Okay, So It’s A Lurid Book Cover: Summer Weekend Cocktails, Dylan Thomas on YouTube, Good Writing and Great Music

Our notes for Friday, beginning with cocktails; moving through literature; ending with music.

The young bikini-and-martini set, thankfully.

The young bikini-and-martini set, thankfully.

Brown Whisky Is Not Just For Winter.  From the New York Times, some summer drinks using brown booze.

And Old-Fashioneds Aren’t Always Dark.  From Gastronomista, a tequila old-fashioned that actually sounds good.

Go Scandinavian.  As long as we’re discussing traditional cocktails with non-traditional spirits, I might try an aquavit Manhattan (if I can find some aquavit) (from Saveur.com).

Movie Booze.  For movie buffs, from Liquor.com, a list of The 6 Most Influential Drink Orders of All Time.

There’s Always Time For Good Writing.  Some superior prose passages from “After Deadline.”

Considering the aquavit Manhattan.

Considering the aquavit Manhattan.

Welsh Poetry Is Good For You.  From the poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953), When All My Five and Country Senses See.  I couldn’t it on YouTube, so you will have to content yourself with Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.  It is sometimes challenging to follow what Thomas means, but there is no doubt as to what he says.

St. Paul and The Broken Bones.  If you haven’t heard this Birmingham-based band’s classic-soul, horn-driven sound, you’ve been missing out.  Try “Call Me.”

St. Paul and The Broken Bones

St. Paul and The Broken Bones


Cocktails and Crime: Martini Quiz, Vermouth Ratios, Posner v. Holmes, New Gins and Crime Conventioneers

As is customary on Friday, a few White Collar Wire notes on cocktails and crime fiction.

National Martini Day (courtesy Bar Louie)

National Martini Day (courtesy Bar Louie)

June 19 was “World Martini Day.”  Seriously.  The London Telegraph posted a martini quiz.  How deep is your see-through knowledge?  Here is the first question:

Q.1
The martini, a mix of gin and vermouth with a lemon twist or olive, is one of our most famous cocktails, but its history is cloudy. Which one of these is not a legend about its origin?

 

Two by two.

Two by two.

 From the CBS ManCave, a detailed discussion of the gin/vermouth ratio:

You stir dry vermouth and gin with ice then poured into a chilled cocktail glass. The amount of vermouth has gone through two distinct stages of reduction. The first was the increasing quality of the ingredients, so you didn’t need to bury the bathtub aspects of the gin. The second is the decreasing quality of some drinkers, who think that forgetting one ingredient of a two ingredient cocktail is somehow sophisticated. There are people right now with “Left” and “Right” written on their shoes, and even when they get that wrong they’re still doing better than the people who call a glass of gin a martini because they’ve at least remembered both of the relevant items.

As it should be.

As it should be.

The very reliable Emily Arden Wells at Gastronomista  (@xxGastronomista) sets out the gins you should be drinking:

There’s a lot of really exciting stuff happening in the gin world right now, and I love that gins are becoming more expressive and flavorful.  Companies are playing with flavors such as peaches, lemongrass, sage, and douglas fir, and the results are amazing.  The new diverse range of flavors in these different gins welcome new flavor combinations and innovative cocktails!  All of these gins are so gorgeous, they don’t need much dressing up, a simple martini with a complimentary garnish will do the trick!

From our friends at crime-fiction blog The Rap Sheet, two posts.

Richard Posner

Judge Richard Posner

First, writing for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Judge Richard Posner finds that Sherlock Holmes no longer enjoys copyright protection.  In his trademark style, Judge Posner notes:

