Of Assholes and Shitholes

Haitian

The Racist in Chief has denigrated the office of the Presidency of the United States to an unprecedented level this evening. I’m sure Putin considers him an amazing bargain.

Calling Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations shithole countries while discussing immigration policy with a Senate delegation and saying we need more from places like Norway instead is yet more proof the Oval Office is occupied by a white supremacist.

Trump reportedly said, “Why do we need more Haitians?” according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.” Besides the the fact this statement smacks of ethnic cleansing, it belies an ignorance of history, of the fact that Haitian soldiers came to fight in the American Revolution to free us from Britain. MAGA my ass.

While watching the news and considering how these racist views will impact our foreign policy, immigration policy, and relations with a number of our neighbors, have a Haitian Witch cocktail. (You could also stick pins in a Donald Trump voodoo doll available at Amazon.) I know whoever the American is that gets the duty to answer the summons from the Haitian government to explain Trump’s remarks could use one (or both).

Via Kindred Cocktails, the Haitian Witch is:

2 oz Barbancourt 8 Haitian Rhum

.75 oz lime juice

.5 oz Cheery Heering

2 t agave syrup

1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

Shake, strain over rocks in a lowball glass.

Cheers!

 

2017 Con La Mosca

Anisetta

And we thought 2016 was bad.

Of course, at this time in 2016 many people thought “how could 2017 get any worse.” No one is suggesting that about 2018. In fact, there is a growing realization we are walking along the precipice, or as @fmbutt (Farooq Butt) said on Twitter the other day, “we hugely underestimate the fragility of modernity.”

The usual sense of optimism for the new year is muted this year. I believe this is partly because 2017 was packed so full of news that portrayed democracy under grave threat. Amy Siskind’s “The Weekly List: This Is How Democracy Ends” has been cataloging the abnormalities under Trump for more than a year.

So much has been crammed into this year that it is hard to keep up with how many outrageous things have been normalized. In a year this full, the only way to see it off is with a good digestivo. Lots of choices as Italian amari have gained a lot more attention lately. I’m a big fan of Ramazzotti (though a Polish honey mead works well here, too, maybe just my Chicago upbringing).

Tonight, though, an anisetta con la mosca should do the trick because those three flies — (con la mosca) coffee beans representing health, happiness, and prosperity — are a symbol of the hope for 2018 as we let the anisette settle our digestion of 2017. The hope is not Mueller and his investigation, important as it is, but the reaction of so many Americans that are standing up to the kleptocracy, incompetence and the degradation of our traditions that Trump and his GOP enablers represent.

Meletti is my preference for anisette, but whatever you’re drinking tonight, raise a glass to the ideals that actually make America great, and to the work ahead in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Cheers!

Old Enemies and New Friends

Friend

It is amazing to see just how much the GOP has changed in less than 10 years.

Heading in to the 2008 presidential election, John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin was trying to make hay out of Barack Obama’s association with William Ayers, co-founder of the 1960s radical group Weather Underground. Palin, as awful as she was, tried to play the patriotism card saying Obama “is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

Now, however, it is the republicans who seem to see America “as being so imperfect” that they’re willing to pall around with authoritarian leaders of foreign adversaries. Roy Moore, Alabama GOP Senate candidate, became the latest example the other day.

Saying that the U.S. was a “focus of evil” in the world – largely due to same sex marriage – he admired Vladimir Putin’s “morality.” The accused pedophile was not new in this line of thinking, echoing Trump from last year.

Denigrating America and praising Putin now seems to be the Republican Party policy. To honor this budding relationship, I suggest the New Friend cocktail. It’s not as bitter a drink as would seem appropriate, but they’re just palling around for now.

This variation on the Old Pal is from Serious Eats:

1 oz rye

1 oz Aperol

1 oz Cocchi Americano

orange twist

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

Cheers!

All In The (Crime) Family

Family

There are many distractions at the top of the news today, from Al Franken and Roy Moore to Trump’s Jerusalem decision, but this week is also seeing the noose tighten on America’s First Family of grifters.

On the heels of the Dec. 1 revelation of Michael Fynn’s guilty plea and cooperation with the Mueller investigation, the big news this week is that Mueller has apparently subpoenaed records of Trump and his family from Deutsche Bank. This might clarify issues around Trump’s $300 million debt to the bank and real estate deals involving Russian oligarchs.

The Flynn plea, which said a senior transition official had directed Flynn to contact the Russian Ambassador, pulled Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner deeper into the Russia investigation when he was identified as that official.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr again proved to be the Fredo of the Trump crime family when he tried to not answer Congressional questioning about a conversation he had with his father regarding the infamous Trump Tower meeting by claiming attorney-client privilege (despite the fact that neither he nor his father are attorneys).

First daughter Ivanka Trump has largely been out of the news this week. Actually she has had a much lower profile since stories came out last month on her involvement in potential money laundering real estate schemes with Trump Organization affiliated properties, like the Trump Ocean Club in Panama. Shockingly, there are ties to Russian organized crime alleged as part of those investigative reports.

