You never know when you’re gonna get a shot of enthusiasm.
It may come in the form of a postcard for a job well done. How many people have luminaries call them a “rock star”?
It also might be through a tweet. How many of your “tweeps” sent a message saying to show you some love on this Follow Friday?
It might be through people responding to a query. We might know a little something about a little bit, but we’ve got to depend on those that have walked this road before — and rejoice that we can call upon them, and that they respond!
We might not have all these people within arms’ length every day; maybe not even often. So, this evening — when you’re sharing a pre-event cocktail with your main damie, allowing some 1738 to relax you after a hard day’s work, or sipping on some of the last Green Label you’ll be able to buy again — think about them for a minute, and toast to their health, wealth, and prosperity, in hopes that you’ll be able to see them again soon to make your glasses go *clink, clink*. Be well and be congenial…
"In terms of numbers, the London Games certainly have been the Twitter Olympics, far outpacing both the Beijing and Vancouver Games…
Over the years, Twitter, which did not respond to a request for comment on this story, has become the Olympics’ “cocktail hour,” where both athletes and couch dwellers chatter about the games, said Jason Damata, spokesman for Trendrr, a social media tracker…
“Two or four years ago it wasn’t as common. Four years ago, especially, it was really just people in their houses saying ‘Oh my gosh did you see that dive.’ It was people talking to their social circles,” he said. “As Twitter as a platform has evolved and behavior has evolved, it is happening on both ends. Now there are way more athletes who are on. And there are way more people who are sharing their viewing habits, on Twitter especially.”"
— CNN, “Welcome to the Twitter Olympics”
Le Corbusier once noted that architects can have success in obtaining projects by “drinking the right cocktail to secure the commission.” While tales have been told of some architects’ failures at winning over the crowd at a dinner party, one architect that may be a step ahead is Michael Graves. I mean, when you can design a knockout cocktail set, you’re already ahead of the curve!
Graves has a knack of designing products with a touch of whimsy, harkening back to his post-modern design background. That leads to him reconsidering design, history, or culture when he makes a reference — bringing a new perspective to the conversation for a new audience. Whether through architecture by putting new clothes on the classical emperor with the Portland Building, or putting on a product design hat to create a mash-up of drinking styles for the mixologist and sommelier, Graves has set his own standard for interdisciplinary creation, turning design on its head.
Is he an architect? A glassware aficionado? What about a graphic design specialist, or a vanguard of universal design? It doesn’t matter — you know it when you see it, and Graves’ products truly give you a congenial feeling.
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.
"All cultural subtleties belong to the city — where else are women beautiful?
Which brings us to Marjorie…She is a pretty woman and she will be prettier very soon…So it is Marjorie’s presence that reveals the fullest meaning of the water of life; what it truly dissolves away is loneliness. She and good liquor at 6:00pm — two warmths, two tendernesses, have met in the martini of the heart…
There should always be a woman at the hour, to make the renewal richer, to augment the beauties of evening and ease and alcohol, to orchestrate life’s appetites…” — The Hour by Bernard DeVoto
Sharing a cocktail is one of the most distinct experiences of the male-female relationship. Sharing a drink is one of the most often used methods to meet a woman. Sometimes it involves inviting her out to a local drinking place; other times, offering to buy a drink for that certain lady at the bar that caught your eye. Many people and articles have posited what your drink says about you, and it’s in this particular scenario that men and women can find out what makes the person who they are, by starting to strip their idiosyncrasies off of them, while putting some shape and form to their personal identity. Some casual offerings can provide deep insight, as men figure out exactly where Venus is located, and women use their GPS to get to Mars.
And this is all for the love of the sport, right? I mean, we do have opposite chromosomes, so there’s enough room for competition, right? But save for a little pent-up competitive spirit in the absence of fantasy football, why spend it here? Can’t we enjoy the beauty of fellowship, as DeVoto eloquently states? Why spend your time at the bar scheming on which women to sink your wolf teeth into, when you can concentrate on the time at hand: the two of you, at that moment in time, sharing a bit of humanity, two beings in the name of fellowship. That’s worth drinking to, especially today; best believe I’m planning to be the fellow on the ship with my special Valentine. Cheers to you and your sweetie, on this day that makes for a rosy, congenial heart.
