Scurvy and The Andromeda Strain

December 20, 2009
Opal Martini

December 20, 2009
Juicy Tangerine

(Written on January 7, 2010).  Since before New Year’s Eve, I’ve been sick with some kind of cold/flu, or for lack of a better diagnosis, we’ll just call it the creeping crud.  But I do know that leading up to that, I had been taking in more than my fair share of Vitamin C from martinis, especially these two.  So I know it ain’t scurvy, matey.  As a matter of fact, since Sue and I decided to take a break from our martini mixings over the holidays, I honestly think I may have come down with some kind of flu simply because I wasn’t drinking enough alcohol.  I call it the Andromeda Strain theory, my own, anyway.  If you recall, in the story of the Andromeda Strain, when the microbe from outer space killed off an entire Arizona town, only two of the locals survived – a continuously crying baby, and a grizzled old man addicted to Sterno.  The reason they survived is that the blood pH of both of them was off the norm, either too acidic or too alkaline.  Admittedly, hitting a can of Sterno for the alcohol seems pretty hard up compared to a finely mixed martini, but I have to wonder if the end results for some flu germs could be the same.  Blood pH not quite right in the lull of the evenings due to a strong martini?  Hmmm, think I’ll find some other victim to infect.  But let’s back this up a minute … STERNO?  Seriously?  I thought people that drank Everclear were hard up.  I had no idea that people have actually found ways to drink Sterno. 

Paul Frank's cartoon "Skurvy", a pirate who died from a lack of Vitamin C, or perhaps just insufficient martinis.

Yeah, I know, it’s a lame excuse for drinking, but hey, it works for me.  🙂  ‘Twasn’t until readin’ up on this condition  of scurvy on Wikipedia, don’tcha know, that I discovered that the term “limey” as a slang for the British arose from the use of limes by the British Royal Navy to prevent scurvy.  Amazing that it took hundreds of years to figure out that it was a vitamin contained in fresh citrus fruits that prevented a disease that could cause open, suppurating wounds and the loss of teeth.  Just the term “suppurating” implies something nasty.  Open wounds with pus seeping out of them.  ICK.  Reminds me of a lapel pin expression that Sue and I saw back in the 80’s, or I think one of us might have actually owned it (or just coveted it), which read, “Thank you for not spitting, bleeding, dropping scabs, or excreting any pus.”  I don’t think I could put it any more succinctly than that.  Now that I’ve completely grossed ye out, matey, let’s get to the recipes for these two concoctions, shall we?  The Juicy Tangerine is 2 ounces of orange vodka, 1 ounce fresh lemon juice, 1 ounce simple syrup, and the freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 of a tangerine, which, fortunately, are in season, served in a chilled glass with a sugared rim and a tangerine twist for garnish.

This was a goooood drink, even aside from saving me from me teeth rottin’ and falling out.  I’m not a fan of citrus in general, but I have a new appreciate for the tangerine, having never really tried them before.  They do get a bit too squishy too quickly, I guess I’m more used to oranges, but then I never really buy either of them with any regularity.  I broke out the citrus reamer and again felt dirty simply for saying the expression, somehow thinking I needed some kind of lubricant on the tangerine just to use the device.  I juiced my half a tangerine, sliced out a nice twist from the rind of it, sugared my rim, mixed up my martini, and voila!  Admittedly, the sugared rim probably detracts from the taste, but I did find the tangerine to be a nicely sweet alternative to an orange.  Not as tart or acidic at all.  I’ll give this a solid four star rating, and I will definitely have it again. In fact, I did have it again, sometime after this initial tasting, I just didn’t record the date. I should have had several, might have warded off this flu.  I bought two tangerines so I felt compelled to use them in the same fashion.  Not my favorite cocktail of all time, but definitely a nice, sweet, juicy alternative that didn’t taste like the typical orange juice and vodka screwdriver.  And yes, as a result, I now have yet another bottle of vodka in the freezer, Stoli Ohranj, but there are worse fates in the world.

The Opal is along similar lines, except it is gin-based.  6 parts gin, 1 part triple sec, 2 parts fresh orange juice, 1/4 teaspoon bar sugar.  Perhaps it is the gin that makes the difference, as initially I was expecting this to be another screwdriver-type drink, given the orange juice and the triple sec.  Or it could be that simple addition of the bar sugar, but I think I’ll give more credence to the gin in this case.  This was a tasty, smooth little drink, simple and tasty.  Another four star mixture.  Different from the Juicy Tangerine – I’ll have to say I prefer the Juicy Tangerine but for those fans who like gin and find the screwdriver a bit too acidic or old school and want something a little different, try the Opal on for a taste. 

Cheers,
Cathy

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~ by rachelroust on January 7, 2010.

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