Thy Kup Needs a Light

•January 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

January 3, 2010
Kup’s Indispensable Martini

January 4, 2010
Pall Mall Martini

If I don’t get caught up on some of these posts, I’ll have to actually drink these martinis again in order to remember what they tasted like.  Okay, wait, let me think about why exactly that is a bad thing …?

Still thinking …

Okay, I’ll get back to you on that.  We’ll start off with one I’d skipped over for some reason, or I think I just forgot it was on my list, “Kup’s Indispensable Martini”.  Heaven only knows why it’s called that.  I found nothing indispensable about it, but then again I’m not anyone named Kup.  I hope nobody is.  The ingredients are 6 parts gin, 1-1/2 parts dry vermouth, 1-1/2 parts sweet vermouth, and an orange twist for garnish.  This was a decent cocktail, but in truth, the sweet vermouth and the dry vermouth in this case with the gin ended up cancelling each other out in terms of taste … basically the drink tastes like straight gin.  Well, that might be a bit off, because I know personally I’m not a fan of straight gin, and this was okay.  For lack of a better expression it smooths off the rough edges, let’s say.  Now whether or not you achieve the same effect with using 1 part each of straight vermouth and dry instead of 1-1/2, or even just using a tablespoon of each, I’m not sure.  I’m guessing not.  There must be some mystique to the proportions involved, obviously known only to someone named Kup who felt it was vital.  I’ll give this one a 3.5 rating.

Now the only thing that I associated the term “pall mall” with is the brand of cigarettes.  I do know it is also a ritzy street or area of London, but I remember the cigarette boxes more.  Bless Wikipedia for letting me know that the brand has been around since 1899, which is almost as long as I’ve been looking at the current zit on my chin (or so it seems).  The martini of the same name is mixed with 4 parts gin, 1 part dry vermouth, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 teaspoon white creme de menthe, 1 dash orange bitters.

Gotta love the warning, "Smoking is deadly" - I wonder if tobacco manufacturers just changed the pack to a giant skull and crossbones, would people still continue to smoke? Probably.

If you’ll recall my Nyquil-themed post wherein I used the green creme de menthe instead of the white because I didn’t have it, well, I had the same problem here, because I still never got around to buying the stuff!  But in this case, I thought, ahhh, heck, it’s only a teaspoon.  So the color will be off, big deal.  Which it was.  Normally this would have been a light orange/rose shade but adding a teaspoon of bright green creme de menthe produces … well, just kind of a yuck color.  Maybe what the insides of my lungs would look like if I smoked Pall Malls for about a dozen years.  Perhaps that’s where the name came from, and then someone decided to use white creme de menthe instead.  Okay, that’s quite a reach.  Let’s skip that theory.  At any rate, certainly using the green variety didn’t help this drink any, but I don’t the white would have made it much more appealing other than the visual aspect.  The creme de menthe with the orange bitters and the two varieties of vermouth was just rather on the icky side, taste-wise.  I’d have to probably rate this as only a 1.5 star drink.  I don’t think I finished it, even, which is rare for me.  Hopefully my liver thanks me.  I’m wondering if it might have tasted better if I’d had a cigarette with it?

I’ve never smoked cigarettes.  Well, that isn’t entirely true, my mother did offer me a drag off one of her cigarettes when I was about five years old.  What prompted her to do this, I have no idea.  What prompted my Mom to do a lot of the things she did, I have no idea.  I believe the term “bipolar disorder” comes to mind.  As does the less diagnostic expression, “bat shit crazy”.  Both of them suited her on some level, although I never did know a formal DSM-IV term for what was wrong with my Mom.  She passed away in 2004.  I suppose I should have thanked her for that long-ago puff of smoke, which had the expected reaction of me coughing and hacking at inhaling it wrong and thinking to myself I couldn’t understand what would make anyone want to take up the habit – thus turning me off cigarettes for life at the age of 5.  My Mom smoked for pretty much most of her adult life in varying quantities.  I can recall my brother and I both being furious with her for getting out of the hospital after a few weeks in intensive care after having a severe stroke at the age of 46 that wiped out most of her speech ability and partially paralyzed her right side.  She hadn’t had a cigarette in all that time, you would have thought that A) she would have lost the desire to, and B) she might have given some thought to her lifestyle habits after having a stroke that bad at a relatively young age.  Nope.  Not my Mom.  As soon as she got home again, she lit one up.

