June 12, 2018
Picked up another of the Day Keene short story collections recently, this one called The Case of the Bearded Bride
(it’s Volume 4 of the series bringing all his stories from the old detective pulp magazines), and it’s full of the same Day Keene delicious-ness as the earlier volumes. And by that I mean, fast-paced yarns that are sometimes hard-boiled, sometimes mysterious, sometimes noir-ish, and always fun to read. The proofing here as with past volumes leaves a lot to be desired, but hey, it’s just sweet these stories are back in print. There’s a fair amount of bars and booze in them, but I picked a beer quote for this volume’s Cocktail-Talk-ing (check out past Day Keene Cocktail Talks
for more sweetness), because I don’t often beer-it up, and also because I liked this portrayal of a man just out of prison. Oh, the name of this story is a humdinger, too, “It’s Better to Burn.”
Gone were the held-back jewels he had put aside as an umbrella against the day that it might rain. Gone were the luscious blondes and the redheads. Gone was his Cadillac car. All that remained were sixty-six dollars and twenty cents and the belly that even two years in a cell had failed to diminish. He promptly steered it to the nearest bar and spent a dollar and eighty cents of his capital to fill it with beer. It had been two years since he had had a drink. Mellowed by the beer, he considered his prospects. They weren’t bright.
–Day Keene, It’s Better to Burn
January 24, 2017
The wonderful William Trevor passed away lately. One of the all-time top short story writers for sure, he also wrote a number of short-ish novels which are amazing for their pace, narrative control, writing chops of course, and way that his characters both seem remarkably normal and remarkable. Anywho, if you don’t know him, read him. The Story of Lucy Gault like many of his works takes place in Ireland, and really is one whole life, including one scene with one of the memorable Irish whiskeys.
Not listening any more, Lucy read the advertisements: for Ryan’s Towel Soap, and corner beer and whiskey and Guinness’s stout. She’s asked her papa what Guinness was when they saw it written up and he said it was the stuff Henry drank. There was a bottle of whiskey they’d left behind, only a little gone from it. Power’s it was.
–William Trevor, The Story of Lucy Gault
March 8, 2016
Well, here’s a first I believe – a Jane Austen Cocktail Talk. Not weird, really, since I love some Jane, and I was also recently in Bath, where I trod the streets she walked (so to speak), and had fun doing it. However, weird in the fact that there’s not a ton of drinking it up in Jane, so the quotes applicable to the Cocktail Talking are fairly few and far between. However, I was re-reading Northanger Abbey recently, cause of the Bath-ing that goes on in and my recent visit, and came across a pretty swell, boastfully funny, bit about drinking at Oxford:
“Lord help you! — You women are always thinking of men’s being in liquor. Why, you do not suppose a man is overset by a bottle? I am sure of this — that if everybody was to drink their bottle a-day, there would not be half the disorders in the world there are now. It would be a famous good thing for us all.”
“I cannot believe it.”
“Oh! lord, it would be the saving of thousands. There is not the hundredth part of the wine consumed in this kingdom that there ought to be. Our foggy climate wants help.”
“And yet I have heard that there is a great deal of wine drunk in Oxford.”
“Oxford! There is no drinking at Oxford now, I assure you. Nobody drinks there. You would hardly meet with a man who goes beyond his four pints at the utmost. Now, for instance, it was reckoned a remarkable thing, at the last party in my rooms, that upon an average we cleared about five pints a head. It was looked upon as something out of the common way. Mine is famous good stuff, to be sure. You would not often meet with anything like it in Oxford — and that may account for it. But this will just give you a notion of the general rate of drinking there.”
— Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
January 22, 2016
I was recently flying into an airport (I don’t want to irritate said airport, so I’m resisting the urge to name, or to sound too complain-y), and not 25 minutes before landing, we were re-routed due to fog. It seemed strange – we were so close! But I figure the pilots and ATC folks know way, way better than I. And while I’m not really making a comparison, or saying I know better than anyone, really, but . . . you’ll let me now turn that little story into talking about the Black Fog, a drink that seems a little strange at first glance. But one which is darn tasty. Really! Trust me.
Black Fog, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
One 12-ounce can Guinness stout
1 ounce framboise
1 or 2 mint leaves, for garnish
1. Fill a pint glass almost to the top with the Guinness.
2. Slowly pour the framboise into the glass, swirling it as you pour. Garnish with a mint leaf (or two, if you’re feeling it).
A Variation: Sometimes this is mixed using the French black raspberry liqueur Chambord, but I like the slightly stronger framboise (which is usually made from regular red raspberries and has a bit more kick).
