remember the Maine was the slogan pushed by the fake news purveyors of the late 1890s, mostly the yellow journalists working for William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, proprietors of the New York Journal and the New York World. Based on the mysterious sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor, the slogan helped push the U.S. into war with Spain. The result of the brief Spanish-American War of 1898, as History Today tells us, was the “independence” of Cuba and American control of the Philippines and Puerto Rico. It also signified the arrival of the U.S. as a great power.

So, as we approach the nadir, pour a Remember the Maine for all of those who “fought like never before.”

From Brad Thomas Parson’s book Bitters:

2 oz rye

.75 oz sweet vermouth (preferably Carpano Antica)

.25 oz Cherry Heering

2 dashes Angostura bitters (or Dr. Adam’s Orinoco Bitters)

Splash of absinthe (as rinse)

Stir all but the absinthe over ice until chilled. Add the absinthe to a chilled cocktail glass, roll the glass to coat and discard excess absinthe. Strain chilled ingredients into the prepared glass.

Cheers!

 

The Big Con

Right Hand

“If this thing blows up, the Feds will be the least of our problems,” – Kid Twist, from The Sting.

It will be pretty disappointing if the Trump clan turns out to be the transparently petty grifters they seem and there’s not some deeper more interesting con going on. Several times a day, the Entertainer-in-Chief provides us with what would be considered a major scandal in most any other presidency.

One of those today was the news that his daughter Ivanka would become an unpaid federal employee. This comes after a bit of an uproar over her getting an office in the White House to be an informal advisor to her father. She will now join her husband as an unpaid advisor.

As The Reformed Broker Josh Brown said on Twitter today:

“We aren’t paying Ivanka for the same reason Facebook users aren’t paying Zuckerberg. Because we’re not the customer, we’re the product.”

So now daddy’s little girl is ensconced right next to him in the White House as an “employee.” May as well toast this play with a Right Hand cocktail since that’s where Ivanka sits now. Meantime, we can watch to see if there’s a bigger con going underneath the obvious conflict of interest riddled swindle happening in broad daylight.

The Right Hand was created by Michael McIlroy of Milk and Honey and Little Branch in 2007 according to the Bitterman’s website recipes page. It is:

1.5 oz aged rum

.75 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth

.75 oz Campari

2 dashes of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir, serve up in a cocktail glass.

Cheers!

Grounds for Separation

Grounds

Will Rogers famously said, “I’m not a member of any organized political party… I’m a Democrat.”

In the aftermath of the Trumpcare vote debacle in Congress, however, it is the traditional Republican Party unity that is being called into question. Today’s New York Times piece  “Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War” said that Trump now finds himself shackled to rules and consequences of fractious party politics he thought did not apply to him.

“Mr. Trump faces a wrenching choice: retrenchment or realignment. Does he cede power to the anti-establishment wing of his party? Or does he seek other pathways to successful governing by throwing away the partisan playbook and courting a coalition with the Democrats he has improbably blamed for his party’s shortcomings?”

I’m sure that’s exactly what is on his Orangeness’ mind as he spends yet another weekend at his golf course.

But this sense that fissures in the GOP threaten Trump’s agenda is a pervasive theme in the press now. If we can remember all the way to the days before November 8, 2016, most of the talk was about how the Republican Party was going to break apart after the election. Most of that talk went away after the Republican sweep of electoral power. However, as Barron’s pointed out a couple of weeks ago, the GOP is splintered into three groups despite the election. It classified those groups as the Chamber of Commerce Faction, the Tea Party Rebels, and the Steve Bannon Populists. The Washington Post today whittled that down to simply a GOP right flank and left flank.

As difficult as it may be for those groups to remain under one roof, the folks we find most in need of some space in Washington is the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

The Washington Post yesterday explained “The committee probing the Russia scandal has erupted into open warfare” as Republican Committee Chairman Devin Nunes appears to be acting on behalf of the Administration than running an independent investigation of it.

Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff today called for an independent commission to investigate the facts on Russian interference in our elections.

Therefore, today is a good day for a Grounds for Separation, a less bitter variation on the Grounds for Divorce cocktail. From the Kindred Cocktails website, Grounds for Separation contains:

2 oz Bourbon

.5 oz Aperol

.5 oz Averna amaro

.5 oz Punt e Mes (sweet vermouth)

1 dash of Angostura bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled coupe, no garnish (unless the drink and/or the world is still too bitter, then by all means add a nice Maraschino cherry, we all need more cherries)

Cheers!