My Favorite Barware

As all three of you know by now, I enjoy making a cocktail now and again. With that being the case, I've tried a lot of gear and developed some preferences. 

Given the upcoming holiday season, I thought I'd share some of my favorites in case you were looking for some gift ideas.

  • Corkscrews come in all shapes and sizes. I have a Rabbit, but mostly I'm partial to the "Waiter's Friend" style.
  • For measuring ingredients, I've decided the old school two-sided jiggers are too much of a pain to use, clean and store. While hanging out at the bar at Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder, I decided to follow their lead and get a stack of these Oxo Mini angled measuring cups. I got a couple of these science lab-style beakers, too, but they don't quite have enough graduation markers to be perfectly effective.
  • Of course, when I'm mixing drinks that are all spirits, I stir it like a gentleman. For that, I use a pint glass (I like to use some old Sailor Jerry glasses I have because they are awesome.), my favorite bar spoon, and a Julep strainer (which I prefer over a Hawthorne strainer). The pint glasses tend to dribble a bit, so someday I might get a nice mixing glass with a pour spout. In the mean time I just got a nice bar mat that hides perfectly under a cutting board in my kitchen.
  • When the beverages have juice, sugar or eggs involved, it's time to put on a show and shake what my momma gave me. I'm partial to Cobbler shakers which have built in strainers. I thought this one from CB2 was my favorite, but the second one I just got seems a little leaky. That said, Cobbler shakers can suffer from stuck lids and are a bit troublesome to clean. I do have a fondness for the simplicity of the Boston shaker and might look into acquiring a nice one soon.
  • I juice my limes and lemons with one of these press-like juicers.
  • I get citrus twists with one of these vegetable peelers, which does a decent job, though my citrus garnishing game could use improvement.
  • I have yet to fall in love with a muddler, so I just have a basic wooden number.
  • I really like stabbing my olives and Luxardo cherries with these picks I just got from Williams-Sonoma, though they are a bit long for my favorite vintage cocktail glasses (featured in my Green Knight post).
  • As for glasses, I love the vintage set we have but I'm on the lookout for a good set of coupes.
  • Update: I forgot to mention the ice cube trays I like a lot. They are silicone and come in one inch and two inch sizes. I also have a couple different spherical molds, but those aren't really worth the trouble.

As you can tell, my mixology hobby definitely feeds into my predilection for collecting tools and gear. I just like to say it keeps me off the streets.

Oh, if you need any help using the items listed above, I suggest reading this book first and then maybe this one.

Cocktail: The Green Knight

Transient

This one was a surprise.

I had some fresh Thai basil from the garden and thought I'd try to come up with a nice, herbal drink to use it. I thought I'd use Crème de Violette just for the purple color (although the flavor is also great, especially with gin), but then at the last moment I added some sweet vermouth. That addition shockingly changed the color to a rich green.

It doesn't hurt that the drink tastes pretty fantastic, either.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Muddle the basil gently in a mixing glass. (I do this by placing a few ice cubes over the leaves, covering the glass with my hand and shaking the glass up and down a bit.)
  2. Add the other ingredients and stir until well chilled.
  3. Strain into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

4th of July Status

Things I didn't do this holiday weekend:

  1. Ride my motorcycle
  2. Start building bookcases
  3. Hang out with friends
  4. Go to the Monday CrossFit workout

Things I did do this holiday weekend:

  1. Finished installing the new baseboard
  2. Made lavender simple syrup
  3. Took the wife out for a lovely lunch at Salt
  4. Cleaned up the garage just a tiny bit
  5. Cooked a bunch so we'll have lots of easy leftovers
  6. Went to the Saturday CrossFit workout and still can't walk straight

I call that a win overall.

The Foul-Mouthed Cook's Guide to: Goat Stock

First, realize that goat is fucking delicious, so stop making that stupid face and read on for some guidelines for making some seriously tasty goddamn stock. (Also, don't bother reading this if you don't like cussing, because I feel like cussing. A lot.)

