The Diddlebock Cocktail was created during perhaps the greatest bar scene ever filmed, a ten minute scene in the deliriously wacky 1947 Harold Lloyd flick The Sin Of Harold Diddlebock (that sin was drunkeness, it goes without saying or would, if I weren’t paid by the word). You can read a review of it here. Poor, straightlaced Harold has lost his job and his love and his purpose in life, and he is being led by his new pal the racetrack tout to an underground bar to have his first sip of the sweet nectar. The bartender is a poet at heart, who is inspired to new heights of achievement by the special occasion. This man is an epicurean of everclear, a De Sade of spirits, a Byron of booze.
The ingredients include vodka, crushed ice, astrology, corn liquor, and a breathtaking alcoholic erudition. It would be the greatest of all possible birthday presents (other than Julian Assange with a bow around his neck) for someone to present me with one of these. Pour yourself the beverage of your choice and settle in for ten minutes of glory.
“It has always seemed to me that a cocktail should approach us on tiptoe, like a young girl whose first appeal is innocence.” Magic.
Apparently, as far as Google and I can find, nobody has ever attempted to reconstruct a Diddlebock Cocktail in real life.
Longtime readers of the blog (ie me, the Manolo, Mr Henry, and possibly the Liquor Locusts, plus all of my creditors) will know that of all the spirits in this world or the next, the one dearest to my heart — if not my liver — is gin. And today is the day on which the nation joins together to venerate this most sublime if most mercurial of libations. Raise an ice-cold Martini with me in honor of this glorious occasion.
Wait, what? You tell me they make Martinis with vodka nowadays? Well, yes, there has always been the Vodka Martini class, and what would we do without people like that, upon whom to look down?
One of gin’s greatest qualities is its infinite variety: floral, vegetal, crystalline, even spicy. No other form of alcohol has as large a range of natural flavors (of artificially flavored spirits we shall not speak, except in four-letter words).
My good friend and favorite bartender Jay Jones oversees a weekly celebration of gin at Gin & Sin nights at Killjoy in Vancouver’s fashionable Yaletown neighborhood, featuring special pricing and a different featured gin each week, although they always keep the largest selection in town on hand. A couple of weeks ago they started upping the Sin content by bringing in burlesque dancers to spice things up after 10; it’s useful to bring the entertainment on after the audience has gotten good and warmed up. A famous burlesque dancer once remarked that alcohol was essential to a good performance, “a little for you, a lot for the audience.”
Two weeks ago, the sponsor was the very fine Broker’s gin. Broker’s is, like Plymouth, a great example of the London Dry style, crystal clear, neither vegetal like Tanqueray nor floral like Hendrick’s. It’s versatile and smoother than others of the same type. You don’t have to feel guilty putting it in a G&T, nor cheap putting it in a Martini. It simply works either way. Lemon twist, olive or even lime in your Martini; it’s your choice, and all of them will succeed as flavor notes. In fact, this kind of gin is excellent for experimentation and creativity with the garnish, since they will not overpower the oils with their own orchestra of aromas.
If you like, here’s your excuse to get out the vermouth atomizer and the fancy oils and play. I call this one, a Dirty Martini with smoked Cerignola olives, the Martini of Yog Sothoth, which lets me find out at once who’s read their H. P. Lovecraft and who I don’t need to talk to at that particular party. Smoked smoked black Cerignola olives are my new favorite Martini garnish that brings out the masculine side of a well-balanced gin like Broker’s or Plymouth, yet also stands up to a serious knife-and-fork gin like The Botanist.
If you feel more chiffon and rosebuds than Savile Row and leather, switch to Hendrick’s or Bombay Sapphire and a spritz of rose water, plus a couple of organic rose petals (which you can buy in Indian neighborhoods, should your burb have such a thing, or you may grow them yourself).
If you find yourself at a loss for something to put them in, refer to our earlier post on the perfect Martini glass, plus several fun imperfect ones. Which reminds me of the strip club in Seattle that advertises “100 Beautiful Girls and 4 Ugly Ones.”
UPDATED TO ADD: clearly until my regular photographer returns from her Eastern sojourn, I need to read my friend Kris Krug’s book on iPhone photography. Either that or I have to buy you all enough Martinis to give you gin goggles.
Bubble tea is one of those culinary miracles like unicorn foam that you’d swear required the technology of NASA to create and couldn’t be made at home, but astonishingly this is false (provided you can find tapioca pearls, and if you’re the kind of person who drinks bubble tea without pearls I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW YOU). It is permissible to make it with booze, and if I can prevail upon a chef pal we shall have a recipe forthcoming. There’s a recipe for matcha bubble tea here.
And we’ve also locally-sourced a quiz which tells you which kind of bubble tea you are. I prefer mango, myself, but if almond I must be, so be it.
You Are Almond Bubble Tea
You are an ideas person, and you are always thinking of new ways to change the world.
Your taste is somewhat unconventional, although you don’t like anything too far out.You have a reputation for being quirky, and at times, you make sure to fuel it.
You’re definitely adverse to following the crowd. You want to do things your way!
If you are, as yet, unaware of what bubble tea is, it’s basically a fruit-flavoured, ultra-fine milkshake with tapioca pearls added after blending (jujube-like bubbles you need a pinkie-thick straw to slurp up) and it’s a cup full of fun. How many Dr Who references can you get out of a quotidian beverage, after all?
Serve in a tall, clear novelty glass so people can see, and play with, the pearls. Here are some suggestions, also good for any tall, iced drink, particularly those like the tequila sunrise (no hate!) that have interesting colour/ingredient gradients. You can also use these for plain old highballs, but you will risk accusations of frivolity. Then again, vodka soda drinkers deserve all the scorn they get if you axe me.
