June 29, 2010

Drinks on the Road, NYC, Raines Law Room

I was recently in the big ol’ NYC, doing some glad-handing and jive-talking for my corporate overlords (sadly, today, I don’t get to spend every waking minute footloose and fancy free with drink in one hand, and the other hand working on putting together this Munsters model). I wanted to spend some time traipsing around the bazillion NYC bars and lounges and taprooms and dives that I have and haven’t been to yet, but sadly I only had one evening free, and not even much of that one. So, I went to the Raines Law Room. I’d mentioned Raines, and its friendly and writerly bar manager Meaghan Dorman before (here and here), and had been given a tour of Raines by her, but hadn’t actually stopped by when it was in full swing. Which made this stop a real treat, because the atmosphere in there is such an underground thing of beauty, all plushness and secret-y goodness. And the drinks? The drinks were heavenly. I had a bunch, but most of the photos didn’t turn out (due to a combination of user fumbling and dim lighting), but the below gives you at least a glimpse. And Meaghan was working, and can I say one thing: that girl’s a helluva shaker. Don’t take her on in a bar fight. Oh, the drink below is a (not sure how I forgot to mention this) Ragtime, which is Pernod absinthe, Ramazzotti Amaro, Rittenhouse 100 proof rye, Aperol and Peychaud’s. That’s a lineup of genius, which translated into layers of bitters and deliciousness. If you’re heading to NYC, be sure to put Raines on the “must visit” list–but get there early, cause it fills up quick.


June 15, 2010

I’m Making Bellinis on Martha Stewart Radio for Betsy Karetnick’s Birthday

Betsy Karetnick is my favorite radio hostess (and host, for that matter). She currently hosts the “Morning Living” and “Everyday Food” shows for Martha Stewart Sirius Radio, and every time I’m in New York City I try and stop in to make a few drinks with her on the air and talk to callers about parties, cocktails, and anything else entertaining under the sun. She’s one of those hosts who really listens to callers, as well as having her own great ideas, and though she actually started as a finance journalist and a host of PBS’ “That Money Show,” shes’s now  a full-on food and entertaining force. Best of all, it’s her birthday this Thursday, the 17th, and I’m going to be in New York, so I’m stopping by the studio to make her some birthday Bellinis during the “Everyday Food” show at 12:15 EST, using the delicious Perfect Puree white peach puree. If you have Sirius Radio, be sure to listen in (at noon), and hey, even call in if you feel like saying howdy. If you don’t have Sirius Radio, you can always sign up for a free trial and see what you think (and call in and say howdy). If you absolutely can’t get near a radio, then at least make a Bellini on Friday. Here’s the recipe (adapted a bit) from Good Spirits.


2 ounce Perfect Puree white peach puree

4 or 5 ounces Prosecco

White peach slice for garnish


1. Add two ounces of the peach puree to a Champagne flute. Slowly, while stirring, add the Prosecco. You must add the Prosecco slowly, integrating it into the somewhat removed peach puree throughout or a peach puree sludge might gather at the bottom of the glass.


2. Garnish with the white peach slice and a toast to birthdays and Betsy.

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November 13, 2009

Drinking Writer Alert: Meaghan Dorman and a Blood Orange Mojito

I was recently in NYC (you may have heard of the town—nice place), and had lots of drinks I’ve been meaning to blog about (but this silly holiday season keeps getting in the way) with many fine folks (who I should also blog about). But one of the most fun sit-downs was a lunch interview I had with drinks writer Meaghan Dorman at Republic. Really, “interview” sounds  a bit formal, cause we mostly just gabbed about everything under the sun (with a slight emphasis on Dark Spirits), a gabfest she’s going to miraculously transcribe into a Penthouse article (which you can pick up I think in March–just for the articles, of course). Meaghan’s not only a dandy freelance drinks-and-spirits writer, but also writes the super-cool-and-packed-with-boozy-goodness blog Spirit Me Away, and (if that wasn’t enough) is the head bartender at the speakeasylicious Raines Law Room. Now, everywhere under the tipsy sun seems speakeasy-esque these days, but Raines has such a lovely sort-of renaissance romance vibe, and such an interesting “bar-without-a-bar” layout that it really stands out. So, go check it out when you’re in the big city, and visit Meaghan on her blog, but first look at her sip this Blood Orange Mojito and think about what a happy bunch drink writers tend to be.