With that out of the way, here's how you get this shit done:

  1. Get a bag of goat bones. (I ordered a half a fucking goat so it came with a package of trimmed bones and shit. That's fucking awesome.)
  2. Roast the shit out of those bones. (Like 400 degrees F or even 450. Flip the cocksuckers every once in a while, too.)
  3. Turn on the broiler for a bit just to really show those bones who's the fucking boss.
  4. Get a big-ass pot on the motherfucking stove.
  5. Throw in some onion chunks, a couple of garlic cloves (bash the shit out of them first), some celery, and some bell peppers. Or whatever the fuck you want, I don't fucking care.
  6. Saute that shit on a hot fucking burner. You want to build up a serious goddamn fonde.
  7. Add some motherfucking spices and shit. (Lots of salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, herbs de Provence, whatever the fuck.)
  8. Put the fucking bones in the fucking pot(s).
  9. Add a bunch of water to that shit.
  10. Bring it to a goddamned boil. It's gonna look like this -- you might get a fucking hard-on, so be careful.
  11. Turn it the fuck down and put a fucking lid on it.
  12. Leave it the fuck alone for a good long while.
  13. Strain out all the dead shit and try to skim most of the fucking fat off.
  14. Ta-da. You make some stock that'll make your mom want to punch you in the dick.

Booze Recipe: Punchin' Judy

My friend, Dave, gave me a copy of of David Wondrich's fantastic Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl for my birthday, so I've been looking for an excuse to try making some boozy punch. Luckily for me, I was recently "promoted" to the title of Chief Mixology Officer at work. We also now host a monthly gathering of geeks with drinks known as Ruby on Beer, so I thought I'd sneak something other than beer to the next party. Since I'm not the type to fly blind, I took the opportunity last Friday to make a batch of Fish House Punch for the office, just to try things out.

The results were definitely positive. Some folks were big, big fans, but I thought the flavors needed some rounding out. There were some sharp lemon notes and a big pop of sweet that required some smoothing.

Since the next Ruby on Beer is this Thursday, I felt like I needed some more practice. Today I started into making something when I realized I didn't have any brandy or cognac in the house (I'm generally not a big fan, so no surprise, really.). Rather than make a run out to the packy to pick some up, I figured I'd just make something up.

I broke a few "rules" by using bourbon in my mixture, but it turns out I'm pretty good at making stuff up. ;^)

Punchin' Judy

  • For the oleo saccharum, peel four lemons and muddle the rinds in a cup of small crystal raw sugar.
  • Let the lemon peels sit in the sugar for at least half an hour. The sugar will draw out the oils in the rind.
  • Add the following to the oleo saccharum:
    • 1 cup lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 2 oz orange liqueur (Cointreau, Triple Sec, etc.)
    • 2 cups dark spiced rum (I used Kraken)
    • 2 cups bourbon (I went with Jim Beam)
    • 4 cups black tea steeped medium-strong
  • Remove the lemon rinds and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour or two (I failed at this step)
  • Serve with a big brick of ice and lemon wheels floating in it

This punch is delightfully easy to drink. Perhaps also dangerously easy to drink, because it definitely packs a wallop!

Hush now

Yesterday evening we had the pleasure of attending out first Hush dinner. What a great event! Dinner in an Urban Winery I had known about Hush for a couple months probably, but my first attempt to get on the mailing list didn't work for whatever reason. Then just recently a newsletter from The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery (of which I have been a big fan for about a year) mentioned that they were hosting the next Hush, so I hopped on their site and signed up hoping I'd be in time to get invited to the winery dinner. As luck would have it, I was and I couldn't be happier with the result.

The evening started off at about 6pm in the winery's new courtyard sampling a surprisingly good rosé. We did some milling about, mostly keeping to ourselves, though a few brave souls did approach us. By the time we were told to move in to the winery's Quonset hut for dinner, though, we had buddied up with another couple with whom we would turn out to have a lot of strange similarities. We had a real blast dining with them and hope to see them again soon.

Dinner itself was A-plus. The food was prepared by Kate Horton, chef at Black Pearl in Denver, and her team with each course paired with a different offering from the winery. Needless to say, I was totally geeking out the whole night.

