Friday, April 14, 2017

Moving On...

So, the place I'm moving to is pretty big. Built in the late 1800's, it's somewhere between 1600 and 1800 square feet. It's in a part of Providence that is recovering from a pretty bad rep but I'm hopeful that I won't get murdered, robbed or vandalized anytime soon. After talking to my soon-to-be-new neighbors, even ones that have lived there through it's worst times, I've developed a good bit of confidence that it's not bad at all and has gotten even better in the last several years. Also, the property manager lives above me and has the place pretty well wired, our parking area is enclosed with motion sensing lights all around.

Let me show you the place. I'll be living on the second floor, you can enter through a tiny stairwell on the side. It's convenient but pretty cramped.

This opens up into the main Kitchen which, as you can see, is pretty spacious. The sink and cabinets are off to the side in a secondary Kitchen, which is a bit odd, but I'm sure I'll find a way to set things up for cooking.

 I'm excited to have a gas stove for once.

There really is quite a lot of space though I feel like I need to add counter space in here.

The bathroom is o.k., oddly shaped but I'm already used to how oddly this place is shaped. I didn't get a pic of it here, but after the sink is the shower, then a random cubby next to the toilet where the window is. Maybe I'll put something there to hold towels and shit.

I haven't had a chance to really test the water pressure and heat in a full shower yet but the test I was able to do seemed o.k. The landlord said that there has never been an issue with running out of hot water. Hopefully he's as trustworthy as he seems.

I'm going to have to remember to get some new bathroom rugs.
Then we get to the living room which is very open and way too well lit for my troglodyte self.

I'll probably put the TV in this room but, despite the space, there isn't really a good place for it. We'll see. I guess I could leave this room fairly open and move the entertainment somewhere else, but, again, I'm not sure.

One interesting thing in this room is the glassed closet. I really have to do something with it but I'm not quite sure what. This may be my In-The-Wall Cthulhu Shrine.

I'll also have to get some blinds for those tall side windows, which I like, but I like privacy more.

Then... we have the bedrooms... 

Bedroom #1, off of the Kitchen. It's not a huge space but I think I want to make it a guest room. I have an old Full Sized bed that will fit in there just fine. Otherwise, it will possibly end up as a new junk room which I want to avoid.

Bedroom #2, first one off of the Living Room, just past the Kitchen. This will probably be my actual Bedroom as long as the bed and dresser fit, which they should. It has a good sized closet with lots of shelves that will lead me to folding all of my clothes instead of hanging them which I prefer anyway.

Bedroom #3, next to Bedroom #2. This will probably be my Office. It's a little smaller than Bedroom #2 but bigger than Bedroom #1. It actually seems to have a bigger closet, which is great for the office and there is a view out to the Living Room.

Then we come to Bedroom #4. Now, I guess there is a chance that this will be my Master Bedroom. It was meant to be the Master Bedroom. Aside from the fact that this is the front-most room of the apartment where all of the light and noise will be, a Master Bedroom is not what I saw when this place caught my heart.

On the side of the room, next to the lovely Bay Windows is what could easily be described as a massive walk in closet. What I see... is a Home Bar.

Imagine it, shelves in the far wall as a bar back with a bar front partially placed in the entrance to the closet. Stools in front with a couple bistro tables, some couches, artwork on the walls, gentle music playing, and maybe some fake plants. Motherfucking Private Absinthe Club.

Now, I am a bit conscious about making a lot of noise here being in the middle floor between some med students and the property manager, so I can't go hog-wild with parties. I also just don't really have the money to make any of that bar happen yet as this move will tap me pretty dry for a while. It is, however a dream and a hope to set up a little quiet oasis to enjoy some cocktails with friends... as long as I don't get murdered living in the city.

This last pic is the main entrance, which opens up into the Living Room at the top of the stairs. I'm tempted to sculpt something to place on that little curved shelf to greet people that visit.

There is a lot to do and see in the area, many fantastic cocktail bars and speakeasy's, as well as a decent live venue within staggering distance. All I know for sure is that Craigslist and Uber will be very intimate in the near future.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: The Cocktail on National Cocktail Day.

Today on the 2017 Sunset Cocktail Calendar is National Cocktail Day. This post is a little different than previous ones as it showcases a bunch of drinks from the early days of Cocktails and this may be my last Sunset Cocktail post for a while. I'll be packing things up to move shortly and I don't know if the place I'll be moving to will even have a view at all.

