October 25, 2016

Cocktail Talk: Nicholas Nickleby, Part IV

nich-nickWell, it did end up being a full month of Nicholas Nickleby Cocktail Talk posts! I’m sure Dickens himself would be happy, and I’m sure happy about it, and hopefully you are, too (and if this makes no sense, please read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of our tour through the drinks, and drinking quotes, from Nicholas Nickleby). This final quote comes from a charmingly crazy older man who is the Nickleby family’s neighbor for a while. And while this last Nicholas Nickleby Cocktail Talk is the shortest, it contains one of my very favorite lines.

He did not appear to take the smallest notice of what Mrs. Nickleby said, but when she ceased to speak he honoured her with a long stare, and inquired if she had quite finished.
“I have nothing more to say,” replied that lady modestly. “I really cannot say anything more.”
“Very good,” said the old gentleman, raising his voice, “then bring in the bottled lightning, a clean tumbler, and a corkscrew.”

— Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

October 18, 2016

Cocktail Talk: Nicholas Nickleby, Part III

nich-nickFor our third Nicholas Nickleby Cocktail Talk (don’t miss Part I and Part II), we’re going to have a quote that starts at least with some words from one of the most fun, most jolly, but also most hard-to-read secondary characters perhaps in all of Dickens, John Browdie, the big Yorkshoreman with the serious accent to match. He likes his eating and drinking and joshing with his wife as much as anyone, as well as liking our main hero, and working to ensure he’s kept with a full glass.

With these words, John Browdie opened the door himself, and opening his eyes too to their utmost width, cried, as he clapped his hands together, and burst into a hearty roar:
‘Ecod, it be the godfeyther, it be the godfeyther! Tilly, here be Misther Nickleby. Gi’ us thee hond, mun. Coom awa’, coom awa’. In wi ‘un, doon beside the fire; tak’ a soop o’ thot. Dinnot say a word till thou’st droonk it a’! Oop wi’ it, mun. Ding! but I’m reeght glod to see thee.’
Adapting his action to his text, John dragged Nicholas into the kitchen, forced him down upon a huge settle beside a blazing fire, poured out from an enormous bottle about a quarter of a pint of spirits, thrust it into his hand, opened his mouth and threw back his head as a sign to him to drink it instantly, and stood with a broad grin of welcome overspreading his great red face like a jolly giant.

— Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

October 11, 2016

Cocktail Talk: Nicholas Nickleby, Part II

nich-nickWe’re going to jump right in and continue Cocktail Talking with Mr. Charles Dickens and Nicholas Nickleby, in honor of me recently re-reading it. If you missed our Nicholas Nickleby Cocktail Talk Part I, be sure and go back to read it. For this one, we’re going to head to one of the villains of the piece, and one of the great names that Dickens is so famous for: Mr. Squeers, one of the worst headmasters (vaguely, at least) in fiction, and one who is fortifying himself with “raw spirits” in the below quote.

It’s pretty nigh the time to wait upon the old woman. From what she said last night, I suspect that if I’m to succeed at all, I shall succeed tonight; so I’ll have half a glass more, to wish myself success, and put myself in spirits. Mrs Squeers, my dear, your health!’
Leering with his one eye as if the lady to whom he drank had been actually present, Mr Squeers–in his enthusiasm, no doubt–poured out a full glass, and emptied it; and as the liquor was raw spirits, and he had applied himself to the same bottle more than once already, it is not surprising that he found himself, by this time, in an extremely cheerful state, and quite enough excited for his purpose.
What this purpose was soon appeared; for, after a few turns about the room to steady himself, he took the bottle under his arm and the glass in his hand, and blowing out the candle as if he purposed being gone some time, stole out upon the staircase, and creeping softly to a door opposite his own, tapped gently at it.

— Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

October 4, 2016

Cocktail Talk: Nicholas Nickleby, Part I

nich-nickPublished originally in 1838 (that’s when it started publication, at least, as it was a serial as many books were back then), Nicholas Nickleby hasn’t yet been featured in a Cocktail Talk post, which is a little surprising, since I’ve had a fair amount of Dickens Cocktail Talking. While it’s not my favorite Dickens, and maybe is considered second tier, that just means it’s amazing. It’s a little more romantic in a way then many Dickens books, and has a more Trollopean ending (if that makes sense), but I sorta like that. It’s a long read, too, which for many today in our rush-rush world is tough (wimps), but well worth reading, and sticking with, as it really starts to roll and then you get completely involved with our eponymous hero and his family, and enemies. But while it’s here, of course, is because like most Dickens (all, probably, would be safe) books, there’s a fair amount of times in pubs, at punch bowls, and just folks sipping this and that. Enough so that I’m planning a number of quotes from it here, maybe even the whole month! Let’s see how it goes, shall we? Dickens would be happy about it, I think (he’s probably one of the most, be-fun-to-have-a-drink-with authors throughout history). I’m going to start with one from a fair of sorts, where there’s a tent with a rouge-et-noir table with a loud barker, bringing people in to play with the promise of bubbly and more.