Then to take the geek factor to warp 11, I met a guy in the line for the restroom who owns a Tesla. We went outside so I could pose next to it and instead he told me to hop in! We took a screaming lap around the block and went back to our tables. The Wife said something along the lines of "What happened to you? You were gone a long time." to which I grinned with nerdy pride "Oh, I just went for a ride in a Tesla."

Gratuitious pose

More great food, awesome wine, and fantastic company followed.

So, two lessons: 1) If you're in Denver, make the effort and go to a Hush event it's worth the price and and all the underground cloak and dagger effort. If you aren't in Denver, you might want to look around and see if there's anything similar in your area. 2) I seem to "learn" this one over and over, but don't be afraid to talk to strangers. You might find people that love the strange things you love and have great stories to tell you about them.

Congrats to Phil at Hush, Ben at IMT, and Chef Kate. I'm a big fan of all three now.

An Appreciation of the Hard Way

Here's the thing, Bunky, a lot of people get really focused on "efficiency" in life. Those folks think a new book, the latest gadget, or a new notebook might push them over the edge so that they might Get Things Done faster than they used to, and definitely faster than the other guy. And of course faster is better, right Chief? That straight line between points A and B must also be the optimal route. How could it not be?

Well, I have come to the point in my life where I am developing an appreciation for the winding road. In my mind, actually firing up the stove trumps bringing up the Pizza Hut iPhone app to get a pie and some wings (although there are still close calls on that front, to be honest). If a 50 year old hunk of metal gets the job done as well as the modern conglomeration of plastics and who-knows-what, this guy is probably going to go for the antique. I can - and will - go on...

Build Something

A great example of what I'm talking about is home repair and/or home improvement. These days most folks run the numbers and decide their time is worth more than the cost of hiring a guy to come do the job for them.

The truth of the matter is fixing or building things around the house is super intimidating and sometimes actually difficult. These points are especially true if you have never had any training or experience with this kind of work. That said, however, the resources are out there for you to quickly gain the knowledge you need to give it a go. Go learn how to do the thing you need to do and give it a try.

Remember, even if you really fuck it up, you can hire that guy on Service Magic to fix it, but odds are you'll do fine and you'll have the satisfaction of having done it yourself.

Make Your Own Food

This past year, the thing I've done that has excited me the most is our raised bed garden. Even though it didn't get finished until very late in the summer, we grew our own food in our own back yard. Talk about satisfaction!

Even if you don't want to grow food, though, it's worth putting in the effort to cook your own meals as much as you can. People who say they "can't cook to save my life" are both lazy and lying. Cooking is one o the the most easily acquired skills there is in this world. Your food will be better than most things you'd go out to buy and there's a high probability that it will even be better for you.

That Straight Razor Thing

The three of you who read this thing have already heard a lot about my obsession with straight razors. At this point I shave almost exclusively with a straight razor. Sometimes that means I only shave once a week, though, which doesn't do me any favors. At that point my technique suffers and I am more likely to cut myself. I might actually have a very faint, but permanent scar on my face now... For real.

I still love it, though.

Shaving takes a long time with the straight razor. First, I strop my razor and prep my lather brush; then I hop in the shower for a long, hot one; once I'm dried off, I make some lather and start shaving -- I usually do at least three passes at around 10 minutes each. The whole process takes 45 minutes or so, and I enjoy every single one of them. I play music I enjoy and just spend quality time with myself. More people should find something that allows them to have that kind of time with themselves.

Boozing

Learning about and mixing classic cocktails, and even trying to concoct my own new recipes, give me a lot of joy, as some of you may have noticed. There's not much more to say about that, really. It's just another hobby that requires a bit more effort than the average Joe puts into it.

Your Way?

Now, let's be truthful, I'm not the King of the Hard Way by any stretch of the imagination. By no means do I always shun the efficient or the easy. Even the things I've listed above aren't exactly earth shattering, but it's an attitude I've been pondering lately.

So, how about you? Tell me about something you do the "hard way". What is an activity that give you more satisfaction when you do it by hand rather than with some kind of "modern convenience"? I'll bet some of you are doing way more interesting things than I am.

