Religion and Politics

Thursday, November 5, 2009Koala Crop
Brown Cocktail

Friday, November 6, 2009
California Martini

Saturday, November 7, 2009
Campari Martini & the Church Lady Martini

As you can see, I’ve got a bit of catching up to do.  I was out on Thursday night at happy hour with my favorite brother at our favorite wine bar in downtown San Diego (The Grape).  For some reason (this blog, maybe?), I wasn’t in the mood for wine, so I had a dirty martini instead.  I knew I would be having another martini later and I’ve found the combining red wine with any kind of hard liquor is usually a bad idea for me.  Combining different hard liquors is also usually bad idea, too, but my head seems more tolerant of it the next day. 

My cocktail for Thursday evening was the Brown Cocktail.  Along with Sue’s comment, I’d like to know the origins of some of these names, too.  This one is 4 parts gin, 2 parts light rum, 1 part dry vermouth, and a kumquat garnish.  No luck on finding kumquats this time of year, although admittedly I didn’t look THAT hard, either – I figured I could forgo the garnish.  I have some Captain Morgan silver rum, maybe “light rum” has more of a tint to it and therefore would have made the drink slightly brown.  Or it’s named after someone named Brown.  Which brings me to the title of this post.  I find it strangely amusing that Jerry Brown is planning to run for Governor of California AGAIN.  Since he was Governor before the term limit thing was enacted, he actually can run again.  It’s kind of trippy if you’ve lived in California a long time, like, say, your whole life (save for three months that Sue and I lived in London).  I was born here in 1963.  Jerry Brown was Governor while I was in junior high, high school, and then started college – very formative years, those.  I remember Jerry Brown as this:

Jerry Brown Young JPG

I especially remember him dating Linda Ronstadt, that was like cool for a politician of the time, and to me he didn’t look like one of these typical fat old white guys with no neck and three chins, which is how most of Congress usually looks to me in any given administration, ditto with any major company’s Board of Directors. 

It seemed particularly appropriate that my cocktail for the following evening was thus the California Martini – and strangely coincidental in keeping with this blog that Jerry was once photographed with the flavor-maker of a couple of Sue’s previous cocktails, the Reverend Jim Jones.

Jerry and Jim

Kinda creepy if you think about it, probably one photo he wishes weren’t in his archive.  Then again, I have a lot of photos of me with ex-boyfriends that I wish had never been committed to celluloid, either.  For those of you who don’t know the story of the Jonestown Massacre (mass suicide, really), look it up on Wikipedia and educate yourselves.  Over 900 people drinking cyanide-and-sedative laced grape Flavor-Aid (actually wasn’t Kool-Aid, just tasted the same!) at one man’s directive, killed themselves in November of 1978.  I remember hearing about it in high school, and it was apparently the largest single loss of American lives leading up to September 11, 2001, which I hadn’t realized.  People often will name cult suicides like Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate in the same breath – this guy made the Heaven’s Gate group look like a bunch of pansies.  Yeeesh.  It is just this sort of cattle-minded thinking that brought us people like Hitler.  The emphasis should not just be on “question authority” anymore.  The important thing we should all learn is to question everything – creepy religions, bell-bottom jeans, cheap vodka.  You are a human being with an IQ, not a mindless sheep.

Which brings me back to cocktails.  I know you’re struggling to figure out how, but bear in mind that my train often jumps from track A to D with no visible means of switching.  It’s a gift, really.  This one was a bit harsh to the palate at first sip.  I kind of immediately stuck it into the “not a favorite” category.  I took a few more sips, and then ended up getting busy with some chores around the house and didn’t get back to the drink until I sat down again about a half hour later.  I’m not sure if by then the drink had time to warm up a bit (it had, obviously) or the flavors melded together better, but after it had sat for awhile, it actually tasted much better and was really pretty good.  Not quite a 4 star drink, but above a 3.5 star level.  Maybe the kumquat would have elevated it, I have no idea.  If I happen to run across a kumquat, I’ll make it again.  Smoother than straight gin, not as sweet as straight rum would be, and softened by the vermouth, a touch of spice to it.  Not bad and an interesting variation.

So this brings us to the dear state of California and the martini thusly named.  Would be interesting to see ol’ Jerry sworn in again after he was first Governor 30 years ago.  Makes you think of some time travel movie or someone in a coma for decades, they wake up and ask, “who’s the Governor?” and get told it’s Jerry Brown (again), they wouldn’t think they’d missed a beat, save for the fact that the dude now looks like this:
Jerry Brown Older

Yikes!  That would definitely be the time for a stiff drink!  Okay, I’m kidding.  All things considered, for spending that much time in politics, the guy doesn’t look bad.  After all, look at Jimmy Carter.  He aged 20 years while he was President, easily.  Now it isn’t close enough to the election for me to start really reading up on the candidates and their policies, I had my overdose of that crap during the Obama/McCain debates.  Too often most elections seem to me to boil down to the lesser of two evils.  Why anyone would even WANT to be Governor of California right now, I have no idea.  Out of control debt and unemployment and a business-hostile environment that has companies right and left picking up and moving elsewhere?  Check, please.  Maybe some folks just have a masochistic streak.  So, looking at Wikipedia at the current potential crop of candidates, we could end up with … hmmm, Jerry Brown vs. Meg Whitman (former CEO of eBay)?  Now that would be entertaining.  Maybe Meg could sell off state surplus equipment and all those old computers gathering dust somewhere without having to pay listing fees on eBay.  Yep, that’d solve the budget problems right there.  Jerry could have a for-old-times-sake fling with Linda Ronstadt now that she’s doing all those albums in Spanish and help bring in the Latino vote.  And you wonder why I drink?  It’s because I think of weird shit llike this.