September 1, 2009

Drinks on the Road: San Francisco, Part II

Happy salivating September folks. Welcome to another month where you should be trying to have as many cool and creative cocktails as you can consume without causing chaos (or making you miss too many mornings). The reason, you might ask, if you were the asking kind, that September is so salivatious? It’s because of this very blog post, where I’m going to cut at least some of the chatter off the tree and present you with a few more almost drinkable photos from the San Francisco trip I had not all that long ago (and which I detailed a bit in a post you probably remember fondly called Drinks on the Road: San Francisco, Part I). But before the drink pics (hah, I always do this: set up, then aside), a quick shout out to my pals at the wondrous Chow.com, who brought me in to Chow HQ while I was in San Francisco to shoot some tips. And no, tips aren’t an endangered species (wow, the jokes come at a fast pace here at Spiked Punch), and yes I’ll post some later. But first, check out me preening while camera-person extraordinaire Blake Smith sets up a limoncello shot. You can’t see her here, but pal Meredith Arthur is taking the pic, directing things with calm and aplomb like she did all day (not easy to do when dealing with a diva like me).



After the tipping, I made a quick change into my Bob Fossil t-shirt, and then headed out to meet Meredith and her-husband-and-pal Michael for a drink at Range in the Mission (for more on Range, be sure to check out the blog Inside the Blood Bank). It was a sweet little spot, and M & M are great drinking companions (though I somehow managed to forget to take a pic of them, which is a shame, as they’re cuties) and I got to have a (drum-roll here) Zyzzyva cocktail. Not only was it a tangy-herby-august mixture of gin, yellow Chartreuse, apricot brandy, and fresh lime, but it was a tangy-herby-august mixture of gin, yellow Chartreuse, apricot brandy, and fresh lime named after the magazine (that I love) that published my first book, Want. Dang, that’s what’s listed under the definition of “Awesome.”



The next day after that (please, please, don’t ask me to name what day it was though), Nat I had a day of drinking delights. You know, I should copyright that phrase for my new tour guiding service (you know, I should have a tour-guiding service). “A.J.’s Day of Drinking Delights.” You’d sign up, right? Our first stop was in the middle of Chinatown (forget about, it’s Chinatown. No, no, don’t forget), where we slipped into the Budda Bar, a lovely little dive we had to ourselves, along with the amiable bartendress and the owner, who kept coming up to talk to us from the basement. We charmed him (natch), and he introduced us to the following unknown Hong Kong sipper (he insisted we swirl it around our mouth and teeth before swallowing though, as it’s not a shooter). I hadn’t had said spirited drink before, but it had a very powerful, not harsh, sense about it, like a good strong peasant grappa.



That night, we met pal Megan (from HCP and the A Year in the Life Beatles blog no less) at the Clock Bar, which is a stylish spot situated in the classic Westin St. Francis hotel downtown. It’s managed by a dapper and friendly fella name Matthew Meidinger, who not only helped me out recently with an article (which I’ll talk about when it comes out), but who also treated us to a few of the Clock Bar’s perfectly made cocktails that night, starting out (for me) with a slightly savory Sage Advice, a drink that could stand tall at any bar with its combination of Rittenhouse rye, Italian-specialty Averna amaro, fresh orange juice, black tea honey syrup, and good pal Peychauds bitters. I might like that drink so much I’d let it take my dogs for a walk.



Matthew not only ensured we had a host of helpful (well, why not?) drinks at the Clock Bar, but he also pointed us towards the Heaven’s Dog for dinner and more drinks, calling ahead to assure us a spot, getting us a cab, and making sure we didn’t trip on the way out the hotel. I tell you, if you’re in S.F. and don’t visit the Clock Bar, you only have yourself to blame. For that matter, if you don’t visit it and Heaven’s Dog, then you shouldn’t even talk to yourself any more. Because Heaven’s Dog was also, well, heavenly. General Manager Erik Adkins met us at the door and swept us off our feet with his genial good nature and miles of smiles. What is it about S.F. and friendly bar folks? Sometimes it’s best not to question, and instead just be happy with your fine fortune (a phrase sounding somewhat fortune cookie like). At Heaven’s Dog we had multiple snacks from the dinner menu, which is set up for sharing and which has a Vietnamese flavor (like Vietnamese tapas, someone said)–perhaps the tops was the vegetarian pork belly, tofu skin, shiitake mushrooms, clam shell buns, and scallion–and all was yummy. But the drinks, the drinks were even yummier. Ours were made by the also-friendly and very knowledgeable Eric Johnson. He’s opening (by the way) a new spot called Bar Agricole in the very near future, so keep your eye open for it (and your mouth wide open). Eric made us a whole host of cocktails and highballs and their brethren and sisteren. Sadly, we didn’t take too many photos, as we were busy talking, drinking, and eating, and those we didn’t take we went flashless on (not to mention that I put the monkey book away, so am guessing a bit on what we had). But here’s one nice pic of Eric I think putting the finishing touch on a Gin Fizz Tropical, which was gin, pineapple gum syrup, orgeat, lime, egg white, mint, and soda:



Ah, San Francisco and the many bars and just outstanding people on both sides of them. Hopefully we make it back soon. And if the above didn’t get your “thirsty” button pushed, then you must be a zombie. Except that even a zombie would be thirsty after those pictures. So, go get your zombie-self a cocktail, why don’t ya?

August 18, 2009

Drinks on the Road: San Francisco, Part I

I’m getting ready for a little Wine Cocktails evening at bar Poco here in Seattle on Thursday (more about that later–but if you must know, it’s Thursday at 7 pm and you should be there), but wanted to take a second to look back at when I was out of this fair sunny city (no laughing on the “sunny;” it’s balmy and blue-skied here) a week ago, visiting various watering holes in San Francisco. And yes, I forgot to call pal Andrew, and am sad about it, but I’ll power through just to point out the hits to you, in two part fashion. The first part is all about the cocktail’d night that wife Nat and I hung out with drinker par excellente’ Camper English (who in the below pic is savoring a broccolini stem–tre’ international).



If you don’t know the legend of Camper English, he writes the educational (and yet still entertaining—it’s edutainment. And yes, you can hit me in the head for saying that word) blog Alcademics, which is all about the cocktails, the bartending, and the booze. He also used to write Camper’s Hate Blog (which is genius, and worth going back through), and lots of other stuff (you can really learn more than you probably want at Cramper.com). He’s funny. And knows the San Francisco cocktail bars like few others. He suggested we meet at the new-ish Rickhouse, which luckily was near our hotel in the financial area, as we went there straight off the plane after checking in. The Rickhouse has a heavenly cocktail list with lots of information and drinks (sadly the actual menu was a bit too nice to steal, though we were tempted, being recidivist in our menu-stealing ways), a barrel stave ceiling (with barrel hoop lights), and a table right near the front window that we hooked. For the first round I had a Rye Maple Fizz, cause I was feeling rye-y and a drink with maple syrup hooks me like a trout on corn, Mr. English had a Laphroig Project (he’s a smoky essence enthusiast–check for this drink’s recipe here), and Nat had a Bella Fragollo, which was Italian-y goodness.



All the drinks we had there were expertly made right in front of me by the talented staff as I gazed at the immense wall of booze. Seriously (and easily believed, as they’re a sibling of the top notch liquor store Cask, so they have an “in” to booze-shelf-stocking), they have a 15-or-20-foot wall of bottles behind the bar. I went into a trance, and when I woke up I had a drink in my hand, a smile on my face, and a little slobber on the smile. Which sounds much grosser than it was.


After another round, we realized that if we didn’t eat we’d fall over (which would have bored Camper and not done much for our reps), so we went (on his suggestion–he’s a “vegetalian,” too, so finding an eating spot for all and sundry was a snap. Oh, a “vegetalian” as I found out is a cocktail-swilling vegetarian. Don’t smirk) to Beretta, in the Mission district. Baretta was, as the kids say, the stuff (well, except for our first bartender, who seemed to wearing my grandmother’s velour curtains. The second bartender was a dream, though). Waiting for our table I sipped (or gulped) an Angelina that demonstrated the bar’s grasp of balancing perfectly a few key ingredients (a sweet skill to have): Partida Anejo tequila, Carpano Antica, and Benedictine. Tasty indeed, with the tequila mingling with the other two’s herbal natures in an unexpectedly complenting manner. Nat had a Agricole Mule (rum, lime, ginger, mint, and pic’d below), and Camper had a Single Village Fix with Del Maguey Mezcal (that smoky thing again), lime, and pineapple gomme. All deliciousness, and matched in their heights by our eventual dinner, which consisted of a couple thinly Italian pizzas, some broccolini (re: Camper pic above), and some unbelievably good bruschetta topped with fava bean and pecorino puree. This thick-crisped-bread-topped-with-a-smooth-but-with-a-few-chunks spread lushed up the mouth. So good we ordered it twice. I kid you not. Let me repeat for effect: I kid you not. We had more good cocktails there and then, too, and lots of Camper talk, and finally tumbled into a cab in the best way: fat and drunkish. Thanks Camper, thanks S.F., and thank you, too (and watch for S.F. post number II soon).