 The estate asks us to distinguish between “flat” and
“round” fictional characters, potentially a sharper distinction
than the other one it urges (as we noted at the beginning of
this opinion), which is between simple and complex. Repeatedly
at the oral argument the estate’s lawyer dramatized
the concept of a “round” character by describing large circles
with his arms. And the additional details about Holmes and
Watson in the ten late stories do indeed make for a more
“rounded,” in the sense of a fuller, portrayal of these characters.
In much the same way we learn things about Sir John
Falstaff in Henry IV, Part 2, in Henry V (though he doesn’t actually
appear in that play but is merely discussed in it), and
in The Merry Wives of Windsor, that were not remarked in his
first appearance, in Henry IV, Part 1. Notice also that Henry
V, in which Falstaff is reported as dying, precedes The Merry
Wives, in which he is very much alive. Likewise the ten last
Sherlock Holmes stories all are set before 1914, which was
the last year in which the other stories were set. One of the
ten, The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger (published in 1927), is
set in 1896. See 2 William S. Baring-Gould, The Annotated
Sherlock Holmes 453 (1967). Thus a more rounded Holmes or
Watson (or Falstaff) is found in a later work depicting a
younger person. We don’t see how that can justify extending
the expired copyright on the flatter character. A contemporary
example is the six Star Wars movies: Episodes IV, V, and
VI were produced before I, II, and III. The Doyle estate
would presumably argue that the copyrights on the characters as portrayed in IV, V, and VI will not expire until the
copyrights on I, II, and III expire.

The estate defines “flat” characters oddly, as ones completely
and finally described in the first works in which they
appear. Flat characters thus don’t evolve. Round characters
do; Holmes and Watson, the estate argues, were not fully
rounded off until the last story written by Doyle. What this
has to do with copyright law eludes us. There are the early
Holmes and Watson stories, and the late ones, and features
of Holmes and Watson are depicted in the late stories that
are not found in the early ones (though as we noted in the
preceding paragraph some of those features are retrofitted to
the earlier depictions). Only in the late stories for example
do we learn that Holmes’s attitude toward dogs has
changed—he has grown to like them—and that Watson has
been married twice. These additional features, being (we
may assume) “original” in the generous sense that the word
bears in copyright law, are protected by the unexpired copyrights
on the late stories. But Klinger wants just to copy the
Holmes and the Watson of the early stores, the stories no
longer under copyright. The Doyle estate tells us that “no
workable standard exists to protect the Ten Stories’ incremental
character development apart from protecting the
completed characters.” But that would be true only if the
early and the late Holmes, and the early and the late Watson,
were indistinguishable—and in that case there would be no
incremental originality to justify copyright protection of the
“rounded” characters (more precisely the features that
makes them “rounder,” as distinct from the features they
share with their earlier embodiments) in the later works.

Not Richard Posner.

Must re-read that opinion.

One doesn’t normally get Holmes, Watson, Star Wars and Falstaff in federal courts of appeals opinions (especially within five hundred words of one another).
 

Second, again from The Rap Sheet, here are insights about this year’s annual Bouchercon crime fiction convention, to be held in November in Long Beach.


Memorial Day Weekend Cocktails, Plus A Navy Seal’s Commencement Speech

FlagBest wishes for a happy Memorial Day weekend from White Collar Wire.

Mow what grass?

Mow what grass?

From the New York Times, this set of interactive videos about summer cocktails is a great start to the weekend.

The Thin Man movies starring Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) combine two elements of our mission (cocktails and crime fiction).  This montage from several “Thin Man” films has some of their best martini-hits.

A suspect.

A suspect.

 

We support gin here at White Collar Wire.  See this article about the renewal of gin in London.  And, on the subject of gin, from Liquor.com is this video on the Corpse Reviver Number 2.

Tiki drinks are a hot-weather favorite.  From Saveur.com, here’s a story about Dragon 88’s mai tai.

Nothing causes good-natured arguments better than the correct preparation of the Sazerac.  From our friends at Gastronomista.com, an article that reminds you: Trust Me, You’re Drinking Your Sazerac Wrong.

Finally, I am no great fan of commencement addresses, but this one by Navy Admiral William H. McRaven, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, seems especially appropriate on Memorial Day weekend.

A Polynesian extravaganza.

A Polynesian extravaganza.


Come Fly With Me: Airplane Drinks, Beer For Breakfast, Cocktail Science and Socrates

Our notes on cocktails this Friday.

"And then he said, 'Business class, my ass.'"

“And then he said, ‘Business class, my ass.'”

