September 8, 2009

Cocktail Talk: Tall, Dark and Deadly

Hey, happy Mon-Tuesday. Just hold off before calling me calendarily challenged. I know today is really Tuesday, and that there is no Mon-Tuesday day. But as it’s the day after a Monday holiday, all of us working slobs (those who work the regular work-week at least) going back to work feel like it’s a Monday, cause it’s the first day of the week with the good times that entails (sing it now, good times, any time you need a favor), but it’s actually Tuesday. Hence the Mon-Tuesday. What does this mean in the world of boozing and spiking of punches? That it’s a fine time for a quote by Hal Masur (who in his full name is Harold Q. Masur, as seen in this post about Suddenly a Corpse), from a book in his Scott Jordan series. Scott’s a lawyer, see, when that meant more than a bad film adaptation and a southern accent. What it means is he drinks hard, rumbles with jerky DAs, snuggles up with any number of hourglass figures, and then solves mysteries and murders. The kind of lawyer a boy or girl can admire, and aspire to being (or hiring). You know, as it is Mon-Tuesday, here are two quotes from Tall, Dark and Deadly: one martini one, and one bar one. Enjoy them, and then go litigate yourself something cold and strong (whatever that means).

“Thirsty Scott?”

“Parched. I’d like a martini, very dry.”

She went to a portable bar. “One martini, coming up.”

“May I help?”

“I know the formula,” she declared loftily. “Gin, vermouth, and cyanide.” She prepared the ingredients in a chrome shaker, applying the vermouth with an atomizer, and substituting a twist of lemon peel for the cyanide. I drank. It was very dry indeed and the gin left me a trifle lightheaded.

“Another?” she asked?

“Not unless you can handle me.”

“Does that mean I have to get you drunk?”

“Helps. I’ve very shy.”

I entered and perched on a bar stool. The place was humming with activity. Regardless of the hour or the temperature, it seems that a large number of citizens continuously suffer from parched throats. In order to accommodate this drought the city has spawned a thousand watering holes that serve no water. This one was indistinguishable from its cousins.

            I ordered Canadian ale and got a glass of Milwaukee stout.


Tall, Dark and Deadly, Hal Masur

July 31, 2009

Cocktail Talk: Benefit Performance

Happy last day of July, 2009. And, happy last day of the hottest work week Seattle’s ever had (that’s what the weather people are going on about at least). You know what really hot weeks like this lead to? Drinking, naturally. But you know what else hot weeks like this lead to? You got it: murder. And mayhem. And mangling. And mauling. And muzzles. All those devious and deadly “m” words. Which is why I thought there’d be nothing better to start the weekend then a quote or two from Richard Sale’s Benefit Performance. Not that this is the most murderous of Dell pocket-sized book (which are about the same size as Pocket Books), but it does take place in Hollywood, which is of course also hot, matching up with the theme of murder and temperature (or something along those lines–really, I just like the quotes).

To the left was the bar. The bar looked as good as the band sounded. “We’ll have a drink,” Kerry said.

“We’ll go up to the office and wait,” said Willie.

“You heard what the Bull of the Pampas said,” Kerry replied. “Clam isn’t here yet. I’ll buy you a drink.”

Willie nudged him with a round hard muzzle.

Kerry said meaningly, “Shoot me in front of all these people. It’s good for business and it stretches your neck.” He pushed the muzzle away boldly. Then he walked into the bar and ordered a Scotch old fashioned. When he glanced around, Willie had joined him, looking mad and frustrated. “You’ve been seeing too many movies,” Kerry said, amused.

A night club in the daytime is full of phantoms.

He took a breath and passed through the dusty light shaft as if it had depth and breadth. When he reached the bar, there was no daylight, and the dust danced invisibly. The bartender was working patiently behind his bar, designing his architecture of inebriation. He was cutting his lemons, putting his olives and cherries in their receptacles, anticipating Manhattans and Martinis.


–Richard Sale, Benefit Performance

July 14, 2009

Cocktail Talk: The Hour

Poor Martini (I’m talking the real honest-to-Betsy-straight-up-gin-vermouth Martini here. None of your “ini”-added-to-anything-even-liquid-shoe-polish drinks that aren’t, after all, a Martini, but just a drink some joker was too lazy to come up with a real neato creative name for). Yes, the most popular drink in the world, and perhaps the most popular icon in the last 100 plus some odd years (maybe Mickey? But he’s a kid’s game.) And yet, still slogged off in the most ridiculous manner (hence the “ini”-on-anything-makes-a-name disgust). Well, don’t let ‘em get you down Martini. We still love you, and to prove it, everyone reading this will have a Martini tonight (that means you and you and you, and maybe you, too), and I’ll type up this Bernard DeVoto quote, which extols your loveliness (Mr. DeVoto will have a Martini tonight as well, in that great next world bar):

You can no more keep a Martini in the refrigerator than you can keep a kiss there. The proper union of gin and vermouth is a great and sudden glory; it is one of the happiest marriages on earth, and one of the shortest-lived.


–Bernard DeVoto, The Hour


PS: I like mine this a-way, by the way: 2-1/2 ounces gin, 1/2 ounce dry vermouth, lemon twist.

Rathbun on Film