November 3, 2017
I’ll admit, I never actually had an Aunt Betsy – but I did have a great pal named Betsy at one point, and when drinking this (even though we weren’t even related) I tend to think about her. It’s a drink to sip slowly, while you’re thinking of your Aunt Betsy, or another aunt, or another Betsy, or just a great pal, because it’s served hot, which also means it’s ideal for months like November, due to (in my Pacific Northwest neck of the woods, at least) the chiller temperature. And it has a warming depth, as well, with a trio of red wine, brandy, and port – a trio that sings to November days. So, heat one up, and toast all the aunts and Betsy’s and hot drinks and cold days, which never last forever.
Aunt Betsy’s Favorite, from Dark Spirits
24 ounces red wine (I suggest a Cabernet Sauvignon)
16 ounces tawny port
8 ounces brandy
4 ounces simple syrup
1 orange peel
3 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1. Add all of the ingredients to a medium-size saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes. You want it to get good and hot, but not start boiling, or even simmering. Reduce the heat midway through the cooking time if needed.
2. Once the 10 minutes have passed and the room smells wonderful, ladle the mix into heavy mugs. Avoid serving the orange peel, cloves, and cinnamon stick if your pals are worried about clunking up their smiles.
PS: I adapted this from the House & Garden’s Drink Guide. Which means this drink is also ideal for houses and gardens, I suppose.
August 16, 2016
We don’t have a lot of comic book Cocktail Talks around the Spiked Punch parts, which does, I suppose, make sense, as not too many comics have drinky, cocktaily sections or such. Though, on the flip side, I read a fair amount of comics, so it should balance out, and today it does! With a power-booze-packed panel from Milk and Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad. If you haven’t read Milk and Cheese, well, a warning: it is about a carton of milk and a wedge of cheese, who happened to be the badass-est dairy products, and who revel in violence, drinking, ranting, and all that, in a way that’s serves up a dose of hilarity and spite-ful-ness. It’s sorta hard to describe, really! But when they celebrate birthdays, they do it like the below (around messing up people, places, and things):
–Evan Dorkin, Milk and Cheese
July 14, 2015
Hey, I think everyone in the world knows this, but if you’re one of the few that don’t, well, I am here to tell you – I love me some Anthony Trollope. I wonder where I rank, now that I’m pondering the whole thing, on the world’s list of Anthony Trollope fans. I’ll bet I’m in the top 100! Really! I’ve read nearly everything (and that’s saying something, cause he was one prolific mid-1800s English writer) and many things twice. I’ve read so much Trollope I’m amazed when I find one of the few books I’ve missed. Amazed and happy, as when I picked up John Caldigate recently. Most of those I haven’t read aren’t considered “major” Trollope works (whatever that means), but damn, I believe John Caligate should get some consideration. One of the more epic Trollope’s I’ve read, it has a huge cast of characters, a sea voyage, some time spent in the Australian gold mines, a bigamy trial, and lots of the English countryside-ing that Trollope is so known for. I loved it. And not just because of the below quote, which describes how a certain farmer drinks his wine.
Then the tray was brought in with wine, and everybody drank everybody’s health, and there was another shaking of hands all round. Mr. Purvidge, it was observed, drank the health of every separate member of the family in a separate bumper, pressing the edge of the glass securely to his lips, and then sending the whole contents down his throat at one throw with a chunk from his little finger.
– Anthony Trollop, John Caldigate
January 15, 2013
I recently was given a book I’ve wanted for years: Rockin’ Steady, by Walt “Clyde” Frazier. It is awesome. The subtitle is “A guide to basketball and cool,” and I can’t think of a better way to describe it. Even if you don’t dig the hoops, it’s a good read, as he talks about much more than just the sport, but about his life, style, cool, catching flies, clothes, cars, and more, all in a relaxed, conversational way that far different than most sports stars. If you like basketball, it’s an essential read – really, if you like sports at all. He doesn’t talk a bunch about drinks, as he doesn’t drink a ton, but I liked the book so much I wanted it on here. So, here’s Walt on wine:
I don’t need grass, either, because I can sky on myself. But I like to drink wine. I drink wine because it doesn’t affect me. I can drink it all night and the next morning I can go to practice and run and I don’t feel like throwing up. I don’t wake up like someone is beating me on the head with a hammer.
