December 14, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Some Slips Don’t Show, Part II

some-slips-don't-showBefore we dive into our second quote and Cocktail Talk from the Cool and Lam (being Bertha Cool and Donald Lam, the star of this book and others) mystery in question, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you towards the Some Slips Don’t Show Part I Cocktail Talk, and all the Erle Stanley Gardner Cocktail Talks (he being the writer of said book, as his Cool and Lam-writing alias A.A. Fair, as well as being the writer of course of some books about a lawyer named Perry Freaking Mason), so you can enjoy more drinking fun, after you enjoy the below (which also gives some nice short insight into the Cool and Lam partnership).

 

“Fifty-seven smackers in one chunk?” she asked, he voice rasping.

“Right.”

“What’s it for? You could have got that broad drunk on gin at a total cost of five bucks. Why the Champagne?”

“It’s for a painting,” I said. “I bought it. It’s called ‘Sun over the Sahara’ and I’m going to put it in a purple frame and –”

“This is long distance, you drunken idiot,” Bertha screamed at me.

 

–A.A. Fair, Some Slips Don’t Show

December 7, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Some Slips Don’t Show, Part I

some-slips-don't-showI have had enough A.A. Fair Cocktail Talks and Erle Stanley Gardner Cocktail Talks on the ol’ Spiked Punch for those that don’t know to now know they are the same person, right? Well, the latter, Mr. Erle, is the person I suppose, and the former, Mr. A.A., just a nom de plume (as they say), but I like to hope he at least wore different hats when writing as different people. Anyway, I’ve had a fair (haha!) enough amount of Cocktail Talks as mentioned for you to go back through them to browse my thoughts on the two personas, on the books written by them, and my feelings therein. So, don’t miss that! Cause I’m not going to go over it all here, instead want to jump right in to the drink-y quotes from this book, Some Slips Don’t Show, which stars (as all the A.A. Fair books, I believe) detective Donald Lam, and to a lesser extent, his partner Bertha Cool. In this yarn, they end up with a client who isn’t completely sure if he cheated on his wife while in San Francisco, but may be being blackmailed. Curious! And then there is a murder, and some art, and a modern lady beguiled by the diminutive (in height, somewhat, but not in smarts or stick-tuitive-ness) and dashing Donald, as ladies tend to be. But before said beguiling, there’s background around the client, who it seems had himself a night.

 

She laughed a throaty, musical laugh. “Trying to play the big, bad wolf was pretty much of a strain on him. He was out of character.”

“I can imagine,” I said. “What happened?”

“He started drinking Champagne like water on top of some fruit punch. The combination didn’t agree with him.”

“So, what happened?”

“He went to the bathroom.”

“Then what?”

“Do you have to know all the details?”

 

–A.A. Fair, Some Slips Don’t Show

 

November 12, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Suspended Palace with Drumshanbo Gin with Sardinian Citrus

Sometimes I think to myself, what a wonderful world of drink-making ingredients we’re living within. The change since I came of drinking age (which admittedly was many a moon ago) is remarkable – heck, the change in the last decade, or even five years, is pretty remarkable. How lucky us cocktail lovers are! And there are more delicious delectables in beautiful bottles coming our way all the time. Even luckier! For example, just the other day, a beautiful bottle arrived in the post (luckiest me – don’t be jealous), containing Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin with Sardinian Citrus:

drumshanbo-gin-citrus

A “novel expression” (sidenote: I love the usage of the word “expression” here, and in other spots, to refer to a slightly, not completely, new version of a spirit or liqueur) of the original Drumshanbo Gin, this adds notes of, well, Sardinian citrus, “Sa Pompia” to be exact, one of the rarest fruits in the world, and a fruit sitting between an orange and grapefruit in flavor essence, though part of the lemon family. Not something you’d eat solo, but with a peel that can bring fantastic citrus dreams when used correctly. But, before peeling that any more, let’s back up. If you don’t know, Drumshanbo Gin itself takes its full name from the fact that it’s made in a small village in Ireland, and with a signature ingredient: Gunpowder Tea (which is a green tea rolled into gun-pellet-esque balls). But that’s just the beginning of this gin story! That tea and the Sardinian citrus, grapefruit, and lime are vapor infused into the gin, while a host of botanicals (juniper, as you’d expect, plus angelica and orris root, caraway and coriander seed, cardamom, star anise, and lesser-know flowery herb meadowsweet) are distilled in a medieval copper still. Whew! But what’s it all mean? On the nose, a strong, distinctive citrus medley, orange with underlying grapefruit, with subtle hints of juniper and flowers and springtime. The taste reflects the nose, but flipped a bit, with bountiful botanicals bursting on the tongue, with that green tea flavor coming through, swirled with citrus and then ending herbally. Yummy!

