Dirty Harry is the Drink I Love

Dirty Martinis actually. Not the band. I'd heard of them but never had one. Supposedly FDR drank them and mixed a batch for Stalin. No wonder Papa Joe didn't like us.

I like a martini with gin, shaken, straight up, more vermouth than just waving the bottle over the shaker. I'd never make an English secret agent or an English poet in the age of anxiety. The best I ever had was on the rocks with a lemon twist before a friend's 50th birthday at a very fancy Chicago restaurant a decade or so ago. I don't know what gin they used or the proportions, but it was perfection.

So, anyway my calendar called for a martini one day, a dirty martini the next. You don't need a report on a martini. A 10-year-old Lutheran can make one. To dirty it up you just add a little olive brine, of course. I don't like any fruit in my mixed drinks, but I'll take a lemon twist. An olive is like my 13th choice.

In the interest of science I made two, one with gin, a half hour rest for my liver to metabolize it, then one with vodka. I just used the brine, no olive to remind me what I was drinking. I prefer the gin one: the saltiness of the brine goes better with the juniper in the gin and all the meadow flowers in the vermouth. When I drank the vodka one, I might have well been eating olives pickled in alcohol. Not that I don't like olives, but these were Kroger. Salty olive taste and alcohol--not my idea of the perfect drink.

I have two champagne-based drinks with fruit juice to get caught up on, so at least I'll get the seawater taste out of my mouth in a day or two.

Hair of the Dog

And we have lots of that in our household, especially since my akita seems to think winter is a good time for a secondary shed. Her primary molt last year went for 6 months.

Last week my calendar gave its first beer recipe: vodka, hot sauce, and lager. My kind of simple recipe, though I was out of vodka (long story there), so I had to wait to try it. As I've said before, I'm a Budweiser kind of guy. I figured that chilled quasi rhymes-with-hiss wouldn't work well in this recipe, so I picked up some Sam Adams over the weekend. I've drunk Sam Adams before and didn't like it at all, but that must have been a different line because their blue label stuff isn't bad.

So today I chilled my glass in the freezer, measured out the vodka (also in the freezer), slugged in a few shots of Tennessee hot sauce, and poured in some lager. I'd had the hot sauce for like 2 years, going on 3, since a trip to to the Cumberland Mtns, but no bacteria are going to grow in that stuff. As the first man on Mars will say just before something bursts out of his gut.

This concoction isn't bad at all. I'm not sure the vodka helps much, but the hot sauce goes good (well, hell, whatever) with lager. Who knew? And who needs a bloody Mary when you can drink this at breakfast?

What Makes It Irish

Irish coffee: coffee and whiskey. I bet you could add whiskey to anything and call it Irish. Irish potatoes. Irish broccoli. I forgot: the natives north of the Channel don't eat green things.

Last week I had a recipe for Irish coffee. My only shot of joe this morning was a Starbux breakfast blend on the way to church, so after a fitful Sunday afternoon nap, I figured I'd make a pot. Dunkin Donuts, not Starbux. More on that another day.

The recipe called for an ounce and a half of whiskey to 6 ounces of coffee. Who drinks 6 ounces of coffee at a whack? My coffee cups are twice that size. Not to mention the travel mugs I cart around walking the dogs. A couple of those, and I'd be under the table for the evening. Obviously I'm not Irish.

So I decided to compromise: the ounce and a half of Jameson's, brown sugar, about 10 ounces of coffee, and whipped cream on top. Whipped cream makes anything taste better. Including my fingers. I keep telling people that, to no avail.

It wasn't bad, though I was busy IM'ing and the whipped cream dissolved by the second sip. I was sure feeling happier at the end of the cup. So happy, in fact, that I decided to try the proportions given in the recipe, only 6 ounces of coffee to a little less than a quarter cup of booze. You've gotta love those proportions.

That was even better. And the whipped cream didn't melt as fast. It's not a bad drink, especially on a cool January afternoon (luckily the sun has reappeared after several days in Florida). Irish coffee thus becomes one of my favorite drinks in this drinking adventure. If I have another I'll probably break into song, and no one wants that.

Alexander's Brandy

One day last week the recipe called for Metaxa, a Greek brandy. (Yes, I know that Alexander was officially Macedonian, not Greek, and never the twain shall get along.) I couldn't find it on my last liquor buying spree, but I located it today, in a dusty tall tapered bottle. I've never been a big brandy drinker, so buying it was a big step.

Metaxa, according to wikipedia, is another Colonel Sanders concoction, brandy blended with Muscat wine and various secret herbs and spices and aged in oak for various lengths of time. I'm sure the bottle I bought came from the accelerated aging cask.

