April 10, 2018

Cocktail Talk: Dombey and Son, Part IV

Image result for dombey and sonWell, pals, we’re at the end of the Dombey and Son Cocktail Talking (if you’ve missed any of the fun, then don’t miss the miracles that many are beginning to mention as masterful, by which I mean Part I, Part II, Part III), and as I’ve done I believe just once in the past (wanna find out if my belief is correct, read all the past Charles Dickens Cocktail Talk posts and see), I’m going to put in a Cocktail Talk post that doesn’t contain any cocktails or spirits or bars, even. Instead, it’s a quote about one of my top all-time Dickens characters, Diogenes. Diogenes, or Di, is a dog that’s not friendly to all the folks, but is extremely loyal (like only dogs can be) and affectionate to a few key characters, including our heroine (and really, central maypole the whole book turns around), Florence. At one point, she has to head out alone into the streets with a whole barrel of emotion and pain, thinking she’s all alone. And then!

Checking her sobs, and drying her swollen eyes, and endeavoring to calm the agitation of her manner, so as to avoid attracting notice, Florence, resolving to keep to the more quiet streets as long as she could, was going on more quietly herself, when a familiar little shadow darted past upon the sunny pavement, stopped short, wheeled about, came close to her, made off again, bounded round and round her, and Diogenes, panting for breath, and yet making the street ring with his glad bark, was at her feet.

‘Oh, Di! oh, dear, true, faithful Di, how did you come here? How could I ever leave you, Di, who would never leave me?’

Florence bent down on the pavement, and laid his rough, old, loving, foolish head against her breast, and they got up together, and went on together; Di more off the ground than on it, endeavoring to kiss his mistress flying, tumbling over and getting up again without the least concern, dashing at big dogs in a jocose defiance of his species, terrifying with touches of his nose young housemaids who were cleaning doorsteps, and continually stopping, in the midst of a thousand extravagances, to look back at Florence, and bark until all the dogs within hearing answered, and all the dogs who could come out, came out to stare at him.

— Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son

April 3, 2018

Cocktail Talk: Dombey and Son, Part III

Image result for dombey and sonFor our third stop on the Dombey and Son drinking tour (be sure to read Part I and Part II to catch up, and to learn a little more about why you should be reading Dombey and Son right now, unless you have already, in which case you should be re-reading it! Heck, for that matter, catch the full roll call of Charles Dickens Cocktail Talks, because there are many, due to the awesome-ness of Dickens, dontcha know), we hit the healthy benefits of sherry one more time. Heck, I want some sherry right now, even though I feel fine – as a preventative, of course!

Even Mrs. Pipchin, agitated by the occasion, rings her bell, and sends down word that she requests to have that little bit of sweet-bread that was left, warmed up for her supper, and sent to her on a tray with about a quarter of a tumbler-full of mulled sherry; for she feels poorly.

— Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son

March 27, 2018

Cocktail Talk: Dombey and Son, Part II

Image result for dombey and sonWe started out our Dombey and Son Cocktail Talk-ing (be sure to read the Dombey and Son Part I post) with a little Negus and a little overview of the book, and a little Dickens chatter – heck, why not read all the Charles Dickens Cocktail Talk posts and get an even fuller story. Now that you’re back, let’s dive right in to another Dombey and Son drinking moment, or at least a drink suggestion, for someone in need of a little pick-them-up (or a large one, or many). It’s sherry and a few friends that do it – heck, you might just call it a Sherry flip, and Dickens probably wouldn’t complain as long as you made him on.

If my friend Dombey suffers from bodily weakness, and would allow me to recommend what has frequently done myself good, as a man who has been extremely queer at times, and who lived pretty freely in the days when men lived very freely, I should say, let it be in point of fact the yolk of an egg, beat up with sugar and nutmeg, in a glass of sherry, and taken in the morning with a slice of dry toast. Jackson, who kept the boxing-rooms in Bond Street – man of very superior qualifications, with whose reputation my friend Gay is no doubt acquainted – used to mention that in training for the ring they substituted rum for sherry. I should recommend sherry in this case, on account of my friend Dombey being in an invalided condition; which might occasion rum to fly – in point of fact to his head – and throw him into a devil of a state.

— Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son

March 20, 2018

Cocktail Talk: Dombey and Son, Part I

Image result for dombey and sonI have had a pretty punch-bowl-sized number of Charles Dickens Cocktail Talk posts. Which, if you mull it over for even a minute, makes a bunch of sense, as Dickens remains one of the top ten drinking writers, with his love of pubs, hot drinks, punches, and folks that hang around when and where those things are consumed. Dombey and Son (I think his sixth book) isn’t as roundly known as some of the others, or as roundly made into TV movies (though I wish an amazing version would happen – c’mon BBC!), but is I think one of my favs. Maybe because I just recently re-read it after leaving my old copy somewhere along my travels and finally got a new one. Or maybe because Dickens’ take on pride, money, and gender is so compelling as he winds our emotions through a story of a company, a family, and some really funny seafaring fellas. It was (for reasons I won’t touch on here, in case you haven’t read it) one of his more shocking books for the audience of his time, too. If you’ve missed it, hopefully the brief notes just typed by me get you to pick it up. But if they don’t work, I’m going to try a couple sweet Cocktail Talk posts with some direct quotes sure to hook you – and maybe make you thirsty.

There was another thing that Paul observed. Mr Feeder, after imbibing several custard-cups of negus, began to enjoy himself. The dancing in general was ceremonious, and the music rather solemn – a little like church music in fact – but after the custard-cups, Mr Feeder told Mr Toots that he was going to throw a little spirit into the thing. After that, Mr Feeder not only began to dance as if he meant dancing and nothing else, but secretly to stimulate the music to perform wild tunes. Further, he became particular in his attentions to the ladies; and dancing with Miss Blimber, whispered to her – whispered to her!

— Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son

February 20, 2018

Cocktail Talk: Nothing In Her Way, Part II

Image result for nothing in her way williamsJust last week I talked about Charles Williams, Stark House Classic Noir, past Charles Williams’ Cocktail Talks, and broken glass in the Nothing In Her Way Part I Cocktail Talk. Don’t miss it – or be the one person on your block who missed it, and then feel bad for weeks. Weeks! And then pick up the book Nothing In Her Way (which comes with the also-swell Williams’ page-turner, River Girl). You won’t be sorry. Just check out the below quote for evidence, where the double-crosses and easy fibs are rolling already (it’s a book about conning folks, after all) as is a classic cocktail:

Was Charlie lying to me, or was she lying to Charlie? Since there was no known record of Charlie’s ever having told the truth about anything, the answer would seem to be obvious, but I wasn’t too sure. Dullness had never been one of her faults.
We sat down again, and she ordered a Ramos fizz. She was on Charlie’s side of the table, directly across from me, and when the drink came she leaned forward a little and said, wide-eyed, “I do hope you’ll help us, Mr. Belen.”

— Charles Williams, Nothing In Her Way

February 13, 2018

Cocktail Talk: Nothing In Her Way, Part I

Image result for nothing in her way williamsI love the Stark House Noir Classics series – thanks Stark House! They take some legendary noir/crime/mystery/all-the-good-stuff writers, some looked over, some not, pick out some of their (often lesser-available) books, and often package two books in one volume. Which is amazing! Recently, I became the proud possessor of another in the collection, a book combining two hits from Charles Williams – Nothing In Her Way and River Girl. That’s some combo!

