Another issue of DRiNK came out last month and I covered the Caipirinha. Article is here.
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I have another couple of articles in the latest issue of DRiNK. This time it’s a sort of exotic mish-mash of Mexican and Taiwanese. First up, representing Mexico, is an article on the Paloma cocktail. Then Taiwan gets covered with a couple of profiles of Taipei bars.
I had particular fun writing up this one, as a happy coincidence saw me end up in Mexico. Even more fortuitously, the airline managed to lose my bags somewhere in the US. This left me more-or-less forced to lounge around sipping tequila and wracking my brains for a way out of my predicament. Unfortunately I did not actually make it to Tequila. The trip being work related I was in Monterrey, better known for drug violence than delicious agave spirits. But it was still a great chance to check out the Paloma on its home turf. The tequila selection in duty free also wasn’t bad. From what I saw, Mexicans get through far more Palomas than Margaritas, and who can blame them? If grapefruit soda was easier to track down in China I’d also be having Palomas all the time – at least in the warmer months. Anyway, read about the Paloma here.
I also got to Taipei over Christmas, which allowed me to profile a couple of it’s better bars. One was an old favorite I mentioned before, namely Speakeasy - the consummate shrine to Guinness and Irish Whiskey. The second, Alchemy, was new to me, but well worth discovering. Some excellent cocktails to be had here, with a nice balance of creativity and attention to detail. Manager Angus Zou is also most friendly, maybe even charismatic. Another spot I visited but didn’t cover for the magazine was Little London, a basement drinking den with a focus on real ale. Amazing selection of English beers, including Hen’s Tooth from Morland Brewery, and even a couple on cask. Well worth a look.
While offering pleasant sojourning, the Guatemalan rum landscape does not exactly excite with its variety. Everything comes from a single company, Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, though that company produces at least two labels – Zacapa and Botran.
Zacapa represents the glamorous international face of Guatemalan rum: attractive, commercialized, definitely expensive, and while it makes for exceedingly pleasant company, you can’t help suppressing the occasional yawn and wondering how thick that make up is. Botran in contrast is the slightly homely stay-at-home sister, working a nine-to-five job and hurrying home to cook instead of mixing with high society, and generally getting taken for granted by all and sundry. Zacapa smugly preens itself from little clusters of high priced bottles in duty free stores and on the top shelves of smarter bars, while Botran runs itself ragged covering the shelves of local supermarkets and bars, where it jostles for attention with the anise liqueur that is ubiquitous in Latin America.The question then is this: does Zacapa deserve to be Guatemala’s Ambassador of Rum?
Being a rebel, and a fan of rum with a glow to it, I’m going to support the underdog and say I rather like Botran.
Exhibits A through E follow.
The Haitian earthquake was what greeted me when I got online this morning.
Haiti has never had it easy and the last few years have been especially rough. The country has had to deal with the Gonaive floods, the horrible school collapse in Port-au-Prince, the political strife and social anarchy that followed the ouster of Aristide and led to Haiti playing host to a UN peacekeeping deployment, and now this earthquake. It’s too early to say how bad this earthquake really is. Maybe the casualties are light. Probably they run into the thousands. Key government buildings in Port-au-Prince have collapsed, and the devastation is almost certainly far worse in the shoddily built slums that dominate the city. Life in Haiti is difficult even at its best, and this latest event is simply tragic.
Now seems an appropriate time to mention a couple of things about my visit to Haiti that I somehow never got around to writing about earlier. . . (more…)
I like checking out Chinatowns in different cities. A week or so ago I took a walk around the Santo Domingo version. Chinatown in the Caribbean, pretty exotic.
Tales of the Cocktail is now less than a week away. I thought I would post my likely schedule. If you are going to be attending some of the same sessions then do say hello.
- Arrive early evening and have a drink in the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. There I hope to run into Jay Hepburn of Oh Gosh! Go for dinner some place.
- Try to get up early enough to explore New Orleans in the morning.
- 2.00pm – Toast to Tales of the Cocktail
- 4:30pm – Bloggers Reception
- 7.30pm – Save the Daiquiri Party
- 10.30am – To Have and Have Another: The Hemingway Bartender’s Companion
- 12.00pm – A bit of a toss up between Juniperlooza and Bourbon, Blues and Bluegras
- 2.30pm – Cognac and Armagnac: Understanding the nuances of the Spirits (this is a spirit I am very ignorant about so it should be interesting).
- 4.30pm – Haven’t quite decided, but possibly Latino Libations.
- 5.30 pm – Cocktail Hour
- 8.00 pm – Spirited Dinner at The Delichaise.
- 10.30am – Amore, Amari
- 12.30pm – Rum, Ron, Rhum
- 2.30pm – History of Liqueurs
- 4.30pm – Impossible to choose here! All four sessions look so interesting: Cocktails of the Old Raj; Essential Guide to American Whiskey, Rye Nation, and Sensory Perception in Mixology. I guess I’ll just decide at the last minute or something.
- 8.00pm – I may check out Rum and all that Jazz. On the other hand I may just go for a wander out on the town.
- 10.30am – The Cafes of Paris
- 12.30pm – History of Herbsaint (though the egg session also looks interesting)
- 4.30pm – Making your own cocktail ingredients
- 6pm – Possibly the Tiki party or maybe just check out the town.
- 10.30am – The Gentleman’s Companion: The life and times of Charles A Baker
- 12.30pm – The Flowing Bowl: A history of punch
- 5pm – Wormwood Society absinthe soiree
Head on to the Caribbean