April 21, 2009

Drinks & Eats on the Road: Bologna, Italy

Buon giorno pals (or buona serra, depending on what time of day your blog reading takes place). As anyone who read this blog post knows, I was recently in Italy for a couple weeks with wife Nat and some pals, and while there I had some, well, absolutely positively fantastico eats and drinks. And, lucky for you, I took pictures (and Nat took some, too), so you can experience the experience a little (and maybe plan a trip of your own). I’m going to do two things to relay trip gastronomic and alcoholic information in a more friendly fashion. First, I’m gonna break it up into three posts (or maybe more, but at least three): Bologna, Florence, and the countryside (which for the purposes of me in Italy is the Upper Tiber Valley area that covers a bit of southeast Tuscany and northwest Umbria). Second, I’m going to attempt to be a little less wordy, though I know, know, know (like a chant, that is) it goes against my personal wordy grain. But hey, what the heck.

So, to start, Bologna. Also known as Bologna la grassa, or Bologna the fat, due to its traditional place as a food center in Italy (if not the food center). We showed up and instantly loved it, with its arcades (nice to walk under when it’s raining), and red-hued architecture, and churches, and markets, and, especially with its food and drinks. We had our favorite meal of this trip while there, at a restaurant called De Cesari, at Via de’ Carbonesi, 8. Family owned and around for over 100 years, it’s a lovely little spot. All the produce comes from the family farm, and they even make their own wine. On the drink side we started with prosecco, then had the house lambrusco, which was full-bodied and lightly frizzante.On the food side, it was Sformatino con Formaggio al Tartufo (for A.J.–though we shared) and Crostata di Zucca (for Natalie). The sformatino was a light, cheesylicious pair of soufflé-esque creations topped with truffles (the sformatino was a little more dense, in the best way, than a regular soufflé, and so intense in taste):



and the crostata was a savory pumpkin pie that was out-of-this-world. Creamy but lush and full of flavor:



For our main courses, I had the Ravioli di Zucca, which was homemade ravioli stuffed with pumpkin. Fairly unadorned (just a brush of olive oil and freshly grated pecorino), this is, to me, pasta at its best–because the taste of the pasta is good enough to be allowed to strut its stuff, and then the stuffing busts through:



Nat had the Tortelloni di Ricotta al Burro Fuso e Parmigiano, which was also scrumptious, like bundles of cheesy joy wrapped in perfectly made and cooked pasta. But, as good was the pasta was, we definitely couldn’t stop there (we’re long-haul eaters), and so ordered up the cheese place, which boasted six different goat cheeses of varying strength and flavors, served alongside a fig compote that was figgy sweet with that thickness all jams strive for–a combination splendid enough to drive eaters mad with joy:




And then, to add to our little culinary heaven, we had the chocolate tort. Now, if we would have ended it all then, and called it a night, this would still be one of my favorite meals on the trip (and perhaps of all time).


But we asked friendly waiter Gaetano for limoncello and amaro, to aid the digestion (a healthy practice I tend to practice), and when he reported that they were out of limoncello, he offered us some of the house digestif. You know (if you know me at all) that the phrase “house digestif” drives me mad, mad, mad with happiness I tell you. It came out in a bottle that had a block of ice frozen around it, and in the ice were fruits, flowers, herbs, and such. Amazing! But the digestif itself was even better, a blueberry-infused grappa, with strong berry overtones and that grappa kick and personality underneath (and served with, catch this, chocolate covered orange peels, mini biscotti, and raisins). If you go to Bologna and don’t visit De Cesari, well, you have only yourself to blame. Get on a plane. Go there now.