Thus you have one of many reasons why I really don’t miss my Mom, even though most of my friends still have parents that are living and I am one of the few with neither mother or father around.  The rest of the reasons are numerous enough to fill an encyclopedia.  Ironically, given the nature of this blog, my mother was a martini drinker (a cocktail I didn’t try myself until I was in my 40’s) most of her life, and one of the things I learned to do as a kid was how to mix my Mom’s nightly martini for her, probably from about age 8 or so on.  She drank hers in a highball glass, over ice – Seagram’s gin and maybe Beefeater, then she switched to Tanqueray – with about a 1/8 capful of dry vermouth, mixed directly in the glass.  She may have switched to vodka martinis later in life, I can’t remember.  I think I tried to block out a lot of memories of her once I moved out to go to college, and I definitely avoided seeing her.  I remember the ones I mixed for her were gin, her favorite glass was a dark blue one with some kind of white print painted on the glass, it might have been floral.  We went through a fair amount of glassware because my Mom had a tendency to get mad at my brother and myself frequently and she would yell and toss whatever was nearest at hand – usually her martini glass – at us.  Fortunately she had bad aim.  🙂

’til next time,
Cathy

Many Happy Returns

•January 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Drunk sometime in late December 2009

Paisley Martini
Palm Beach Martini
Pompano Martini

I have taken quite a long hiatus for the holidays.   I can’t even remember the exact dates that the martinis referenced above were consumed, do forgive my hazy blog.   Aside from having many family commitments, children running around and general holiday festivities, I found that my body needed the rest from hard alcohol.  I kept getting this horrible burning sensation in the back of my throat, which after the cessation of vodka and gin and God-knows-what-else for three weeks, is feeling quite normal again.

I did create a lovely pomegranate cosmopolitan for Christmas Day, though, which I would like to share with you.  This one was enough for 7-8 servings:  2 ounces lime juice, 10 ounces vodka, 2 ounces triple sec and 6 ounces of pomegranate juice.   It is relatively mild and not terribly sweet, so you can knock back quite a few of these before you realize what you’ve done.   At any rate, my extended family and I enjoyed them quite a bit.

The Paisley Martini was 6 parts gin, 1/2 teaspoon dry vermouth, 1/2 teaspoon scotch and a cocktail olive.  I took this one because my husband quite likes scotch, I am not a fan myself as I prefer rye whiskey.   I do like the unique and seemingly unpronounceable names of some of the scotch brands, though, and they usually have very pretty labels.  I pick scotch similar to how I pick my football teams, I guess.   Thank heavens for the airline size bottles of alcohol, I could get a variety of scotch with which to experiment.  At any rate, the amounts of the dry vermouth and the scotch were minimal, so merely just flavored, and not overpowered the drink.   It was okay and did not taste like medicine (which is always a plus), but I would not have it again since even the small amount of scotch was too much for me.   As to the name of the drink, are paisley patterns popular in Scotland, in addition to tartans?

The next two shared common ingredients:  gin and grapefruit juice.  The Palm Beach Martini was pretty simple:  6 parts gin, 1 teaspoon sweet vermouth and 4 parts grapefruit juice.   Too much vermouth, of course, but other than that it was relatively fresh tasting, similar to what Palm Beach would evoke, I guess, hence the name.

Pompano is also a location in Florida and sounds very similar to grapefruit in both Spanish (“pomelo”) and Italian (“pompelmo”).   I guess a pompano is also a marine fish.   Huh, go figure.  I am very grateful this drink did not call for a slice of fish as a garnish—some of the others did like the oyster one and the shrimptini.   I am not much of a seafood fan, so this was a very good thing.   This martini was made with 5 parts gin, 1 part vermouth, 2 parts grapefruit juice and a dash of orange bitters.   OK, first off, the 1 part vermouth was way, way too much, so we cut that back right away and just added half a part of dry vermouth.   The orange bitters added another layer of citrus.   I think between the two, I preferred the Palm Beach, it was simpler and I preferred the sweet vermouth taste (once we had adjusted it downward).