The recipe called for Metaxa, orange juice, lime juice, and limoncello. I wasn't bowled over. It tasted like orange juice with a kick. Might not be bad with or for breakfast, but nevertheless not a good before-dinner quaff.

So I got to thinking, I bet I could make a sidecar with this stuff. My calendar hasn't gotten to sidecars yet (martinis are upcoming), but I knew the basics. I read up on sidecars, and found out that the proportions of brandy to cointreau (which I don't have on hand; I used Grand Marinier) range from a sweet sidecar (equal parts brandy, orange stuff, and lemon juice) to a really dry one (8 to 2 to 1).

I'd already had one drink made with this stuff and was feeling the effects. I didn't want 8 more parts of it in the middle of the afternoon or I'd be ready for bed. So I used roughly a 4 to 2 to 1 mix. I didn't want to fool with juicing a lemon just for this, so I used a splash of limoncello.

This time you could taste the brandy, which is the whole point. It wasn't bad. I got a bit of an anise flavor from somewhere. Metaxa, the parent company, also makes ouzo (which I loathe; I hope this calendar doesn't have any ouzo recipes), so maybe they cut costs and toss a common secret ingredient in both. Rose leaves are said to be added to the Metaxa brew, so maybe I was tasting those.

Last, I went looking for other Metaxa recipes, and found one called "Crispy Crunch": equal parts Metaxa, Frangelico, Kahlua, and Creme de Cacao. I liked this best; Frangelico's always been one of my favorites anyway. You're supposed to pour it into shooters, but I'm sipping it. A frat guy drink, but it's good, as long as you're not diabetic. I've always considered myself a frat boy at heart.

Dubonnet for a Lady

I'd never heard of Dubonnet before, or had and it hadn't registered, before a recipe last week called for some. In my shopping trip to the liquor mart I was looking for it in the liqueurs when a clerk asked if he could help. He said he'd seen it somewhere there but couldn't remember where. After disappearing in the back among the wine for a minute, he popped his head around the corner and asked, Red or White? I had no idea. The woman who persons the wine counter came out and told us Red is the most popular, so I said, Sure, Red.

I looked it up on wikipedia when I got home, and since Red seems to be the original, I figured I'd made the right choice. Wikipedia reported that it's similar to sweet vermouth. So I taste tested them both to see. Dubonnet tastes like a sweet fortified red wine to me. I don't get much taste from the secret herbs and spices, but I wouldn't use it for bourbon-based mixed drinks. With sweet vermouth, on the other hand, there's a much stronger herbal hit, especially in the after taste.

Wikipedia also reports that a Dubonnet cocktail is a favorite of both the French Foreign Legion and Queen Elizabeth, as well as her late mother. I wonder if the Queen knows that the French like it. Another site reports that she favors a ratio of 2 to 1 Dubonnet to gin, so the gin probably makes it English in her eyes. Her mother reportedly drank it at breakfast (yuk!) with up to equal parts gin and Dubonnet. Well, living with some of the members of that family, you'd probably need it.

I tried the Queen's version, on the rocks (not carefully pruned into squares, as she reportedly has done). It tasted OK, sort of like a gin martini made with sweet vermouth. Then I tried her mother's breakfast drink, straight up, equal parts gin and Dubonnet. I liked that one better. As with some other recipes this month, it seems like more of a summertime drink than an ideal one for January. If I pick up a bottle of Dubonnet Blanc I'll try that with gin and file a review.

In the Bleak Midwinter

The temperature here is 11, which weather.com reports feels like -2. The low tonight is supposed to be -1. My humidifier kicked on a few minutes ago, so the cold has definitely sucked all the moisture out of the air (or however that works). I was at the wildlife refuge outside town late this afternoon, and the ice on the lakes was morphing into weirdly creative designs with animal prints going across.

Thursday the 17th was National Hot Buttered Rum Day. I waited till the weekend. Mainly because I hadn't looked at the recipe to see I had what I needed to make it. Hot water, brown sugar, rum ( I used Myers's), and butter with a little fresh-grated nutmeg.

I think I drank a hot buttered rum many moons ago at some fall party. I liked it tonight. The grease in the butter floating on top of the molasses in the rum made for a deep rich sip. I'm not sure the nutmeg contributed much. If I had had some gray salt sitting around to toss in a few grains, I bet the rum would have tasted even better. When I get some, I'll let you know. I'm sure feeling warmer now, salt or no.