"Robert Rebutato, the son of the restaurateurs, was an architect in Le Corbusier’s Paris studio. For many summers, he had been Le Corbusier’s constant companion for the vacation routine of two swims a day, one at the end of the morning, the next in the late afternoon, each followed by an aperitif. Over ritual drinks, Le Corbusier would hold forth to his acolyte about architecture, nature, color, or whatever the passionate theme of the day was." — Le Corbusier: A Life by Nicholas Fox Weber
“There were no banquets or speeches, just a quiet dinner party and a cocktail party at Sert’s. When the guests arrived they found Le Corbusier standing among the early arrivals in the patio to the rear of Sert’s house drinking Pernod.” — Le Corbusier At Work: The Genesis of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
What’s in your cocktail cabinet? Arbitrary bottles, the Ghosts of Parties Past? Treasured gifts opened once every Blue Label moon? A steady parade of cascading and rotating bottles, mostly of a mainstream variety?
Congenial greetings to those who hold to keeping wondrous offerings in their cocktail cabinet. Whether at home or on vacation, visitors abound — they must be catered to with fervor and warmth. Anyone can offer someone a bit of hooch you can pick up from any corner store. But to have a collection of offerings that make the person really take note that it’s more than just having bottles, and exudes the effort undertaken to bring them all together. Pair that with some attractive and functional glassware and cocktailing tools to make your favorite barkeep smile, and you’ll be on to something. Take care of yourself, and the ones around you. And always stay prepared for The Hour.
“With the introduction, in the 1920s, of a new social pastime — the cocktail party — a new piece of furniture was created, inspired by the 18th-century sideboard with its ice drawers and fitted decanter cabinets. Intended for storing all the accoutrements associated with the making of cocktails, the cocktail cabinet contained fitted shelves and bottle holders.
It often took the external form of a traditional writing desk, while its modern interior was frequently a flamboyant, conversation-making piece of furniture veneered with a host of exotic woods, equipped with lights, and lined with mirror glass. Far from its original intention as a piece of furniture designed for writing, the cocktail cabinet added a more frivolous and decadent note to the fashionable interior that chimed with the contemporary taste for luxury and glamour, which persisted throughout the Jazz Age and the Great Depression." — Furniture: World Styles From Classical to Contemporary, by Judith Miller
"Money is ‘fast,’ the Americans are slow. The country is daring, the Americans are timid. The enterprises are bold, the Americans are afraid…Cocktail parties are a safety-valve: crowds of people standing up. They are full of life, they are afraid of life. The radio, the Sunday New York Times, Pullman cars, fill up the voids and empty spaces. And yet, no philosophy of life appears – of life, of enjoyment, of the joining together of the idea and its resolution in an accomplished act. America is young. They do not taste, they do not savor – they drink."
— When The Cathedrals Were White, by Le Corbusier
How do you observe The Hour?
Is it with a group of co-workers after a day on the job, possibly letting a few lagers aid the discourse?
Is it with a couple of good friends, catching up on that thing called life, while some craft cocktails stimulate the conversation?
Is it at your home with a significant other or close friend, pouring from a bottle of an aged spirit you’d been waiting to check out, as you relax and await the “dying of the light”?
However you enjoy The Hour, make sure the experience is congenial….have a great weekend.
**Cheers to Joshua Lindo of Eye Journey (www.eyejourney.co.uk) for taking video, exhibiting this environment in such a congenial light.**
What image does “retro” have in your mind? Is “modern vintage” an oxymoron or can those two terms mutually exist? In the search for the next best thing, is the past something we should casually review or extensively cull from?
