will put hair on chest.

Is cocktail recipe.  You make.

1.) You take lowball glass.

2.) You put in two shots of Bacardi 151.

3.) You add dash of vanilla extract.

4.) You float marshmallow Peep on top of rum.

5.) You light rum on fire, and let flames start caramelize Peep.

6.) You extinguish with vanilla cola, and fill up glass.

7.) You eat warm,  rum-soaked, caramelized Peep.

8.) You wash down Peep with rest of drink, quickly.

9.) You have another.  Or just have one, if you are pussy.

turkey day recap.

We had a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  Like 81.7% of Americans, we had a turkey with approximately three dozen side dishes, and like 53% of Americans, we had leftover sides and turkey for dinner tonight.

(Like 43.9% of all statistics, these were totally made up on the spot, by the way.)

Hard to believe that 2010 is just about to draw to a close.  Where has the entire year gone, I ask you?  It feels like I got about zip-all accomplished this year.  I’m still putting the finishing touches on the novel I’ve been writing since before January, so this one is going to take a year and a half from start to finish when all is said and done.  On the plus side, I wrote a bunch of decent short stories this year, got some encouraging critiques and rejections, and had a ton of great ideas for subsequent novels.  From a technical standpoint, I’ve improved my writing a great deal this past year, so there’s that at least.

Next up: December, being the last month of the year and all that.  Maybe I’ll even get this 500-page turkey finished by December 31st, at which point I will throw my pen into Mascoma Lake, eat a whole box of Twinkies, and wash the spongy, delicious yellow bastards down with a fifth of Maker’s Mark.

a random chicken-related conversation snippet.

In the car, after stopping by a Chik-Fil-A on Kingston Pike in Knoxville.   The husband is enjoying his first Chik-Fil-A chicken biscuit in three years.  Wife tries her very first one ever.

Husband: So what do you think of the chicken biscuit?  Good, huh?

Wife: It’s just a piece of chicken on a biscuit.  I’m not terribly impressed.

Husband: <after a moment of stunned speechlessness>  Just a piece of chicken on a biscuit?? That’s like saying the Mona Lisa is just a bunch of oil paint on a canvas.

Wife: That’s not an accurate analogy.  The Mona Lisa is a work of art.

Husband: <holding aloft the mostly-eaten chicken biscuit> So’s this!

liquid scotland, with fd&c yellow #6.

Check out what the Scottish Tartan Museum down in Franklin, NC had in stock:

That, my friends, is Irn-Bru.  And not just plain Irn-Bru, but the Diet version, which is exceedingly hard to come by outside of Scotland.  They had a case of the Diet stuff left, and I bought it to haul back north with us.

Irn-Bru is my favorite soda.  I got hooked on it when I visited Scotland in 1996.  It’s hard to describe the flavor to someone who has never tried it.  It’s not a cola, and it doesn’t taste fruity.  There’s a hint of that Red Bull-esque “liquid gummy bears” flavor, but it’s not nearly as cloying or sweet as Red Bull.  For those of you not local to Franklin, NC, there are a few sellers on Amazon.com who offer both the regular and diet versions, although shipping might cost a bit.

Irn-Bru: two thumbs up from the Munchkin Wrangler Test Kitchen.

gin–it’s like liquid christmas.

On the occasion of my birthday, I shall now share my three current favorite gin-based cocktails with you.

  1. The Martini: The Little Black Dress of the cocktail world.  Two shots of gin, half a shot of dry vermouth.  Olive garnish optional.  (Substitute the olive with a cocktail onion, and it becomes a Gibson.) Shake or stir in ice-filled shaker, serve in pre-chilled cocktail glass.
  2. The Bronx:  A great lunch or afternoon cocktail. Slightly sweet without being cloying.  My favorite ratio for the Bronx is two shots of gin, one shot of orange juice, and half a shot each of sweet and dry vermouth.  (The “standard” IBA version uses less gin, more vermouth, and less OJ, which gives the drink a more bitter note, for those who prefer that sort of thing.)  Shake vigorously in ice-filled cocktail shaker, strain into cocktail glass.
  3. The Foghorn:  More of a warm-weather refreshment akin to the Long Island Iced Tea, without the massive wallop a proper LIIT packs.  Put some ice in a highball glass, pour two shots of gin on top, add the juice from half a lime, and fill up with ginger ale.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, folks. They are much appreciated.  Now go have one of those cocktails before the day is over, hmm-kay?

a concept for a kiddie TV show.

Title: “Distillation Station”

Genre: Children’s Television (Pre-K)

Logline: The zany adventures of Mister Hooch and his friends, as they hang out at Distillation Station and have run-ins with the grumpy old Temperance who lives across the street.


Mister Hooch–an anthropomorphic Martini glass.  He has a half-sibling called Shakey No-Stir, who makes occasional cameos on the show.

Señor Caramba–the 100% agave tequila bottle, Mister Hooch’s wacky Mexican neighbor.

