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Happy Birthday To Me (which I am saying for the third time)

What can I say, I have a lot of different blogs, okay?

Lulzsec carafe and wineglasses

Lulzsec carafe and wineglasses

In any case, I ran across this on Etsy and given my well-known weakness for a man in a mask, had to put it on the Birthday Registry. You can ship it to “raincoaster, c/o Legion, Vancouver, BC.”

The Wisdom of the Interwebz

Matcha bubble tea

Matcha bubble tea

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.

Le Cadeaux Break Resistant Drinkware Highball or Ice Tea Glass

Fun and retro. The colour WILL get in the way of certain fruit bubble teas, but for others it’ll be an enhancement.

IMPULSE! Abstract Highball Glasses, Green, Set of 4

My favorite. Just crazy enough.

Nachtmann Aspen Crystal Tall Highball/Beer Tumblers, Set of 6

Fun optical games to be played here with this many faceted surfaces.

RCR Crystal Melodia Collection High Ball Glass Set

Very old-school. Maximum irony points for serving bubble tea, or boozy bubble tea, therein.

Nachtmann Vivendi Set of 6 Highball Glasses, 14-Ounce

Clean, clear, lets the beauty of the drink shine through.

Starfrit Gourmet 14-Ounce Double Wall Highball Soda Glass

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.

Godinger Set of 4 Crystal Palm Highballs

More retro, tiki fun.

Impulse Crackle Highball, Clear, Set of 6

We luv us some texture in a good quality glass, and this has all that plus a pleasingly hedonistic shape.

Nambe Tilt Highball/Beverage Glasses, Set of 4

Because who wants to go through the day totally straight? I ask yez.

TGIF Cocktail: the Whistleblower

Whistleblower Cocktail

Whistleblower Cocktail created by Jay Jones, photographed by Cathy Browne

Cheers! We’ve a spotty track records when it comes to regular weekly features, but who can’t get behind this: A cocktail for Friday! This is the Whistleblower Cocktail, which was created to celebrate the 40th birthday of My Future Boyfriend, Julian Assange. It was created by Jay Jones at Market by Jean-Georges at the Shangri La hotel in Vangroover, and it is every bit as tasty as the man himself. Which man? Well, that would be telling.

Judge for yourself.

Jay Jones

Jay Jones

Julian Assange

Julian Assange

In related news, when did I start fancying facial hair? News to me.

And here’s the recipe for the cocktail. For the recipes for the two men I’ve shamelessly objectified above, I refer you to their respective parents.

1.5 oz Imperia (Russian Premium Vodka, made from Winter Wheat)

.25 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil (French liqueur, made by maceration of Brazilian bananas)

.5 oz Renegade Rum Company, Limited Edition Panama Rum 1995
-distilled in Panama (in honour of Julian’s escape to Ecuadorian sanctuary, if only in the embassy; there wasn’t any Ecuadorian rum at the bar)
-aged 13 years in Bourbon casks
-enhanced in Chateau Margaux casks
-bottled at Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay, Scotland in 2008
-limited release of 1080 bottles
-46% ABV

4 dashes Fee Brothers Gin-Barrel Aged Orange Bitters
-classic orange bitters aged in cask which had formerly aged Old Tom Gin (well, who wouldn’t be bitter after all he’s gone through, eh?)

1 Fresh Lime Peel Zest

-stir, strain, add the zest – serve it all in a beautiful coupe.

This is a lovely, citrusy cocktail that is smoothed out by the rum in approximately the way your favorite diva is mellowed by sitting next to a stoner and absorbing herbs by osmosis.

Coupe glasses are my new favorite thing. They may not be the greatest for Champagne, but they are lovely for cocktails that are not Martinis, and there are some beautiful shapes in amazing crystal available now. Here’s a selection.

My favorite is this Orrefors Crystal Divine Coupe. Doesn’t as far as I know come with the wedding rings, alas. It has beautiful lines, and will concentrate the scent of an aromatic cocktail like this at least somewhat thanks to the inward curve. Mostly aesthetic, though. If you want glasses engineered for optimal drinking, you want the Difference line.

This Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Champagne Saucer, which comes in a set of six, is more old-fashioned, but some people prefer its lines. Some people.

I’m quite fond of the Chef & Sommelier Cabernet Coupe but possibly that’s just because I’m so used to seeing it everywhere. It IS ubiquitous, but it is nonetheless lovely, with its modern, angular dash.

Oh, Karl. Karl, Karl, Karl, what will we ever do with you? This is the Orrefors By Karl Lagerfeld Coupe and, god help us, it apparently comes in different COLOURS. Let me repeat: COLOURS. I can only think that Uncle Karl is trying to see what the public will swallow at $150 a stem. Whatever they’re drinking, it’s pretty strong, because I have candleholders from China that look exactly like this and cost me about $5 for four.

In any case, enjoy your Whistleblower cocktail. Now go out and leak something. Paris Hilton, put your underwear back on: we were not talking to you!

Today in the history of bad ideas: Drunk Baking and Booze Bling

What the HEY-ELL?

What the HEY-ELL?

One finds the strangest things, one does, when surfing the internet looking for virtual presents for other bloggers (don’t ask). One of those things is this: the confetti bedazzled winebottle fishnet thingummy, which really should be on Regretsy, except it appears also to be mass-produced, because I guess the masses want their booze to look more Kardashian.

When one puts “wine” together with “confetti” the above is not acceptable (unless, of course, one is gifting someone to celebrate her victory at America’s Next Top Ecdysiast). The following IS:

This works

A handblown Italian wineglass. It’s just special enough to make an al fresco afternoon a little more exciting. And I like a fairly substantial glass for drinking wine outdoors. It just feels more medieval to me, as if Jonathan Rhys Meyers or Alan Rickman might show up on a horse and join me for a glass. And what is the point of being outside if they’re not going to, I ask? Rhetorically, of course: they wouldn’t show up without a proper invitation…now, do any of you have their emails?

Speaking of bad manners and bad ideas and wine, we present the following, tangentially-related video, one of a very amusing series on YouTube called My Drunk Kitchen. If you’ve watched every Sandra Lee show ever aired and are pining for something even more Out There, why, this girl has got you covered. Personally, I suspect that more than two bottles of bubbly were involved in the production of these “cookies,” and I’d like to know since when does YouTubing pay that much, but that is neither here nor there. Nor over there either.

So, here:

When your cooking project requires a spotter for safety reasons, maybe it’s time to order in.

Tea-Partay!

Our good friend Eric Nabler recently brought up the not-yet-pressing-in-Cauckistan-where-it-is-still-snowing question of beverages which are both appropriate and practical for consumption al fresco in the heat of high summer. We have to draw a line in the sand and say that Martinis, as delightful as they are, are (along with roulette) really an indoor activity.

For sitting outside in the heat of summer, we offer the following. But first, the world’s greatest booze commercial (note: I have never seen this product in Canada, and wouldn’t buy it if I did, but the commercial is pure awesomenosity).

Secondly, we offer this book, The Tropical Bar Bookthe greatest Drinks to Be Consumed Outdoors book in the history of all literature.
The Tropical Bar Book

In case you’re tempted to doubt my word for it, this book is not simply a work of art stuffed with entertaining literary excerpts interspersed with wonderful, historically accurate recipes. It was also published by Martha Stewart’s ex-husband, which lends a Schadenfreudean sweetness to each and every sip you enjoy of every drink whose recipe you read here. All of the recipes are good, and so are the stories from the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene. I am serious: all of the recipes. You literally cannot go wrong with this book.

Thirdly, we will suggest sticking to beverages in which juice, tea or carbonation feature prominently, as becoming “dehydrated” and napping in direct sunshine is very bad for the skin. Tea has almost mystical cooling properties, which is why they drink so much tea in the tropics.

Beverages served on the rocks, as previously discussed, are what’s called for here. Also acceptable are chilled beverages served in their individual containers: beer, wine coolers, hard lemonade, etc. For keeping them cool, we are not entirely opposed to “sleeves” of one kind or another, although we prefer the Chuggie to match the Thuggie rather than just advertise Billy Bob’s Fried Chicken Shack or whatever.

