February 1, 2011

Cocktail Talk, The Gutter and the Grave, Part 2

It’s hard to believe that there could be two more beautifully booze-y quotes from this Ed McBain book, quotes as good as those below, but I’m going to say, drink in hand raised to the sky, that these may be as good. At least, they manage to mention a whole array of classic mixes—and both mention the Zombie. Is there another book (outside of drink books, duh) that mentions the rum’d out Zombie twice? I have my doubts (but would be happy to be pointed in the direction of another one). Does this mean you should be sure to have rums on hand when you read the Gutter and the Grave? Well, of course.


It was Park Avenue mixed with the slums, it was cocktail parties and pool parlors, theater openings and all-night movies on Forty-Second Street. It was her world and mine, mixed like a Zombie, four thousand kinds of rum, but blended because underneath the exotic name it was all rum.


The man handling our table wondered back. ‘Sir, the bartender says he is not equipped to make hot rum toddies, sir. He suggests, if you care for rum, a Planter’s Punch, or a Cuba Libre, or a Zombie.’

‘I’ll have a rye and soda,’ I said. ‘Toni?’

‘A whiskey sour,’ she said.


The Gutter and the Grave, Ed McBain

January 28, 2011

Cocktail Talk, The Gutter and the Grave, Part 1

Ed McBain is one of those mystery, noir, hard edged, cop story, suspense, and pretty much every other word related to the genre where drinks are had more often than not writers (he writes enough that he has to write under a variety of names, even). He’s had a whole little library of books, many of which I could read anytime I had a shot of whiskey alongside me. This particular book was re-released by the genius back-alley folks at Hard Case crime, and has more drinking (and much more interesting conversation) than the parking lot at the college football game. Heck, there’s enough that I’m going to break the quotes into two parts, starting with these two boozy gems, the first a drinking manifesto (which hopefully will bring back the term “ossified”) and the second a dreamy drinkers dream:

I drink because I want to drink. Sometimes I’m falling down ossified, and sometimes I’m rosy-glow happy, and sometimes I’m cold sober—but not very often. I’m usually drunk, and I live where being drunk isn’t a sin, though it’s sometimes a crime when the police go on a purity drive.

I was sitting in the park thinking of cool civilized drinks, like Tom Collins and Planter’s Punches and then thinking about what I’d drink—an uncool, uncivilized pint of cheap booze.


The Gutter and the Grave, Ed McBain

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