I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Imagine the scene. A young woman bartender. Cute. Friendly. Mixes all the good drinks. A pro, even at her (not) advanced years. Swamped behind a convention hotel lobby bar. Your Epic stationed at one corner of said bar nursing a late night martini. A fellow elbows his way to the rail, asks for a glass of water. Nice looking young man. Blazer and tie. VERY odd attire for this crowd. She hands over the H2O and he slides over a twenty dollar bill. "Here's for all the water you poured for me tonight".
And here's to you sir, whoever you are. Fellows like you give those of us a generation [or two] farther along a glimmer of hope for the future of gentlemanly behavior. Here's to you.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
...oh yes, I think they are ready. I know I am.
Film Note: My apologies to the writers of the movie Top Gun.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
As I promised some weeks ago dear readers, over the recently concluded American holiday weekend I assembled a Blue Ribbon Panel Of Experts to sample and review Bud Light Chelada. This was no lightweight group of people, picked at random from the sidewalk. To the contrary, I hand-picked a group of seasoned imbibers. Big D. Mississippi Queen. Streak. LaLa. Gamers, all. They needed to be.
All proper testing requires background research, a protocol, and the publishing of results. Big D hit the web and determined that the term "chelada" is classically applied to any beer served in a glass, with a salted rim and lime. Ominously, the classical definition of this beverage does not mention tomato juice. Or clams.
My vast liquor research library contained no reference to the term "chelada". On the general subject of beer, however, the profound Alexis Lichine states in his New Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits that:
Again, no mention of tomato juice. Or clams. Lichine goes on (again, ominously) to say...
Beer quality is largely dependent on the suitability of these main raw materials for the type of beer being produced.
The folks at Budweiser have apparently not read anything about beer, or about Chelada. The can itself states that light beer, tomato juice, lime, salt and clam juice constitute "la combinacion perfecta". The can also says that the liquid it contains has "certified color". Not labeling that particularly inspires confidence in whatever lurks inside the can.
As for the testing protocol, I prepared a clip board for contemporaneous notes and a list of four categories of comments, viz:
1. General impressions.
2. Would you drink this again for free?
3. Would you drink this again for any reason?
4. Does this beverage have any utility at all?
I also seriously considered making all members of The Epic Blue Ribbon Chelada Panel take a shot or two of tequila before beginning the exercise. As a prophylactic you understand. Against what, I did not know. It was just a feeling I had that a prophylactic of some sort might not be a bad idea. In any event, we opted not to dull our senses with preliminary boozing in favor of plunging in straight away. That was also a mistake.
The tasting occurred at the home of Big D and the Mississippi Queen. A place so Epic in nature that they have a vintage Airstream travel trailer in their back yard as a pool cabana. Thus, the experimental karma was strong. But the location of the test required transport of the Chelada from The Epic bar. Such a delicate and rare brew cannot just be chunked into the glove box of one's auto. Specific protections must be implemented. After considerable thought, I wedged two "blue ice" freezer bars into an old sandwich carrier which afforded just room for the drink of honor...
Not the protection one would provide for a rare single malt, or for a kidney, perhaps, but sufficient for the three block journey from my house to the test site. I also packed in some tasting glasses...
...four ounce mega-shots procured after great effort from Trader Vics in Atlanta. I also took along the key ingredient for Phase Two of the tasting...
...as well a some processed dairy products in case anyone wanted to make the Chelada a complete food grouping...
Luckily, none of the Blue Ribbon Panel chose to consume dairy products during the tasting. Interpersonal and hygienic disaster would have no doubt been the result.
The BRP having assembled at the appointed place and hour, sober as proverbial judges, I made the procession to the testing area with the cosseted and cooled Chelada in its carrier. I had considered handcuffing the rig to my wrist like an international diamond courier, but I couldn't find a pally who would lend me the cuffs. After I placed the carrier on a central table, the members of the BRP eyed it nervously but nobody broke and ran. As I said, gamers all.
Phase One of the testing was to open the Chelada and pour the shot glasses full so we could examine the look, smell and then finally the taste of the beverage. The first question of clarification came from Mississippi Queen...
Say, we don't have to drink the whole glass do we?
LL: This is like a Bloody Mary that sat a long time and all the ice melted. Except for the clam aftertaste, that is...
We stared at each other a moment. I was afraid that if I made eye contact with anyone I would vomit. Nobody accepted an offer of processed cheese product.
MQ: Well, it kills the aftertaste...
BD: This is 100% better, but still...
S: I'm only having one sip after this...
LL: It tastes like cocktail sauce now, it needs an oyster in it...
After this last comment, more than one of us clapped our hands over our mouths and glanced toward the sink. Or the door. Nobody accepted a renewed offer of processed cheese product. Having gamely recovered its composure, the BRP sallied forth to the third and final phase of the tasting. Clean out the Chelada/Tabasco mixture, rinse and dry the glasses, refill with Chelada. And add vodka. Plenty of it. This was the most horrid mistake of the day...
MQ: [A shudder that made the first shudder look like a minor muscle tremor.] Really, really awful.
BD: This is taking Chelada a step in the wrong direction...
LL: OH this is REALLY bad...
Mississippi Queen then pointed out what we researchers in such matters call The Great Bloody Mary Fallacy. Namely, that although one would be tempted to describe the Chelada as a Bloody Mary made with beer, the analogy fails because while the vodka in a Bloody Mary adds a pleasing and significant layer of fire and potency to the cocktail, the weak beer of the Chelada adds only a sickening fizziness and a whiff of "fraternity house basement floor a week after the party" aroma which hardly compliments the flavor which coils its way out of your glass. Come to think of it, the aroma does not make the flavor any worse either. When I mentioned to the group that one of my commenting Epicurians had noted the use of the Chelada as a hangover cure, a thoughtful silence fell over the room. Then,
MQ: If you drank one of these hung over, you would throw up forever.
She then posited the sensible notion that wide-spread consumption of the Chelada with vodka would be a "quick way to end spring break forever". The preservation of that venerable American collegiate institution was agreed by all to be a worthy goal, especially when the alternative was drinking the Chelada with vodka in it.
The test protocol concluded, the BRP again for some reason refused a polite offer of processed cheese product and we moved to the prepared questions.
Q. Would you drink this for free?
Q. Would you drink this under any circumstances?
Q. Does this beverage have any utility of any sort?
Well, there you have it dear readers. The palates of the BRP subjected to possibly permanent damage, just for you. And for drinking science. In summary, there is no reason to drink this stuff, unless you are lost in the desert and have no other hydration option. Or unless you want to put an end to American collegiate spring break trips. Or unless you have a serious drinking/hangover problem and you want a permanent, and very messy, solution.
I already have another project lined up for the Blue Ribbon Panel. It might be some time before I can publish the results, however, since I am having a bit of trouble getting them to take my calls...
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
After establishing peace and quiet for our dormitory hall, and making an initial reconnaissance of the campus, I told my roommate that I had some shopping to do. A few little items that I had been pondering for quite some time but that I could not procure while living at my parents' home. I felt for some reason that I had to procure a trench coat which I found at a local military surplus store. Then a pack of long, thin cigars in long, thin plastic tubes I saw advertised in a magazine. Then a copy of Playboy. To which I immediately entered a subscription. That magazine subscription made my reputation as a man of style in my dorm once the student who sorted the mail told everyone I was getting it each month. It was 1977 after all. Armed with my trench coat, cigars, and Playboy I sallied forth into college life.