And then for your next meal, stop by the charming Osteria La Mura, at Vicolo del Falcone, 13/A (which is right across from the hotel we stayed at and heartily recommend, San Mamolo), owned by Peppino, who is welcoming, affable, witty, and happy to pour you a Strega when you wander in at 1 am:



The nicest guy in Bologna, I believe. We had lunch at La Mura (the day after the late-night Strega), and it was as tasty as Peppino is friendly. We started with Caprese salads, and the fresh bufala mozzarella was rich and creamy and cuddled up with pals tomato, basil, olive oil, and pepper:



Then, we dove into plates of Gnocchetti Sardi al Cavofiore, which is a bit hard to describe but luscious to eat: like a gratin of mini gnocchi, finely chopped cauliflower, herbs, and cheese, with a touch of crisp on the top edges:



And if that wasn’t a grand enough way to start the day (remember, the night before, 1 am, Strega, equals sleeping late), Peppino brought us out his trio of house digestifs: plum, orange, and basil. In beautiful little bottles, and bursting with fresh fruit and herb flavors (again with a touch of ka-pow due to the grappa undertones, which also add a bit more flavor, too), these helped give us the jump start we needed:


Just thinking about those meals makes me want to grab a taxi, race to the airport, scrounge a ticket to Bologna, and pray I can get in to each restaurant without a reservation. We had other good meals, snacks, and drinks, in Bologna, as well, but since this post is longer than Sookie’s tail already, I’m going to rest on the above laurels. Oh, with two more quick shout outs. We stopped multiple times at Pasticceria D’azeglio, on Via Massimo Dazeglio, which was right around the corner from our hotel (there are two versions, and I suggest the smaller one), for bubbly spritzes (prosecco and Aperol and an orange slice) in the afternoons (accompanied by a mini-buffet of snacks the bartenders would always whip out). I with no reservations recommend this afternoon practice no matter where you are:



And, finally, a sort-of fist-shaking-while-laughing nod to the cozy and hippish Rosa Rosae, Via Clavature, 18/b, where we ordered spritzes but got espressos, which we then drank out of honor (I mean, they made them for us). And now Nat has the espresso monkey firmly attached to her back:


Ciao bellas, until Italy-on-the-road-take-two.

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October 30, 2008

Drinks on the Road: Boston Drinks

I just returned (well, not too long ago) from a week on the road talking to folks about the new snack and liqueur books (wow, that plug happened so quickly, I almost didn’t realize I was slipping it in there. No, wait, I did, and I’m shameless. But I can admit it, so don’t look down at me too much), and had more tasty drinks while gone than I can even remember. However, I do wanna shine a light on some highlights, as my East Coast drinking tour was rather amazing (there is such an enormous amount of worthy drinking spots and drinkers in Boston and New York, which were my main stops, that I felt embarrassed a bit by all my choices).


My first serious cocktail happened on a Boston Sunday (after spending Saturday evening drinking giant PBRs with Megan at the Pour House, which is also awesome), at Eastern Standard, which I was taken to by my pals (and key Harvard Common Press components) Betsy and Valerie. I’d heard lots and lots about Eastern Standard, about the on target bartenders and drink list, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Great open space, cheery wait staff, and the Frisco cocktail I had, which featured a healthy helping of rye tinted and tilted the right shade via the addition of Benedictine and lemon, was absolutely the way for me to start a week of cocktailing. It’s funny that I just wrote a book that has a completely different Frisco cocktail in it (made with apricot brandy, lemon juice, grenadine, and sparkling wine, and a lemon twist), but I think the world is big enough for both, and maybe a few more. I was so happy with the drink at Eastern Standard that I might be willing to change the name of the one in the book at a future printing to “The Bubbly Frisco.”


The next night (after having a little fun with Gene at Fox TV) I enjoyed a treat that I can’t sing loudly enough about (if you could hear me singing right now about it, you would realize how loud that really is. I may not be on pitch, but dang, I can shout), which was getting to go out for delicious drinks with the amazingly friendly and fun ladies of LUPEC Boston. If you don’t know the LUPEC, then take a stroll over to their blog at once–I insist (just come back–even though you may not want to once you’re there). Okay, now that you’re back, I’ll continue. I was with the out-of-sight Pink Lady, Bourbon Belle, and Fancy Brandy, and they took me to a fresh cocktail spot in Boston called DRINK (simple and lovely, isn’t it?), where Misty (founder of LUPEC Boston and cocktail-slinger extraordinaire) was behind the bar helping out Josie, who made us two rounds that any true-blooded cocktail connoisseur (or happy barfly) would have loved. The first was a Fort Point, which contains rye, Punt e’ Mes, and Benedictine, and which was served in a delicately curved glass pitcher, from which she strained the drink into the most rad little cups with roosters on them–leaving the pitcher for refills. As a big fan of the communal drinking, a big fan of the rye, and a big fan of glasses with roosters on them, you can imagine that I rose at that very moment into a cocktail heaven made just for me. Oh, I got so into thinking about the drinks and company that I didn’t describe the bar, which was really interesting. It was three sort-of bar “areas” (somewhat like an “E,” as Pink Lady adroitly pointed out). The first one is the “ice” bar, which hits late 1800s drinks and style with only a big block of ice for chilling. The second is a more early-19th-century style, and has a real herb garden behind the bar and enough fresh juice to keep a whole 1st grade class in vitamin C for a week. The third is more mysterious, and provides a kind of back-up as needed. Visit DRINK in Boston and go home happy, likeably tipsy, and enthralled with the staff.