‘Gentlemen, we’ve port, sherry, cigars, and most excellent champagne. Here, wai-ter, bring a bottle of champagne, and let’s have a dozen or fifteen cigars here–and let’s be comfortable, gentlemen–and bring some clean glasses–any time while the ball rolls!–I lost one hundred and thirty-seven pound yesterday, gentlemen, at one roll of the ball, I did indeed!–how do you do, sir?’ (recognising some knowing gentleman without any halt or change of voice, and giving a wink so slight that it seems an accident), ‘will you take a glass of sherry, sir?–here, wai-ter! bring a clean glass, and hand the sherry to this gentleman–and hand it round, will you, waiter?–this is the rooge-a-nore from Paris, gentlemen–any time while the ball rolls!–gentlemen, make your game, and back your own opinions–it’s the rooge-a-nore from Paris– quite a new game, I brought it over myself, I did indeed–gentlemen, the ball’s a-rolling!’

— Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

April 30, 2013

Cocktail Talk: The Old Curiosity Shop, Part III

Well, it’s been a fine week (or, thereabouts. Or, my week may be different than yours. One of those) of Dickens Cocktail Talk posts, with all of them from his lesser-known, but still a book that should be on your “must-read” list, novel The Old Curiosity Shop. You know what’s funny? At least relating to the book and the Cocktail Talking? I could do, oh, at least four more posts with tipsy quotes from the book. Dickens, naturally, liked his drink a bit, and his drinkers, and his bars, and so his books tend to be dandy spots for those us who don’t mind a drink to dwell in. This last quote has to do with the devilish villain of the book, a certain Mr. Quilip, looking in at his lawyer, who is also villainous, but in a weaker and (to be honest) less admirable way. If you’re going to be a villain, at least don’t be mealy-mouthed about it. And while I can’t like him, I can’t really fault his drinking choices.

Applying his eye to this convenient place, he descried Mr. Brass seated at the table with pen, ink, and paper, and the case-bottle of rum – his own case-bottle, and his own particular Jamaica – convenient to his hand; with hot water, fragrant lemons, white lump sugar, and all things fitting; from which materials, Sampson, by no means insensible to their claims upon his attention, had compounded a mighty glass of punch reeking hot; which he was at that very moment stirring up with a teaspoon, and contemplating with a look in which a faint assumption of sentimental regret struggled but weakly with a bland and comfortable joy.

–Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

April 26, 2013

Cocktail Talk: The Old Curiosity Shop, Part II

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?

Purl

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.

April 23, 2013

Cocktail Talk: The Old Curiosity Shop, Part I

Hey, readers of this blog, you should know this: I’m a big fan of Charles Dickens. Heck, there are a couple Charles Dickens Cocktail Talk posts on here already (as well as a few other odds and sods related to him). He had the stuff, in my opinion. And, so I regularly re-read him, and recently did such with The Old Curiosity Shop. Not my top Dickens pick – not sure what is, really – but still awesomely awesome (I wonder what he would say if someone referred to him that way, way back when). And full of the lovely cast of Dickensian characters, good, bad, really bad, silly, stupid, wonderful, and tipsy. Of course, the latter are what we’re focusing on here. And the book is so filled with good drinkerly quotes that we’re gonna do a whole week of them! Or more. Who knows? Only me, Dickens, and the pony. This first quote’s from the early parts of the book, and makes some true points on soda water and human hair.

He began by remarking that soda-water, though a good thing in the abstract was apt to lie cold upon the stomach unless qualified with ginger, or a small infusion of brandy, which latter article he held to be preferable in all cases, saving for the one consideration of expense. Nobody venturing to dispute these positions, he proceeded to observe that the human hair was a great retainer of tobacco-smoke, and that the young gentlemen of Westminster and Eton, after eating vast quantities of apples to conceal any scent of cigars from their anxious friends, were usually detected in consequence of their heads possessing this remarkable property.

–Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

June 25, 2012

Cocktail Talk: Barchester Towers

Barchester Towers (which has had a Cocktail Talk entry already) is of course the best known book by Anthony Trollope. Well, at least I believe it is. You can disagree if you’d like–I won’t hoot about it if you have a different favorite or think another of his remarkable novels has more reknown. If you don’t know who Anthony Trollope is, then, well, I don’t think you’re human. Heck, I’ve written a whole slew of Anthony Trollope posts, so you should at least know him through this here blog (and if you don’t, well, I’m not going to hoot, but I am going to wonder what it is, exactly, that’s wrong with you). But that’s as much as I’m gonna stew about it, cause instead I want to get to this little quote that I love so well, cause it is a quote from one of the greatest authors containing a shout out to another great author (if you don’t know who the second is after reading the below quote, then really, go back to watching bad TV). Many authors (like many people in general–outside of rap stars, who give shout outs to tons of contemporaries, often) are afraid of this type of behavior. Not my man Trollope, though. So, check this out, and think about how giving props to those who may, actually, be in the same game as you isn’t a bad thing.

The bishop did it, and a very pleasant day indeed he spent at Ullathorne. And when he got home, he had a glass of hot Negus in his wife’s sitting-room and read the last number of the Little Dorritt of the day with great inward satisfaction.

–Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers

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