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2010,
Sue

Scurvy and The Andromeda Strain

•January 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

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

Luck ‘o the Japanese

•January 3, 2010 • 1 Comment

December 29, 2009
Osaka Dry Martini
 

December 29, 2009
Irish Martini
 

I wouldn’t exactly call pairing these two up on the same evening a “good” idea, then again, I’m generally not known for intelligent decisions after that first cocktail.  The Osaka Dry martini is 6 parts vodka, 1 part sake, and a pickled plum garnish.  A pickled plum??  Where in God’s name am I supposed to find a pickled plum?  Okay, sometimes these garnishes are just so silly that I don’t even bother.  Scratch the pickled plum, I don’t want to spend a week in a corner having someone refer to me as Little Jack, ok?  I skipped the garnish initially, but I really do hate naked drinks, so then I added an almond stuffed olive.  Not a bad call.  This is actually a pretty good, smooth drink.  I like sake anyway, and in general find it to be fairly neutral in taste – not as much as vodka is, but it is pretty mild.  This is a good combo.  Maybe I should have gone the extra mile and looked for that pickled plum but my goal is to avoid shopping between Christmas and New Year’s so I can stay away from the maddening post-holiday crowds.  I wonder if a raisin would have worked.  No, wait, that’s a grape.  Isn’t a pickled plum just a prune?  I guess it isn’t really “pickled”, it’s dried.  Hmm.  Either way, I didn’t care that much and it was decent with the olive, a good 4-star drink, best served very, very cold with ice slivers (shaken hard and long until your shaker is too cold to hold onto) in it – outstanding.  I admit I didn’t spend a lot of time lingering over what type of sake to buy – there are as many varieties out there as there are of any wine, with hints of apple, or anise, lemongrass, pear, and so forth.  I picked up a bottle that was smaller (to save space in the fridge) and looked pretty.  Yeah, okay, I’m a girl.  I’m sure sake connoisseurs the world over are shuddering in horror at my complete lack of refinement, but it wouldn’t be the first time (just a different source!).   The variety is Ginjo-Shu.  I confess, until looking into this online, I had no idea what went into the making of sake or the varieties – and how on earth does one measure whether 30% or 40% of a grain of rice has been milled away?  It’s a GRAIN OF RICE.  It’s very TINY.  Never mind, don’t answer that question.  I love the flavor profiles on this website (below), they remind me of a stereo equalizer.  I have had sakes that I’ve liked more than others in my lifetime, now I wish I’d paid a little more attention as to what kind they were.  Looking this over, a Junmai-Shu variety sounds more like something I’d go for, I like my equalizer to be a bit more mixed up, as it were. But for one part of sake to 6 parts of vodka?  I’ll take the pretty and cute little bottle, thank you very much.

http://www.esake.com/Knowledge/Types/types.html

Next time get off your sorry ass and get a pickled plum! So sayeth McSulu, the Japanese-Irish Lucky Cat.

 Now onto another part of the world, we have the Irish Martini, so named for the dollop of Irish whiskey used in it.  The drink is 6 parts buffalo grass vodka, 1 part dry vermouth, a glass rinsed with Irish whiskey (then poured out), and a lemon twist garnish.  Not a whole lot of whiskey going into this one, kind of along the lines of what the In and Out martini does with vermouth.  I do like Irish whiskey on occasion – my old boss at S-Cubed back in 1989, Andrew Wilson, was a good Irishman with a delightful voice, who swore than Jameson’s was far superior to Bushmill’s, and I figure he’s consumed a lot more of the stuff than I ever will in my lifetime.  I’d run out awhile back, so I picked up another bottle of Jameson’s.  I find it also comes in handy when cough syrup doesn’t quite work either, a good swig of that and I can usually stop coughing long enough to get to sleep if I’m ill.  Or even if I’m not – 🙂 

You know, I’ve never understood what difference it makes whether the “Lucky Cat” has its right paw or left paw raised.  I’ll have to ask my friend Maya about that one and get back to you (or better yet, this is my test to see if she actually reads this blog, maybe she can provide the answer for all of us!)  🙂  And what does it mean when the Lucky Cat has both paws up in the air?  That someone just stole his wallet? 

