X-Men Origins: Wolverine ended with Logan at a bar, drinking to remember. In The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent surprised the policeman at the bar who he thought had a hand in Rachel’s death — he took a drink and it poured down the disfigured side of his face. A round of shots starts Mark Wahlberg’s character, John Bennett, his teddy bear friend, and Sam Jones aka Flash Gordon, on a binge of violence, mayhem, and skullduggery, in the movie Ted. See what wonderful things happen when you show drinking culture in film?
Bets are that there are people out there that can conjure up great motion pictures devoid of mutants and stuffed animals. If you are one of these, Bombay Sapphire is looking for you. Do YOU have a great imagination? Would you like to see your story on the silver screen? Get your popcorn ready!
This post should be titled, “Confessions of a Pack Rat.” Since this isn’t a “personal” blog, I plead the fizziff.
But I digress. What should you do with those empty wine and spirits bottles you have laying around. What if you have more than one or two, maybe 15? I previously showed this way of dealing with them. But here’s another that is more useful than just taking up space. *cough, my trunk, cough* Especially if you have bottles that are tinted different colors, like Bombay Sapphire or Skyy or Tanqueray Ten. I can imagine the wonderful tones they’d bring to a space. Now all we need are self-replenishing bottles. I wait with baited breath and empty glass.
This post was submitted as a response to the topic question, “How Do You Whiskey Friday?,” by Baratunde Thurston, author of the book, “How To Be Black.”
How do I Whisk(e)y Friday? That’s the type of question everyone should ask themselves — to recognize how “your identity affects how you start the weekend.” I’ll offer my perspective…
The number one way is to always, ALWAYS, be sure to respect the bottle, or it’ll disrespect you. Knowing how you like to drink will lead you to where, and then towards what to drink. I think that you can find out how you whisk(e)y friday at a drinking place that catches your fancy, one that you’ve always wondered what’s happening within its walls. Bernard DeVoto says that time should be spent with “two or three friends,” but Derek Brown finds interest in the lone imbiber; let’s follow that path for now.
You should spend some time asking your friendly neighborhood barkeep a couple of questions. Since you’re by yourself, the bartender is your only “friend,” but well-suited to give you a bit of info on the area, anecdotes about what you’re drinking, even bits of etiquette that will take you far in this world of handshaking and hobnobbing. While you’re sitting at the bar, take a gander at the pretty bottles in front of you — ain’t they purrty? Remember them — they’ll come in handy when you need to make a reference sometime later.
Now, that person that’s been sitting next to you, you notice them? Ask them something. Comment on something. Anything. Doesn’t matter if they like you or if they’re interested in you or if you share something in common. What matters is that you’re elbow-to-elbow at that moment in time. You’ve got a brain — use it. Tell a joke. Or a story. Ask them a question that only they can answer. Remember that shiny blue bottle you noticed earlier? The one with the Queen on it? Ask them if they’ve ever had any. Tell them you’ve got some in your glass and it’s kept you smiling, though other brands usually put a smile on your face. Offer a cheers in response. Take another sip of your cocktail and smile because you can’t wait for the next Whisk(e)y Friday. Then go home, go to sleep, wake up and attack Thursday.
Because when you feel like taking a minute to #getcongenial, you don’t wait for the weekend. The day doesn’t matter. You don’t even wait for Whisk(e)y Friday to come back around; it might be the perfect time for Gin o’Clock. To share in a moment of humanity is a characteristic that’s essentially human. We aren’t meant to suppress desires or common courtesy or humor. For what reason? Because it’s not a designated time and place? Rubbish! Take the time when you have it because you don’t know if the time will come again.