Fun and retro. The colour WILL get in the way of certain fruit bubble teas, but for others it’ll be an enhancement.
My favorite. Just crazy enough.
Fun optical games to be played here with this many faceted surfaces.
Very old-school. Maximum irony points for serving bubble tea, or boozy bubble tea, therein.
Clean, clear, lets the beauty of the drink shine through.
Thermal double-walled glass is maybe better for drinks made with crushed ice, but still shows off a good-looking beverage without letting it get tepid.
More retro, tiki fun.
We luv us some texture in a good quality glass, and this has all that plus a pleasingly hedonistic shape.
Because who wants to go through the day totally straight? I ask yez.
If, improbably, you were to ask the Manolo, “Manolo, what are your two favorite utensils,” he would reply, “The french press and the cocktail shaker!”
The French press and the cocktail shaker are not merely artifacts of beverage production, but exemplars of civilized life. The proper use of either of them force upon us the sort of ritual of preparation, the tiny tea ceremony, whose orders we must follow exactly if we hope to achieve perfection.
In the morning, it is the heating of the water, the grinding of the fairtrade coffee (from Ringtons), the pouring of the water to the proper level, the stirring of the pot, the placing of the lid, and then the waiting, three minutes of anticipation. Only, at the very last, is the plunging of the press, done so carefully, so deliberately, with such satisfaction.
In the afternoon, the ritual is different but similar. The ice, the gin, the whisper of vermouth, the vigorous shaking, up and down, up and down, and then the celebratory decanting, the careful, deliberate pouring of the elixir into our glass. Ayyy! Keep out the ice!
What can be more civilized than this? Done alone or with friends, the proper employment of the French press and the cocktail shaker are marks of civilization, tokens that we have triumphed over our primitive past.
“But, Manolo,” you may ask, “what of the tea pot?”
It has it’s place, the Manolo cannot deny. The drinking of tea is the civilized act, although, too often, the tea pot is rendered frou-frou fussy, with its baroque patterns and garish colors.
The colorful teapot lacks the solemn, pleasant dignity of the French press and cocktail shaker, which makes the latter two the superior objects, and their employment the superior act.
And so, dear friends, raise your glass and hoist your mug to the French press and the cocktail shakers, two of mankind’s greatest inventions.
Cheers to this! In the summer, I can’t get enough of cold soups, and year round I can’t get enough of gin, so for me this might be the very best recipe of the entire year.
From SomeoneLeftTheCakeOutInTheRain on WordPress.com:
When you look at a cucumber, what do you think? Perfect for tea sandwiches? Great marinated with vinegar and dill? Over the eyes for depuffing? Something inappropriate for sharing on this site???
I look at a luscious summer cucumber and think, “Man, they’d be awesome mixed with gin and thrown into a soup.” Just me?
During this point of our vicious Summer, finding big, beautiful, and delicious cucumbers should be a super easy task. Now all you have to do is round up some other suspects and get them together.
The botanicals, rose, cucumber, and coriander notes of Hendrick’s make it an obvious choice for this soup. It will be boozy off the bat, so I suggest letting it meld and marinate over night. Once it has calmed down, the gin brings the cucumber and avocado to a whole nother level.
Cucumber Hendricks Soup Shooters
2 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 small ripe avocado
2 scallions sliced, white and green parts
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons honey, or 2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha
2/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup Hendrick’s gin
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Now, head on over to the blog to get the instructions. Happy drinking…uh, eating. Uh. Souping.
We’re big Bulleit fans around here, having met the patriarch of the clan at a bourbon dinner a couple of years ago at Clive’s. He’s a true Kentucky raconteur: if I recall aright he said that in Kentucky it is generally considered polite to ask if people are related, but not considered polite to ask just exactly how closely…you get the idea.
Not to mention, it’s an excellent sippin’ likker. Not too rich for seconds, not too light for a single, and not too sweet for your liver or palate, it is excellent by itself as well as mixed. But since we’re all about the ginger lately, we’re going to show you how to make an infused ginger bourbon cocktail today, the Magic Bulleit, which we stole from Whiskybros.com.
First of all, infuse your bourbon. Well, duh; you have to do this several days beforehand. They recommend three days, but I’d give it up to a week, myself. They recommend an inch of peeled, sliced ginger per 8 ounces of bourbon, meaning about three inches for a regular bottle. Slice it no thicker than a quarter inch, please, but don’t dice it. We’re not making stir-fry here. Just pop the ginger in the bottle (if you have to pour some out to get the ginger in, I’m trusting you’ll know what to do with it, yes?) put the top back on, stick it in the fridge, and wait. I, personally, think sticking it in the fridge is counter-productive, but then I don’t want to poison any of you, so use your own judgement.
Now what? Pour out the booze and put it in a different bottle. Or get all the ginger out of that bottle somehow, if you’re contrarian. The idea is, you have to separate them after their time together is up; it’s like summer romance. Toxic if it goes on too long.
Then you have what it takes to make a whole party’s worth of cockails: to make each, build the following in a glass over ice.
- 1 Jigger (45ml) Bulleit Bourbon
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) Bulleit Ginger Infusion (below)
- 1.5 Tsp (7.5ml) Brown simple Syrup
- Dash Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters
- Orange Zest
- Garnish with an orange flag
an orange flag being a nice-sized rectangular or diamond-shaped piece of zest (no white pith! this takes practice and a good cutter).