Now the buffalo grass vodka does have a bit of a harsh taste to it, not readily mellowed by dry vermouth, but I have to say, surprisingly, that little bit of Irish whiskey imparts a sweetness/smokiness to this cocktail that really goes a long way.  Not quite a four star drink but I’ll give it an honest 3.75 stars, and certainly compared to the prior buffalo grass cocktails of the Hoosier and the Gilroy, this one is infinitely superior.  I don’t know how many buffalo grass martinis I’ll be mixing up in my lifetime but so far this rules. 

Slan and Sayonora.
Cathy

Short and Peachy Keen

•January 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Janauary 1, 2010
Peach Blossom Martini

6 parts peach vodka, 1 part Dubonnet rouge, 1 part maraschino liqueur, fresh peach slice.  I kept forgetting to pick up peach vodka so I could make this one, I’ve actually skipped ahead and made a few other drinks here and there in the The Martini Book, so this and the next several posts will be a bit out of alphabetical order.  It has been the Christmas and New Year holidays and both Sue and I have been busy with things – her with family gatherings, and a few for me as well, and I’ve had the flu for the past week, which tends to cut down on my drinking considerably.  (Probably a good thing, that part, alas, I don’t look any thinner for my troubles).  So I finally picked up some Absolut “Apeach” vodka at the store the other day along with my weekly groceries before getting my kids back for the week. 

Peaches don’t seem to be in season, but this cocktail looked such a lovely color, it really did need some kind of garnish, so I threw in a cherry from a jar in the fridge.  Not a bad addition.  The color of the drink is a nice rosy gold shade, and taste-wise?  A little bit too much peach, for me – but it wasn’t bad.  I’m not a huge peach fan anyway, I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big fruit eater.  I would mix this up again with maybe 2/3rds peach vodka and 1/3 straight vodka, just to tone down the peach flavor a little.  I did notice as I poured the remnants of the shaker (including some melted ice) into the rest of my drink, I liked it better because it was more watered down and thus less “peachy”.  Overall, I’ll give it a 3.75 star rating and will try it again with the less peach vodka modification.  No changes to the maraschino and Dubbonet rouge additions, those were just fine.  I might try a lemon twist for garnish next time, too.  For the first martini of a new year, it was pretty tasty!

Happy New Year to all our readers!

Cheers,
Cathy

Semi-Epic Fail

•December 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

December 18, 2009
Metropolitan Martini

December 18, 2009
Ninotchka Martini

Admittedly, it took me awhile to blog about these ones, namely because the second one, was, well, you see the subject line.  I was hoping to forget about it.  Okay, I DID forget about it.  On purpose.  But let’s take the good before the bad, shall we?

The Metropolitan Martini was your fairly straightforward mix:  6 parts currant vodka, 1 part Lillet blanc, 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice, lemon twist garnish.  I hadn’t bought currant vodka prior to this one, Sue took the previous batch of currant vodka drinks.  I got a bottle of Absolute Kurant (blackcurrant flavor), and to be honest, wasn’t expecting much from this drink other than some vile, overly sweet fruity mixture.  It was actually quite pleasant, and the currant vodka is not excessively fruity (in comparison to, say, strawberry vodka, which I also have), and the Lillet blanc does cut down the sweetness.  I enjoyed this cocktail – not a top choice, but I would give it a solid 3.75 stars and if I’m looking for something different (or a reason to use up the rest of the currant vodka in the freezer now that I have … eeeeek … 13 bottles of vodka in there), I would definitely pick this one.  Not bad at all.  Admittedly, Absolut isn’t my first choice of vodka (yes, my friend Mary from my old job would kill me, this is her favorite, but hey, variety is the spice of life, right?), but I have to admit, they have the best advertisements. 

Oh, shut up and drink it already!

