Around the World in 6 Days

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009
London Martini

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Martini Navratilova

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Naked Martini

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yes, I have not written for a week, it’s been a little hectic around here lately with work issues, sick children and holiday stuff all going on at the same time.   But it is Saturday morning, just finished with prayer group and the kids are not up yet, so it is relatively quiet (if you discount the cats playing the Indy 500 in the upstairs hallway), so a-blogging I shall go.

Last Saturday night, I made Manhattans according to The Martini Book: 6 parts rye whiskey, 2 parts sweet vermouth, 1 dash Angostura bitters and a maraschino cherry.   The Manhattan is an old standby at our house, what my husband calls an Old Man drink (because my dad drinks them, and he is, at 87, an Old Man!).   If I do not have my fav Brandy Pres (described in an earlier blog), then I would have a Manhattan.   They are slightly sweet, and very warming on cold nights—very much a winter drink.   This one was no exception and I enjoyed it.   Some people make Manhattans with bourbon whiskey, but I like the taste of the rye whiskey; it makes me happy (does that make me a lush?  Hmmm, I will tell a story about that a little later on).   This drink merits a finely cut crystal tumbler and a cozy fire in the fireplace.  I do not own any finely cut crystal tumblers unfortunately, but if anyone would like to send me one or two, I would gladly accept!

The next night (Sunday), we went from Manhattan to London.   The London Martini was 6 parts gin, a half teaspoon of maraschino liqueur (I never knew how popular this was in the U.S!   I know about it because we use it to make a Hemingway Martini, I think I have written about that one before—a yummy spring/summer cocktail. ), 3-5 dashes of orange bitters, half a teaspoon of sugar, a cucumber twist and cocktail olives.    I put in less than 3 dashes of orange bitters, it is hard to gauge because there is no pour spout on the bottle.   I did a disc of cucumber rather than a twist because I am not at all creative with cutting vegetables and couldn’t be bothered to make the damn thing twist, so a disc had to suffice.    The cucumber made all the difference in this drink and it very much needs this addition.  It added a lovely cool, fresh taste to the cocktail.   This is more of a spring drink, but we certainly enjoyed it despite the season.

Monday night’s drinking adventure did not take us to a different world destination, but was highly enjoyable anyway.  The Macaroon was 6 parts vodka, 1 part chocolate liqueur, 1 part amaretto, and an orange twist.    Perhaps since this used amaretto we could say we went somewhere in Italy.   This was sweet, more like a dessert than an aperitif.  I love almond macaroons, especially chocolate dipped almond macaroons.   If any of you are from the San Francisco Bay Area and and are old enough to remember, there used to be specialty chocolate shops called Cocolat owned by Alice Medrich.  I was the assistant manager at the store on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland during my college years.    Cocolat made the best almond macaroons (with or without chocolate) in the universe.   It was my job to open up the shop on Sunday mornings and I would purposefully get there about 15 minutes early so I could savour a cup of coffee and chocolate dipped macaroon all to myself before the customers arrived.  I paid for these,  so don’t anyone think I was stealing macaroons!   I always regret not getting that recipe.  Heavy sigh.

Tuesday night brought a new destination in the Martini Navratilova, so it is on to Prague, Czechoslovakia we traveled.  This drink was 6 parts vodka, 2 parts dry vermouth and 3-5 dashes orange bitters.   OK, confession:  knowing how I feel about dry vermouth, I cut this in half right away and reduced the bitters to a mere 2 teeny drops.   I am very glad I did, any more of the vermouth would have been too overpowering for me.  The initial tweeking of the ingredient quantities of this cocktail made it palatable and as a result I was a happy camper.

Difficult to go wrong with the Naked Martini:  6 parts gin (Bombay Sapphire) and cocktail olives.  I need say no more about perfection.

I have no idea where in the world Newbury is, but I would suspect there is at least one in Britain somewhere, probably a Newbury back east, too, and perhaps a couple scattered in Australia or New Zealand.    This was 6 parts gin, 2 parts sweet vermouth, 1 part triple sec and a lemon twist.   Again, I cut the sweet vermouth and the triple sec by half, resulting in a very pleasant drink.   It was Survivor night, and having a bit of alcohol before was probably wise.  It prevented me from lunging at the TV whenever Russell was on the screen.  I find him offensive and I hope he gets voted off soon for if he wins I shall be most annoyed and I think I shall not ever watch Survivor again.  My faith in reality television will be severely compromised.  The producers probably want the audience to dislike Russell, so purposefully edit to show him in an even worse light.  After all, villains do sell.

All of this brings us to Friday (December 11, 2009).  Ugh and double ugh.  I spent over 2 and a half hours offsite dealing with personnel related issues, which always take a lot out of me mentally and emotionally.   Upon arriving at the office, I quickly dispatched with emails and such and then went to the college holiday party.   Our new dean is a vegan, so we now have vegan food exclusively at gatherings.   Food was quite nice and tasty and no tofu in sight!  Not that I mind tofu, but it is rather clichéd when speaking of vegetarianism and veganism.  We’ve had good friends who were vegans, I’ve cooked vegan dinners and we’ve been to vegan restaurants, so the concept is not at all foreign to me.  The brownies were the best I have had in ages, the perfect balance of fudgey-ness and cakey-ness (don’t you love creating your own words).   I will not tell how many I had, it would be too embarrassing.  I also had half a glass of champagne, but I deserved it.

Now on to the lush story I promised earlier.   A few weeks ago, the assistant dean came a-knocking at my office door shortly after lunch one afternoon.   My esteemed co-conspirator (Cathy, in case you were wondering) and I had just coordinated the next round of martinis during the lunch hour and The Martini Book was prominently displayed on my desk.   The assistant dean (who has a sense of humor), pointedly looked at the book and then at me.  I grinned inanely and explained the concept of the blog we were writing.   She nodded, grinned back and we moved on to business.

Of course, I should have realized this would come back to haunt me and be a source of razzing.   While at said college holiday party, after I had obtained my HALF glass of champagne, I drifted over to chat with the assistant dean and a few others.   I do not think I need to say much more, but now everyone teases me about alcoholic beverages.  Well, we all have to be known for something…it was all done in jest and the spirit of camaraderie, and accepted with the same.

But my merrymaking was not over for the day.   I was my sister’s date Friday evening for her company party.   She works for a pediatrician’s office.   I sat next to the husband of the CFO.  He happened to be a doctor, as well, but an internist and geriatric specialist, talk about the opposite ends of the profession!   I felt like this was my bookended life in a nutshell, with the kids at one end and the parents at the other.   We got into a lengthy discussion about vineyards and then about Manhattans, believe it or not, as he was a serious Manhattan cocktail aficionado.   He was not a rye whiskey fan, though, and said I needed to try a specific kind of vermouth.   He couldn’t remember the exact name of it only that it began with a “P”.    Hmmmm.

Well, the kids are both up now which means there will be no peace until they retire for the evening, so I am signing off.

Thanks for stopping by,

~ by leahlair on December 12, 2009.

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