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 22, 2013

Cocktail Talk: Hawaii Five-O

I’ve never been to Hawaii. I want to go, at some point, to visit some of the classic Tiki bars still there, but hey, there are only so many moments in day. And, as Jack Lord isn’t there anymore (by the way, I realize there is some new Jack Lord, but he’s a fake), I don’t feel quite as driven to head to the island. Luckily, though, I have the book Hawaii Five-O (based on the real TV series, not the new fake one), and while I read it, it’s a bit like I am in Hawaii. And I’m there surrounded by one of the manliest men ever. Jack Lord.

His cotton shirt and green chino slacks had begun to cling to his skin. His mouth longed for a refreshing chilled pineapple drink. Or even a frozen daiquiri.


Mr. Silverkite and Karl Orlanski met in the cocktail lounge of the hotel. There was a glittering glass fish tank at the back of the bar. They had found a round table in a quiet corner. Lauhala placemats, made from the leaf of the pandanus tree, rested beneath their drinks. Mr. Silverkite was having a glass of papaya health juice. Orlanski was enjoying a Moscow Mule, forsaking all things Hawaiian.

Hawaii Five-O, Michael Avallone

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August 23, 2012

What I’m Drinking: A Dandy Daiquiri

So, sometimes I (like many people—maybe even you? Though you’re probably too organized. I mean, I know you come to this blog every week at a particular time. Not that I’m stalking you or anything. Well, not too much), I get forgetful. Or busy. Or, on certain tornado-esque weeks, both. Well, last week had a bit of that atmosphere of madness within it, which means I sorta missed National Rum Day. Which was last Thursday I believe. Hopefully you didn’t. But to make up for it, today I’m having myself the ideal rum drink: the Daiquiri. A marvelous thing when made right, the Daiquiri makes summer spectacular, makes women and men swoon, and makes an afternoon turn from dullsville to deluxe with one sip. Ah, but the key is making it right–though you may have guessed I’d say that. For one: no blenders. For two: use a decent rum (I used Denizen, which is a nice blend of aged Trinidad and Jamaican rums, and which has a clear island-y personality, and which I was sent in the mail—I have to admit that, or you’ll think I’m a shill. Which I’m not). For three: always use fresh juice. The below recipe from Good Spirits is the way I make ‘em, and naturally I think it’s the finest way. But don’t take my word for it. Whip up a batch and start tasting.

Crushed ice (see Note)

3 ounces white rum

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

Lime wedge, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker 1/2 full with crushed ice. Add the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup and shake it Havana-style.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass (thought a fine strainer if you’re worried about lime bits in your teeth). Squeeze the lime wedge over the glass and then drop it in once squeezed.

A Note: I think honest-to-goodness crushed ice is the sunny-bomb-of-goodness here, because it gets your Daiquiri frothy. If you don’t have crushed ice, use cracked. If you’re not up for cracking, then use cubes. It’s still gonna be a heck of a drink.

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May 16, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Our Man in Havana

First, an apology for the lack of posting. Moving back to Seattle from the I-tal has been a process, and has left me with little umph for blogging. Or, after reading (re-reading really, as I’ve read it at least once, and probably twice, before) Graham Greene’s somewhat funny/somewhat serious Cuban spy-and-not novel Our Man in Havana, I’ve been too inclined to have a daiquiri at noon for blogging. I like that take on things much better, so let’s go with that excuse, and start a rumor of me being a two-daiquiris-at-noon fella. Heck, maybe I’ll even inspire you to start. If I don’t, hopefully this quote does (or starts you collecting miniature bottles of whiskies):

‘Eighteen different kinds of scotch,’ the stranger said, ‘including Black Label. And I haven’t counted the Bourbons. It’s a wonderful sight. Wonderful,’ he repeated, lowering his voice with respect. ‘Have you ever seen so many whiskies?’

‘As a matter of fact I have. I collect miniatures and I have ninety-nice at home.’

‘Interesting. And what’s your choice today? A dimpled Haig?’

‘Thanks, I’ve just ordered a daiquiri.’

‘Can’t take those things. They relax me.’


Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene

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