April 16, 2019
My love of, and diving into, the George Simenon Maigret canon has been well documented here on the Spiked Punch, with loads of Simenon Cocktail Talks
that you should go back and read and love. This one here, the newest as I write this at least, cause I’m sure they’ll be more, sees our man Maigret drawn into the wacky world of Parisian (and France, in general) politics, which he doesn’t always enjoy, but which it’s fun to see him navigate and he tried to unravel a corruption case. As usual, he and his team have an assortment of drinks along the way, starting with some sloe gin, but leaning heaviest I believe into Pernod.
And Maigret felt slightly guilty vis-à-vis his two colleagues. Lapointe too must have realized by now what it was all about.
“A beer?” suggested Maigret.
“No. A Pernod.”
And that too was out of character for Lucas. They waited for the drinks to be served, and then continued in hushed tones.
–George Simenon, Maigret and the Minister
February 26, 2019
As I chatted with you about in our previous Fletcher Flora Cocktail Talk posts that were up here recently, I’ve been reading a three-pack book (meaning, it contains three novels) from this sadly lesser-known pulp/pocketbook star, and in the second book, Let Me Kill You, Sweetheart, you can really see what set him apart, as it has a level of creativity in how it approaches what should be a straightforward murder, with multiple narrators (including the killer, though we don’t know who it is until the last sentence, and the murder victim) and backstories. It’s pretty neat. And, it has a nice hotel bar where a fair amount of action – or in-action – takes place, including the drinking of Miller High Life! Now, way before the MHLife renaissance, my pals and I were big, big fans of the American beer, because it’s nice on a hot day, because it was a sort-of outsiders beer (and we were sort-of outsiders), because it didn’t cost a ton of $$ (and we didn’t have a ton of $$), and, well once we started, why stop? So, seeing a MHLife quote in a book from Fletcher Flora from 1958 was neat. And love that they call it Miller’s High Life. Read it, and you’ll agree:
An hour later, at eleven-thirty, the taproom of the Division Hotel was almost deserted. The only persons present were Bernie Juggins, the bartender, and Purvy Stubbs. Purvy sat on a stool and stared moodily into half a glass of Miller’s High Life that was going flat. He hadn’t drunk from the glass for quite a long time, and it looked like he sure as hell was never going to drink from it again, and for all Bernie could tell from looking at him, the fat bastard might be dead.
–Fletcher Flora, Let Me Kill You, Sweetheart
June 26, 2018
Just last week, I highlighted a Cocktail Talk quote from an old noir novel called Park Avenue Tramp
, which (as detailed there) was part of a Stark House Noir Classics collection that features three out-of-print noir novels all together. These collections are really worthy reads if you dig the pulps, noirs, and pocketbooks-with-saucy-covers, because they feature books not easily picked up today. In this collection, I liked all three reads, but my favorite might have been The Prettiest Girl I Ever Killed
, by Charles Runyon. A small town serial killer search, in a way, it moved fast, had a fair amount of twists and turns, tight and creative lingo and well-written prose-ing, and a female lead who showed some gumption. All good stuff! And a good Cocktail Talk quote about a country bar, which you’ll see below.
It was a little gas station and honky-tonk; the kind you see around the country with names like Burntwood Inn and Cozy Dell. This one was called Pine Cover Tavern and was crowded (there was no work in the fields because of the rain) with men in overalls and a couple of women in print dresses. We drew stares as we walked to a booth in the back. I felt wicked and daring, and though it was unlikely that any Shermanites would see me, I found that I didn’t really care if they did. I told Curt to order me a boilermaker: a glass of beer with a shot of bourbon inside it. He ordered the same for himself and drank silently for a few minutes.
–Charles Runyon, The Prettiest Girl I Ever Killed
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
August 16, 2016
We don’t have a lot of comic book Cocktail Talks around the Spiked Punch parts, which does, I suppose, make sense, as not too many comics have drinky, cocktaily sections or such. Though, on the flip side, I read a fair amount of comics, so it should balance out, and today it does! With a power-booze-packed panel from Milk and Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad. If you haven’t read Milk and Cheese, well, a warning: it is about a carton of milk and a wedge of cheese, who happened to be the badass-est dairy products, and who revel in violence, drinking, ranting, and all that, in a way that’s serves up a dose of hilarity and spite-ful-ness. It’s sorta hard to describe, really! But when they celebrate birthdays, they do it like the below (around messing up people, places, and things):
–Evan Dorkin, Milk and Cheese
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!
August 27, 2012
If you’re a regular reader (and I know that you are) of the Spiked Punch, you know that for a while there we had a fairly consistent column written by a guy named Drew, said columns being all about beer. Drew’s Brews, they were called, and it was nice to give some beer time here. Sadly, Drew’s moving and shaking and such, and while hopefully he’ll do a few more posts in the future, well, I can’t actually predict the future. In his honor though, here’s a short post about beer. Specifically, about a beer I had here in Seattle last week at Chuck’s, which is a crazy beer haven (that used to be a really porny convenience store). The beer was from the Southern Tier Brewing Company, and was a Crème Brûlée. Seriously. I guess the actual varietal would be “Imperial Milk Stout,” but I believe it should fall into a category you don’t hear about a lot: dessert beers. It had an incredible crème brûlée aroma and a whole passel of vanilla, caramel, and burnt sugar flavors. If I remember correctly, at the time I said it was “weirdly tasty” and I stand by that account. If you get a chance, and if you’re an adventuresome drinker, I strongly suggest keeping an eye out for it. And when you get a pint, pair it up with some creamy dessert. Dreamy, man, dreamy.
July 30, 2012
Sometimes, it doesn’t take long to know you’re gonna like a new book. I’m talking about a completely new book here, by an author you don’t know, and not say the 32nd book in a series by your all-time favorite writer (which I’m guessing is Garth Marenghi). Sometimes, it takes a few pages, but sometimes, rarely, sure, but sometimes by the end of the second sentence you know the book’s gonna snag you. Or at least has serious potential. I recently had this very phenomenon happen, with a book called The Man with a Load of Mischief, by Martha Grimes, who I’d never read word one from before. As this blog isn’t one of serious literary merit (wait, are any?), you probably have guessed that there’s some boozy mention in said second sentence. And you’re right. But what you probably couldn’t guess is that the boozy mention is of an English beer, one that’s not prevalent in the U.S., but one whose distillery I’ve actually been to! Amazing. It was a few years back, and I was traveling the U.K. with wife Nat and pals Markie B and Leslie P and we were in the Yorkshire region tooling around before seeing the Mighty Boosh, and ended up in a village called Masham, where the famous Theakston Brewery resides, which we visited. And, to bring it all full circle, at Theakston they make a renowned beer call Old Peculiar, which we had (and which Markie B has since lobbied to get in Seattle—successfully I might add) and loved, and which is mentioned in the second sentence of the book, which I talked about like an hour ago at the top of this paragraph. But hey, you wouldn’t want me to leave the story unfinished, right? The payoff is the quote itself, which is right here:
Outside the Jack and Hammer, a dog growled. Inside, his view of the High Street obstructed by the window at his shoulder, Melrose Plant sat in the curve of the bay drinking Old Peculiar and reading Rimbaud.
—The Man with a Load of Mischief, Martha Grimes