August 5, 2014
Hello! I recently wrote an article on refreshing (as heck) beer cocktails that combine Seattle-and-WA-made spirits, liqueurs, and beers. It’s called Warm-Weather Cocktails Made with Local Beer, Spirits and Liqueurs as you might expect, and was written for the mighty-fine Seattle magazine. If you like beer, cocktails, spirits, liqueurs, refreshing drinks, entertaining your friends, entertaining yourself, enjoying a righteous libation, or reading anything I write (there has to be at least one person out there who feels this way), then this beer cocktail article is for you.
* See all Seattle magazine articles by me
PS: I am also the hand model in the photo. Hah!
May 2, 2014
This will blow your mind. I’m not kidding. Blow your mind. I’m sorta freaked out just looking at the ingredients list. Three awesome drink ingredients. And one is an amaretto. One is a nocino. And one is a beer. There is no way these should go together in a drink. But they do. And the result will blow your mind – with tastiness.
Over the Kent Moon
1 ounce Sidetrack Nocino
1 ounce amaretto
8 ounces chilled Airways Final Departure Stout
1. Add the Nocino and the amaretto to a chilled Collins glass.
2. Slowly, and with a steady hand, add the stout. Stir briefly and calmly.
September 3, 2013
We (wife Nat and I, that is) were recently in lovely England for a wedding – our friends Becs and Drew (who wrote a number of dandy Drew’s Brews columns for this very site) got hitched down in Falmouth, Cornwall. Since we were down in that beautiful part of the world, we stayed on for a while after the wedding, in a spot near Port Isaac, where Doc Martin is filmed. Yes, I am square. While in the English countryside, we saw many amazing vistas, caught up on some history, drove on some very tight roads, ate a host of tasty meals, and sampled a fair number of real, or cask ales. Though this site is usually about cocktails and spirits, I also (don’t gasp) like the ales, lagers, stouts, and general beers. Which meant that our English beer-cation was right up my alley. And so I thought I’d highlight a couple favorites. Out first hit, which to be honest was a hit for many days, was the award-winning Tribute Cornish pale ale, from St. Austell brewery. It’s made (I discovered) from 100% Cornish Gold Malt, and has a biscuity, malty flavor, with hints of citrus:
I also had a few Proper Jobs, which was a favorite of Becs and Drew that they suggested we try. It was a good suggestion. Also from the St. Austell brewery, it’s a hoppy hoppy IPA with the right amount of bitterness:
We went to a lot of dandy pubs (most of which not only have intriguing beers, but really better-than-expected food, too), including the Blisland Inn, which is owned by a fella nicknamed King Buddha, and he has his own beer only available there (I think), the King Buddha Blisland Special from Sharp’s brewery, which I was happy to try. It also had a great English ale taste, a stitch bitter, and was a good accompaniment to a hearty lunch:
Eventually, we found our way to London, at which time we moved into the Fuller’s family of beer. Both because it’s Nat’s last name and because Fuller’s Ales are darn fine, especially the classic London Pride, which is smooth, creamy, malty, and wonderful:
Now, get yourself over to the U.K. and have your own beer-cation.
April 26, 2013
If you didn’t read The Old Curiosity Shop, Part I, you might want to, or just check out all Charles Dickens Spiked Punch posts. Cause I don’t want to take a lot of pre-amble, as this post will have a quote from that classic book, as well as a recipe that relates to the quote (cause I like to have Friday Night Cocktail recipes on Fridays, and wanted to somehow tie it all together. Make sense?). So, here’s the Cocktail Talk, Dickens’ style.
Presently he returned, followed by the boy from the public house, who bore in one hand a plate of bread and beef, and in the other a great pot, filled with some very fragrant compound, which sent forth a grateful steam, and was indeed choice Purl, made after a particular recipes which Mr. Swiveller had imparted to the landlord at a period when he was deep in his books and desirous to conciliate his friendship. Relieving the boy of his burden at the door, and charging his little companion to fasten it to prevent surprise, Mr. Swiveller followed her into the kitchen.
Now, to follow that up, here’s a recipe for Purl from Good Spirits, so you can make your own to sip on while reading Dickens on a cold spring night. Or, to have with friends while you’re acting out scenes from your favorite Dickens’ books. This is something you do, right?
6 ounces porter
6 ounces ale (a pale ale works)
1 ounce gin
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1. Add the porter, ale, and ginger to a small saucepan. Heat over medium-heat, until warm but not boiling.
2. Carefully pour the porter-ale mixture into a pint glass that has been slightly warmed (by running it under warm water).
3. Add the gin. Stir once with a spoon. Sprinkle the freshly grated nutmeg over the top.