As we watch the world (hopefully) come apart for the Trumps with Mueller continuing  to build his case, have an Against the Family cocktail.

Via Kindred Cocktail, the Against the Family recipe is:

2 oz Rye

.5 oz sweet vermouth (Punt e Mes)

.5 oz Amaro Montenegro

Combine rye, vermouth, and amaro in a mixing glass and stir with cracked ice. Strain into a coupe glass and express orange oil over the top.

Cheers!

Reversing the Curse

Fist

I am a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. I was happy beyond words on November 2, 2016, when the Cubs won the World Series and ended 108 years of frustration.

Many of us Cubs fans feared there would be a heavy price to pay for this victory, and less than a week later, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. On the bright side, the sun didn’t go super nova and destroy the Earth. Still it’s been a rough year.

On November 1 this year, the Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to become World Series Champions. One week later — with the Cubs no longer the reigning baseball champs — the forces allied with Trump suffered major electoral defeats.

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

In the best baseball tradition, this calls for a beer. I am going with the very appropriate Chicago beer Fist City from Revolution Brewing. Like good anti-fascists everywhere, raise a Fist (City) and toast the hard work that has been done, and the hard work to come as the Cubs’ curse is out of the way and we can rid ourselves of these grifters and traitors.

And as for the Cubs, they had a good season and made it to the NLCS for the third year in a row, but now the curse is over and penance has been paid. We’re good. And the last time the Cubs lost the NLCS, they won the World Series the next year. Go Cubs Go!

Happy Friday!

Cheers!

Darkness Turning to Light

Solstice

The past year has seen things get increasingly dark in America. Since Trump’s election on November 8, 2016, the traditions that defined America as a beacon of freedom were under attack and in danger of being snuffed out.

Nazis marched in our streets and the President of the United States said there were many very fine people among them. Nazis! And not just Illinois Nazis, who everyone hates.

There is very little doubt at this point that Russia interfered with our 2016 election and the evidence has grown suggesting Trump and his campaign were involved in that effort. Still, however, Republicans in Congress don’t seem interested that American democracy was attacked.

But then came Tuesday’s off-year elections. It was not simply a good night for Democrats, it was a repudiation of Trumpism large and small.

New Jersey and Virginia governorships were won by Democrats, and Virginia was expected to be much closer, with Steve Bannon all but declaring victory for the Trump-supported Republican candidate.

But these weren’t even the particularly important measures of the backlash against the kind of country Trump wants to build. The diversity of the successful candidates on Tuesday was amazing. The Virginia statehouse saw a transgendered woman defeat the state’s self-declared homophobe-in-chief, and the first Latina elected to the chamber.

In NJ, a Republican county freeholder was defeated by a woman who decided to run after his sexist comment about whether the Women’s March on Washington will be “over in time for them to cook dinner.”

Across the country there were victories for the first (Insert ethnicity here) mayors that said we reject the white supremacist Trump/Bannon agenda, while Maine voted for the ACA Medicaid expansion by referendum to get around lawmakers.

To celebrate Tuesday’s ray of hope that America does not really side with Trump, that light is returning to the world, a Solstice cocktail is most appropriate.

Via Kindred Cocktails, the Solstice is:

2 oz rye

.75 oz Cointreau

1 t Allspice Dram

Build over ice in a rocks glass glass, stir.

Cheers!

Incompetent v. Indifferent

Heart

As we approach 10 days after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a major Category 4 storm, the federal response to the suffering of 3.5 million American citizens has been woefully inadequate.

The devastation is almost unimaginable, with the electrical grid gone across the whole island with no prospect of repairs for months to years, and nearly 2 million people without drinking water. During these 10 days, President Trump has spent two weekends at his golf resorts. The Washington Post reports the first weekend, a Lost Weekend, hampered efforts to provide relief for Puerto Rico.

This past week, Trump then blamed relief efforts on the fact that Puerto Rico is an island. “This is an island, surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water,” Trump said.

This weekend, again from his golf course in New Jersey, Trump lashed out at Puerto Rican officials, particularly the mayor of San Juan, in a series of early morning tweets. Apparently her desperate pleas for help did not come with enough Hail to the Chief.

While some have called Maria Trump’s Katrina, CNN said it is much worse. I am not a fan of trying to refurbish the image of George W. Bush. However, Katrina showed the Bush Administration to not be very good at handling a crisis, but their incompetence did not suggest the level of uncaring we see today.

While the “big water” comment proves Trump is in search of a brain as much as Bush was, it would certainly help now if he at least had a heart. Since the wizard isn’t likely to bestow one on Trump any time soon, in the meantime we can drink a Have A Heart cocktail.

This classic from Dr. Cocktail Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails book is:

1.5 oz gin

.75 oz Swedish Punsch

.75 oz lime juice

.25 oz grenadine

Cheers!