Fifty *BLEEP*ing People

That's the round estimate of how many folks showed up for the latest Sutton Family Dinner on Saturday evening. The house got wicked hot, but everyone got fed and seemed to have a damned good time. I only got to spend a fraction of the time I should have/wanted to with any one person, but that's to be expected when your living room looks and sounds like a downtown bus terminal.

The food turned out quite good. I'm very pleased.

The people make the event, though, so thanks all! It was a fantastic evening thanks to you.

Next time we may need to sell tickets or something...

Food Awesomeness

When it first came out, Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals was definitely on my radar but was something I chose to actively avoid. I already had a certain level of frustration and paranoia when it came to food industry -- especially the industrial corn engine: high fructose corn syrup has been on my "avoid if possible" list for a while now -- and I figured I'd rather stick to my semi-ignorant partial bliss. Eventually, though, my curiosity won out and I listened to the audio volume of OD on my commute. It's seriously one of the most frustrating/educational/shattering/enlightening things I've done to myself in a long while. I highly recommend it, though it always comes with a warning. It's either going to piss you off, make want to throw your hands up, or make you figure "Fuck it! that's too much to care about!" Or all three. Or more.

Then I immediately moved on to Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, which is basically his answer to all of the people who read OD and wrote him to ask "Well, WTF can I eat and where the hell can I find it?!?" to which he replies with his zen koan of a "manifesto":

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

It's a bit trickier than it sounds, believe me. In particular, when he says "food" he means real food, not engineered and manufactured "food products". He does go on to lay down some more specific - but still simple - definitions and rules that all make perfect sense, but have almost nothing to do with the average Western (more specifically, American) diet these days. I'm happy, though, to hear our new president is at least aware of Pollan's open letter about the state of food in the Union.

These two books have made quite an impact on me, obviously. Thanks to Michael Pollan, I am now researching things like local farmers markets, CSAs, polyculture farming, "slow" food, grass-finished beef, pastured poultry and eggs, and on and on and on. And this stuff doesn't come cheap. Pollan notes that himself, but he also points out that the percentage of income spent on food in the US is almost ridiculously low compared to other countries with healthier-seeming diets/lifestyles, so maybe it's worth it.

It also tends to balance out a bit if you actually cook for yourself, which this shift to whole and real foods has definitely inspired me to do.

That said, I certainly haven't stopped dining out. I have, however, become a bit more discerning in where I take my lovely wife for a meal. Now I look for establishments that do their best to use local and natural ingredients. Luckily, many of these places also make some kick-ass food. I talk about three examples in particular after the jump:

Park Kitchen, Portland, OR

This place was the absolute highlight of our trip to Portlandd. This is saying something fairly significant, because we totally fell in love with that place.

The first time we ate there, we stopped in on our way to see Gogol Bordello in concert at the Roseland Theater. Since we had plans, we went with cocktails and a trio of Park Kitchen's "small plates". The Wife had a martini variation called the Beekeeper, which is knock-your-socks-off delicious and I had a "Summer Sazerac", which was made with herbsaint rather than the traditional absinthe and was quite tasty (though not my favorite Sazerac, see below). The pseudo-tapas consisted of all cold plates: flank steak with bleu cheese and parsley, gin soused tomatoes and cucumbers, and marinated mussels with corn and lobster mushrooms. We finished the night with a corn cannoli desert that featured the most amazing spiced caramel that had such a fantastic sweet and salty combination we couldn't get over it.

We loved the place so much, that we had our wonderful and crush-worthy server, Jenny, make us reservations for the next night, mentioning that it was out wedding anniversary and requesting a corner booth for proper cuddling action.

The next night we came in to the feeling that folks were expecting us and word of our celebration had spread. Jenny came out to welcome us with small glasses of cava and to let us know she was working a private party but would be checking in on us through the night. Our waither for the night, Jack, gave us the best advice of the night when he responded to my "So, what's the story with teh tasting menu?" with a solid "All I can tell you is, do it." And so we did. More cocktails and more beyond excellent food, including rabbit and fried green beans and bacon (by which I mean there were thick strips of bacon that were battered and fired!). Absolutely wonderful. Made even more so by the company of Shane (who, it turns out, concocted the aforementioned Beekeeper, and his father at the table next to us.

We cannot recommend Park Kitchen enough.