It’s a curious collection of ingredients, all balanced out nice, and one I couldn’t resist trying in a drink, after sipping it solo. And I had the perfect moment, with some pals coming over for lunch. As we’re at the point in the calendar where the holidays are in view, my mind went instantly to a bubbly cocktail (as the past weeks have shown, I am a fan of the holiday/sparkling combo). I played around a little with things, and ended up leaning into the citrus side of the gin, complementing it with a little more orange and a smidge of sweet in the form of Grand Marnier, and then doubling and tripling the herb-and-citrus song by the addition of two fantastic citrusy bitters: Scrappy’s lovely Grapefruit bitters and Orange bitters. I’m not gonna lie: I think with just those ingredients, there’s a pretty swell cocktail. But adding prosecco really drives all the flavors up, up, up with every bubble, into a memorable sparkling mix that’s ideal for the holidays — and for lunch with pals. When drinking, maybe throw out a toast to our modern drinker’s world, too, and how wonderful it is.

 suspended-palace

The Suspended Palace

 

Cracked ice

1 ounce Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin with Sardinian Citrus

1/2 ounce Grand Mariner

1 dash Scrappy’s Grapefruit bitters

1 dash Scrappy’s Orange bitters

4 to 5 ounces chilled Prosecco

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Drumshanbo gin, Grand Marnier, and bitters. Stir well.

 

2. Strain the mix into a flute or comparable glass. Top with the chilled Prosecco. Stir carefully, to combine.

November 5, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Poor Harriet

poor-harrietWe’re rolling, rolling, rolling into the happening winter holiday season, which means top hats and tails are being pressed (well, in my 1920s fever-dream at least) and people like you and me are stocking up on bubbly. While our parties may take different forms than past years, let’s hope parties with bubbly drinks are still being planned, cause if they aren’t, well, the world wouldn’t be quite as sparkly and shiny. What also helps make things more sparkly and shiny is of course having a new bubbly drink to have and make and serve at these parties, which leads us to The Poor Harriet. This effervescent number combines old pal gin (who has made many a holiday party mighty), fresh orange juice (a healthy cold-weather hit since oranges blossomed), Parfait Amour (if you don’t know, a floral liqueur – think a rose-y, violet-y bouquet, that is love-based, so perfect to serve to loved ones, if a tad sweet on its own), Peychaud’s bitters (whose heartening mixture of herbs balances the sweetness), a little more sweetness (in the form of simple syrup – feel free to omit if this seems too much sweet, even during the holidays), and then, of course bubbles. Here, the bubble component is Italian sparkling wine Prosecco, which is a delight! Now, party pals, you are prepared for those upcoming holiday revels. Thank me later.

 

The Poor Harriet, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

 

Ice cubes

1 ounce gin

1/2 ounce Parfait Amour

1/2 ounce simple syrup

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

Dash of Peychaud’s bitters

Chilled Prosecco

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, Parfait Amour, simple syrup, orange juice, and bitters. Shake well.

 

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a flute glass. Top with chilled Prosecco (about four ounces should do it). Stir, but very carefully, to combine. Cheers, yo!

 

August 24, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Travels with My Aunt

travels-with-my-auntNot a lesser novel in the whole scope of the novel form, but perhaps considered a lesser Graham Greene novel, Travels with My Aunt is even with that brief and not-awe-inducing intro phrase a worthy read. In a nutshell: slightly boring chap takes early retirement to be slightly boring, but then runs into his “aunt” who is an eccentric traveler and jolly woman, who then takes said chap (Henry Pulling is his name) on adventures and opens his eyes to the world – and unveils family secrets? I won’t give it away – and more travels ensure until it turns out early retirement maybe is much more fun than expected. A good summertime read, and as it’s still summer, jump in (also, it was made into a movie, which is a good summertime watch). But first, the below quote, which is a bubbly favorite. As I’m drinking bubbly right now (you’ll understand this sentiment when you read the below), I feel I have to tell the truth and admit: I’ve had this quote on the blog before. but it’s so good, twice is twice as nice!

