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!

The Ignominious End of the American Century

1919

We have now unequivocally reached the end of the American Century. The term was coined by Henry Luce, founder of Time, Life and Fortune magazines, in February 1941 as an argument against U.S. isolationism and for American leadership in the world. While Luce was clearly looking at the war that would soon come to be know as World War II, he sought to replace British global leadership with an American model, and in this, he was clearly looking back to Woodrow Wilson and the arguments used in bringing America into WWI. Wilson’s 14 Points and “Making the World Safe for Democracy” had also helped to establish the post-WWI order.

By contrast, the American President today cozies up to the world’s authoritarian dictators who are not interested in safe places for democracy, and Trump’s America First is antithetical to global leadership as Luce envisioned it. In addition, of course, is the situation at the border where the administration separates refugee children from their families and detains them in inhumane conditions. In less than a generation we have moved from going to war with people who “Hate us for our freedom,” to denying freedom to refugees. The Atlantic Monthly had called the end of the American Century shortly after Trump’s inauguration in late January 2017. I mentioned it a little later here, with my favorite WWI cocktail, the Sidecar.

Even if not for Trump’s dismantling of the world order built largely to U.S. specifications after WWII (as Luce had hoped for), this weekend on June 28, we will see the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles that formally ended WWI, incorporating many of the ideals pushed by President Wilson and putting the U.S. into a global leadership role. But that century, chronologically, is up now too.

The Treaty of Versailles is famously not without its faults. Although there is growing dispute among historians about the treaty’s punitive approach to Germany being directly responsible for WWII, we are still living today with the mess it created of the Middle East.

When we get past the time of Trump and Putin’s adventurism and look to rebuild the world order it will look different than it has since the end of WWII. While you sit back to contemplate what that order may look like, have a 1919 cocktail and keep your fingers crossed they can avoid the mistakes of Paris during that summer 100 years ago.

The cocktail comes from Drink in Boston and the recipe via Cocktail Virgin. The drink origins have nothing to do with the Treaty, but another mistake of that year, the start of Prohibition. The 1919 is:

.75 oz Rittenhouse Rye

.75 oz Old Monk rum

1 oz Punt e Mes

.5 oz Benedictine

1 dash Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Cheers!

Call the Exorcist!

Host

While the president* tries to stoke fear ahead of the midterm elections with ridiculous claims of “invasion by the migrant caravan,” it is actually our body politic that has been invaded by something alien.

Clearly, some kind of demonic possession has brought the nation that once led the fight to defeat fascism to the brink of succumbing to its own homegrown version. How else can we explain why the once conservative defenders of the Constitution would now so willingly allow a single person to dictate whatever changes struck their fancy. The 14th Amendment is no less important (and quite possibly more) to this country than the 2nd Amendment! Perhaps through a Vulcan mind meld we can determine what is now controlling the Republican Party.

Sigourney Weaver never saw anything as ugly and scary emerge as we have these past weeks with the violent thugs feeding off the bloodstream of Trump/GOP/Fox News rhetoric.

The most frightening thing you can do this Halloween is look back across 102 weeks of the list kept by Amy Siskind of the ways our authoritarian demon has changed things and realize how we have normalized so many un-American behaviors.

Next week we have an opportunity to bring about an exorcism to begin the process of ridding ourselves of this unwanted possessor. It will, however, require a vast cooperative  effort, ensuring the number of voters overwhelms all of the obstacles placed by the minions of the Evil One.

On this All Hallows’ Eve, to fortify for the coming exorcism by exercising your right to vote, have a Host Body cocktail and tell the GOP to Get Out!

Via Kindred Cocktail, the Host Body is:

1.25 oz Jamaican rum, Smith & Cross

1 oz Sherry, Lustau East India Solera (Oloroso)

.5 oz Amaro Nardini

.5 oz Campari

Stir over ice, strain onto one large rock, one orange twist, one grapefruit twist.

Cheers!

Space Madness!

Moonage

This has been quite a news filled week: elections; Manafort trial; new tariffs; swampy behavior by Cabinet officials; immigrations; racism; Nazis; Russians; the demise of our democracy; etc.

But it is Friday, so maybe it’s a little OK to allow ourselves to be distracted. This week gave us the Mother of All Distractions — Space Force!

Vice Colluder Pence made the announcement of a new military branch at the Pentagon, a Space Command. Problem is, this pointless distraction doesn’t even seem to realize that it already exists (in a more sensible manner). As @amvetssupport pointed out on Twitter:

The USAF Space Command has 38,000 members of the USAF working in the Command. They are in almost 90 bases throughout the world.

The Trump-Pence version was roundly mocked, according to the distraction plan. But while Space Madness has captured some attention, real patriots won’t succumb to the Killing Moon. We’ll pause a moment to laugh at their Moonage Daydream, and then get back to resisting until they take their stinking paws off our democracy.

So while you’re watching Spaceballs tonight, enjoy a Moonage Daydream cocktail. Via Gaz Regan’s 101 Best New Cocktails (2015), the Moonage Daydream is:

1.5 oz Zacapa 23 rum (El Dorado 12)

.75 oz Punt e Mes

.25 oz Luxardo Fernet (Fernet Branca)

3 dashes of Dr. Adam’s Aphrodite Bitters

Build over a large rock in an Old Fashioned glass, stir until cold and add orange twist garnish.

Happy Friday!

Cheers!

The Gathering Storm

Stormy

The naming of John Bolton as Trump’s new National Security Advisor is a dark cloud over the White House. As the third sentence of Friday’s NY Times editorial says: “There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war.”