The Chuggie is not an option for formal occasions

The Chuggie is not an option for formal occasions

There is nothing the least bit Gatsbyesque about that, is there?

We will pointedly NOT be discussing blender drinks, for lo, we are over thirty, and our eardrums are delicate.

For more formal occasions where neither your Chuggie nor your Thuggie are welcome, we recommend a large, flawless pitcher, some tall glasses, and a great deal of ice. Thusly:

YES:

Marquis Martini Pitcher from Waterford“Flawless” is a good word. You can’t go wrong with an utterly plain, high-quality crystal pitcher as long as it has straight sides. “Bulbous” is not a look that works for this. It works for Sangria: it doesn’t work with anything more refined. This classic is indoor/outdoor and shows off any colourful beverage to great advantage. Remember, though, carbonated drinks don’t go in pitchers. It is, however, both permissible and practical to premix the non-carbonated ingredients in a pitcher and then pour an ounce of the mix into each glass and top with bubbly that you keep on ice. It lets you pretend to be a bartender without doing any heavy lifting, and is to be recommended if you’re serving a crowd.

Also yes:

Nambe serenity pitcher“Gorgeous” is also a good word. This isn’t a classic, and it sure isn’t cheap, but it is stunningly beautiful and unusual. The curves are restrained yet sexy, and I guarantee this isn’t something that you see in every pub and den around town. I am very much liking this new, creative style.

MAYBE:
Pitcher? Better have a catcher tooI have nothing against this very naked pitcher on principle, but just try getting a steady grip on the damn thing once it’s nicely coated with condensation. That’s why this handle-less number should be kept for drinks that are mixed without and then poured over ice. I’m thinking Manhattans, specifically, and I’m thinking I’ll get some argument on that one…
Quanttro Martini PitcherI really do like this Quanttro, and it’s on sale at a wicked price, but am on the fence because there’s just something about a pitcher that is wider at the top than the bottom which reminds me of this:

Beer Pitcherand that is just NOT the look you’re going for, unless you’re a 20-year-old waitress at a roadhouse. And if you are, you have my condolences. That said, I have one of these which I use for making Sun Tea, but let’s be honest here: it looks awfully trailer park.

NO:

Riedel Martini pitcher and tumblersWe’ve discussed why not these glasses, and as for why not this pitcher, again with the Bulbous. And again with the No Handle. If you’re stirring a drink with ice, you need a handle, it’s just that simple. And if you bought this set you would be buying Those Glasses, and you wouldn’t do that, would you?

do we even have to discuss this?Seriously, do we have to discuss this? The Martini is not The Jagerbomb. A little respect is called for. And since it says “Martini” right there on the side, it’d be practically illegal to mix something else in it. Actually, owning this should get you a stay at Gitmo.

Ceramic martini pitcherYou do not mix a cocktail in a container you cannot see through. I’m sorry, people, I don’t make up these rules, I just report them. You do not mix a cocktail in an opaque container and that’s just the way it is in this space-time continuum.

And somehow this has turned into a pitcher post, which I had not intended. Okay, recipes and “booze theory” post coming next, I promise.

Tee Many Martooni (Glasses)

As regular raincoaster readers know, we at the ol’ ManoloFood blog are of Catholic tastes, although quite happy to take a Protestant on a quiet night. We are well-pleased both with the offerings of one of the greatest chefs in the world and with the humble pierogies from a drag queen burger bar. We are on the record as 100% down with wine tumblers (red wines only). And so, this may come as something of a shock to you, but there are a few things on this Earth about which we are entirely, stone-cold orthodox.

And Martini (or, more properly, Cocktail) Glasses are one of those things.

It’s fun to have glassware of different shapes and sizes, or even different colours: in my house, you can have 63 consecutive beverages chez moi without ever having the same kind of glass. You cannot, however, drive home afterwards. I have at least one of everything, including a frosted plastic Martini glass that lights up in rotating primary colours like a 60′s Christmas tree, thanks to the miracles of fiberoptics and LEDs, but I generally save that for parties where even the dog wears a lampshade.

Now that is one deluxe cab service

Now that is one deluxe cab service, but which one do you tip?