Abby Sinthe–Señor Caramba’s French girlfriend.

Becky Seagram–the cheerleader who lives in apartment 2A.

Chad Appletini–Becky’s gay roommate.

Vern and Vera Mooth–the retired couple.  They’re mostly bitter, but mix well with others.

Signor Sambuca–Distillation Station’s short-order cook. He gets lit on fire in every episode.

Olive–the stuffed jalapeno olive who has a secret crush on Mister Hooch.

Johnny Kirschwasser–exchange student from Europe.  He’s a deceptively easy-going little guy who packs a punch.

Pruno–the ex-con who lives in the little apartment by the basement stairs.

Carrie Cosmo–the stuck-up yuppie clothes-rack everyone professes to hate. Half the male characters secretly like her, but wouldn’t admit it to their pals.

Horst and Schorsch, the Apfelkorn Brothers–immigrants from Germany.  They hang out uninvited in Monsieur Pernod’s apartment a lot.

Monsieur Pernod–loves licorice, chain-smokes filterless Gauloises, and hates the Apfelkorn brothers.

Mr. Dickel–the retired teacher from Tennessee.

The Master Distiller–the benevolent grandfather figure who runs Distillation Station. The other characters come to him for advice, guidance, and liquid refreshments. (Producer’s Note: to be cast with an older British pop star.)

Title song (to be commissioned):  “Distillation Station, where it’s all about inebriation…”

(Some character ideas courtesy of the people unlucky enough to have friended me on Facebook.)

the eagerly-awaited verdict.

In the interest of Science!, I did a taste experiment and had two martinis back-to-back last night.  The first one was a vodka martini, the second a gin martini.  I am now ready to render a verdict.

The winner is…the gin martini.

The vodka version is milder and “easier”, a bit more mellow and smooth, but because the vodka has no flavor of its own, it tastes mostly like vermouth.  Also, most of the alcohol bite is missing from the drink, which may be a good thing for those who don’t like their alcohol to taste like alcohol.

The gin martini is more complex and nuanced, because the gin’s flavor combines with that of the vermouth to create something new, which is sort of the point of a cocktail.  While I personally don’t care much for gin, I can very much tolerate it in a martini because of the vermouth note.  The gin martini wins out over the vodka version because it does what a cocktail is supposed to do: constitute something that’s more than just the sum of its ingredients.  It is, therefore, the superior cocktail.

This court is adjourned.

a scientific poll of the utmost relevance.


For this poll, it’s between the two “classic” martinis.  There are drinks that are called “martinis” which do not include only dry vermouth and gin or vodka, but we serious ethanol enthusiasts do not speak of them.  (Cocktail haters and “apple martini” heretics, hold your tongues.)

the wonderful world of cocktails.

Hey, Internets!  Let’s talk about alcohol for a moment.

Here’s a secret—just between you, me, and the 1,000 people who read this blog on an average weekday:  I don’t drink nearly as much as you might think from my Twitter and Facebook updates.  In fact, when it comes to hard liquor in general, I was woefully undereducated until recently.  I have to admit with considerable shame that I used to drink pre-mixed cocktails, and my main use for liquor was limited to Rum & Coke.  Now I understand that pre-mixed liquor is vile and abominable, and that the $$8-per-half-gallon Mr. Paint Thinner rum isn’t even suitable for mixing with soda.

In the last month or two, I started experimenting.  I bought top-shelf liquor, and then I mixed classic cocktails I hadn’t tried before, just to check them off my list.  And boy howdy, is there a difference between a Margarita made with good agave tequila, fresh lime juice, and quality Triple Sec, and the pre-mixed stuff that has that fluorescent shade to it.  The high-quality cocktail actually has nuances and flavor to it, whereas the pre-mixed stuff tastes like Margarita-flavored Gatorade.

I’ve also tried a White Lady for the first time, which uses lemon juice and Cointreau to give a citrus-y, sweet/sour/bitter edge to the gin.  Then there’s the Cosmopolitan, which I like a lot even though I am given to understand it’s a girly drink, and that I’ll get my Testosterone Club card revoked if I publically admit to enjoying a pink cocktail.  Lastly, I’ve finally mixed a proper Moscow Mule, which is the most refreshing summertime long drink ever

That’s my education on the subject of booze: buy high-quality components, mix your cocktails from scratch, and leave the pre-mixed crap on the shelf.  I’ve never been a fan of cocktails, but it turns out I just wasn’t ever properly introduced to this entirely new and exciting world of inebriation.

What about you?  What’s your favorite cocktail?  Let me have your recipe, so I can put it together in my little test kitchen.  (Maybe I should shop around the concept for a daytime cooking-related show?)

your piece of booze trivia for the day.

The May 13, 1806 edition of the New York publication Balance and Columbian Repository offers us the first definition of the term cocktail:

Cocktail is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar,water, and bitters—it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a Democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow anything else.