The California Martini, I’m guessing (?) named for the red wine in it, given the popularity of California’s wine-growing regions, is 6 parts vodka, 1 part red wine, 1 tablespoon dark rum, 3-5 dashes of orange bitters, garnished with an orange twist.  I really have no idea why it’s named the California.  But despite the eclectic (at least to me) list of ingredients, it was a very good drink.  I give this one an easy 4 stars, perhaps a bit higher.  Very sippable, smoothed out with the wine and the touch of rum, and the orange bitters (I have blood orange bitters from BevMo) add just a hint of sweetness.  A delightful drink and a nice way to end the week on a Friday evening.  Not that my weeks are really so tough these days, being unemployed, the days kind of tend to blend together, although I did get my kids back for the week on Friday night, so to me that’s a good reason for needing a martini whether I’m working or not!  🙂

So Saturday rolled around – soccer playoff game for the 10-year-old (they won, awesome), celebratory lunch at McDonald’s and another Happy Meal toy FAIL – honestly, Mickey D’s hasn’t had a good Happy Meal toy in about the last year or so, they’re mostly just cheap pieces of plastic that just sit there – couple of errands by Mom including putting the unemployment check in the bank that came in Saturday’s mail, always an important thing.  It was a lovely day outside but I couldn’t get the kids on the same mental track to want to do anything in terms of going to a park, the beach, etc. , or at least on the same track of things that didn’t cost Mommy a lot of money.  If they had their way, I’m sure they’d love to have me drop $80 on tokens at Peter Piper Pizza or Chuck ‘E Cheese so they could spend the afternoon playing video games while I only have a cheap beer to entertain myself.  No thanks.  So we headed home, kids decided to watch a movie and I opted for the quiet of my bedroom, the ceiling fan, and perusing a collection of mail-order catalogs that had come in the mail the past few days.  You can tell the Christmas retail season is in full swing.  Even though I’ve fallen off a lot of mailing lists in the past year, come November, they start coming hot and heavy in the mailbox.  6 catalogs today alone.  What can I say, it’s like window shopping.  And I’m a chick.  I don’t think I need to say more. 

After breaking up probably half a dozen squabbles between my two boys by dinnertime, I wasn’t quite sure what kind of martini I was in the mood for.  I had three contenders – the Campari, the Christmas Tini (similar to Sue’s previously blogged version, except with vodka), or the Church Lady Martini.  I decided on the latter – 2 parts orange juice, 2 parts dry vermouth, 4 parts gin, garnished with lemon, lime, and orange wedges – almost a liquid citrus salad or something – it sounded practically healthy.  Now I tend to associate the term “Church Lady” with Dana Carvey’s character from SNL.  Whether that is the origin for this drink’s name, I have no idea.  I doubt it.  My guess is that it looks like a simple glass of orange juice or maybe a mimosa and thus the little old churchgoing lady would feel less conspicuous drinking it, than, say, a dry martini with nothing more than an olive in it.  Not to mention the alcohol content is a bit lower.  Plus the fruit garnish makes it look festive and Sunday-brunchy. 

Church Lady JPG

Well, isn't this drink SPECIAL?

Alas, to my palate it is nothing more than a screwdriver (vodka and OJ, that early adulthood drink when you don’t know any better, right up there with rum and Coke on the scale of things that now give me a headache just looking at them).  The orange juice and dry vermouth pretty much overshadow whether the base is gin or vodka, hence the similarity.  I could feel somewhat healthier for having consumed some Vitamin C in the course of this cocktail, but otherwise it really didn’t do much for me.  I give it three stars only because there was nothing offensive about it – it was a good, smooth, sippable drink.  Just nothing to write home about.  I would imagine that if Dana Carvey were mixing it up, it would probably consist of a little more kick to it, maybe some Captain Morgan 100 instead of the gin.  Now that might be worthy of consideration!

Which brings us to the final cocktail of this post, the Campari.  No, I didn’t save the best for last in this case.  I’d never had Campari before, at least to my knowledge, and after seeing their sexy Jessica Alba ad campaigns, I certainly felt more compelled to try it.  Perhaps drinking this will prompt someone to airbrush all of my photos with a thinner waistline, too!  I’d be all over that!  It certainly appears to be the sipping liqueur of the elite and the beautiful people.  The martini is comprised of 6 parts vodka, 1 part Campari, and a lime twist, definitely a gentle introduction to the concoction.  What can I say about it?  Blech.  I mean, it wasn’t bad, not like downing a mouthful of Jagermeister or anything, just not a herb/spice combo that I can really see myself taking to.  I kept trying to think of something to put in it to change the drink but really wasn’t sure what.  A couple extra drops of lime juice (which I like) helped a bit, but in general it just wasn’t the drink for me.  I’m sure there are lots of folks who like it, but I would need to try it in other combos to decide if it is truly a thumbs-up or thumbs-down mixer for me.  I know I like dirty martinis and a lot of people can’t stomach those, so I will reserve judgement and give this a 3 star rating.  Not planning to mix it up again, though.

On that note, I rest my shaker for the evening.  Back next time with either the Christmas Tini or the Citrus Martini (depends on my mood!).  Until then,

Your hostess,

~ by rachelroust on November 8, 2009.

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