“Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” — Rocko feat. Rick Ross, “U.O.E.N.O.”
With those lyrics, Rick Ross set off a flurry of backlash against his seemingly nonchalant approach towards sexual assault via date rape drugs. Does Ross deserve the benefit of the doubt that you would normally offer an artiste of his girth — errr, I mean, stature — or was the witch hunt rightfully due?
There are human rights violations that The Congenial Hour is not the authority on, so let’s tread a bit to the other side of the “date rape” issue — gender relations within drinking culture. The question that has been asked more times than any other in drinking culture is, “Can I buy you a drink?” Seems simple enough, but in the bottle service environment that Mr. Rozay is known for, the question is usually, “Can I pour/offer you a drink?” If you are willing to forgo whatever preferences you have towards a drink, and purely accept whatever someone hands you…well, that doesn’t say too much for your sensibilities. Further, it is always better when the bartender prepares your cocktail, then hands it directly to you. Al-ways. That is not to be debated — in terms of using the proper care, craft, and technique. Why would you have just anyone pour you a drink when there’s a person who has come to the establishment specifically for that reason?
And when you’re not by your glass, how about using that handy cocktail napkin to cover it? That has been used for eons to ensure a half-finished cocktail isn’t discarded, or to let a newly-entered patron know that someone is sitting at the seat in question. But what it also could be used for is an informal way to ensure no one can casually drop something in your drink. A steel trap it is not, but better something than just air.
Finally, it pains me to write a blog about this issue, but as the Ross lyrics debate showed, it resonates with a lot of people. But as the rapper N.O.R.E. has stated, he has seen the date rape drug game play on BOTH sides of the field — that’s something you don’t hear every day. I guess both dudes & dolls should be on their p’s and q’s — pour your own pints and quarts. The drink you accept may be a glass of smoking Tang!
Many of us have made visits to distilleries and vineyards, even gone to special tasting receptions and branded events produced by spirits companies. We’ve been served expertly-mixed cocktails, given nuggets of information about the aging processes, with the best hospitality you could imagine. Regardless, none of that adds up to the red carpet laid out to rap stars.
Loso, in case you ain’t no so, took a little trip to the Land of Yak to pay a visit to the House of Remy Martin. A walkthrough ensued, where Fab was beat over the head with the finest of spirits education, tasting sessions, and to bring it all home, a fine dinner by the Executive Chef of the Remy Martin Club. I don’t know if this was the precursor to an endorsement deal, or the result of a special request, but none of the hors d’oeuvres I’ve ever had hold a candle to this experience. You too can sell out arenas all over the world, while simultaneously being able to name all the crus of Cognac. I guess I better step up my bars!
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!
What’s your Wild Rabbit?
Hennessy has a campaign that presents the search and striving for creativity, inspiration, and greatness. Many masters of craft are involved, among them Manny Pacquiao, Martin Scorsese, and our very own Erykah Badu. Above, Ms. Badu offers a token of what it takes to stir her Baduizm.
What stirs your creativity and drives you to compete and, Lord willing, to succeed? Are you on a never-ending chase after your Wild Rabbit? Hopefully you catch it this weekend. Have a good one — better yet, make it great.
Some products have commercials because it’s necessary to see a presentation or demonstration for how the product works. Some are true to advertising, to get you cognizant of the brand and personally engaged in the product. Commercials for beverage alcohol products tend towards the latter — everyone knows how spirits work, we don’t need a demonstration, which might be equally parts unintelligible and harrowing.
Many vodkas have their own commercial, with Grey Goose, Ketel One, and Russian Standard all making the rounds. But to crank the party up one notch, Pinnacle and Smirnoff enter the ring with their Whipped Cream vodkas — in addition to a Fluffed Marshmallow by Smirnoff. What happens when whipped cream vodkas attack each other, then turn on the public? The world may never recover.
March 9th is remembered in hip hop circles for being the day one of the “greatest rappers ever” passed on. I have always thought that Canibus quoting it in “Second Round K.O.” helped permanently embed it in the conscience of hip hop, but that day seems to be remembered more than other hip hop days of remembrance. While Biggie was not my favorite rapper ever, I can’t seem to forget his day of observance.
I can remember Tupac passing on a Friday, as I found out after a high school football game, but September 13th doesn’t always jump in my head as a date to remember. Big Pun probably hit me the toughest, and I remember that Pun’s passing and Dilla Day are three days apart around February 10th, but mainly because that’s a birthday of a friend. Jam Master Jay created so much of the foundation rappers “spit” upon today, but I couldn’t recall the day he passed if someone offered me a pair of shell toes. My brother called semi-hysterically when ODB was said to have passed — I was at Sushi Samba Rio, and my favorite bartender had a shot with me in Dirt’s memory. It was only fitting for the drunken master, but it might be more fitting if I could remember what day that was.