Did you know it was legal to ride your horse when you’re drunk, as long as you do it in Montana? Sensible if you’re using a Western saddle, otherwise the risk of slippage is too great. You dressage artistes are out of luck. My grandfather used to have a draft horse that would take him and the wagon safely home from the pub without any input from him, but unfortunately it meant he could never sell that horse, as it would always end up taking whoever it was home to his farm. But I digress…

Anyhoodle, to steal an expression from Plumcake, I’m also going to steal Plumcake’s Yes/No/Maybe post style and apply it to glasses for the classic Martini. I don’t really care what you serve your FunTinis in, as long as you do it well away from me, but if you’re going to serve a proper Martini, even to yourself, you must, repeat MUST, do it in one of the following.

Yes:

Reidel Vinum Martini Glass
Riedel Vinum Martini Glass. I don’t care what else you own; if you drink proper Martinis, you need the proper glass. This is it. You don’t have to do Riedel specifically: you can make do with any very, very plain version in good-quality glass or crystal, and yes, quality matters. Buying a heavy, clumsy Martini glass with a thick rim and a stem like a redwood is just throwing good money after bad design. There are solid practical reasons that beverageware evolved the way it has, and it pays to use the right container if you care enough to make the drink well. Don’t stick yourself with a bunch of Martini glasses that aren’t a positive pleasure to hold, because if it’s not a gratifying sensual experience, why bother in the first place? Just get yourself a paper bag and two straws and you’re good to go, right? It’s not as if “Plymouth 6:1 with a Twist” is on your diet anyway.

Now on to the No’s:

These are the Martini glasses you cannot buy for Martinis. You can buy them for your FunTinis and your blended drinks or whatever godforsaken Jagermeister concoctions your roommate (it IS your roommate’s Jagermeister, right?) whips up, but you are not allowed to spend your hard-earned money on these until you have one set of perfect Martini Glasses as described above.

Sagaform Martini stubby
The Sagaform Martini glass. It’s pretty. It’s hand-blown. It is very well-made. But it’s shallow, which will warm your drink up in no time even if you keep the glass in the freezer (they don’t get dusty in there, and the solid knob is supposed to hold the cold) and it’s anything but graceful or sexy. Grownups should never drink anything, even juice from glasses that could be described as “stubby” (Old Fashioned glasses aren’t stubby; they’re just impressively broad for their height, like so many of their aficionados)!

Also No, the classic “Frat Bar “Martini Glass” even if it’s by Riedel, which it is in this case.

Riedel Martini Tumblers

and the stemless version, which looks about as dignified as a man in a Hugo Boss suit who has forgotten his pants.

What is this? I don't even...

What is this? I don’t even...

Now, you may think I’m just being arbitrary and contrarian (moi?) but the fact is a Martini must be cold, very cold, to be very good. And the only Martinis you should drink are those which have been made very well, and served in glasses that will not interfere with your experience. Any glass that forces you to hold it by the bowl interferes, by turning you into a big, handsy gin warming device. And don’t try to kid me. “I’ll only hold it up near the rim” is the drinker’s version of “I didn’t inhale.”

Now the Maybes.

Once you’ve got a set of those perfect glasses mentioned first, just one for each friend you positively treasure enough to have over for the good stuff, you can add these and serve real Martinis in them. Yes, they’re slightly bizarre. And no, you can’t get these first. But they are ingenious, charming, attractive, and very practical. I’d bring them out with some adventurous friends, or possibly some people in the cocktail industry because although they never get tired of perfection, after your five hundredth perfect cocktail in a perfect cocktail glass, you might want to go just a little crazy.

Nachtmann Dancing Stars Bossa Nova Martini GlassThe Nachtmann Dancing Stars Bossa Nova Martini Glass from, yes, Riedel. And no, they don’t pay me for this fetish of mine. This one is a Maybe because that stem is just sooooo thick. With these proportions it teeters on the edge of clumsy, but the beautiful cuts (click through and look at the zoomed pic) and the great quality of the crystal bring it back to the right side. It’s also nearly ten inches tall, so this is quite an imposing glass; singles will barely wet the bottom, so store these in the freezer and serve larger drinks in these. For all the “Dancing Stars” marketing, these are very macho glasses.