SoBo American Bistro, Boulder, CO

My bosses (and good friends, happily) love this place, and so do I. SoBo is the home of the best Sazerac and the best Old Fashioned I've ever had -- all of which are apparently inspired by a book called The Art of the Bar. They also crank out some mighty fine food. I had a parpadelle with chicken meatballs that seriously tasted like pork sausage. It was so incredible that I sent our care-taker, Eileen back to the kitchen to find out how they did it. The answer: pork fat! ;) After that, Eileen sent us home with some cherry-vanilla bitters that she had made herself. Can't beat that with a stick.

I've been to SoBo several times, and I've encounter an item here or there that hasn't knocked me out, but I've never had a real failure there. I think this just comes from exploring more of the menu -- You're bound to find something that isn't up your alley eventually.

SoBo is great people and fantastic food. I also love that it's the best thing going in South Boulder.

The Kitchen Cafe, Boulder, CO

We just experienced The Kitchen for the first time last Saturday before we saw Henry Rollins in Boulder. I've known about it for quite some time now, but have never gone because until recently I've had an aversion for both Pearl Street and restaurants that require reservations be made days in advance. In the case of The Kitchen, it's well worth working through those aversions.

This time out, I started with a Talisker, an Islay single malt, neat while The Wife had a fruity grapefruit/lychee gin drink that was really delicious. For the first course we shared the roasted bone marrow. This was the first time trying bone marrow for both of us, and wow! Our server called it "like the best butter ever", but I'll stand by The Wife's "Colorado lobster" analogy. Our main courses were an incredible hanger steak with root vegetables for her and a pair of small but succulent lamb rump chops for me. To compliment the meat we took advantage of the wine prix fixe deal, having a full glass of a Loring pinot noir from Oregon first and and then switching to a half glass of Catena, an Argentinian malbec, to finish with a bolder note.

This place approaches the (probably unreasonable and unattainable) standard set by Park Kitchen in our minds. Well worth planning ahead for the experience.

Portland: More to come...

Just a note to self more than anything, but here's what you can look forward to hearing about as far as our trip to Portland, OR goes:

  1. Park Kitchen -- So good we went there twice.
  2. Kenny & Zuke's -- So good we never ate breakfast anywhere else.
  3. Gogol Bordello -- And the experience of an all ages show in Portland.
  4. The City of Portland -- We walked all over the place. It's tiny and awesome.

So stay tuned...

---

Side note: This is turning into the Autumn of Concerts for Team Sutton. To date, we've seen Spiritualized (which I have so far failed to write up, but was totally awesome) and Gogol Bordello; and soon we will see Fleet Foxes, DeVotchKa, and a spoken-word turn by Hank Rollins.

Nice!

Awesome Things

Things that are awesome (some of which may have been previously mentioned here) in no particular order:

  • Sushi + beer + sake + friends = AWESOME
  • Live burlesque. Also, The Wife potentially taking burlesque classes. :D
  • Absinthe. I'm digging on Kübler, which is locally available now. Admittedly, I talk more people into not trying absinthe than I talk into trying it. It's not for everyone.
  • Rock Band. I'm pretty useless on anything except the singing, but it's more fun than Karaoke Revolution because the other people are playing along with you. Drumming is unpossible for me.
  • Tiki bars. Especially the Tiki Torch in Edgewater. I know one of the owners, so I'm psyched to give it a shot. I'll be toting The Wife and her mother down this Saturday, I believe. Daddy needs a Mai Tai with a quickness!
  • Anita O'Day. Holy crap! How have I never heard of her until now? Best thing to ever happen to me thanks to Plurk. (If you're not already a Twitter user, you might try Plurk instead.) Also loving Sarah Vaughn these days.
  • The Silent Years. The Globe comes out soon.
  • Going to the doctor to get my first physical in who knows how many years. It seems I'm doing well. (I still have to do blood work, though.)
  • Michael Phelps. Yeah... WOW.
  • The iPhone 3G. Lots of people gripe about various things, but in general I say it's damned amazing.
  • Dark Knight. Saw it on IMAX. It was pretty good.
  • Rumbi fish tacos. I'm stunned, but these are currently my favorite fish tacos.
  • Knowing one of the guys on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
  • Fuelly. All the cool kids are doing it.
  • Bumping into an acquaintance and having their first comment be "You look good."

