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happier hours

although i salute the return of bars that serve cocktails, as opposed to those where you have to explain how to make a vodka and orange, i am distressed by the fact that, rather than making proper cocktails, they generally just give themselves an uber-sleek decor, take whatever bottles have collected dust, mash up the ingredients and serve them in a martini glass to fashion victims.

a well-prepared cocktail can be the highlight of an evening, but it needs to be executed by someone who knows what they’re doing. and too often, there is a confusion between the flat out weird and the low-yield girl drinks that are generally dished out at resorts. the best cocktails have more kick than an angry mule, but taste so divine you’ll be under the table before you know what hit you. the iron fist in the velvet glove indeed.

a few of my favourites include:

the mint julep. do yourself a favour: never order this in a bar. you’re likely to get a mix of creme de menthe and cheap whiskey that tastes like your mouth when you were trying to hide the fact that you were out drinking in high school. the first time i had these made properly, the guy preparing them called a friend of his in west virginia to get the recipie: nice bourbon, fresh mint, brown sugar that you heat on the spot, all served over ice. one of the most refreshing summer drinks ever, but beware, it packs a punch beyond what you would expect from its simple ingredients. tasting tip: let it sit for a few minutes after preparation to allow the flavours to mingle.

the sidecar. rarer than hen’s teeth are the bartenders who know how to prepare one of these properly. i’ve actually been known to walk a couple of them through the process, with mixed results (go ahead, groan, i swear it was unintentional). probably the only cocktail involving brandy that won’t make your teeth rot, this little bomb also involves cointreau and lemon and tastes best when it’s a little on the sour side (to me at least). (warning: some guides or bartenders will tell you that you can substitute triple sec, which is cheaper, for cointreau. don’t believe them.) no one really orders these, or even knows what they are, for the most part, because they faded from popularity around the early 1940s, but that makes the hunt for a good one all the more exciting.

the mojito. luckily, this cuban treat is the essence of popularity right now, which makes them easy to find. chain restaurants even serve them and they’re pretty good to boot. a mix of rum, lime, mint, soda and sugar, they should be required patio drinking in the summer. also worth checking is the mojito’s brazilian cousin the caphirinia, which eschews the mint, but gives much the same effect. the caphirinia is a little more difficult to find, but is gaining in popularity.

i personally think that the cocktail hour is the essence of civility and, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to unwind at the end of the day? despite the fact that the cost per drink is high, most people can’t handle more than a few serious cocktails even if they could routinely drink sumo wrestlers under the table, so you are getting more bang for your buck.

anyone who has favourite cocktail recipies or locales to share, please feel free.

Comments

Hah, the lost art of the mix drink. Its amazing how there can be so many "Bartenders" and "Barmaids" who get hired on their hability to sell drinks rather than mix them... style over substance as it is.
Fave cocktail experience: a Singapore Sling, which I had ordered in a chinese buffet in Montreal's Chinatown. You could actually taste the alcohol, without the bite, so a perfect blend.
Worse experience: a Godfather, my personal favourite and damned simple, just the right proportion of whisky and amaretto on ice, how can you screw that up? Well you can. By using Jack Daniels instead of whisky. Jack should not be mixed with anything; in fact it should not be consummed at all. And this is coming from someone who drinks grappa and enjoys it.
flora_mundi said…
aside from the mint julep disaster, my worst experience was a screwdriver made with orange drink crystals instead of orange juice... shudder...
Yeah, I sympathise with that... Tang should not be used except by white trash astronauts...

as long as you're here, why not read more?

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: hot stuff, comin' through

i don't even know what to say about the weather. the end of september saw temperatures at a scalding 36c/ 97f outside. this is especially annoying because we've had a moderate summer. most days it rained a little in the morning, the temperatures didn't creep into the 30s too often and there wasn't the normal stretch of a few weeks when it felt like we were living on the sun. now, we've receded into more normal fall weather, although it's still on the warm side for mid-october. that climate change thing is a bitch.

trying to think of something positive in the situation, it does put me in a perfect frame of mind to write about urban decay's naked heat palette. it's the latest in what appears to be an endless series of warm neutral and red eyeshadow palettes that have followed in the footsteps of anastasia's modern renaissance. [which i ultimately decided i didn't need after doing a thorough search of my considerable stash.] i do think that it'…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…