Bolton’s penchant for warmongering comes at a time when Mueller’s Russia investigation is tightening the noose around Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels is set to reveal details of the affair Trump tried to keep secret. It is an extremely dangerous time and the risk of war as distraction is high.

In his first memoir about the events leading to WWII, “The Gathering Storm,” Winston Churchill called the Second World War a largely senseless but unavoidable conflict. Today we face the potential for catastrophic war that is both senseless and avoidable.

The revelation that hacker Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian intelligence agent points to Trump associate Roger Stone pretty clearly conspiring with Russia and WikiLeaks to win the 2016 election. As The Daily Beast put it:

Mueller is likely looking to see whether Stone or other members of the Trump campaign played a role in suggesting the timing of the release of the Podesta emails, which occurred on the same day as the release of the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump spoke in vulgar and disparaging ways about women. The release of the tape was a potentially campaign-ending event for Trump. Instead, that story competed for attention with the story of the Podesta emails. 

While this news broke on Friday to start the weekend (another in which Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida), the weekend is set to end with the 60 Minutes interview of Stormy Daniels.

After a $130,000 hush money payment just before the election, Daniels has fought the validity of a Non-Disclosure Agreement about the affair. Trump has tried a number of ways to keep this story from coming out, possibly including threats.

The Stormy Daniels story is only one of several recent accounts of sexual affairs by Trump to come to light, including one from ex-Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. Trump’s reaction to all of this pressure on multiple fronts with few familiar faces in the White House left is hard to gauge, but his behavior has been a bit more unhinged than usual lately.

Now the man Washington Post columnist George Will calls the most dangerous man in America will be advised by the person Will calls the second-most dangerous American on April 9, when Bolton joins the Administration.

There is really only one cocktail to have this weekend, a Dark ‘n Stormy. This is Gosling’s Black Seal Rum’s signature drink, and one it has held a trademark on since 1988. I was out at the time I wrote this and used Cruzan Black Strap rum instead (making it not technically a Dark ‘n Stormy, but still tasty).

So breathe deep the gathering gloom, and grab your rum and ginger beer before the light fades from every room.

1.5 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum

4 oz Ginger Beer

Lime wedge

Build on rocks in a highball glass, squeeze the lime and drop into the glass.

Cheers!

Would You Believe…

Smooth

The most frequently used word in headlines over the past week has been chaos.

Between tariffs, North Korea, staff defections, the Russia investigation, and legal actions around Trump’s porn star hush money, to name a handful of the top stories, the disarray at the White House has been more than usual.

As Dan Balz notes in The Washington Post today, however, Trump promised just this kind of presidency. But for all the commentary that tries to liken the Trump presidency to a reality show, this week may point to a different TV genre and show.

We may be in an episode of Get Smart. Nevertheless, the past year and definitely the past week, has certainly been a battle between CONTROL and KAOS. Trump is absolutely the Mr. Big of KAOS right now, and Sebastian Gorka is straight out of Mel Brooks’ central casting for KAOS agents. (Not saying Mueller is Agent 86, btw.)

All of the chaos of the past week has led to a nearly universal feeling of being on the road to ruin. On one side are people fearful of the negative effects of a trade war, destruction of our democratic norms and atomic annihilation, on the other side are Republicans facing this fall’s elections.

While we watch Trump walk back meeting with Kim Jong Un and maybe not impose tariffs on allies, adding to the long list of erratic policy behavior, have a Smooth Operator cocktail.

Via Kindred Cocktails, the Smooth Operator is:

2 oz Plantation Stiggin’s’ Fancy pineapple rum

.25 oz orgeat

.25 oz Allspice Dram

2 dashes aromatic bitters (I used Dr Adam’s Orinoco)

orange twist

Stir, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish

Cheers!

 

Hail To The Chief?

prez

As we celebrate 44 of the 45 U.S. chief executives on this Presidents’ Day, it is worth revisiting the El Presidente cocktail. It seems even more appropriate today.

When I posted the cocktail for Presidents’ Day 2017, Michael Flynn had just been dismissed as National Security Advisor because of his dubious ties to Russians and his lies (supposedly to Vice President Pence) about it. Now, of course, Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about those contacts and is cooperating with the Special Council investigation. The whole post from last year is here.

Today, “conservatives” are calling for Trump to pardon Flynn, but these Treason Weasels are fighting against the ever increasing flow of evidence of Russian interference in our electoral process. Just last week, Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three organizations laid out very detailed specifics on the “information warfare” campaigne that played out on social media.

While Trump initially claimed these indictments were vindication for him — “no collusion” — it is clear they were targeted at only one aspect of the investigation and much more is yet to come. Trump seems to realized this as well as his Tweeting has been even more unhinged than usual.

So raise your El Presidente cocktail this Presidents’ Day, Hail to the Chief and good health to Robert Mueller. A good recipe to follow comes from Beach Bum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean. You can also get some history on how the cocktail was named for a Cuban president who cozied up to foreign business interests (U.S., not Russian, in this case, but you can also check out the New Yorker article on Trump’s ties to Russian business interests).

1.5 oz aged Cuban rum (Havana Club Añejo 7 Años)

.75 oz Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Blanc

.75 oz curaçao (Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao)

.5 teaspoon grenadine (Not part of Berry’s recipe, but a variant I enjoy)

orange twist

Stir on ice for 30 seconds, strain into a cocktail glass, twist.

Cheers!