The new issue of Drink is out. The theme for this issue is rum, well known as one of my favorite topics. Fittingly, I got to write not one, but two articles. . . (more…)
Archive for the ‘Drink history’ Category
My latest article for DRiNK is on the Pegu Club. It’s a great drink so go check it out. Special thanks to the translator for an excellent job on the Chinese. I did not make her life easy, what with poetry and other assorted weird stuff. The art work is also nice.
DRiNK is a good magazine, and it’s mere existence shows how much the cocktail scene in China has changed since I started this blog.
Years ago I remember sitting on an airplane here and leafing through a hospitality magazine that had somehow ended up in the seat pocket in front of me. It was not bar specific – more like a general restaurant magazine that included wines and spirits info. I forget the title. Anyway, the quality of information was shocking. An article on French wines was illustrated with colorful Belgian beer bottles. Well-bred ladies were cautioned to always add the ice before pouring their wine. Doing things the other way round would be most uncouth! Another article summarized the main categories of spirits and liqueurs. Having no idea what Angostura Bitters were, the writer came up with a tale about elderly Dutch men doing shots of the stuff by the fireside during winter.
I will link to a few other articles I have written for DRiNK soon.
My occasional writing for DRiNK is one reason things have been quiet. Writing articles that get published somewhere else takes the edge off the urge to write here. Despite that though, I do have a few interesting things in store. Besides cocktail stuff, there may even be a cautionary tale or two about the bar industry.
The Daiquiri at the Havana Club, straight from the pages of Graham Greene
While in Havana, when I wasn’t drinking Mojitos I could often be found in close proximity to a Daiquiri. I already discussed the Daiquiri in detail here, so there is no need to say too much more. Still, it would be a shame not to share a few observations on how the drink is made in Cuba.
Street scene outside the famous Bodeguita Del Medio, the little bar that has spent well over half a century promoting itself as the spiritual home of the Mojito
The tropical heat can be a killer, and while in Havana I made sure to stay properly hydrated by drinking lots of Mojitos. This constitutionally prudent habit turned out to have useful side effects, such as affording an excellent opportunity to learn how the Mojito is made in the country of its birth. Little did I know at the time, but the long hours spent lapping up knowledge in stifling barrooms would eventually provide the launching pad for a prestigious writing career with China’s preeminent drinks industry magazine, imaginatively entitled “Drink”. Naturally, I got started by writing about Cuba’s famous export.
Genever, the original gin, is a true old worldly spirit.
Genever was the original gin. Genever’s old fashioned credentials are highlighted by the way its producers play fast and loose with spelling. You can buy genever, geneva, genievre, jenever, jeniever, junever, and probably more; in English you might also find it called ‘Holland gin’ or ‘square gin’. Mark Twain once said he felt nothing but contempt for a man who could only spell a word one way. We can only imagine the esteem in which Mark Twain would have held genever producers. Genever was the popular gin style in the United States throughout most of the 19th Century, so Mark Twain surely found frequent occasion to reflect upon the orthographical creativity of its distillers. (more…)
Ernest Hemingway, endurance drinker, greets Fidel Castro, endurance orator
Auckland is suffering in the grip of a pressing lime shortage. Unrest has been quelled so far through the imposition of martial law (Batista will be smiling in his grave), but nobody knows how long the authorities can maintain even this crude semblance of order. OK, I may be exaggerating slightly. Everything is surprisingly normal considering that there have been no limes in the supermarkets since before Christmas. This means I can’t enjoy a Daiquiri despite the summery weather. The good thing though is that I’ve been meaning to write about the Daiquiri for a while, so with Daiquiris on my mind but none to be had I may as well get writing. (more…)
I mentioned gum syrup (also known by its French name of gomme syrup) in my post on the Pisco Punch. You see gomme syrup called for a fair bit in older cocktail recipes, and people will generally tell you to substitute simple syrup. Simple syrup is an acceptable substitute for gum syrup, but despite what people may say it is not one and the same. While you certainly can substitute simple syrup for gum syrup, if you want to drink certain old style drinks they way they were intended to be drunk you probably need to make yourself some real gum syrup. (more…)
The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday is Repeal Day, and Pre-prohibition drinks are thus in order. Pisco is flavor of the month at my place since I managed to pick up three different brands of the stuff. That makes the Pisco Punch the obvious choice for this month’s drink.
I mentioned Pisco Punch the last time I wrote here. The problem with Pisco Punch, and it is quite a problem, is that the original recipe seems to have been lost. Certain things about the drink are known with certainty though. (more…)
Well this week’s Mixology Monday topic is gin.
I should have lots of ideas for this one since gin has become a favorite spirit of mine. I’ve had dreadful arguments about the whole vodka versus gin thing with friends who believe the former is the most versatile cocktail ingredient. I think gin deserves that honor. Sitting here writing this though, I can’t say that I have any particular drink in mind for this Mixology Monday. However, there is one thing that I believe does need to be said.
Gin occupies a unique space in the world of mixed drinks. (more…)