May 24, 2022

Cocktail Talk: The Thin Man

thin-manAre you ready to celebrate tomorrow? I certainly hope so! Wait, celebrate what I hear someone in the back asking? Well, The Thin Man release date day of course! That’s right friends, one of the drinky-est movies of all time (and a swell mystery, too, natch), where the Martinis and such flow like rain in a Seattle winter, was released on 5/25, 1934, if memory serves. Based on the Dashiell Hammett book of the same name (which you must read), and kicking off a series of movies, The Thin Man for those whose lives have been sad so far, features drinking-and-joking-and-quipping-and-drinking-and-just-having-a-swell-time private detectives Nick and Nora Charles. And, for my money (what there is of it), the scene where we meet them for the first time is one of the best scenes in any movie, where a camera swerves through a crowded dance floor before you hear Nick telling the bartender the below, right after which Nora shows and orders seven Martinis. Amazing, as is this quote:

 

The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a dry Martini you always shake to waltz time.

 

–The Thin Man

May 20, 2022

What I’m Drinking: Lucien Gaudin

En garde! This fencing (or sword-fighting, if you’re using, say, broadswords) drink is a well-balanced (on the balls of the feet, I suppose, if drinks had feet) number, with gin just taking the first position slightly, and then an equality of Cointreau, Campari, and dry vermouth providing the support, with a hint of orange the shining point (if I can drag out the metaphor). Altogether, a lot of herb-botanical-citrus goodness happening, and a cocktail that is fitting for late spring or late fall, one you can serve happily at happy hours and garden parties, and one with just enough of a story to entertain (named as it is after a famous Olympic fencer) but not so much of one to become a bore. And, really, sipping it is much finer than any sort of fight, even a mock one.

lucien-gaudin

 

Lucien Gaudin

 

Cracked ice

1 ounce gin

1/2 ounce Cointreau

1/2 ounce Campari

1/2 ounce dry vermouth

Orange twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, Cointreau, Campari, and dry vermouth. Stir well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist.

May 16, 2022

Cocktail Talk: Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard, Part III

mr-pinketon-scotland-yardOur third and last Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard Cocktail Talk (don’t miss, I tell you, don’t miss Part I and Part II, to learn more about the book and all such) shows the dangers of having Champagne cocktails after going to the movies! Very dangerous. And is also fun in a sort-of overly-dramatic way that reminds me of old motions pictures somewhat! With it, we say goodbye to little Mr. Pinkerton, for now, at least!

She laughed as if it weren’t really funny, but there it was.

“Monty and I had a Champagne cocktail or two at a club after the picture and decided we’d do that to Hugh, and then he’d see he was losing me and he’d say “I can’t let you go, you are mine,” and then it wouldn’t matter so much about his mother. Well, we did. We announced to Auntie and the Ripleys that we’d come to an understanding, and . . .  and  . . .

Linda Darrell bit her lip and smiled brightly.

 

–David Frome, Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard

May 13, 2022

What I’m Drinking: The Bijou

I was at a bar with some old pals (not drinking Old Pals, funny enough, hahaha) just the other day, and thought for a moment how nice it was to be able to be at a bar having a drink with some old pals – what a world that a thought such as that would flit through my mind then, just considering most of my life that thought wouldn’t have even been a thing (at least the “in a bar” part, with the connotations of the pandemic life we’ve been living). At said bar – not what you might consider a “cocktail bar” if that makes sense, and know I don’t mean that pejoratively, but one that still had a nice bunch of bottles – we were sitting outside, and as it does in Seattle in May sometimes, with evening descending, rain started and the temperature also rapidly descended, and I was getting chilly, and for some reason decided I had to have a hot chocolate and Green Chartreuse. The jolly waitress did look at me strangely (with a big smile) for a moment, as no-one there had ever ordered that before! But it was a lovely mix (try it!). However, that’s not what I’m drinking tonight. But the Chartreuse plus being with old pals (mine being like shining sparkling jewels, to me, as I hope your old pals are to you) reminded me of one of my favorite cocktails, the Bijou, which features said Green Chartreuse, and which is also named for the definition of the word bijou which circles around gems and jewels and jewelry. Neat, right? Right!

 bijou

Bijou, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

 

Cracked ice

1 -1/2 ounces gin

3/4 ounce Green Chartreuse

3/4 ounce sweet vermouth

Lemon twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, Chartreuse, and vermouth. Stir well.

 

2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass. Twist the twist over the glass and drop it in.

 

May 10, 2022

Cocktail Talk: Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard, Part II

mr-pinketon-scotland-yardOur second Cocktail Talk from David Frome’s fits-in-the-pocket-sized-book (be sure to read Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard Part I to learn more about the books, the murdering, and such) is brandy-based. It’s a little long, but wanted to set the whole scene, because it calls up multiple deficiencies in modern life. First: not enough people have brandy at hand like this for emergencies. Second: people don’t use the word “nip” enough to refer to a small drink. And third, people also don’t use the phrase “stiff peg” enough for a slightly larger strong pour of spirits in a glass. Let’s all work on bring these three things back into daily life, shall we?

 

“That Ellinger woman says my sister’s dead – is that true?

“Quite true, Mr. Ripley,” Bull said quietly. “Steady on, sir!”