Tu vuo fa l'americano

I took a few days off from writing this blog because I didn't have the liquor I needed to make most of the recipes reeled off by my calendar this week. Yesterday I made a trip to one of my favorite liquor marts and bought $75 worth. I could have easily spent that much more, but I figured I really didn't have to have the Napoleon mandarin liqueur.

Last night and again this afternoon I tried the Americano. A few years ago I had a Negroni out at Olive's in Las Vegas, inspired by The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Not that I was gigoloing an older lady at the time. I was accompanying my sister, who's eight years younger. Anyway, I ordered a Negroni for the first time; she ordered her first martini (I don't remember if it was gin or vodka). I didn't care for the Negroni, and she didn't like the martini. Too much pure alcohol for her, though it was on the rocks. I like pure alcohol; I drank her drink instead of mine with my mussels--which were sublime; she'd been a mussels virgin before then, and loved them.

An Americano (Campari and sweet vermouth) is a Negroni without the gin and topped with club soda. When I brewed one yesterday, I didn't stir the soda up with the liqueur. I got an unsweetened orange soda taste till I hit the booze layer at the bottom, then the kick hit. I was pretty happy when I finished it, though it was a tad bit bitter for my tastes. Campari is officially a bitter, after all, with its quinine and bergamot oil and orange peel and 57 other secret ingredients.

Today I made it again with a couple minor tweaks: I added a shot of limoncello to offset the bitterness. I'm beginning to think that limoncello is good for all that ails you. I shook instead of stirred. That was easier, though I probably bruised the orange peel. And I gave the club soda a stir to mix it with the booze. I liked today's version a lot better, orange pop for adults. It's a better drink for, say, June than January, though.

Manhattans by the Pros

So I decided to see how professional mixologists conjure up a Manhattan. My first stop was at the Holiday Inn in Columbus IN on a wet and chilly night. The perfect place to begin a Heartland drinking odyssey. I was the only person at the bar, and I spotted only one person in the restaurant, a 40-something guy with glasses in a light blue shirt who was bellying up to the salad bar. Do European restaurants have salad bars now too? Yumm, three bean salad. And bad potato salad too.

It took a couple minutes for a wait person to notice I was patiently checking out the dark wood and brass rails and antique print reproductions and expecting Teddy Roosevelt to come charging into the room like a mad bull moose or Sandra Bernhardt to hobble in. My bartender was probably 6'4" or so, blond-brown hair, the Big Rock Candy Mountain kind of beard that the trimmer-impaired around here favor.

He asked if I wanted my Manhattan on the rocks or straight up. The latter of course. He didn't ask if I had a preference as to liquor, although there was a wood presentation box of 3 or 4 small batch bourbons above the bar. My drink came in a clear water tumbler. No cherry. Rather thin and very sweet. He must have been saving money on the bourbon with the vermouth. If the Manhattan had any bourbon in it at all. $4.50 plus tip. He had gone back to ask the blue shirt guy if he wanted a clean plate for another pass at the salad by that point. His successor, a blonde with black rectangular glasses, was a little more chatty and asked if I wanted another, but one was enough.

Last Saturday night I ate dinner with a friend in Indianapolis at a little restaurant north of downtown. I planned to order beef, since I rarely cook it at home, so I figured a Manhattan would make a good start. My wait guy, another tall fellow but with gooped up black hair and an attempt at a moustache (which dated him as a vintage c. 1985) looked a little surprised at my order, but he at least asked if I had any preference as to the bourbon. Nope, surprise me.

He brought it in a martini glass, which I thought was on the precious side, but better than a tumbler. This one was good. Nice quality liquor, not too sweet, it tasted like I imagined a Manhattan should taste, better than my attempts. It had a crema floating on top, as if a barista had pulled it. As I sipped at it I discovered the cherry lurking in the depths. My dinner partner got that. $4.25, and a large water with my meal. Doing this project hasn't turned me into a total alcoholic, yet.


A quick aside to make up for failing to post Saturday.

I scan ahead in my calendar to see what booze I'll be needing that I don't have on hand. It's depressing. But by about May I should have the best stocked bar in the neighborhood.

I noticed that 2 upcoming recipes call for Limoncello, which I don't think I've ever drunk before. The liquor mart had 2 bottles to choose from: a $20 bottle and a $30 bottle. Option A for me.

Tonight I decided to try it straight to get a sense of how it tastes before I use it in a cocktail. A couple ounces over a couple ice cubes. I did chill my glass down first.