What’s the most notable thing Biggie brought to drinking culture? While he was known to pop bottles of Mo’ in his Coogi sweaters, he also was one of the notable rappers that had a St. Ides commercial. His was actually one of my favorites, due to the beat he rapped on — the beat where Snoop came through and crushed the buildings, “New York, New York” by Tha Dogg Pound. The commercial, like the others, was just long enough to get you feeling it, but there’s actually an unreleased extended version. Why not listen to that with a cold brewski by your side on March 9th? Now THAT’S congenial, baby babaaaayyyyyy!!!!
If you go to the movies, popcorn is a given for many patrons. And possibly a pop to wash it down. But unless you’re going to see Follow That Bird, why not opt for an adult beverage? Haven’t we come far enough to make that happen?
Many theaters now have a spirituous option. Some opt for a cold brewski to moisten the palate and make it feel like being at the ballgame while Moneyball is on the screen. Others opt for a good glass of merlot to get them in the thinking mood while watching The Artist, letting the sound of the full-bodied red swish in their glass act as the only sound necessary. Other theaters offer a full-fledged cocktail menu, with drinks that you’d be able to quaff at your favorite craft cocktail outfit.
Regardless of what you drink, is imbibing really desired during a movie? I must admit, having a Smirnoff Ice while watching The Dark Knight made that experience a bit different and definitely put a smile on my face, it was probably for the novelty. I’d never done it before, and felt like I was “getting away” with something. But you’re not using the cocktail or icy bottle to ease conversation with anyone. It’s usually too dark to make out the different colors in your drink, and you can’t describe the flavor profile to your partner, lest the usher come up to you, throw the drink in your face and kick you out of the place for talking too much.
Maybe the best place is to go to theaters that create a drinking place at the moviehouse itself. Imagine the glorious time that can be had rehashing parts of the movie, why you think George Clooney finally nailed the role that will take him across the Oscar threshold, and why The Help won’t need any additional assistance to continue their award sweep. All the while downing a Red Carpet Fizz in an open space with tons of light and no 18th Amendment towards sound. That sounds like the script to a congenial affair.
Bar tricks, flair, deception. All’s fair game in the wondrous world of mixology. And with many barkeeps bringing in tricks & tools of their culinary cousins, it’s gotten even crazier. The sciences have begun to take over, with “molecular mixology” associated with places that don’t have guys in white lab coats handling beakers…that is, unless you’re at Apotheke.
The strongest scientific links to bartending, the “mix” and “pour” that harken to the physics of the ingredients, are turned upon their heads with this video. Look and be wowed. Is there a scientific explanation? Is it magic?
Let’s see…Kanye, Nas, Common, Jay-Z, Drake, Timeless Truth, Tupac, Puffy, Big Boi, Cee-Lo, Ice Cube, both Malice and Pusha T of the Clipse, Heavy D, Gangrene, Ludacris, Jeezy, Pharrell. Who in hip hop have I NOT shown getting congenial? Ahhh, that’s right, our “playa potna” from the V, 40 Water. The rapper who “got my name from drinking beer” — E-40.
How has E-Feezy shown up his comrades in the area of drinking culture? For one, he’d rather not buy her arbitrary bottles of vodka in the club, he’d buy her a fifth of Beefeater and some grapefruit juice so she can mix Greyhounds like any homebar cocktail enthusiast. And while many rappers throw two spirits together and call it a cocktail, how many recite entire cocktail recipes in the lyrics? E-40’s recipe for a Hurricane, “The life of the f**kin party, Bacardi Light and Bacardi Dark/Triple sec and that grenadine and that pineapple juice and parsley,” is the best attempt at being a mixmaster since Grandmaster Flash! Although I doubt the “parsley” he had in mind is for garnish. Nope, not at all.
But don’t think E-40 Fonzarelli is limited to the world of distilled spirits. He also dabbles as a sommelier, extolling the virtues of Carlos Rossi’s fine grapes. But lest you think he advocates for drinking too much of the “Num Num Juice”, he’ll bring things back to earth with a temperate approach to drinking to avoid “Alcoholism”.
E-40 has contributed much to the world of drinking culture, an amount to which many rappers should aspire. Can your favorite rapper say as much? If, and only IF, they put their heart into it, and not their pocket. But you know the saying, if IF was a fifth, we’d all get….congenial!
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.
If it’s two things the good people at The Congenial Hour love, it’s architecture and hip hop. I mean, cocktails and England. Or perhaps it was fashion and drinking places? Oh bother, I can’t seem to remember.
But out of all the connections and combinations illuminated through drinking culture, the tag team of architecture & hip hop has to be one of the most enjoyable. Not only do both of those areas of culture bring joy and happiness to the world over, affecting us on a daily basis, but they’ve also served as personal motivation the last decade or so. It’s a great thing when I can bring instances of these two worlds colliding to the wonderful public.
