September 15, 2020

Cocktail Talk: The Dirty Duck, Part I

the-dirty-duckNot too long ago (if you consider the amount of time within all of time, for sure) I had a couple Cocktail Talks from a book by Martha Grimes called The Man With a Load of Mischief, a book I liked pretty well. Not sure why (as this often happens) I didn’t search out more books by Martha G at the time, but, well, I didn’t. However, recently (being at home more and thereby reading more) I was scouring the shelves for a book to re-read, and I picked up said Load, and liked it again. It – as it seems all her books starring Scotland Yard’s Richard Jury – is very pub-focused, which I also like (pubs, that is! and pub-focused books), and so decided I’d keep my eyes open for more. And, low and behold, with open eyes I found one, called The Dirty Duck. Now, Grimes in the book-back blurbs gets compared at times to Agatha Christie, and while she isn’t anywhere for me as good as the best Agatha, she may not be as bad as the worst Agatha either (cause when Agatha goes off the mark, it can be far off). With that said, The Dirty Duck isn’t a bad read. It’s a little, oh, lazy at times, and a little dated for being 1984 (though that was, now that I think about it, a ways behind us in time), but it’s also a lot of fun, has some pretty neat twists and a good mystery, and is very readable. Best of all – it takes place in Stratford Upon Avon! At least for the main, and you probably can guess that means lots of Shakespeare, which I’m always for, and also the main pub (the Dirty Duck pub, that is) is one I know, and one that features mightily (under the name The Mucky Mallard) in the tv show Shakespeare and Hathaway, which I am mightily (two “mightily”s!) fond of. If that wasn’t enough to get you going, the Thomas Nashe poem “Litany in a Time of Plague” provided key clues, and is not only a swell poem, but incredibly apt right now with our own plague. And if that wasn’t enough, there are some good drinking quotes in the book, starting with the below.

One of these Americans, Miss Gwendolyn Bracegirdle, who had never had more than an ounce of sweet sherry at a time on the veranda of her huge pink-stuccoed house in Sarasota, Florida, was standing with a friend in a shadowy corner of the terrace getting sloshed.

 

“Oh honey, not another! This here’s my second – what do they call it?”

 

“Gin.” Her companion laughed.

 

“Gin!” She giggled. “I definitely couldn’t.” But she held her glass in a way that said she definitely could.

 

–Martha Grimes, The Dirty Duck

May 19, 2020

Cocktail Talk: The Last Saturn Bar Poem

In-Their-CupsWell, I know what I’m doing today: waiting around watching my mailbox, sidewalk, and street for the postal person who today is supposedly delivering to me the new book of poems by Ed Skoog, called Travelers Leaving for the City. At least, I was told it would arrive today, when I ordered it. Hopefully you are doing the same thing – unless you’re lucky enough that your copy has already been delivered? – but if you aren’t, then for gosh sakes make your life better by ordering now. If, by some strange and cruel twist of fate, you aren’t already acquainted with Skoog (feels that should be all-capped, SKOOG, but I’m resisting. Or not), then let me tell you, not only is he a genius poet and writer, but also a champ banjo player, snappy dresser, fleet-footed dancer, and more, but also one of the swellest bar companions you could ever desire. While I’m waiting to spend many hours devouring his newest, I thought I’d ramp up my synapses by re-reading one of his poems from In Their Cups: An Anthology of Poems About Drinking Places, Drinks, and Drinkers. He has two poems in there – both awesome – as well as a few translations (also awesome), which he can do cause he is, as mentioned, a genius. In the feeling of community, I felt you also might want to read a snatch of Skoog if your copy of the latest hasn’t shown, and so here we are with the below.

 

The Last Saturn Bar Poem

 

Around the art barn, Mike Frolich’s bar-tab

bartered paintings hang the hell that rose with him

from the Gulf of Mexico floor too fast, torturing

blood with air: maniac fish, demon in a diving bell,

and then from cadmium sunset through marsh comes

the boat bearing forward in grand roving the name

O’Neal, our bartender. Theirs are the dreams we enter,

entering the Saturn Bar’s owly heat re-tooled for unlovely

loss, the rattled corner leaning away from Chartreuse, neat,

and when I’m able to dream jukebox damaged warbling,

a Saturn-like-thing opens within me, but this is the last

Saturn Bar poem–I’ll try, I’ll try–to stop singing

shadows of St. Claude and Clouet on security camera

pavement grays we keep talking about with increasing

reluctance, ready to move on to fresh bewilderments,

spiraling neon, neon that lights up my nameless shot.

 

–The Last Saturn Bar Poem, Ed Skoog

January 21, 2020

Seattle Magazine Cocktail Catch Up

The new year has begun, and I know one of your resolutions is probably to not miss any of the fine articles on the fine Seattle magazine, including those by me. So, I’m here to help with a couple handy links to some recent pieces. You can thank me later! Maybe with a drink.

 

November 5, 2019

Seattle Magazine Cocktail Catch Up

taglioWhat’s that I hear? It’s the sound of shakers and glasses and sipping oh my, all from pieces written by me for the mightily mighty Seattle magazine. While I know you (yes you) have probably read most of these already, I know it’s rather busy, what with the hustling and bustling, so just on the off chance, check out the below:

 

 

 

September 24, 2019

Have the Last Laugh with Seattle Magazine

Hey kids, you like laughs right? Well, recently (if you think about the grand breadth of time that us ridiculous humans have been on earth, super recently) I got to go down to new-ish Seattle hotel bar Ben Paris and have a Last Laugh cocktail made by Abigail Gullo. Now that’s a laugh worth savoring – and you can savor, too, cause I then wrote about it for Seattle magazine, and they printed what I wrote, and all that. For reals! Go check it out now, why dontcha.

August 27, 2019

Seattle Magazine Cocktail Catch Up

Hello Seattle pals, WA pals, out-of-state pals, and out-of-country pals! Just wanted to give you a chance to catch up on any recent Seattle magazine pieces by me you may have missing. Not that I’m thinking you would ever have missed any, because I know you like to stay up-to-date, and Seattle magazine is all about that. But summers are busy! So, just in case:

July 16, 2019

Seattle Magazine Cocktail Catch Up

Cocktail, bar, and spirit lovers, I’m sure that you haven’t missed a moment of Seattle magazine lately – cause you’re far too smart for that. But I also know that things get busy, and other things come up, and then this, and then that, and then you find you’re a little behind, and it’s okay! You know why? Cause you can catch up on any pieces you might have missed right here and now:

•    Baker’s, An Excellent Neighborhood Bar—With Delicious Drinks—Arrives in North Ballard

•    Sure, Windy City Pies’ Pizzas Are Delish—but Don’t Miss the Drinks

•    Skål Brings Meat, Mead and More to Ballard

•    5 Drinks to Help Celebrate National Poetry Month

June 18, 2019

Having a Pineapple Riesling Daiquiri at Queen City

Myles Burroughs originally created his twist on a classic daiquiri as a daily drink special for Queen City

Opening late-ish last year as the newest sibling in the swell Derschang Group collection of Seattle bars, Queen City is a beaut of a Belltown spot here, and not too long ago (in the history of time), I got to visit it, and while visiting, chatted a lot with amiable Derschang Group beverage manager Myles Burroughs. And – I know, all the good things happen to me, don’t be jealous – he made me a Pineapple Riesling Daiquiri, a nice twist on the rum classic boasting natural wine. Then, I got to write a Pineapple Riesling Daiquiri article for the smashing Seattle magazine, and now you can go read it. Then go to Queen City and have one, some some good things will happen to you.

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