It's good. Like a more lemony and sweeter Absolut Citron. Not good over ice though. I've told you before about my dislike of booze on the rocks. Into the freezer it goes. Wikipedia says Italians drink it in chilled ceramic glasses. I have a couple egg cups I can use. Or espresso cups. I have a Paula Deen lemon cheesecake recipe that I'm planning to make this week that it would be great with, maybe even in as a substitute for the lemon juice.

I also learned on Wikipedia that limoncello is what Danny De Vito overindulged in with George Clooney the night before he appeared on The View obviously still under the influence. George, I'm available for hanging out. I bet he buys the $30 bottle.

I'll Take another Manhattan

Manhattans were a drink of the day last week. I've drunk Manhattans from time to time, mainly those made by a certified mixologist when I've gone out to eat somewhere "fancy," which in my parlance is somewhere more sophisticated than a diner or Applebees. I can probably count on my nose the times I've mixed one up at home.

Manhattans are easy: bourbon or other whiskey, vermouth (usually sweet), and bitters. I was temporarily out of bitters (for the last year or two), but they were easy enough to find.

For my first attempt I used Maker's Mark, sweet vermouth, and bitters, about 3/4 of an ounce of the vermouth to 3 ounces or so of bourbon. No cherry. I'm not a maraschino cherry fan. Steak 'n Shake has thrown out (I hope) many a cherry left behind from my milk shakes. My oldest nephew loves them; grandma gave him a big jar of them for his birthday a couple years ago.

My first stab at making a Manhattan tasted more like Maker's Mark straight up than a cocktail. I don't know if I needed more vermouth or if MM is just too strong for a good Manhattan. For my second try I dusted off my almost empty bottle of Jim Beam and used equal parts sweet and dry vermouth, a "perfect Manhattan."

This one started out smooth, but got bitter tasting as I went along. Maybe I should have ditched the bitters, since I was using some dry vermouth, which toned down the sweetness of the drink. I think I wasted some perfectly good booze and poured out the last ounce or two.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my adventures ordering Manhattans from the professional mixologists. Holiday Inn bartenders are pros, no?

Blue Hawaii Part 2

I needed to go to the store this afternoon (cat sand; when you have 3 male cats, you should live on a beach), and I decided to try again on the coconut stuff for my Blue Hawaiian.

On my first try, my can of cream of coconut was very solidified at the top, and it didn't shake up or stir up or do anything up well at all. I had little bits of solidified cream of coconut floating about in the can and in my shaker and in my drink (fewer than in my shaker). Is it supposed to do that?

So today I bought a can of coconut juice, nestled among the other bar fixin's, next to the margarita salt. When I opened it, it was thinner and clearer than the coconut cream and had, well, little white bits floating in it too. I think those were actual coconut. The ingredients panel said it contained 80% real coconut something, so those had better not have been solidified trans fats.

I mixed up another Blue Hawaiian--perfect for Colts fans. Splash it on your face. It had less coconut notes to it than the one made with creme of coconut. So the motto here seems to be: Don't use coconut juice if you want coconut taste. I used to have a heavy duty juicer, but I think I gave it to Goodwill for lack of use, so I can't cram shredded coconut through it and see how that works. Actually I've already given this drink more attention than it deserves. On to Manhattans! And Coney Island too. They have pretty good Coneys at Dairy Queen.

In Honor of the King

Yesterday, January 8th, was the birthday of Elvis. No last name needed. Born in 1935. To honor his nativity, my cocktail calendar had a recipe for a drink they call the Blue Hawaiian. The name comes from his 1961 movie Blue Hawaii.

It's a pretty simple drink: pineapple juice (I had some orange-pineapple-banana juice on hand), light rum (I got to tap my seldom tapped Bacardi), blue curacao, and cream of coconut. It tasted like orange-pineapple-banana juice with coconut blue notes.

So who came up with the idea of coloring curacao? That comes out clear at the end of the distilling process. Wikipedia says it can be green or even red, which I've never seen. Blue is bad enough. It was probably used as a dye or concealer for poison by the Borgias. (A historical impossibility, I know.) Every time I got some on the counter, I grabbed a sponge and mopped it up in fear of leaving a stain. I was about ready to pull out a lobster bib. But I guess if you want a Blue Hawaiian, this is the stuff to make you blue, if not mellow.

I had a bit of an issue with the cream of coconut which I'll report on in a day or two. The drink was ok but not my all-time favorite. It'd be better around a pool on Oahu in a glass with a paper umbrella.

Zombie Boy

I just tried the most complicated cocktail thus far this year (all 8 days of it): a Ramos Gin Fizz. It's also the last of a cluster of gin drinks, for which I'm glad. I'm junipered out.

