What happened to dinner parties? Do they still take place — formally, informally, or both?
The dinner party seems to have gone through many changes over the years. While it was a chance to share martinis and discuss business and personal during the 50s, it’s been
Have you had a dinner party lately? Did it have a theme or was it an informal gathering of friends? Was it possibly a night to welcome people into your home, and share with them certain offerings you’ve had in mind for a while?
How did your guests come dressed — after-work casual, in cocktail attire, or formal? Did you have a script for the evening or just let the conversation and activity flow?
Here’s to hoping your next, or first, dinner party is a congenial affair. Bon appetit and cheers!
Man’s best friend. Our fine-furried friend.
People with canine companions spend more waking moments with them than others that can reply in English. There’s not much time left after morning walks, playtime, evening walks, baths, fighting him for your food, chasing him around the house, and collapsing on the couch with him. But is there time for him during The Hour?
Dogs and drinking culture don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but they have a certain relationship. One of the most favorite quotes of drinking culture is the old “hair of the dog” colloquialism. “If I had a hair of the dog that bit me last night” has led to small tipples of numerous spirits, or at least a Bloody Mary, the next morn. Whether Snoop, Barkley, and Grouper commend this sin against temperance is yet to be examined, but at least it has given them a bit of fame in the cocktail world. And who can’t be happy that such a classic animal has two classic cocktails to accompany him? The Greyhound, a highball mix of vodka and grapefruit juice, and the similarly bred Salty Dog, which features a salted dog collar…I mean, a salted rim.
Outside of that, there’s not much. A background presence in an old colonial tavern rendering or two, a contemporary tavern and “martini” menu named after them — you know, not much to really bark about. Maybe one day they’ll really make their presence felt in the realm of drinking culture, and really bring their worth to the forefront. Alas, that may be the day WE begin to walk around in collars.
Three things you couldn’t live without…what would they be?
Your family, your wife, your children?
Your job, your car, your condo?
Football, basketball, and baseball?
Men with style have a different troika:
“During his first three years in Chicago, Mies lived in hotels. Most of his possessions remained in Germany. He was shy, and his tenuous command of English only made him seem more reserved. His requirements were few but refined: ‘Martinis, Havana cigars, and a few expensive suits led the list,’ writes biographer Franz Schulze.”
*walks into The Congenial Hour in all-black clothing*
We’re gonna talk turkey today, people.
The Congenial Hour usually skims the surface of cocktailing, preferring to wade in the infinity pool of drinking culture. But today, we’re getting straight to the point: what does balance mean to you with a cocktail? If there are all these notes going on, how should the glass sing them? Should the cocktail agree with Teddy P and not be 70/30, not 60/40, but 50/50?
C’mon bartenders, don’t all speak up at once. All y’all mixologists, somebody gotta know SOMEthing!!
*starts circling The Congenial Hour with stuffed Snoopy doll*
Everyone knows there should be harmony in a cocktail. All these different elements have to work together, but allow each of the various components to be heard, right? And what about these “perfect” cocktails — the Perfect Manhattan, the Perfect Martini? How does balance affect those? Are there any other cocktails that can be made “perfect”?
Yeah, somebody got to know something…mm hmmm, all y’all that read the post on a proper Gimlet. All you bitters-lovin’ folk know how to balance out your cocktails’ flavor. If you drink an Old Fashioned, you DEFinitely know how you want your drink balanced.
Don’t everybody speak up at once…don’t nobody know NOTHIN’???
[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.
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)
We are a pious people but a proud one too, aware of a noble lineage and a great inheritance. Let us candidly admit that there are shameful blemishes on the American past, of which by far the worst is rum. Nevertheless we have improved man’s lot and enriched his civilization with rye, bourbon, and the martini cocktail. In all history has any other nation done so much? Not by two-thirds.
…look nearer home, at the Indians….they were an engaging people whose trust we repaid with atrocious cruelties….They evoke both pity and dismay: north of Mexico they never learned to make a fermented beverage, still less a distilled one. Concede that they had ingenuity and by means of it achieved a marvel: they took a couple of wild grasses and bred them up to corn. But what did they do with corn?…They threw the spoiled stuff out for the birds, angrily reproaching their supernaturals, and never knew that the supernaturals had given them a mash.
The Americans got no help from heaven or the saints but they knew what to do with corn."
— Bernard DeVoto, The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto
Unbuilt projects are the red-headed stepchild of every architecture practice….painfully unwanted, sometimes for reasons that are once in a lifetime. Mies van der Rohe, the master of modern architecture, was set to design a global corporate headquarters for the Bacardi company. Problem was, a gentleman by the name of Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was rousing some rabble in Santiago, Cuba; the resulting Cuban Revolution knocked the plans off the table….Castro probably even poured out Mies’ alleged cocktail of choice, a martini, floored the El Presidente cocktail of then-Bacardi president Jose “Pepín” Bosch, and handed them both a Cuba Libre, as he’s apparently a “longtime Coke drinker”…I’m sure of this!
But like any architect worth his salt, Mies picked up his disappointment, as well as his drawings, dusted off the plans and used the design for another building — the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Germany. Just like a well-crafted cocktail, well-designed buildings are welcome everywhere — God is truly in the details.