From Gastronomista, an Avua Cachaca Pam Am cocktail:

I was recently introduced to Avuá Cachaça, a relatively new cachaça on the market.  After a boozy night out on the town touring some of New York City’s best bars, including Sasha Petrosky’s famed Milk & Honey, I’m convinced that this is a bottle I want to keep in my library of libations.

 

 

Please place your seats and trays in their upright and locked position.

Coffee?  Tea?  Something stronger?

Coffee? Tea? Something stronger?

 

Come Fly With Me (1958)

Come Fly With Me (1958)

Indeed, on YouTube, “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra.

 

 

 

 

In a frosty mug, please.

In a frosty mug, please.

 

 

 

 

 

From Saveur, for those who like it dark and early in the day, here’s The Brew: Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout:

One of the biggest deals for craft beer enthusiasts is the annual spring release of Founders Brewing Company’s “highly acclaimed” KBS, or Kentucky Breakfast Stout. The outrageous 11.2% bourbon barrel-aged beer attracts fans from all over the country to Founders’ home base of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they line up for hours on end for short pours of the inky, robust brew. The beer’s release has become so popular that Founders issues tickets for the event, and this year, rather than pour it just at the brewery’s taproom, they decided to celebrate with a week-long party throughout greater Grand Rapids.

Gabriella Mlynarczyk’s Smoky Brown-Butter Old-Fashioned, Jamie Boudreau’s Chocolate Milk and Dave Arnold’s Italiano Stalliano.  Credit Sarah Anne Ward for The New York Times. Food stylist: Suzanne Lenzer. Prop stylist: Paola Andrea.

Gabriella Mlynarczyk’s Smoky Brown-Butter Old-Fashioned, Jamie Boudreau’s Chocolate Milk and Dave Arnold’s Italiano Stalliano.
Credit Sarah Anne Ward for The New York Times. Food stylist: Suzanne Lenzer. Prop stylist: Paola Andrea.

From the New York Times, we have Cocktail Science, Simplified.  Booze with cookies, though, is not to my taste.

 

"This gin is awfully bitter."

“This gin is awfully bitter.”

Now, this is more like it.  From the Huffington Post and Liquor.com, here are 12 cocktails to drink before you die and 5 essential spring gin cocktails, including the Ramos gin fizz.

 

 

 

 

 


Weekend Cocktails | Backwards Bartending and Neo-’80s Beverages

 

White Collar Wire’s weekend cocktail notes.

Gastronomista.

Gastronomista.

From Emily Arden Wells, who writes as Miss Emma Emerson at Gastronomista, here are cocktails served backwards in crisp videos.  As she says:

You sit down at a bar, peruse the menu, decide on a tipple, order, and then… wait.  It is this moment of waiting that has indescribable power.  This moment is filled with anticipation – a pause – and it is the time I always use to watch the scene behind the bar.  I carefully observe the tender of bar, watching his or her hands quickly trade bottle for bottle, add ice, bitters, and then delightfully shake the concoction or stir with casual flair.  It’s a glorious moment, a moment when one always asks themselves, will the cocktail be as magnificent as I’ve imagined???  And then, there it is.  A glorious potation filled glass shimmering in the bar’s candle light, waiting to be devoured.  And then, the moment of climax: the first sip.

Ahhhhhh……

Jude Goergen from Glassbackwards has found a way to make this moment of anticipation even better – each cocktail is prepared backwards.  Yes, backwards, and, some might argue, it’s even better that way.

These high-quality videos give one added appreciation for the art of a good bartender.

Green means go.   (photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

Green means go (photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

From the Washington Posta revival of ’80s cocktails:

When cocktail lovers talk about “classic” cocktails, they usually mean drinks made before 1950: The Perfect Martini, the Singapore Sling, the Daiquiri. Few would make the case that a Kamikaze or Harvey Wallbanger belongs in such exalted company.

Unless, of course, they work at the Majestic.

Still, a little too green for us.

 

 

 

 


Friday Cocktails | Drinking In London, Watching Your Vocabulary and Freezing Your Cubes

To begin the weekend: London’s top cocktail bars, a whiskey glossary and a history of ice cubes.

