February 25, 2020

Cocktail Talk: The Farewell Murder

Image result for the giant collection of the continental op"Well, as I said recently (as I’m sure you recall), I’ve been reading a book every pulp, detective, mystery, American literature lover should read, The Giant Collection of the Continental Op. By dashing (okay, I’m not the first to say this) Dashiell Hammett, author of, well, if you don’t know I feel for you, cause the list includes some of the best works from last century (including The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and The Glass Key, all seminal works of words), in this giant collection, you’ll find a huge host of stories featuring his un-named, pudgy (but tough), old-ish (but tough), work-a-day detective, and all keep the pace up, and often the body-count. A great read, I must say, so great that I had to have two Cocktail Talks from it. If you missed the first (the Golden Horseshoe Cocktail Talk) then go check it. This second one isn’t quite as drunk-y, and includes a lot of food. But I couldn’t miss it, cause it has the Continental Op drinking crème de menthe, which is both awesome and hard to picture.


Two men servants waited on us. There was a lot of food and all of it was well turned out. We are caviar, some sort of consume, sand dabs, potatoes and cucumber jelly, roast lamb, corn and string beans, asparagus, wild deck and hominy cakes, artichoke-and-tomato salad, and orange ice. We drank white wine, claret, Burgundy, coffee, and crème de menthe.


–Dashiell Hammett, The Farewell Murder

June 12, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Snowball

During the summer months (and really, even though we’re not officially in summer, let’s call it summer, okay? June feels like summer to me. Go with it), it’s tempting to have a drink called The Snowball – right? Right. But, there are so many! There’s the one with advocaat (the liqueur made from egg, sugar, and brandy) and sparkling lemonade. There’s another with brandy, simple syrup, an egg, and ginger ale. Both have their moments. But today, this particular day, I’m going with the below, which is wonderful on an early summer’s night, and of which famed drink explorer Harry Craddock said, around 1930, “This is women’s work.” Hah, I’ll show you Harry.


The Snowball, with the recipe from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

Ice cubes
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce crème de violette
1/2 ounce white crème de menthe
1/2 ounce anisette
1/2 ounce heavy cream

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, crème de violette, crème de menthe, anisette, and cream to a cocktail shaker. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

March 3, 2015

Cocktail Talk: The Wrong Venus

wrong-venusI’ve had three different Charles Williams Cocktail Talk posts, and you should go read them all. All of them! Both cause you’ll be able to learn a little more about this master of thriller/pulp/mystery writing, and cause then I don’t have to go through it all again. You don’t want me to be repetitive, right?  Anywho, I have a fair amount of Charles Williams’ books, enough that I’m always worried I won’t be able to find more – but then super happy when I do, as I  recently when I picked up The Wrong Venus. It’s a rollicking read, which starts on a high note and never really lets up until the last page. What does that mean? If you like books that move fast, this one’s for you. And it also has a great scene with both Cointreau and crème de menthe. Really!

‘Do you have any Cointreau?’

‘Cointreau?’ It was obvious she thought he was crazy.

‘You do sell liquor on these flights, don’t you?’

‘Yes, of course . . . But with this turbulence, naturally we couldn’t bring the cart through. And we don’t have any Cointreau anyway.’

‘Then crème de menthe?’

‘Y-e-e-s, I think so. But I’m afraid only the white . . .’

He was conscious again of time hurtling past him, but managed a reassuring smile. ‘It’s all right. I only drink in the dark.’

–Charles Williams, The Wrong Venus

April 18, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Stinger

I’ve taken a lot of flak for my love of Stingers. “That’s a granny drink,” behatted bronc-busters have bellyached, while tight-jeaned fillies laugh, joking, “You’re a fogey for drinking brandy,” and everyone would cackle at my black-and-yellow bee suit (worn in honor of the Stinger). But those people are idiots. IDIOTS.  If you don’t also want to fall into this category, then Stinger up. You’ll be happier, too. Trust me. You can trust me, right?


The Stinger (from Dark Spirits)

Ice cubes
2-1/2 ounces brandy (or Cognac, if you’re feeling it)
1/2 ounce white crème de menthe

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the brandy and crème de menthe (be sure it’s the white kind, ’cause green gets icky). Shake, while proclaiming your Stinger affection loudly.

2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass, being sure not to spill any on your bee costume.

June 18, 2013

Cocktail Talk: Black Alibi

black-alibiI’ve had some Cocktail Talk from Cornell Woolrich here on this blog already, and sung his praises. Which are deserved, cause he created the whole genre of “noir” as much as anyone, and was a pulp-a-teer of the first rate. His book Black Alibi fits as noir, too, though it’s different in a way, as it takes place in South America, has a killer jaguar (or does it?), and is told from a number of perspectives, including the victims in the book. It took me a bit to get in to, but once I did, I was hooked. There’s also lots of drinks and bar talk, including the following, which is part of one character’s musings about the bar scene throughout an evening.

Midnight to about two was the zenith. Meridian of her “day.” That was when the shows let out. They let out late in Ciudad Real. The Casino Bleu, the Madrid out in the park (she never went out there, though; too far to walk back in case you didn’t connect), the Jockey Club, the Tabain, the Select. Those were the places to seek out then. This was the cream of the night life, swarming with the sports, the swells, the heavy spenders. Most of them had cabaret entertainment; if not, tango bands and dancing at the very least. Benedictine, then. Crème de menthe. Sometimes even Champagne.

–Cornell Woolrich, Black Alibi

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