About three years, avid readers of this blog noted my fresh acquaintance with Aperol, the rust-colored Italian apéritif made of gentian, rhubarb, and blood orange, among other ingredients. Having Aperol with two splashes of gin became my recourse when the cycle of presidential and vice presidential debates necessitated more spirits if not stronger ones. “Why drink Aperol when you can have Campari?” a friend wondered after the new year. Continue reading
Among my favorite posts concerned my favorite cocktail recipes. About ten years ago the Wall Street Journal published an article about sidecars, a wonderful cocktail that in 2008 was almost impossible to make without using a pre-fab mix. Well, the world has shifted on its axis. Even the most generic Courtyard Marriott employs a bartender who knows the rudiments of mixology I had no trouble casting a cold eye on the following:
Sparkling wine and orange juice – what’s wrong, you’ll ask? Easy. How much OJ and sweet wine can a person drink without reeling from acid reflux or requiring an insulin shot? How much champagne, prosecco, Cava, or whatever can a person drink blind to the impending violent hangover? I understand the temptation, or, rather, the fear and guilt. To placate the suspicion that one shouldn’t Drink So Early in the Morning, the spirits are poured into a breakfast juice. If you’re going to drink, you’ve made a decision. Stick with it. You’re better off drinking a beer, or, better, a glass of wine, or, best, a goddamn martini.
2. The Lemon Drop.
Ordered by men and women afraid of alcohol and life. Because vodka, triple sec, lemon, and a wheelbarrow’s worth of sugar will ease their fears.
3. The Moscow Mule.
Sometime around 2014 I saw the invasion: three dozen copper mugs invading even the chicest of bars. A glass shortage, I thought. Vodka and ginger beer sounds delicious, perhaps refreshing on an early afternoon by the pool, but not a cocktail one orders with a robust sense of self-worth after 6 p.m. In addition, let me be clear: the two tastes clash.
4. Long Island Ice Tea.
Stop it – you’re not in college anymore.
5. Vodka Red Bull.
In South Florida, where the heat addles sentient people, a coke habit signifies accomplishment. Remember Luis Guzman’s bit in The Limey? If you can afford a drug like this, you buy a drug like this. Mortals stick to vodka Red Bull, a poisonous brew that apart from tasting like boiled asparagus toasted with mayonnaise and old Kraft single slices has a lovely habit of accelerating your metabolism as your heartbeat struggles to come down.
6. White Russian.
Cream is for coffee. I don’t drink dessert.
7. Amaretto sour.
In college, we ordered these because the Italian name created an aura of posh adventurism. Its consumers sounded as if they knew what they were talking about. Then we discovered its consumers liked a little nut in their citrus concoctions.
8. Daiquiris and piña coladas.
Excused in South Florida because it’s warm fifty-one weeks a year, but only if you order them poolside. Drive farther inland though and you’re asking for a beating.
Let me get down to specifics!
1. Two drops of Angostura bitters in my martini
3. Cluny Brown
4. James Merrill
5. Harriet the Spy
6. King Sunny Ade
7. The letters of Wallace Stevens
8. Miguel’s timbre
9. A swim before a late afternoon or evening out
10. K Michelle
Why not continue a list I can double and treble?
2. Salad dressings
3. Kanye defenders after 2010
4. Ernest Hemingway after 1926
5. Christoph Waltz
6. Rum and Coke
7. “I listen to everything except country”
8. Taking the elevator up/down one story if you don’t have a disability
9. Political reporters
10. Discussing an artist’s intentions
Yesterday’s list needed a complement because I believe in positivity, see.
1. Campari and gin
2. Cauliflower rice
3. Philip Larkin’s poems
4. Transformers comics
5. Bartender chit-chats
6. Buying CDs
7. Screenings before 10 a.m.
8. Gil e Jorge
9. Public libraries
10. Hair gel/styling creme/wax
Here are ten things for which I can find no rational defense.
1. Used coffee grounds
2. Baseball caps
4. Insisting on parking close to a building instead of under shade.
6. “Prior to” instead of “before.”
7. Cory Booker
8. Customers who glance worriedly at me for reading at a bar instead of thumbing my phone
9. “I want to get into reading.”
Hello. Here’s what’s going on.
1. No gas station or market in Florida has water. This is due to an addiction to bottled water as powerful as to any opioid. A man in Coral Terrace may have to resort to the catastrophic and potentially life-threatening probability of filling plastic jugs with water from the tap or — hard times — the garden hose.
2. Gas stations, markets, and liquor stores, however, have plenty of wine. I don’t understand.
3. Local meteorologists have been less hysterical than drivers. I saw a Doral woman somersault into a Hess station after spying a half empty bottle of Pellegrino and a bag of pepperoni-flavored Combos a child had left on the counter.
5. Otherwise I’m okay. Three days off before the storm. Accordion shutters. First floor apartment. No flood zone. Every storm creates rules by which we define future ones. Please send no prayers — only money and Jae Gyllenhaals.