Here are a few Cocktails from the very early days, based on my limited knowledge and meager Google-fu. Please feel free to add or elaborate any information that is relevant and correct me if I'm wrong. I'm often wrong.

We start with what many consider the original drink called the Cocktail. In the early 1800's, before the name "Cocktail" was used as a catch-all for mixed drinks in general, the drink just called the Cocktail was a mix of a Spirit, Sugar, and Bitters.

2 oz E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon
1 Sugar Cube 
2 dashes Angostura Bitters 

Place Sugar Cube in a Rocks glass, dash the Bitters onto the Cube and muddle until Sugar is dissolved. Add a few dashes of water as needed. Add the Bourbon and garnish with a bit of ground Nutmeg. 

Now the Cocktail could be made with any spirit, Whiskey, Brandy, Gin, etc., this one just happens to be a Whiskey Cocktail. If you used Brandy, it would, of course, be called a Brandy Cocktail. Eventually this, for all intents and purposes became The Old Fashioned, though perhaps someday I'll rant about how most bars here seem to load it up with fucking Seltzer. To spice things up, early bartenders started adding in new ingredients as they came into being. You could add a bit of Curaçao and your ordinary Cocktail becomes a Fancy Cocktail, again, with any spirit, making the Fancy Cocktail a mix of Spirit, Curaçao, Sugar and Bitters.

A slightly more evolved Cocktail than the Fancy Cocktail is The Improved Cocktail, adding some Maraschino Liqueur and a bit of beautiful Absinthe. This one here is the Improved Brandy Cocktail.

2 oz Copper & Kings American Brandy
1⁄2 oz Gomme Syrup
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Berg and Hauck Jerry Thomas Bitters
1 dash St. George Absinthe

Mix everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Lemon peel "The flavor is improved by moistening the edge of the cocktail glass with a piece of lemon".

The Improved Cocktail above has a bit of a different set of ratios than others from old cocktail books but it's pieced together from what I gleaned and what I like. That being said, my "1 dash" of Absinthe often is a generous splash. It seems to me that this is a proto-Sazerac and I often make this when I don't feel like going through the whole ritual of making a Sazerac.

There is some contention that there was a drink called The Cocktail before the above 1800's drink we all adore that was developed in the late 1700's. Again, my Google-fu is weak with this one but it was well worth making.

2 oz Leopold Bros. Navy Strength Gin
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1 dash Scrappy's Aromatic Bitters

Stir everything and strain into a chilled Rock's glass filled with ice. Garnish with an Orange peel and Candied Ginger.

The articles that I saw this referenced on all credit the 20 March 1798 edition of the London’s Morning Post and Gazetteer for printing the term "Cocktail" and Beefeater Gin and Aromatic Bitters used in the drink. I did not have any Beefeater products but luckily I already had Ginger Syrup and Candied Ginger which are 2 magnificently wonderful things I almost always have on hand.

I hope people enjoyed these Sunset Cocktail posts and I hope I'll be able to continue to post them in the future.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: The Irish Cocktail on St. Patrick's Day

2 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
1/4 oz Butterfly Boston Absinthe
1/4 oz Cointreau
1 bsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Hella Bitters Aromatic

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled Sherry glass. Garnish with a flamed Lemon twist and a Green Olive (or not).

Happy St. Patrick's Day, when Catholics celebrate his act of driving out the serpents of Ireland and the Pagans revile in the fact that those serpents were a metaphor for the pre-Christian culture that has now been lost by conversion despite some claims of an unbroken connection to the Old Ways. Put down your shitty green beers and lift up some Irish Whiskey, 'cuz in 'Murica (especially around Boston), "Everybody's Fahkin' Irish on St. Paddy's day, Kid!"

I think this drink is officially supposed to be made with Triple Sec which I didn't have on hand so I used Cointreau. I left off the olive as I didn't have any of those as well, nor do I like them very much. Lastly, what better Absinthe to use than one of my favorites in Butterfly Absinthe, which is a modern rendition of a classic pre-prohibition absinthe produced in Boston in the early 1900s, made by the good folks at Distillery Artémisia-Bugnon in the Val de Travers area of Switzerland...  where I must go to visit someday.

If you do supplement your St. Patrick's Day Whiskey with some beer, make sure it's good and poured well, especially if it's a Guinness.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Bloody Caesar on the Ides of March

1 tsp Celery Salt
1⁄2 tsp fresh-ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 oz Death's Door Vodka
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes Tabasco Sauce
4 oz Clamato Juice
1⁄2 Lime, in two wedges

Combine celery salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Wet the edge of a Collins glass and rim in the celery salt-pepper mixture. Fill the rimmed glass with ice, add Vodka, Worcestershire sauce, and Tobasco sauce. Top with Clamato. Gently squeeze the lime wedges into the glass, and garnish with celery and give a quick stir.