The last three years, Absolut has dedicated a specialty blend vodka to a particular city to raise money for a local charity – this year’s was Boston.  Being a native of San Diego, I have to wonder what a San Diego vodka would taste like?  Ocean water, beach sand, and our local tap water (rated in Yahoo’s bottom 10 of worst tap waters?  Hey, there’s something to be proud of!)?  Personally I’ve consumed San Diego tap water for 38 out of my 46 years thus far and I don’t seem to have any major malignancies that are detectable yet, and I keep drinking the stuff because it tastes just fine to me.  I’d have to think a San Diego vodka would taste, well, a bit like oranges, sunshine, tequila, and Mexican food.  Not sure that makes for a good vodka, but it sounds like a good combo.  Maybe oranges and limes and a touch of avocado.  Hmmm.  A bit gross.  Okay, let’s get back to the point.  The Absolut Boston combo is Black Tea and Elderflower.  I’m intrigued but not enough to do hunting it down!  I like Elderflower liqueur in the form of St. Germaine but black tea in a vodka?  I’ll pass.

Moving on to the Ninotchka Martini, which I believe is Russian for “I’m going to vomit now.”  I had no idea there was a 1939 movie of the same title staring Greta Garbo – I hope this has no connection or relationship to her as I’d hate to insult Greta Garbo.  At first taste, the Ninotchka, though an odd combo, wasn’t bad.  (Not saying much).  6 parts vanilla flavored vodka, 2 parts white chocolate liqueur, 1 part fresh lemon juice.  I had Mozart white chocolate liqueur.  Now in retrospect, a variety of white chocolate like the Hiram Walker Cacao White (which is clear vs. creamy) would have been a much better choice for this.  That didn’t really occur to me.  Godiva is the other major white chocolate liqueur, also a creamy variety.  What I didn’t realize is that the combination of the acidic lemon juice with the cream of the white chocolate liqueur mixed with vodka and ice, after a few minutes, has the unpleasant reaction of causing the white chocolate liqueur to curdle.  Yes, curdle.  As in “I’m going to make cottage cheese now” curdle.  Which is just about what it looks like, on a smaller scale.  The taste isn’t really anything to write home about – I mean, there’s a reason you don’t see chocolate-covered lemons for sale in the candy aisle.  Prior to the chemical reaction, I would have given this a 3 star rating for being intriguing but not outstanding.  After that, we’re down to 1 star.  I would give it zero but as I said, I didn’t try the clear variety of liqueur, maybe that makes all the difference.  I tossed this drink out less than halfway through and going down the drain it had the consistency of bleached vomit.  Not that I’d know what that looks like, but let’s all brainstorm and use our imaginations, shall we?  Okay, I think you get the picture.  Yuccch.  Let’s not go there again.

Cheers to a better cocktail next time!
Cathy

Nightmare on Reinhardt Drive meets a Cheap Date

•December 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Saturday, December 12, 2009
Manhasset

Sunday, December 13, 2009
Jack London Martini

Sunday, December 13, 2009
Nightmare

Monday, December 14, 2009
Nutty Martini

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Oakland Cocktail

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Parisian Martini

Thursday, December 17, 2009
New Orleans Martini

Friday, December 18, 2009
Opera Martini

Week started off well with a Manhasset, 6 parts rye whiskey, ½ part dry vermouth, ½ part sweet vermouth, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice with a twist.   I like rye, so was looking forward to this, expecting it to be something like my favorite Manhattan.   This was similar, but not exactly like a Manhattan due to the citrus of the lemon juice and twist.  In addition to have a citrusy taste, it was not as sweet as a standard Manhattan, given the addition of the dry vermouth.   But, all in all, this was drinkable and enjoyable.

Sunday’s drinks were polar opposites in terms of taste and “enjoyability”.  The Jack London Martini consisted of 6 parts currant vodka, 2 parts Dubonnet blanc, 1 part maraschino liqueur and a lemon twist.  This used up the last of my currant vodka, was not sorry to see the bottle go into the recycle bin.  Every time I have currant vodka these last few weeks, the drink has tasted like a form of grape Koolaid.   While that may be fine for 10 year olds and Jim Jones, it is not suitable in a cocktail.   However, this drink did not taste like grape Koolaid.   I had never had Dubonnet blanc, but I do remember the commercials during the holidays when I was a kid—have Dubonnet on the rocks.   It sounded so elegant.   It is a fortified sweet wine, very sweet.   It was not a bad drink, but it was far from memorable.