 

Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.

 

— Graham Greene, Travels with my Aunt

August 3, 2021

Cocktail Talk: To Catch a Thief

catch-a-thiefA bit of a departure for many fans from his more tense thriller-ific films, To Catch a Thief is still, I believe, a wonderful Hitchcock film. The glamour of the setting and the leads (Cary Grant and Grace Kelly of course), the movement of the lens, the pace, the light suspense and banter, all of it comes together in a summery kind of way that lends itself to repeat viewings. If you haven’t seen it, well, you should. And if you have, but not recently, give it another viewing. It is, in one word, charming. But why (I hear you asking) am I blathering a bit on about it? Well, it was released on this day exactly in 1955! So, that deserves a Cocktail Talk, and the below quote is a dandy one.

 

“Bourbon’s the only drink. You can take all that champagne stuff and pour it down the English Channel.”

 

–John Michael Hayes (screenwriter), To Catch a Thief

July 23, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Class of the Race

Once, I, and some athletic and newsworthy and hilarious and thirsty and running pals made a very silly Class of the Race video, which you should watch cause you like fun, and you like drinks (or why would you be here). But you can watch it without a pen in hand to write down the recipe for the drink had in the video, The Class of the Race that is, because I have the recipe directly below. It’s a swell sipper, too, one worthy of any race winners, and, though bourbon-based (well, bourbon and bubbly-based), one that I believe can be had in summer, due to said bubbly, chilled. A little simple syrup, to sweeten things up, a little Benedictine, to add those monastically-herbal notes, and a little Peychaud’s bitters to underline it all, round the drink out and make a worthy finishing line for your July Friday.

 class-of-the-race

The Class of the Race, from Dark Spirits

 

Ice cubes

2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce Benedictine liqueur

1/2 ounce simple syrup

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, Benedictine, simple syrup, and bitters. Shake well (but not so well that you expire from the effort).

 

2. Strain the mix into a Champagne flute. Top with the bubbly.

 

A Note: Pheidippides was the original marathoner, running from Marathon to Athens after a battle in 490 B.C. without stopping once, announcing, “We have won,” and then reportedly dying. I feel this is something you should know when having this, but don’t let it flatten your bubbles.

 

July 9, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Ponce de León

Oh, the life of a 1500’s explorer and colonialist, traipsing around under the sunshine, and probably never having this drink. I mean, without a time machine, I’ll admit, if I knew where and why this particular drink was attached to this particular explorer, I can’t remember it. There is a nice French and the Caribbean tying-in, as the drink features the boldness and beauty of both Cognac and rum, so at least there is some here-to-there-ing happening (though Ponce was from Spain, but let’s bring the Euro together today). However! The drink also contains Cointreau, which naturally came about a little later. And then there’s grapefruit juice and sparkling wine, which might imply a little globe-trotting. It’s a little elegant, which could be like the curve of a conquistador’s helmet, if you want to go along that particular flight of fancy. But overall, I think it’s that if you drink a couple of these, you may decide to go exploring, or at least meander in your mind hither and yon, or at least sit on the couch and watch a program that takes you on a exploration. However! If you want to just enjoy this layered, effervescent, citrus-y, number on a sunshine-y day without worrying about how our explorer name ties in, I certainly wouldn’t hassle you about it.

 ponce-de-leon

The Ponce de León, from Dark Spirits

 

Ice cubes

1 ounce Cognac

1/2 ounce white rum

1/2  ounce Cointreau

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

Chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cognac, rum, Cointreau, and grapefruit juice. Shake well.

 

2. Strain through a fine strainer into saucer-style Champagne glass or cocktail or coupe glass. Fill the glass not quite to the top with the Champagne.

Rathbun on Film