The Connaught.

The Connaught.

London Calling. The drinks aren’t cheap, but here’s a look from The Guardian at the top 10 classic cocktail bars in London:

London’s cocktail scene is booming, with new bars opening all the time – but if you want to treat yourself to a flawless classic then head to a hotel bar. Cocktail expert Jared Brown chooses the best, plus some cutting edge places where top mixologists are producing drinks destined to become the new classics.

 

"Vermouth" before "whiskey" but after "gin."

“Vermouth” before “whiskey” but after “gin.”

Definitions.  From the folks at Saveur, a handy whiskey glossary.

"All I said was that my martini wasn't cold enough."

“All I said was that my martini wasn’t cold enough.”

Cutting Much Ice.  And, in what may the best tangentially-related article on cocktails, here is Freezer Harvest: A History of Ice Cubes, from Modern Farmer magazine:

While it’s usually challenging to trace the origins of specific cocktails (with all the drinking the details get lost), we understand pretty well how ice got into all of them. It started when one entrepreneur named Frederic Tudor had the idea to harvest lake and pond ice from New England states and sell it in hotter countries. He began sending ships full of ice from Boston to Martinique and Cuba in 1806, expanded the business to Southern US states, and his ice reached as far as India. In the process he created the ice trade.

Up until that point many cocktails were made with added water, but it didn’t take long for the concept of “cooling drinks” with ice to catch on. Different shapes of ice were specified for different drinks: lumps of ice for cocktails, shaved ice for juleps, and cobblestone ice for cobblers. These new drinks were so delicious it seems every foreign visitor to the U.S. in the early 1800s commented on the marvelous cocktails in this country. Soon, “American bars” opened up in big cities around the world serving these refreshing and exotic delicacies. But the glory days of the cocktail in America came to an end in 1920.

The thirteen years of Prohibition pretty much killed the art of bartending in America, and it took decades for things  to begin to turn back around. It wasn’t until after 2000 that a critical mass of American bartenders began looking to drink books from Frederic Tudor’s time, and classic cocktails came back into fashion. High-end bars gave better attention to each element in the cocktail, from the base spirit to the type of sugar used in the simple syrup, and eventually to the shape and size of ice best-suited to each drink. The problem was that by then nobody harvested ponds anymore, and machine-made ice provided one size of cube for all types of drinks in most bars.

I’m going home to check the freezer.

 

 


Red Harvest: Crime Fiction and Gospel Conviction

Forgot how itchy this suit is.

Forgot how itchy this suit is.

Pop culture and theology mix fruitfully in pulp-crime fiction.

Here’s a four-part course from 2012: Red Harvest: Crime Fiction and Gospel Conviction          .

Here’s the blurb that went with the class:

Crime fiction, in its varied forms, both illuminates and counterpoints the Gospel.  Crime fiction correctly presents and analyzes the sinful human condition, even where its conclusions are horribly wrong.  And, in crime fiction as nowhere else, the law is most definitely the Law: God did not get after Cain for shoplifting.

Second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke.

So: four classes’ worth of dark human hearts and blazing Gospel light, interspersed with mayhem, Augustine, detectives, 1930s pulp novels and the overlooked theological punch from the opening line of The Postman Always Rings Twice: “They threw me off the hay truck about noon.”

These are complete classes, so prepare a stiff drink before hitting “Play.”

As an example of what not to drink, consider this assault on civilization from that Pravda of sentimentality, Parade magazine: Girl Scouts Cookie Thin Mints Martini

Ingredients

  • 3 parts chocolate vodka
  • ½ shot creme de menthe
  • 1 shot chocolate milk liquor
  • Chocolate syrup (as needed)
  • 1 Thin Mint, crushed

Directions

  1. In a martini shaker, mix together chocolate vodka, creme de menthe, and chocolate milk liquor. Shake well. If you don’t have a martini shaker, use a glass filled with ice and mix well.
  2. Coat a martini glass with chocolate syrup. Crush the Thin Mint cookie and coat the brim of the martini glass with the cookie. Then, pour your martini drink mixture into the glass.
Thin Mints Martini: ready for Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Red Lobster.