He caught Hugh Ripley round the shoulders as he swayed in the doorway.

Superintendent Miller jumped to his feet and came over.

“Get some brandy,” he said to the maid. He pushed a chair up. Bull helped Ripley into it.

“I’m all right,” the young man said in a second. “Thanks.”

“This is Sir Charles Debenham, the Assistant Commissioner, and this is Superintendent Miller, of Scotland Yard,” Bull said. “They’re taking a hand in the investigation. Ah, here you are. Take a nip of this, sir.”

He took the decanter that Gaskins had fetched from the dining-room and poured out a stiff peg in the glass she held. Hugh Ripley poured it down his throat.

 

–David Frome, Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard

 

May 6, 2022

What I’m Drinking: The Pensiero

Last week I went on and on about brunching and brunch season and brunch drinks and then put down the recipe for a new brunch drink Good Morning Sunshine, and all of that and you know what? Not one of you invited me to brunch. Well, my dog Ainsley did, but she’d eat all the time if it was up to her, hahaha! So, just for that, here’s another brunch drink, one from an old (but still bubbly, if I may be so bold) book of mine called, simply enough, Champagne Cocktails, said drink being called The Pensiero (which is Italian for “thought” making this drink “The Thought” which is just so deeply silly), and as you’d expect one influenced by Italy and featuring delicious Italian stalwarts Punt e’ Mes vermouth and Campari, as well as fancy frizzante ruby-esque red wine Brachetto d’Acqui (a brunch treat if ever there was one). Now, I’m just gonna sit here and wait for my invitations.

 pensiero

The Pensiero, from Champagne Cocktails

 

Ice cubes

1 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

3/4 ounces Punt e Mes

1/2 ounce Campari

1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

Chilled Brachetto d’Acqui

Lemon twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the orange juice, Punt e Mes, Campari, and simple syrup. Shake thoughtfully.

 

2. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a flute glass. Top with Brachetto d’Acqui. Garnish with the lemon twist.

 

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May 3, 2022

Cocktail Talk: Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard, Part I

mr-pinketon-scotland-yardTake a trip with me now, friends, back, back, back in time a few weeks ago when I was talking here on the Spiked Punch (in the Mystery of the Dead Police post) about my love of Pocket Books, both those initial-capped as being from the brand that shares that name, and the general books-sized-to-fit-in-your-pocket that were widely available during the early-and-middle-ish part of last century. More recently than that, I re-read another Pocket Book from way farther back in 1941, one called Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard, by David Frome (there’s at least one more Mr. Pinkerton book, maybe others – if you see it, buy it and send it to me please). In it, there are three murders, a jolly little man named Mr. Pinkerton (not part of the famous detectives, by the by) who somehow gets embroiled in it all, his taciturn bulldoggy pal Inspector Bull, and some Londoning, which I always like. A fun little read! And with some Cocktail Talking too. Longtime (we’re going back farther than the post mentioned, but not so far as 1941) readers will realize I’ve had the below Cocktail Talk on here before, many moon ago – but it’s such a sweet quote, I’m going with it again! I’ll have a few others from the book later, for balance, don’t you worry.

 

Mr. Paget had brought along with him one of the new-fangled American contraptions for mixing spirits, and he, Linda Darrell, and Hugh Ripley had brought some mint from the garden, sent Gaskins to the fish monger’s for a six pennyworth of ice, and mixed it up with lemon juice. They made what they call a cocktail out of it.

 

–David Frome, Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard

April 29, 2022

What I’m Drinking: Good Morning Sunshine

Does it feel like brunch season to you? It does to me! Spring when springing always sings out “brunching time is on” in my old ears for some reason. More sunshine, perhaps, or the blooming of things equates in my brain having pals over for meals that aren’t really breakfast, but aren’t yet lunch either. Bascially: brunch! Great idea, brunch, by the way. Not that I don’t like brunches throughout the year, between us, but brunching in spring is best. Perhaps because you can, after a long winter (for many), have said brunch outdoors again if you want? Perhaps because by spring the days are longer so you can work up more of a brunch appetite (lots of weeding to be done in the morning, too)? Who knows! But in honor of, let’s call it, brunch season – which of course demands more brunch drinks – here’s a new effervescent cocktail for you, the Good Morning Sunshine. I like my brunch drinks bubbly in the main, and a bit fruity, while still having a smooth kick to help ease you into afternoon napping! That little rubric leads to the ingredient list here: two kinds of juice (oj, pj), the citrus-ish lightly sweet beloved of the nation (currently) Aperol, Aperol’s tight pal Prosecco (bringing the bubbles), and then a bit of a brunch surpriser: tequila, which adds the underlying strength while also bringing a hint of smoke and vegetalness. Quite lovely I have to admit. Brunch lovely, even!

good-morning-sunshine

Good Morning Sunshine

 

Ice cubes

1 ounce blanco tequila

1/2 ounce Aperol

1/2 ounce pineapple juice

1/2 ounce orange juice

4 ounces chilled Prosecco (see Note)

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add all but the Prosecco. Shake well.

 

2. Strain into a flute glass or comparable vessel. Top with the Prosecco. Brunch = on!

 

A Note: Could go five ounces here if you want and are feeling extra bubbly. Up to you.

 

 

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