And other stuff, too. That's a pretty good list for now, though.

Trip Report and Other Junk

Well, really there's not much to report. The drive to Vegas went quickly and easily. We literally did nothing in Vegas -- In fact, we we most excited by the fact that the Luxor has two Starbucks. Party animals we are not.

The second leg of the drive into Los Feliz also went without a hitch. From then on it was just the usual sort of "hang out with Chris, Kate, and Chowda" sort of scene. Highlights as I remember them:

  • Best of all, we got lots of quality time with Scot & Matt. We love those kids. You might recognize Scot. Thanks to both him and Kate, I have a Bacon Number of 3!
  • Casa Bianca has the best sausage pizza I have ever consumed. I am curious as to whether it's the sausage or the pizza. I cheese pie trial needs to happen someday.
  • The Museum of Jurassic Technology is supremely weird. A must see if you're in LA (and like weirdness).
  • Friday poker: In spite of playing like an idiot (and in doing so, pissing Scot off a bit when I rivered and ace to beat his pocket kings), I managed to finish in second place. I had a chance to do better than that, but Matt's crazy enough that I shouldn't have tried to scare him out of a pot by going all-in with ace-high.
  • Saturday was Chris' birthday cookout/party in which Chris ended up doing all the cooking... *shrug* Staggering amounts of Guinness were consumed, and I got to see some of my favorite people.
  • The Wife and I hiked up to Griffith Observatory a couple times. It's a steep little hill, let me tell you!
  • Lots of dining out, but not as disastrous as usual. Though, we totally had to hit Tito's Tacos.

The drive back was fairly ordinary except for a crazy huge moon we saw rising over the Utah desert.

Today, when I came back into work, I found a strange Japanese swan phallus thingy on my desk. Thanks to Miracle Ed, I now get the reference, but nobody here has owned up to actually putting it on my desk...

Random, unrelated crap follows ...

In sporting news, the Red Sox managed to hold off the Yankees and will face the Angels in the ALDS, the Rockies are actually trying to get in the playoffs, the Broncos finally got the trouncing they've deserved after stealing their first two wins, and hockey season is about to get fired up.

...

On the booze-review tip: If you enjoy a good shiraz (I like to say "shih-RAZZ" because it's Australian, after all.) you should give the 2006 Mollydooker "The Boxer" a go. It's one of those uber-hip Stelvin cap jobbies, so no cork-screw needed. Also, it seems mollydooker is Aussie for left-handed, though as of yet, I've been unable to confirm it...

...

Weeds and Californication might be my favorite hour of television right now. Though, I already miss John from Cincinnati. (I might be alone on that one, though.)

The Lucid Challenge

I finally got my order of Lucid Absinthe a week or two ago. The time has come for me to do a side-by-side face off with the other absinthe I had in house. (Yes, by "time has come" I mean "The Wife is out of the house".) Fair warning: The challenge involves me consuming two glasses of absinthe. Expect this first draft to be fine-tuned when I'm in a more sober state.

And so we go...

First an introduction:

Lucid Challenge: Bottles

  1. Brand A: La Fée Absinthe Parisian -- My brother-in-law, Chris, gave me a bottle of this last year when we went out to visit him in LA. While we were there we also helped him consume some other brand that he'd had delivered along with this one. (Perhaps he'll remind of of the brand?) My usual mode of consuming this one is the so-called "French method" with sugar and cold water.
  2. Brand B: Lucid, of course. So far I've been having this one with only the cold water. I read that absinthe geeks don't go for the sugar, so I thought I'd try it.

Now, let's get to the good stuff tasting notes:

How is it straight up?

Lucid Challenge: Straight

  1. La Fée Smell: Hmmmm.... Nyquil? Taste: Black jellybeans. Very strong. Like fire in the back of the mouth.
  2. Lucid Smell: Much softer. Sort of herbal. Taste: Herbal again. Still a twinge at the back of the mouth, but not as strong. Tart, almost citrus, finish.