Thin Mints Martini: ready for Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Red Lobster.

 

The mind, as well as the bowel, races.  One might add:

3.  Insert Luger under tongue to minimize the aftertaste

 

 

 

The Seelbach.

The Seelbach.

Here is something more appropriate: Garden & Gun magazine’s Guide to Southern Cocktails.

 

 

 

 

We have, of course, written on crime fiction and how it relates to business crime, cocktails and theology before.

 

 


Gastronomista: “cocktails, punch bowls and boozy babes”

Plane drink.

Plane drink.

The law can be dreary, so at White Collar Wire we follow cocktails, as well.  For weekend viewing and sipping, we point you to Gastronomista, which treats both food and cocktails:

Gastronomista is an art and design blog focused on the culture of food and drink, andwas founded in October of 2009 as a way to keep track of delicious treasures, tipples, and trips around the world.It is run by Miss Emma Emerson, who is an architect by day, writer and avid drinker by night. Gastronomista is a place where you might find architectural chicken coops, tea parties, decanters, bespoke knives, or donut art. Emmaseeks inspiration everywhere she goes, and finds fodder in everything she sees – on the streets and plates of foreign lands, the inked limbs of subway-riding compatriots, or shaking up cocktails in her own kitchen.

In particular, check out  Clara Bow in Black Oxen (1923).

The straight and the narrow.

The straight and the narrow.

Of course, we muse on cocktails, ourselves: White Collar Wire on Cocktails.

 

 


St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the Cocktails That Go With It

We avoid sentimentality, but the culture is awash in it on Valentine’s Day.  This “holiday” is not traditionally associated with business crime, but we will do our best.  The day is sometimes associated with alcohol, and this year happens to fall on a Friday.  We acquit ourselves well in this latter regard.

A contentious meeting of the Audit Committee

A contentious meeting of the Audit Committee

Here’s a story about the February 14, 1929 slaughter from the Chicago Tribunethe St. Valentine’s Day Massacre:

On this frigid morning, in an unheated brick garage at 2122 N. Clark St., seven men were lined up against a whitewashed wall and pumped with 90 bullets from submachine guns, shotguns and a revolver. It was the most infamous of all gangland slayings in America, and it savagely achieved its purpose–the elimination of the last challenge to Al Capone for the mantle of crime boss in Chicago. By 1929, Capone’s only real threat was George “Bugs” Moran, who headed his own gang and what was left of Dion O’Banion’s band of bootleggers. Moran had long despised Capone, mockingly referring to him as “The Beast.”

At about 10:30 a.m., four men burst into the SMC Cartage Co. garage that Moran used for his illegal business. Two of the men were dressed as police officers. The quartet presumably announced a raid and ordered the seven men inside the garage to line up against a wall. Then they opened fire. Witnesses, alerted by the rat-a-tat staccato of submachine guns, watched as the gunmen sped off in a black Cadillac touring car that looked like the kind police used, complete with siren, gong and rifle rack.The victims, killed outright or left dying in the garage, included Frank “Hock” Gusenberg, Moran’s enforcer, and his brother, Peter “Goosy” Gusenberg. Four of the other victims were Moran gangsters, but the seventh dead man was Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer, an optician who cavorted with criminals for thrills. Missing that morning was Capone’s prize, Moran, who slept in.

Capone missed the excitement too. Vacationing at his retreat at Palm Island, Fla., he had an alibi for his whereabouts and disclaimed knowledge of the coldblooded killings. Few believed him. No one ever went to jail for pulling a trigger in the Clark Street garage, which was demolished in 1967.

We’ve seen internal investigations that look worse.  As in the white-collar context, do not give the Government an unrelated reason to investigate you:

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14, 1929, might be regarded as the culminating violence of the Chicago gang era, as seven members or associates of the “Bugs” Moran mob were machine-gunned against a garage wall by rivals posing as police. The massacre was generally ascribed to the Capone mob, although Al himself was in Florida.

The investigative jurisdiction of the Bureau of Investigation during the 1920s and early 1930s was more limited than it is now, and the gang warfare and depredations of the period were not within the Bureau’s investigative authority.