Fill kettle with water. Place on stove on medium-low flame. Cut peels from three clementines and put in kettle; eat innards to boost Vitamin C. Go retrieve Bombay Sapphire and Becherovka from cocktail cabinet — botanicals, herbs, and spices to the rescue! Struggle with Ron Zacapa molasses jar. Emit hearty harrumph. Repeat three more times until finally open. Get mint tea bag from pantry. Retrieve Givenchy mug from wall cabinet. Feel good about the slogan: “A Sign of Intelligent Life.” Hear kettle beckon. Pour hot water into mug over teabag; let steep. Add Zacapa molasses and stir. Smile that you cannot smell the molasses clearly. Add gin and liqueur to mixture. Add lemon juice to cup. Stir. Smile. Retrieve ground ginger from cabinet; sprinkle on top. Smile again. Sip. Smile for the thrice time. Retreat to create post.
Some of us just don’t know when to stop being congenial. Sometimes when to start.
A bit of a faux pas by our wonderful President. Maybe he was wowed by the opportunity to offer a toast to the granddaughter of the woman on the pretty blue bottle. Maybe he thought he had the most congenial toast ever prepared. Maybe he wanted to discuss the special relationship and peculiarities of drinking culture between the two countries. Whatever it was, he should’ve just paused a moment. Don’t rush — we aren’t going anywhere. There’s more than enough time to get congenial after the music stops playing.
“The bar and kitchen are so close together now…For me, a bartender is just as inspirational as a pastry chef or chef de cuisine.” — Tyler Florence
What inspires you? Do you inspire those around you?
Are you a take-things-as-they-come kind of person? Just roll with the punches? Or do you take life by the helm, place the pins yourself, and then knock them down? A steady drizzle or full of fire?
There are two perspectives to “free will”. One side says that people can do whatever they want, regardless of anything in their path. The other side says that there are always external forces working for or against you, directly and indirectly, so that it is never really “you” doing exactly what you want. If you knew one or the other was true, would it stop you from doing what you want to do?
At the end of the day, nothing matters but what you have set out to do. Others may be in your way, but you can only control yourself. Do all you can to help and share with those around you to push the craft, but don’t align yourself with anything that is not moving forward.
Cast a broad net and keep finding things to reach for, that augment what you do. You can never stop learning and striving to make what you do even better. Keep your “eyes on the prize” and never give up — that’s inspiring.
[Photos by ME]
Glassware, glassware, glassware. What type to be used, what drink it will hold, where does it come from — wait, where does it come from? Isn’t it a given that everyone uses the same glasses for their cocktails, no matter the location? Isn’t a shot a shot, no matter if it’s taken in Jalisco or Holland?
Bombay Sapphire sponsors a glass design competition, and with the most synonymous gin cocktail being a Martini, that’s what the designs are generally tailored to. However, you do see some very interesting designs coming from many different international locales. It’s great to see designers put a cultural spin on an object that is thought to be iconic, like there’s only one standard to work from.
I had the pleasure of attending the final exhibition held in London several years ago and was impressed, excited, and inspired by what I saw. Design is art, yes, but there’s also a function to objects that are designed — it’s not solely about how it looks. With the cocktail glass, there’s the obvious purpose — to hold the cocktail and allow it to be experienced — but there are many different methods one can undertake. Cheers, indeed, on making a cocktail even better than its components alone.
Men and Cocktails: A “man’s best friend” type of synergy. Find one and the other is probably within toasting distance. But in the midst of this environment, what does the man wear to set himself apart? If the woman wears any incarnation of the “little black dress” — the “Eve” of cocktail culture — what is her “Adam”?
How do we fashionably transition to The Hour? Is the loosening of the tie, or a changing of the guard — switching to flashier or more colorful neckwear — enough? Do we put a blazer over the polo shirt and keep it moving? Do we change out of the Clark Kent of a shirt and slacks and fly into the Superman of a dark suit?
Do you roll up your sleeves so your Martinez doesn’t spill on your french cuffs? Do you put on a flashy set of cufflinks to shine along with the ice in your Sapphire Gimlet? Does your pocket square accentuate the warm red hue of your Plymouth Negroni?