What about with the water?

Lucid Challenge: Louche

I decided to continue abstaining from the sugar. I put ice in a martini shake, poured Brita-filtered water over the ice and gave it a good shake. I added water to the absinthe only until the louche was achieved.

  1. La Fée Taste: Oh, yum! Sweet liquorice! Who needs sugar?
  2. Lucid Taste: Much more subtle, almost weak. Super easy to drink.

Who wins?!

Well, I like them both, really.

I can easily imagine the Lucid as being a more authentic experience; the La Fée is much more artificial-tasting. That said, I really do enjoy the sweetness of the louched La Fée. Is the Lucid worth the extra cost (the trouble to get it is pretty much the same, since I had to order it from New York)? I'd say sure, if only for the experience. Once it's actually stocked at my local package store, it will definitely be a regular buy for me.

So yeah... Try it. You might like it. Just do us both a favor and don't bother if you know you don't actually enjoy liquorice flavored booze, OK? ;) Seriously -- I was the kid who made himself sick by eating a whole bag of black jelly beans. I'm made for absinthe. If you aren't, don't bother. You're not going to want to drink enough to see green fairies anyway.

Leopold's Gin

My friends, allow me to introduce you to Leopold's Gin, a small batch distillation that will make any gin lover happy.

Leopold's GinFirst, it is an American Gin. Master Distiller Todd Leopold handcrafts every batch in a small 40-gallon copper still, blending uniquely American botanicals like hand-zested Florida Oranges and California Pummelos. These components lend citrus notes to the gin, and help distinguish American gins from their English counterparts.

It truly is a bit different, but positively delicious. One friend said, upon tasting a sample: "It tastes like Christmas!" My response was that The Wife said that about all gins, but he rejoindered that it was more than that and that he detected hints of candy canes and mistletoe (or some such nonsense -- I was blootered at the time, to own the truth). It's nowhere near as "different" as Hendricks with it's cucumber-infused flavor, which is how I found Leopold's in the first place -- they were side by each on the shelf at my local Total Beverage.

Last night, I put the gin through its paces by sampling a G&T and a martini and both were remarkably tasty. We followed that with a Hendricks & tonic and were slightly disturbed by the fact that we actually craved more afterwards. We abstained, however, as it was bedtime on a school night. I'm happy to report no ill effects this morning (aside from the usual case of the Mondays).

Treat yourself sometime. You will be pleased, I guarantee.

Let's Get This Pahty Stahted. Right?

Last Saturday, the Wife, Mother-in-Law, and I hosted a holiday dinner soiree at the Sutton abode. Good times were had by all. A few notes/highlights:

  • The slate tile was a big hit. It even survived a couple drunken games of darts.
  • The menu was primarily Italian-style fare. We did have crab rolls in split-top hot dog rolls that we'd had shipped from Boston -- they were a big hit.
  • We made waaaaaaaaay too much food. Should have forced people to take doggie bags.
  • I doubt anyone else even noticed, but I felt the music mix was spot on.
  • We had, at one point, three Asians in our house. In Colorado, this is actually worth pointing out. Sadly, though, that was the (almost) full extent of our ethnic diversity.
  • I'm actually impressed with how long it took the crowd to get into "Hey! What's this?!" mode at our bar/liquor collection. Absinthe and Japanese Whiskey were the most exotic samples that were poured.

If you didn't get invited and think you should have been, I apologize deeply.

Don't take it personally, though, OK? Good. ;)

Buffalo Bill Day

Since, according to the Modern Drunkard's "365 Excuses To Get Soused" list, today is Buffalo Bill Day (which is disputable at best - he was born on July 4), I'd like to share a lovely little treat we experienced at the Buckhorn Exchange during Matt's bachelor party:

  • The Buffalo Bill Cocktail, which seems to consist purely of bourbon and apple juice. Proper proportions are unknown, but I'm sure every bourbon drinker out there could manage.

I'm a big fan - in fact, as a group we consumed 23 of the little beauties that night. The Drunkard recommends Buffalo Trace Whiskey to celebrate Buffalo Bill Day, but unless you're mixing that with apple juice, I wouldn't bother.