Libbey Swerve Martini GlassesLibbey Swerve Martini Glasses. Because, just, why not? Libbey is decent utilitarian glass and these are cocktails we’re talking about, not holy water: some things just go better with a twist.

Stemless Martini Glass setThe actually useful stemless Martini glass. Unlike the above-mentioned atrocity, it will actually keep your drink cold; the downside is that you must be sitting down in order to use it (or freeze your left hand while turning the ice into water) and that it best suits drinks that are sipped slowly, as otherwise it’s completely unnecessary. If you’re a slow drinker, it might be just the thing for you, as it will keep your Martini good and cold for a very long time indeed, but coasters are going to be an essential accoutrement with the condensation. And word to the wise: shaved or crushed ice works: cubes, no matter how small, do not. Snow works really well, actually.

And now, my absolute favorite of the New Wave of glassware (“New” here meaning post-Prohibition):

Starfrit Double Wall Martini GlassThe Starfrit Double Wall Martini Glass. It’s got a seven ounce capacity, which is just too big, but otherwise I love this little thing. That little pigtail at the bottom is just the right amount of crazy, even if cleaning this thing will drive you in that general direction. The clever double-walled design is not only useful for insulatory purposes, it’s also quite attractive. Just be sure to buy the extra-large olives and you’ll be all good.

Will It Saber: Part 6 and 6b

Oh, what the hell. Make it a double.

Oh, what the hell. Make it a double.

I’m in a celebratory mood lately, so I hereby declare that it’s time to catch up with our festive old pal and email buddy, and the sworn enemy of Champagne bottles everywhere, Matt Stache. We are reliably informed that this daredevil intends to make an assault on the world record for most Champagne bottles sabered in one minute, and we wish him well and we wish, further, to be on hand because yeah, that stuff doesn’t keep worth beans.

In any case, here he is attempting his sabrage with, sequentially, a cocktail glass and a god damned scythe.

Martini vs Champagne:

The Booze Reaper

First Floor, going UP!

and going down, the hatch that is.

I know, I HAD to use it and I’m sorry already, okay?

Anyway, this is just a quickie cocktail post about my new favorite cocktail, which has actually usurped the place in my heart formerly held by my beloved Negroni.

As some of you may know, latterly my liver and I are barely on speaking terms, and I’m drinking less like a sailor than like a … I don’t know … I don’t actually have any cultural reference points for people who don’t drink like that. What can I say, I’m Irish! Anyway, I’m definitely preferring my cocktails on the lighter side lately, and this one has all the complexity and bittersweet charm of the Negroni, but without the vicious kick.

The Bon Marché cocktail was invented on a blustery night last week by my favorite bartender, Mr. Jay Jones, who’s newly installed as bar manager at Market by Jean-Georges in the Shangri-La hotel. Yes, in Canada we have our good restaurants in hotels. We just gotta be contrarian that way.

Anyway, it was invented specifically for me when I said I’d leave it up to him. “Sweet? Bitter? Creamy?” Bitter. Hey, I gotta be me. And so it was, and delicious it is, enough to make a whole blog post out of, trust me.

You make this just like a Martini, meaning you have to chill the glass, so do that first. I know you, you don’t store your glasses in the freezer, do you? Chuck some cubes into it and fill it with cold water while you putter around going “do we even HAVE orange bitters?” and it’ll be cold enough by the time the drink is mixed.

Bon Marché

  • 1.5 oz Beefeater 24
  • 0.5 oz Campari
  • 0.5 oz Giffard Abricot Du Roussillon
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers’ West Indian Orange Bitters
  • lemon zest

Mix over ice, stir until chilled, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with lemon zest and yes, you squeeze it over the drink before you plop it in and if you’re in the mood, wipe rim the glass with the zest as well. Since this is a hot pink stunner of a cocktail, a clear glass is essential for showing it off, but cut crystal will bring out the tones better than a classically minimalist one would. Keep the purist glass for purist Martinis, and try this gorgeous, po-mo Wood Grain Martini Glass from that very po-mo collective, Waterford.

Wood Grain Martini glass by Michael Aram for Waterford

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