For our second drink at DRINK, the LUPEC ladies and I went for a slowly stirred and chilled pitched of Hemingway Daiquiri’s that I could go on and on about (how well proportioned they were, and how the tang followed up the slightly tougher “umph” of the Fort Point perfectly, how I think Josie made it with white rum, Maraschino liqueur, lime juice, and a touch of grapefruit juice over some seriously huge pieces of ice), but instead, check out this pic of the finished product (pic taken by Fancy Brandy–thanks a bunch FB):



In closing, here’s a big cheer to Boston and its many fine cocktail spots. Next up: New York.


PS: Tons of thanks tothe brillant store Brix, and the sweet folks there who let me sign books. If you’re in Boston and need wine or some of the best booze that side of the Mississippi, you should stop into Brix.


PSS: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention also Oleanna, where I had a dinner with Boston ne’er-do-wells Bruce, Howard, and Adam (after going to DRINKS) that was so good, it should have its own epic written about it. Or at least a serious ode.


PPSS: Hey, I’m having a cocktail conversation this week at CookThink, with bar champions Greg Boehm and Rob Chirico. Check it out.


PPPSSS: If you’re in Boston, be sure to sign up to see and be a part of the rollicking LUPEC USO Show. It’s going to be the hippest thing happening on the whole east coast in November.

September 30, 2008

Drinks on the Road: U.K. Drinks, Part One

Just flew back in from a U.K. vacation (and I have to say, boy are my arms tired. No, really, I had to say it. I was forced by the lame jokes union, who said they’d cut off my supply of Strega if I didn’t use that particular line), where I not only had the brilliant pleasure of seeing the almighty Mighty Boosh live (a show I suggest everyone see before they shuffle off unless they’re very, very lame), but also had some fine drinks. The drinks came in the cocktail, highball, cider, and beer varieties, depending on the place and time and situation. The trip started in London, and started heavier on the cider and beer sides of the bar. I’m a large cider lover (take that as you will–there are what, at least four ways to take it), and the U.K. is an ideal spot to try out members of the cider species, including Aspalls Suffolk Cider, which I had at the Royal George Pub (in the Charing Cross neighborhood–I think), a punkish pub suggested by pals Stereolad and Schtickergirl, who came along for this U.K. adventure and who know their London spots. The Aspalls was “light, dry, and flouncy.”


Wife Natalie was a bit pooped by the time we hit the George (we’d been doing the London market experience all the live-long day), and went for an old reliable: the ice-cold Peroni, which is good no matter what country you’re visiting.



We also went in for the Pimm’s multiple times during the trip (and even brought back a bottle of Pimm’s No. 3, which is the brandy-based winter version, and hard to get over here in the WA), which only makes sense, with Pimm’s being an English standby and a favorite on warm days, which we had plenty of–who says the U.K. is cloudy and rainy and gothic-novel-melancholic 365 days a year by the way? That’s crazy talk. We had a few fine Pimm’s Cups, but the absolute finest, the tip top Pimm’s Cup, maybe in all of the U.K., but definitely in the parts we visited, was discovered at the White Bear Hotel, in Masham, in the Yorkshire Dales (a part of the country we spent some lovely days hanging out within). Masham is a nice village, with a market on Wednesday, a couple good hotels, quaintness to spare, and (like any English village) plentiful pubs on every street. Maybe my favorite Masham pub was the Bay Horse, which had a great veggie Ploughman’s Lunch loaded with 7 kinds of cheese, a meal I consumed while being watched by a little dog named Hank. Oh, but back to the Pimm’s at the White Boar (I start to go tangential, like a monkey flinging through the forest, right after a vacation, cause I miss every bit of it so much). They gave us the option of having it with lemonade (which is lemon soda) or straight soda, but every glass was packed with strawberries and grapes to go with the Pimm’s and mixer, and then topped off with the traditional cucumber slices.


A delicious bubbly treat, indeed. We also had an assortment of cocktails to swoon over at the Lonsdale in London, but I’ll hit those up later in the week.

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