The Bureau’s investigation of Al Capone arose from his reluctance to appear before a federal grand jury on March 12, 1929 in response to a subpoena. On March 11, his lawyers formally filed for postponement of his appearance, submitting a physician’s affidavit dated March 5, which attested that Capone had been suffering from bronchial pneumonia in Miami, had been confined to bed from January 13 to February 23, and that it would be dangerous to Capone’s health to travel to Chicago. His appearance date before the grand jury was re-set for March 20.

On request of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Investigation agents obtained statements to the effect that Capone had attended race tracks in the Miami area, that he had made a plane trip to Bimini

Hemingway learns from Capone: submachine gun, cocktail and sun hat

Hemingway learns from Capone: submachine gun, cocktail and sun hat

and a cruise to Nassau, that he had been interviewed at the office of the Dade County Solicitor, and that he had appeared in good health on each of those occasions.

As we know, Capone was ultimately convicted of tax evasion.

More urgently, and as Papa Hemingway and Al Capone would doubtless approve, here is a roundup of recent cocktail notes of interest.

The Dorothy Parker American Gin martini

The Dorothy Parker American Gin martini

From the Boston Herald, the Dorothy Parker American Gin martini (from Harding’s in Manhattan).

Despite this claim from the New York Times that the dirty martini cleans up well, I still loathe dirty martinis. They are too briny, and an affectation.

Keep the olives on the side.

Keep the olives on the side. 
A little too floral

A little too floral

 

 

The Boston Globe has ten cocktails you are not ordering but should be.  I am unconvinced, but a couple are worthwhile:

The Martinez: Consider it the grandfather to the martini, or at least its classy next door neighbor. Typically a combination of Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, Angostura bitters, but there are variations and improvements out there. Order if you love Manhattans, but would like to take a step to the left.

The Corpse Reviver #2: London gin, absinthe, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice: equal parts of everything to awaken your palate, drive conversation, and please your bartender. Order if you’ve seen your last lemon drop. Just make sure to ask if the bar carries absinthe first.

The former bears history, the latter anesthesia.

Mixing up an "Avenue" at Del Posto

Mixing up an “Avenue” at Del Posto

For a bar in a New York restaurant, I would love to try Del Posto, an elegant space with cocktails to match.  And, as a general drinking reference for grown-up cocktails, try A Quiet Drink, which presents “bars and restaurants where one can have grown-up conversation over a good drink.”

A Drink Before the War (1994)

A Drink Before the War (1994)

Finally, one cannot leave the subject of a quiet drink without thinking of the private-eye novel that made Dennis Lehane‘s name, A Drink Before the War (1994).  Lehane is superb, and Drink the best place to start.


Milk Punch for Christmas Morning (via Garden & Gun)

Milk punch for Christmas morning

Milk punch for Christmas morning

This Martha Foose’s Milk Punch recipe (from Garden & Gun magazine) looks like a fine replacement for eggnog:

“A little cup of old school milk punch will keep the holidays merry and bright

The first time Mississippi chef Martha Hall Foose tasted milk punch, she was at the Chart House in New Orleans, and now the drink is a staple on her holiday menu. Foose, the author of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea and a James Beard Award-winner, may have found the key to surviving the holidays. “We drink milk punch on Christmas morning after the presents are opened,” Foose says. “Then we all get back in our beds with a big glass while brunch is cooking in the oven.”

Made from half-and-half, superfine sugar, vanilla extract, ice cubes, freshly grated nutmeg, and bourbon or brandy, milk punch is a little bit like a traditional eggnog—minus the raw eggs.

If you try out the recipe, just remember two things. First, the freshly grated nutmeg is sprinkled on top of the punch, never in it. Second, just like eggnog, it’s real easy to find yourself two glasses deep in a hurry.”

Milk Punch
Serves 1
1 ½ ounces good bourbon or brandy
2 ounces half-and-half
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
Drop of vanilla extract
Ice cubes
Freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the bourbon, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly until the mixture is cold and frothy. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with a grating of nutmeg.