Many attempts are made to reach this combination of present and past, through a multitude of cultural objects. The Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang all reached for the old school/classic car enthusiast in all of us, harkening back to the days of pure-bred, American muscle. The tragic story of Amy Winehouse recalls many rock legends who passed at an early age, and her mid-20th century rhythm and blues situated her right in line with singers of that era. As many architects and interior designers that have a distinctly sharp modern aesthetic, there are countless others that utilize the warm feelings of past styles as their point of reference.
The success and intercultural influence of the 50s/60s-era period piece Mad Men reflects popular culture walking the tightrope between “now” and “then”. The TV show is literally transforming into a “brand”. Banana Republic looked to the vintage fashion to reinvigorate its clothing line, creating a “special release” Mad Men-inspired collection. It has sparked a renewed interest in mid-20th century cocktails, libations borne of The Hour — dry martinis, Manhattans, Sidecars, among many others — that AMC published a cocktail guide on its homepage. While the glassware selections and instructions might make some mixologists raise an eyebrow, the effect is certain: this train is beginning to pick up some steam. If people begin to generate interest in classic bases of cocktails, and discover that every drink doesn’t have to include sour mix or some pre-mixed/sugarrific/powder base, that the spirituous ingredients have wondrous flavors that should not be masked, you’ll soon see your local bartender smiling a bit more as you belly up to the bar.
(Source: The Huffington Post)
The Congenial Hour has a special connection with the workday. New posts occur during the 6p hour every workday, as mandated by our good friend, Mr. DeVoto. But this blog wouldn’t have been able to do that without the lovely folks who brought us the weekend — labor unions.
The Hour isn’t long enough to discuss all the hardships and battles that labor unions went through to reach a sensible balance between life and work. But respect should be doled out to those that put in extra effort to ensure that we could properly observe the time “when evening quickens in the street,” where we sit down with friends during the “pause in the day’s occupation.” There would be no transition, no “lifeward turn” without the trials that the unions went through.
So the next Friday — possibly today — when you and a couple mates are sending cheers of “TGIF,” remember who allowed you to make that toast.
”Oh, hands and hearts are weary, And homes are heavy with dole;
If our life’s to be filled with drudg’ry, What need of a human soul.
Shout, shout the lusty rally,
From shipyard, shop, and mill — Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, Eight hours for what we will!!”
This article argues the merits and the pitfalls of imbibing at The Hour. It posits whether The Hour is every hard worker’s just reward or if it’s just the 4th step on the way to arriving in a 12-step program. Arguments can be supported on either side, siding towards taking time to indulge or towards a temperance approach.
When I started this blog, I felt that one of the many aims I had with its creation, as well as future forays into drinking culture writing/analysis, is to focus on how and why we drink — not just the end-product, the what. In identifying why we drink (what pleases our senses and spirit) and how we drink (appreciation of certain types of environments; customs, styles, or manners practiced) we would ultimately arrive at what type of drink was appropriate. This hopefully would bring about a more responsible and informed manner of drinking. My forays could hopefully be accepted by individuals and organizations at various points along the drinking spectrum — from the casual drinker to the cocktail enthusiast, from the Museum of the American Cocktail to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
But what does observing The Hour really mean? Is it a Freudian slip, leaving the door cracked for your inner alcoholic to slip out? Does it offer a poor example for the kiddies, leading them to turn towards a future of Jager Bombs and Ciroc Obamas? Just because your inner mixologist ratchets up the creativity during The Hour, producing a cocktail using finely-crafted spirits, industry-approved mixing techniques, personally-made tinctures and syrups….you’re still practicing a hermitic style of drinking.
What say you, glorious public? Do you listen to that white-clothed individual on your left shoulder and keep the bottle shut? Or make two cocktails — one for you and the other for that red-suited guy on your right shoulder?
"Money is involved in the time taken up by a business transaction, the time in which things are manufactured. At that time seconds are as precious as gold. As for us, we undertake nothing, we let the country go to rack and ruin; time has no value. Aperitíf time is one of the active moments in French life. On the day that we undertake the construction of new white cathedrals, the thinking capacity acquired around aperitíf glasses will produce living works."
— Le Corbusier, When The Cathedrals Were White