Since I've grown weary of reading the latest missive on Greg Davis, (not because it's wrong, but because it's so depressingly right) I'm gonna throw up a post that would normally be a bit more off season in flavor. I considered writing about the baseball playoffs, but I feel like the interest factor in such an analysis is roughly on par with a debate about Allan Donald vs. Glenn McGrath (tote bag to the first person who can identify that reference WITHOUT using the googles). For the record, I see the Phillies over the Rays behind Roy Halladay.
I think the Yankees pitching is going to eventually let them down. I'd love to see the Braves send off Bobby Cox with a World Championship, but youth and poor road play will be their downfall. Fun watching what the Reds do with their bats, but winning a World Series with a rotation full of no. 3 and 4 starters is going to be tricky.
We've all being doing a lot of drinking on Saturdays, as it's the easiest coping mechanism to addressing our putrid play. I figured I might as well discuss my poisons of choice, with a few notes, and see if we can get a discussion going that doesn't involve the phrases "short of the marker" "false start" "east-west" or "total fucking moron." Well, you can call me the the last, because it's probably not far from the truth.
Let me start by saying I'm a gin and tequila man. Those are my distillates of choice. I enjoy other liquors on occasion, but those two make a nearly nightly appearance in my house.
My go to gin is Boodles. Don't let the strange clear and vaguely cheap looking bottles fool you. It's a London Dry Gin that balances traditional gin juniper flavors without drifting in to the grandfatherly harshness of Beefeater with a price point that is ideal (around $19 for 750 ml). I don't generally do Martini's, preferring a good gimlet instead, but Boodles makes a good traditional martini, if not superb. Makes an excellent gin and tonic, especially if you put a dash of Angostura bitters in the glass. It performs admirably in virtually any other gin based cocktail you can shake or stir up.
Let me stop right now and state that gin should taste like gin, not like vaguely juniper scented vodka. There are a number of gateway gins that are simply too weak in the flavor department, like Broker's and Aviation. Plymouth is the exception because it's a proprietary gin process, different from Londan Dry Gin, and is supposed to be on the subtle side.
Bombay Sapphire was for ages the industry gold standard, but with the rise new high end gins like Hendricks and G'vine, it's become sort of upper middle class gin. I love Sapphire with a artisan tonic, like Q, but its more sublime flavors can get buried under Canada Dry or Schwepps. Makes a world class dry martini, obviously.
As to other gins, the aforementioned Hendricks is amazing, as is Old Raj (if you don't mind shelling out $50 for a bottle of gin, which I do). The American gin Junipero, made by Anchorsteam, gets plenty of press, but I find it sort "meh" in the flavor department. I'd recommend Blue Coat, a Philadelphia gin in a cool blue bottle, which does everything really well. Basic Tanquery is good in a G&T, but it's harsh in a Martini, and if you're just mixing with tonic, Gordon's is fine, and significantly cheaper.
I had a very unfortunate night with Pepe Lopez in college and I swore the stuff off for years. It involved a young lady of rather generous proportions, some broken common room furniture, and a really awkward meeting with the Dean of Students. Suffice to say, I learned that the bearded gentleman on the Lopez bottle is not laughing with you...
After a vacation to Mexico last year, I've fallen in love. The basic thought pattern about tequila is correct, imo: 100% Agave is a must, quality and price seem to be directly proportional, and save the Anejo for sipping, not mixing. Having said all that, I'm still learning about Tequilas.
I really enjoy Cazadores, especially the blanco for Margaritas. I've also had good success with 1800. I hear a lot of people talking up the Sauza Hornitas, but count me as unimpressed. If you are ever in Sayulita, Mexico, there is a tequilaria attached to Sayulita Fish Taco with an amazing selection. The owner, Mark Alberto is a cool SoCal transplant who I highly recommend getting to know, he'll turn you on to a couple of surf spots that are less crowded than the main Sayulita break and the tacos are amazing.
Surf all day. Eat Fish Tacos. Do multiple tequila flights. Rinse. Repeat.
My experiences with rum are very similar to our recent recruiting expeditions into to Southern California. Infrequent and drenched in fail, and desperately in need of trying again. I would like to learn more, particularily of the aged rhums the New York Times dining section keeps insisting I try in order to keep my bobo cred. I could absolutely use some suggestions here.
Vodka is neutral ethanol. Nothing more. Nothing less. You can distill it all you want, but it doesn't change what it is: watered down biofuel. Many vodkas are actually made in a giant ethanol factory, mixed with a spring water of choice, pumped into an etched glass bottle, and sold to consumers for $50 a pop. It is one of the most effectively marketed products in the entire alcohol world. Blind tests have shown mass brands compete favorably with premium brands. If you drink a Vodka Martini bone dry, I could potentially perceive a difference, but to me, Smirnoff is fine. If you mix vodka, it's insane to buy premium spirits, then bury a flavorless alcohol under orange juice or red bull.
I do enjoy flavored vodka: It's called Gin. See above.
I'm not even going to fuck around here: I don't drink much scotch. I split a bottle of Usher's Green Stripe my Senior year in HS, threw up all over Einstein's Arcade, and didn't ever really get back into it (scotch or the arcade). I've had a few glasses of Oban, which I thought were tasty, but my scotch drinking friends seem to think that's the equivalent of a Shirley Temple. I find the entire of culture of scotch to be a tad confusing, and my grandfather drank Glenlivet his whole life.
I don't like Jack Daniels. To me, it can't decide if it wants to be a bourbon or a scotch, so like our play calling, it excels at nothing. My favorite Bourbon is Woodford Reserve. I discovered it post college, really liked it and have stuck with it over the year's. I'm always tempted to try other bourbons, but I just like the Woodford so much. I don't drink a lot of bourbon, so a bottle will get me through the winter, which is generally when I like whiskey.
There are some absurdly expensive Ryes in the world. I got a bottle of Sazerac for making whiskey based cocktails, and its served me just fine.
Since I'm a generous fellow, I'll leave you with a cocktail recipe for the next game. The Corpse Reviver #2, despite it's name, is not absurdly strong, you could definitely have two (three is beginning to drift into dangerous territory). If that seems like a lot to you, have you SEEN our offense lately?
1 Oz. Gin
1 Oz. Orange Liqour (triple sec, Cointreau, etc.)
1 Oz. Lillet Blanc
1 Oz. Lemon Juice
Mix in cocktail shaker with ice and shake until your hands can't take it anymore.
Coat inside of a COLD cocktail glass with Pernod, Herbsaint, or other Absinthe substitute.
Strain into glass, enjoy.
We'll do beer and wine on the next post.