 
I’ve Cocktail Talked Charles Williams before – a fair amount, go check them out – and am always happy to find a yarn of his I haven’t read (thanks again Stark House!), which is the case here times two. He’s known for his sea-set books best, perhaps, but also for his unflinching look into his characters, who all carry flaws, his usually-right-on plotting, and a couple movie adaptations, including ocean-bound Dead Calm. Neither of the books in this two-books-in-one powerhouse takes place aboard a boat on the ocean like that one (though as you’d expect from the title, River Girl includes a river), but both are worth diving in to. I liked Nothing In Her Way a bit better of the two, because it’s a grifters story, and, well, I like reading about the cons and the cons who try to con. Also, it has a number of Cocktail-Talk-able quotes, so we’re gonna feature two here, starting with the rum and accidental-glass-breaking (or is it?) number below:

It was one of those dim places, with a black mirror behind the bar, and while it was doing a good business, I hadn’t known it was that crowded. I’d just put my drink down and was reaching for a cigarette when I felt my elbow bump gently against something, and then I heard the glass break as it went over the bar. I looked down at the spreading Daiquiri, and then at him. It was odd. There’d been plenty of room there a minute ago.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “It didn’t spill on you, did it?”
“No. It’s all right.” He smiled. “No harm done.”
“Here,” I said. “Let me get you another one.” I caught the bartender’s eyes and gestured.
“No,” he protested. “I wish you wouldn’t. It was just an accident. Happen to anybody.”
“Not at all,” I said. “I knocked it over. I’ll get you another one.” The barman came up. “Give this gentleman another Daiquiri. And charge me with a glass.”

–Charles Williams, Nothing In Her Way

January 23, 2018

Cocktail Talk: Made in Miami, Part II

Image result for willeford made in miamiOur trip (we’re taking it together, I feel) through some of the Charles Willeford oeuvre, via Willeford Cocktail Talks, is almost done, and ending with a second from the Floridean funky mess (among other things) Made in Miami, originally called Lust is a Woman, which isn’t actually as good, or as accurate, a title in my mind. You’ll need to read the book to see why! And also read the Made in Miami Cocktail Talk Part I, if you haven’t. You’ll dig it. The below quote isn’t drink specific like many of the Cocktail Talks we have here, but is a great view into bartenders of a certain time period. Or perhaps how some people view or viewed bartenders. You decide.

Ralph sat down on the bench to smoke while he waited for Tommy. Two bald middle-aged bartenders entered the locker room from the back and began to change their clothes. Ralph examined their dour faces with the dawning realization that all of the bartenders he had ever known looked exactly like these two. Not that they were all bad, although most of them were, at that, but their expressions were all alike. All faces, like character actors in the movies; expressive eyebrows, small chins, and large liquid eyes. Ralph pictured these two men later working behind the bar, changing their expression to match the mood of each customer at the busy half-price cocktail hour in the Rotunda Lounge. But right now, in repose, their characterless expressions oddly reminded Ralph of the ex-Presidents born in Ohio.

–Charles Willeford, Made in Miami

January 16, 2018

Cocktail Talk: Made in Miami, Part I

Image result for willeford made in miamiThe earlier Cocktail Talks from the Charles Willeford book Pick-Up (read Pick-Up Part I, and Pick-Up Part II if you missed ‘em) alluded to me diving into the Willeford canon lately – deeper, that is, than the Hoke Mosely books I do so love (read all the Willeford Cocktail Talks to learn more). The dive included the dark, really, lesser-known book Made in Miami, which is a fast-paced, hotly-focused, a bit (for the times, and maybe even now, in inflection) saucy and tawdry, and finally fairly bleak look into a shady side of Miami. If that sounds intriguing, it’s well worth tracking down. And it has – it’s hot in Miami – some nice cocktail talking.

Maria unzipped her dress at the back and carefully slipped it over her head. She draped it lovingly over the foot of her bed while she looked for a coat hanger in the closet. It was the only really decent dress Maris had brought with her and she took excellent care of it. The silk dress was much too good to wear in a Rotunda Room full of women while she drank Tom Collinses at sixty-five cents apiece, the waiter expecting a dime tip every time he brought another round.

–Charles Willeford, Made in Miami

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