Here we have one of the elder statesmen of hip hop, Ice Cube, discussing the Eames House, an object of prefabrication included in the Case Study House program and, as Brother Cube so eloquently states, “…going green 1949-style, b*tch.” Architectural theory, indeed.
The good Dr. Ice also mentions that he studied architectural drafting before rapping straight outta the CPT. That must’ve been why he did so much work with Chuck D — who also considered architecture early before switching to graphic design — and the Bomb Squad in his early albums. Maybe they can rekindle their magic and get Havoc from Mobb Deep to produce a new album, as he previously said he would be an architect today, had Mobb Deep not put Hennessy on the front of their jerseys and taken over the world. Or possibly the three of them can get in on some flag football and have Andrew Luck play quarterback. These things can easily be worked out over a nice cocktail….errr, I mean, a couple 40s of St. Ides. Sorry, Cube.
*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’???
As I mentioned in Thursday’s second post, many things can make you reflect on past experiences. Drinking is obviously one….milestones are another.
It’s hard to remain impersonal with a blog; every post contains your personal perspective or worldview on some topic or issue. But as today’s post brings me to my 100th post, I thought it’d be as good as any other time to do a little reflecting: on my blog, the content, and my audience, and through all those three, myself.
In David Wondrich’s Punch, he uses the word “moreish”. As I’m a huge proponent of creating words, this seemed to be a glorious example, but I was mistaken. Mentioning that within drinks writing, it is a term “of art entirely its own…indispensable…”, it immediately resonated with me. It basically means that it should make you want to drink more and more of it. At the “Drinking on Deadline” seminar at Tales of the Cocktail 2011, he gave advice saying that the way to get people involved and engaged in your writing craft is to “show them why they should care.” It’s not about showing that I know this and you don’t, or I’ve done or accomplished this and you haven’t — all of us have varied experiences and notches on our belts that would stretch for miles and kilometers. But if your craft doesn’t embody the passion to get someone interested to listen to what you have to say…what’s the point?
I hope that in 100 posts, I’ve made enough connections to show you what is available and possible in the realm of drinking culture, gotten you interested enough to change from a “new visitor” to a “return visitor”, and engaged you enough to tell someone else about the blog. I hope that my existing and future content adds a little bit of special to your drinking experiences and your life in general. We can all use a little nugget of information, some small anecdote that pops up out of nowhere in the middle of a conversation. I’d be obliged if that nugget came from The Congenial Hour.
So click “play” and let’s toast to ourselves, our future growth, and the joy of imbibing. *clink, clink*
**Cheers once again to Joshua Lindo of Eye Journey (www.eyejourney.co.uk) for the video.**
A pre-All Hallows Eve toast from The Congenial Hour — with a little help from The Roots b/w Nah Right and Captain Morgan — to all congenial peoples out there that are about to get it in this weekend.
To life — without it, none of us would be here.
To love — without it, none of us would care to have life.
To loot — without it, none of us could #getcongenial.
Cheers, my main damies. Here’s to hoping you live life to the fullest this weekend with the ones you care about most, and even possibly trip over a big pot of gold…or at least find a pirate ship full of stolen treasures. *clink, clink*
And the vodka man is at it again….the last time we saw our hero, he was doing a blind tasting of the “smoothest” vodka on the market, according to him and all the marketing dollars he’s getting Diageo to put up. This time, after about 4-5 minutes of answering questions about his personal cleanliness, the age of his six kids, and the starting time of his celebrated parties, he gets around to presenting the “new” (at that time) flavors of Ciroc — Coconut and Red Berry. It could’ve been Ciroc Huckle Berry and Ellen probably would’ve still drunk it; she stated that she’s not very discerning of a drinker.
On the horizon is Ciroc Peach, which will surely have single-malt scotch drinkers and mezcal pechuga enthusiasts running to their local spirits store, or when quantities get low, to the nearest nightclub. No doubt it’ll be successful as its predecessors, but what does popularity really mean? Do the drinkers of Ciroc prefer it as opposed to Ketel One or Belvedere because of a perceived difference in mouthfeel? Do they even know the percentage of grapes used in the mix? Do they appreciate that it’s finished in a copper still, instead of only column stills, which strip away all the levels of a spirit like congolene? Or is the nature of the spirit covered up by all the cranberry juice, sour mix, triple sec, Sprite, pineapple juice, faux grenadine — what else is in a Ciroc Obama or a Coco Loso?
Let’s appreciate our spirits for what they are, not for what someone tells us they are — no matter how much we like his song with Keyshia Cole. And those tracks Pharoahe Monche did for him. And “The Benjamins”. And the one with….uggghhhh, you get the point.