Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.
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.
I woke up yesterday morning to an almost Autumnal day here in the sub-tropics. Which set a fellow's mind to thoughts of Scotch. And of Scotch-based cocktails. And of the finest Scotch-based cocktail, the Bobby Burns. Harry Craddock in the iconic Savoy Cocktail Book calls the Bobby Burns "one of the very best" Scotch cocktails and lists the recipe as the classic equal parts Italian Vermouth and Scotch with three dashes of Benedictine. The latter ingredient converts the august Rob Roy into the sublime Bobby Burns.
More recent recipes for the Bobby Burns basically make a Scotch based Manhattan, including a dash or two of Angostura Bitters, and add Benedictine. Also a good drink.
Walking along to my favorite watering hole, I considered other Scotch based cocktails. Rob Roy, Bobby Burns, Rusty Nail...and then I had an epiphany. Why not substitute Drambuie for the Benedictine in a Bobby Burns and create a new cocktail? What to call it? A Rusty Roy? A Rusty Bobby? No. The Rusty Bob!!! A perfect play on the Rusty Nail/Drambuie connection.
I stormed into the bar just at opening time and announced my creation. The first run at it was a bit too sweet. The regular bitters could not hold up to the sweetness of the Drambuie. The great and lovely mixologist Melissa then suggested using three drops of Boston Bitters. This made the drink superb. Apparently this Boston Bitters is nothing to be trifled with since it comes in a distinctly apothecary looking bottle with its own eye dropper built in.
A triumph! My first cocktail invention! I announced it to one and all and actually got a few other imbibers to try it, all with positive reports.
But I believe it was Saint Augustine who said that humility is good for our souls. In an abundance of caution, I searched for Bobby Burns recipes this morning and discovered a variation of the Bobby Burns using Drambuie instead of Benedictine discussed on the superb blog The Cocktail Chronicles. In 2005.
It seems that everything old is indeed new again. At least I came up with a dandy name for the drink. And I upped my humility quotient. The mixology game is a tough one. Back to the drawing board.
I have always been a film nut. Actually took a minor degree in film studies long ago. Short films in particular have always fascinated me. In the commercial world, I am not sure that there are any short films that speak to me in quite the way of the ones produced by Cartier. The new set of "Nouvelle Vague" short films are whimsical, Parisian, fantastique!! Here are two for your enjoyment if you find yourself in a Paris deprived state. As I almost always do. Bon weekend!
From the beginning, he was the Center. Of an empire. Of the finest city. His was absolute power, but only in theory. In the beginning. He chafed under the custody of an old man for twenty-three years. Then, he ascended. Napoleon, no fan of kings, said he was "the only King of France worthy of the name." This was his house...
His front gate...
His reflecting pool and his canal...
In the frame of one of his portraits...this quotation...
"The King Rules Alone". Sad, but how very true. And rule he did, for over 72 years. Longer than any monarch in the history of the major kingdoms. He famously said "Apres moi, Le deluge". And he was right. He could have coined the phrase "go big or go home".
Today is his birthday. I was looking for a perfect libation for the occasion. An unimpeachable and irresistible source suggested the new Bastille Whisky, neat or over one super-frozen piece of ice. As it should be.
Hand crafted in France. Already a winner of prestigious awards. Had my source not been unimpeachable, and irresistible, I admit I would have been suspect of it. But I would have been wrong. This is a very fine, smoky, contemplative spirit. Just like his.
On his deathbed, he reportedly told his successor:
"Do not follow the bad example which I have set you; I have often undertaken war too lightly and have sustained it for vanity. Do not imitate me, but be a peaceful prince, and may you apply yourself principally to the alleviation of the burdens of your subjects."
Hilton hotel bar, Greenville, South Carolina. Just a fine bar. In a fine town. Anyplace they make their own pimento cheese spread in house is heaven to me. The night in question, they were having a huge Highland Games in town and a lot of the Lads and Lassies were staying in the hotel. In full regalia. We all ordered Rusty Nails. Later, we drank them out of Dewar's and Macallan. Aye, what a night...
In my early 60s, widower, father and itinerant storyteller. I am a putative jazz singer, poet and novelist, dedicated to mining every minute of life for the veins of pleasure they contain. My motto is "Dum Vivimus, Vivamus"..."While we Live--LET US LIVE".