• Cocktails

    Gin Van, Joan Collins and Rare Earth

    Friday is upon us, so a few notes about cocktails. The cocktail snob is suffering a (deserved) backlash, as Robert O. Simonson of the New York Times points out in When Bad Drinks Go Good: Just as the cocktail renaissance has brought renewed fame to classics like the martini, the Manhattan and the Negroni, it has heaped fresh infamy on a rogues’ gallery of less classy concoctions, most of which emerged during the final decades of the last century. Now a backlash of sorts has begun, as some high-end bartenders apply their skills to a new challenge: doing bad drinks well. Bars like Holiday Cocktail Lounge in New York; Pépé Le Moko…

  • Cocktails

    Summer Crime, “Young Lawyers,” Martinis

    Summer’s heat is fully upon us.  Let us take a moment for crime fiction and cocktails. For recent crime-fiction releases, take a look at Midmonth Book Notes  from The Poisoned Pen bookstore. Also, here is a useful “review of reviewers” from The Rap Sheet blog.  And, for the visually-oriented, The Rap Sheet has a YouTube channel.  One clip I found there was for a show called “The Young Lawyers,” which ran from 1969 to 1971 and which I vaguely recall.  As described by IMDb: David Barrett [a young-looking Lee J. Cobb] heads an organization in Boston that supports poor and indigent clients with the aid of young lawyers, Aaron Silverman is the young…

  • Cocktails

    Vermouth, Bitters and Black Coffee

    In speaking of the martini, Winston Churchill supposedly observed   “I would like to observe the vermouth from across the room while I drink my martini.”  Here is a recipe for a “Churchill martini,” which is basically a glass of cold gin. On the other hand, Julia Child supposedly went to the opposite extreme: a glass filled with vermouth and topped with gin, also known in this recipe as an “upside down martini.” I am no Churchill or Child, on several counts, but I have never understood the anti-vermouth wing of the martini party.  A martini is a cocktail.  A cocktail, by definition, is “an alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or…

  • Cocktails,  Crime Fiction,  Theology

    Red Harvest: Crime Fiction and Gospel Conviction

    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. 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…

  • Cocktails,  Compliance,  Ethics

    Weekend: GCs on Boards and Gin in Ice

     Notes For the Weekend:   I tend to agree:  No, General Counsels Should Not Be On The Board.  The conflicts can be too great.  GCs sometimes have a hard enough time, as it is, being honest brokers and, as the saying goes, speaking truth to power. Especially good corruption, bribery and FCPA collection from Corruption Currents  (via@WSJRisk).               As always, a good summary of white-collar news from @WaltPavlo and 500 Pearl Street.   And finally . . . The best “coffee-table” book I have read on martinis is The Martini: An Illustrated History of an American Classic by Barnaby Conrad III: A chilled, crystal…