The Nightmare (6 parts gin, 2 parts Madiera wine, 2 parts cherry brandy and an orange twist) was true to its name.   No need to ponder where that name came from.   It was bad.   I cannot describe it any other way and I only had two sips of it and tossed the rest down the kitchen drain.   I am not sure what it was that made this so awful, I guess it was the interplay between the Madeira (which I have had in the past and enjoyed) and the sickly artificial sweetness and color of the cherry brandy.   Anyway, yuck.   I cannot recommend this drink.  My apologies if I have offended anyone.

Monday night brought cocktail relief in the form of the Nutty Martini:   6 parts vodka, 1 part Frangelico and a lemon twist.    I like Frangelico, add some vodka, badda bing badda boom.  It is sweet, so might work better as an after-dinner refreshment rather than an aperitif, but you would likely not be disappointed.

Tuesday’s drink seemed appropriate as it was called the Oakland Cocktail.  I was born and raised in Oakland.  It was comprised of 4 parts vodka, 2 parts dry vermouth and 2 parts fresh orange juice.   It was the return of the Screwdriver, expect not as sweet.  I was never one for Screwdrivers in college or when they were popular in the early 80’s, so I will toss this in the “not-to-make-again file”.

OK, am I going crazy or am I just an absolutely horrible speller who has gotten by relying on SpellCheck too much?   I thought the Martini Book listed the drink recipes in alphabetical order.  I looked up the next drink on my list, the Parisian Martini, which I would expect BEFORE the Parrothead Martini.  “I” still comes before “R”, right?   But the order in the book reads Palm Beach, Parrothead, Parisian, Park Avenue and then the Peach Blossom.   Maybe I should have been an editor.  Nah, I am not that detail oriented.  I am starting to sound surly and churlish so I will just go back to the drinks.    The Parisian was 6 parts gin, 2 parts dry vermouth and 1 part crème de cassis.    I was expecting something like a kir royale.   It was a passable drink, the sweetness of cassis balanced out the dry vermouth, although I did use only half the dry vermouth indicated.   Given the choice, I would have a kir royale (champagne with a couple drops of crème de cassis) instead of this drink but it would do in a pinch.

I finally broke down and had New Orleans Martini on Thursday night.   I was dreading this as it had Pernod.  I have bad memories of Pernod from college days.  BLECK.   I agreed to take this drink in a moment of weakness when I felt guilty because Cathy had taken all the Pernod drinks and she obviously was not enjoying them.   So I stepped up to the plate.   This drink was 6 parts vanilla vodka, 1 part dry vermouth, 1 part Pernod, 1 dash Angostura bitters and a fresh mint sprig.  The vanilla vodka overpowered the Pernod, so I hardly tasted the anise of the Pernod (which is always a good thing to my thinking).   The mint spring kept is fresh, which was also a plus.   All in all, this was not as bad as I thought, but it had enough of a licorice taste that I will not have this one again.  But it was better than the Nightmare.

Friday night as the end of a very, very long week, and an even longer semester.   The College is closed next Monday and Tuesday and the campus is closed from next Wednesday (12/23) to January 6, 2010, so I have 2.5 weeks off.  Hooray!  Granted, half of it is furlough time, but I can hopefully relax a bit.   Tonight’s drink was the Opera Martini, 6 parts gin, 2 parts Dubonnet Blanc, 1 part maraschino liqueur and a lemon twist.  I do not know if there was more alcohol in this than normal, if I didn’t have enough to eat, or if I was just so exhausted from the last couple of months or what.  But I do know that I felt this drink, it put me on my ear ass.   My husband called this a “cheap date drink” because it put me under the table. (Cathy’s comment:  Probably the wrong place for a good cheap date to end up, I’d think the bed would be more comfortable!)  🙂

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by,
Sue