–Walt Frazier, Rockin’ Steady
September 7, 2012
This regal number is going to make the transition from summer to fall an easier one. First off, it could, honestly, simply, be consumed in summer and loved by all good countrymen. However, it has enough of a presence to not be all flighty as some summer drinks. Next, it’s called the Lord Charles, and darnit, that means it’s a bit serious like fall. On the flip side of that, remember that Lord Charles was also the name of a famous ventriloquist dummy, so a bit silly as well. See how it straddles the line without fear? With one, or two or three, of these in hand, you’ll move from season to season without a hitch. This recipe’s from Wine Cocktails by the way (a book I suppose you have—unless you’re square).
2 ounces Malbec
1 ounces Simple Syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce dry sherry
Chilled club soda
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Malbec, simple syrup, lemon juice, and sherry to the shaker. Shake well.
2. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the Malbec mixture over the ice cubes. Fill the glass with club soda, almost to the rim.
3. Twist a lemon twist over the each glass and drop it in. Stir briefly with a scepter and serve.
August 16, 2012
It’s summertime (still—honest) and the living is wine cocktails-y. At least it should be cause wine cocktail are refreshing, and un-snooty, and fun, and delicious, and all that. And recently, as if me saying it aloud and in digital form wasn’t enough, I did a little interview with Woman’s World magazine, so it’s in print. And print is forever. So, pick up the most recent issue of said magazine. I also have the page with me here below (but the whole issue is fun, naturally), which has some wine cocktails talk, two recipes from the book Wine Cocktails, notes about how wine and wine cocktails are healthy (including protecting breasts, which I’m all for and which is just another reason why cocktails are the definition of awesome), and something about Ladybug Bling–which can’t be bad. So, read up:
May 18, 2012
If you drink wine, like charming ladies, enjoy reading jolly and informative writing about drinking and drinks (and really, why would you be here if not?), live in the mid-west, want to learn about wine while feeling like you’re hanging out with the rad-est wine teacher ever, or all of the above, then I strongly suggest you visit the Savvy Lush. But who (or what, I suppose), you might ask, is the Savvy Lush? Well, she’s a woman with an incredible knowledge about wine. And it’s knowledge picked up the right way: by drinking a lot of wine, starting with a trip in her youth to Italy (which is the finest way to start, of course). On her site she details reds and whites, skanks and snobs, and more in convivial and bubbly style. She also has a “Guest Swiller” section that she’s kicking off, and right now there’s a bit of wine cocktails talk from me. But don’t let that keep you from her blog–bookmark it and read it regular. With a glass of wine in hand of course.
PS: Naturally, as the cool kids do, you should follow her on the Twitter, too. And the Facebooker.
April 2, 2012
It’s now just about a year since the beginning of wife Nat and I’s last month of Italian pre-tirement (if that makes sense–we came back May of last year). Which is, if not tragic, at least personally sad. Luckily, there’s wine here–even if it does come packing a lot of markup. But it’s here, and brings some of Italy along with it. And luckily there’s Francesco Redi. Who was a physician (to some of those Medici dukes), scientist, and poet. Those days you could be more of everything (and by those days, I mean the 1600s). He was also from Arezzo (where I spent a few fun days when living there) and wrote the poem “The Mamelukes May Love,” all about wine (said poem translated in In Their Cups). The bottom is just the poem’s finale—hey, you can buy the book for the whole thing and help me get back to Italy.
for a moment, do not drink,
but run your fingers like garlands
through my hair. I won’t crave your
sugary egg punch, or golden
sorbets, a thousand fragranced waters,
because these indolent drinks are only
for your sweet lips. Wine, wine
is for those desire euphoria,
to forget their fears. But be not shy about it–
I tip my glasses crazily, happily,
at least six times a year.
— Francesco Redi, The Mamelukes May Love