How, as men, are we to find this out? The Aquarium, inside the Alfred Dunhill store in Tokyo, provides an environment that surely offers enough reason to think about it. Why wait until after you’re done shopping to share a cocktail and discuss your shopping decisions. Drinking WHILE shopping? Now that’s a combination that an Alexander McQueen emsemble couldn’t measure up to.
Though we’re far removed from the days of Bohemian writers, artists, actors, and journalists turning pubs in Soho, The Strand, and other areas of Central London into hotspots, drinking culture and the arts still have a strong relationship throughout the world. Spirit companies have undertaken varied initiatives to showcase the works of the “creative class”.
Beck’s is taking the physical route with their Green Box Project. They will showcase submissions from international artists, designers, musicians, and fashion designers in the “augmented reality” of a glowing green box. There will already be 30 boxes strategically placed around the world by September 2011, an urbane installation of art with architecture and exhibit design.
Hennessy is taking the more upbeat route with their Hennessy Artistry project. Highlighting the “global art of mixing,” they are taking the multi-pronged approach of galvanizing DJ’s and musicians internationally. Events have included high-energy clubbing featuring DJ’s in Kuala Lumpur to established artists like The Roots, Q-Tip, and Common collaborating through hip hop back stateside.
Bombay Sapphire comes through to represent for the light spirits, producing its Artisan Series. Linking with the hip hop luminary Russell Simmons and his brother Danny through RUSH Philanthropic, this effort looks for the next star in “urban photography and multimedia art.” This nationwide search has been featured at art gallery events where Bombay’s “inspired cocktails” aren’t the only masterpiece in attendance!
So be on the lookout, in areas of both physical and virtual reality. While perusing your favorite blogs, you may see some of these initiatives trying to pique your interest. Or while on a casual walk through downtown, you might happen to pop up on this glowing, green cube. And to those artistic teetotalers, those that think cognac is only for old men, and those that staunchly believe that “gin’ll make you sin,” this firewater just might provide the springboard to your big break. That’s worth a finely-crafted cocktail now and again, no?
I don’t blog about cocktails directly too much….that’s not the point of The Congenial Hour, per se. There are many other places throughout the blogosphere and the literary world that offer more direct insight on drink itself.
However, one cocktail that I often enjoy is one that has brought me quite a few widened eyes….led some to question where my loyalties are….inquire as to whether I’ve been bamboozled or led astray….when in actuality, I just love the light and citrusy flavor of it! It’s the White Lady cocktail — a dominant mixture of gin, with Cointreau and fresh lemon juice playing supporting roles.
I can’t actually recall the first time I ordered a White Lady. I am good friends with the pretty blue bottle of Sapphire, but I don’t recall how I came to find out about the White Lady. But everytime a bartender asks me what elixir I fancy, and I respond, “I’d like a White Lady,” all I get are smiles and jokes and “A what?!?!” It’s seemingly better than ordering a Sex on the Beach or whatever Dirty/Slutty/Sex-Crazed cocktail is floating around out there — but then again, I guess it may not be. I wonder if there is a double standard though….maybe I’ll have to order a White Russian and see if I get the same response. Here’s to testing it out….cheers!
This is from a vendor I saw at the HonFest in Baltimore. Bottles are flattened for use as display art, trays, or cheese/cutting boards. I didn’t take the name of the vendor, but there are many similar companies online. The design of spirit bottles varies, with all different types of sizes and shapes, and this seems like a good method of reuse, other than simply tossing them away. So the next time you go to throw away that pretty blue bottle of Bombay Sapphire, or the slender and elegant bottle of St-Germain or Galliano, you might want to think twice. Look at it as reclaiming memories of glorious experiences….
Feeling inspired? I know I am….this link mentions Nashville, but the competition is searching throughout 36 cities, Chicago being one of them. What sort of cocktail is fit for a Gentleman? Hmmmmm…..