Caesar: The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Aye, Caesar, but not gone.
—Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1

What better way to acknowledge the Ides of March than with a Bloody Caesar. This very Canadian take on a Bloody Mary is often touted as the "Unofficial, Official Cocktail of Canada".

What distinguishes this from a Bloody Mary is the use of Clam Juice mixed with the Tomato. I've never really had a taste for Bloody Mary's and adding Clam Juice, while making it a little thinner, didn't really appeal to me any more. It comes out both briny and savory. I just don't get it but who am I to judge.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Insomnia for Daylight Savings Springing the Fuck Ahead

1 oz. Whistlepig Rye
1 oz. Averna Amaro Siciliano 
1 oz. Butterfly Boston Absinthe
1 bsp Gomme Syrup
2 dashes Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters

Stir first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Float bitters on top and breathe in the blessing of tranquility.

The last thing I need is a forced loss of sleep on top of my already (un)natural lack of sleep. This is that time of year for the dreadfully unnecessary loss of an hour of sleep for Daylight Savings Time. I came up with this Insomnia Cocktail a little while ago as a variation of a Brain Duster and it is a potent fix for sleeplessness.

Hopefully I'll be sound asleep when the clocks roll ahead and I'll wake up in the morning when nature calls wondering why the Hell I slept in so late. Luckily our schedule at work shifted a little do I don't have to get up at any particular time, though, if all goes at it has been lately, I'm just hoping to actually get sleep.

I only now just realized I switched up the glass from a Coup to an Old Fashioned. Shit, these are the things that matter.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

No Sunset Cocktail but HAPPY ABSINTHE DAY!!!

Today on the 2017 Sunset Cocktails Calendar is National Absinthe Day as you may have guessed from my previous post. I was considering making a cocktail but I really just wanted to sit back, relax, and enjoy the Green Fairy in her intimate simpleness. Then my fucking mind was blown by L'Ancienne, yet again, I had to shoot pics, video, find music and write a whole goddanmed review.

Regardless, it was too chilly to also mess around with a sunset shot so now I can go back to just enjoying a nice drink. This pic was from last year from when I lost power for a month. It was fun.

My gods this is a fucking tasty obsession. Fun fact, an ancient word for lord, or often god, was "Baal", so  instead of saying "Oh, my gods" you could say "Oh, my Baals" Say it out loud, it's fun!

Week 46: L'Ancienne on National Absinthe Day [52 Whispers from the Muse]


Overall Rating: 4.8
Appearance: 4.5
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 5.0
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 5.0
Finish: 5.0
Overall: 5.0

Style: Verte
ABV: 65%
Country: Czech Republic
Distillery: Zufanek

Appearance: A very bright and clear amber with a lean to a greenish tint.
Louche: Beautiful layers that build full but not too quickly. The final louche is thick without being too heavy.
Aroma: A full blossoming in the room when the bottle is opened. Just sitting in the glass for a bit it was distractingly alluring. Mildly perfumed with a rush of Wormwood, Anise and spice.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Rich and spicy while also being completely well balanced. Anise is a bit forward but the Wormwood follows it quickly ending with a peppery tingling. You need to take another sip.
Finish: The flavor lingers for a good long time, it starts sweet and ends with a very pleasant bitterness and tongue numbing.
Overall: This... does not taste like a modern absinthe. I wish I had more experience with pre-ban Absinthes as this gives you the sense of age and perfected maturity.

When I mentioned above that the aroma was "distractingly alluring" it was when I was trying to set up the camera to do a short video. I kept stopping, closing my eyes, and just taking in the smells. it took me far too long to get things set up. I've only ever encountered this under one other circumstance but that would be waaay over my TMI threshold to explain.

I wasn't planning on doing a review on National Absinthe Day but I did want to bring out an extraordinary bottle that I was familiar enough with to just enjoy. I did plan on doing a string of the remaining Zufanek Absinthes that I have, so now seemed like a good a time as any.

This one bottle, while still more than half full, is a failure on my part on due vigilance. I bought it in 2011 or 12 but didn't pay any attention when it was mentioned that it wouldn't be made again. Usually that's my cue to have at least one extra bottle on hand... but I missed it... and there's no more to be found.

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