According to the calendar and wikipedia, this was invented by one Henry Ramos in New Orleans. It became so popular in the years before Prohibition that his establishment employed legions of "shaker boys" during happy hours to shake the stuff for the requisite 4-5 minutes. Now they'd probably call them Chippendales or something similar down in the Big Easy. "Show us your Ramos Gin Fizz!" Governor Huey Long liked the drink so much that he sent a New Orleans bartender to New York to teach the guys there how to make his favorite slosh when he was in the Big Apple, and now they hold the copyright on the name. Big Gyp they should call it.

This gin fizz calls for the usual gin, club soda, cream, citrus juices, vanilla extract, egg white, superfine sugar, and the secret ingredient, orange flower water, which I actually already had on my hand. You're supposed to shake everything but the club soda over ice in a shaker for 4-5 minutes, strain into a glass, then top with the chilled club soda.

I took the easy way out that the calendar suggests: I pulsed the ingredients in a blender instead. They weren't chilled by any ice, but I figured the gin and the cream and the egg came right out of the fridge, so they were cold enough for my purposes. Wikipedia says many bartenders use powdered egg white these days. I like to live dangerously.

And I'm glad I do. When you pour the club soda over the base of the drink, the egg white and cream foam up to make a sweet head on the drink, sort of like a Mardi Gras eggnog. The sugar helps cut the lemon and lime juices too, but frankly I didn't taste the orange flower water over the gin and the citrus. The recipe called for 2 or 3 dashes, so maybe I didn't dash enough. (Update: As I'm writing this, I'm getting a little of the orange flower water as an aftertaste.)

The wikipedia entry says you should drink this out of a zombie glass, which I've never heard of before. According to them, it's a tall, narrow glass for cocktails (good for champagne cocktails, I bet). Somebody on ebay has 72 for sale ($40). What would you do with 72 of them, unless you get drunk a lot in front of a roaring fireplace and hurl your glass at that former relationship leering at you from the flames. Theirs are 7 inches tall and hold 12 ounces. I have tumblers of roughly the same size and shape, so I may try this one more time before I file away the recipe. Frankly, after 2 ounces of gin as an afternoon pick me up, I'm feeling a little Zombie-ish at the moment. Maybe I can get Rosa to share the couch.

Monks in the Chips

Late this afternoon I stopped by my friendly neighborhood liquor store (actually, the lady behind the counter seemed in a surly mood today) to pick up a six pack of Bud. Not Lite. I'm doing my best to expand my horizons with this cocktail quest, but I need my End of a Long and Probably Boring Day drink too.

It's a small, one-room liquor store. Just on a whim I thought I'd check if they carry Chartreuse, but I didn't figure they would. I need both yellow and green for a gin drink on the calendar last week. Lo and behold, to my amazement they had both. In big bottles. At $42 a bottle. Those monks in Voiron brew this stuff out of 130 secret herbs and spices, and they get away with charging $42 a bottle after mowing the meadow? Alvin!! This recipe from my calendar is one of those drinks I'll order at a well-stocked bar sometime.

For more on Chartreuse (an interesting concoction from all reports), see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartreuse_%28liqueur%29

Slow Out of the Gate

I haven't gotten a very fast start on drinking my way through 2008. January 1st and 2nd called for Bloody Marys, the 2nd adding a little Anisette to the recipe. I don't have any vodka in the house. And I call myself a drinker? I know, I know. I'll wait for several days of drinks calling for vodka, and a long weekend, before mixing these up. And for finding a smaller bottle of Anisette than they had at my local liqueur emporium. Licorice/anise comes at the bottom of my least favorite flavors list. Or the top, depending on how you're making your list.

January 3rd was a quasi Sangria with fresh peaches. In January? That one's getting filed away to mix this summer. The 4th called for both yellow and green Chartreuse. The local liquor store had neither, so that one will have to wait for a trip to the The Big City. The last three days have all called for gin, which I confess I also didn't have on hand. This experiment is stretching my horizons already. I've had bottles of gin in the house before. And vodka. And Jack Daniels. And all the other alcohol stuff--well, at least a few of them--I'm finding I don't have and I'm going to need. We won't even go into the glassware that the author recommends I should have.

I'm saving up my gin reviews till I have a few ounces under my belt. But, I can tell you already, I don't like it much with champagne. Which, no, I didn't have on hand. I've got the driest house on the block.

Waiting for a Drink

My calendars didn't arrive today, though USPS tracking says they left Cincinnati yesterday. On foot apparently.

I didn't spend the past 2 days completely alcohol free. I'd bought a blue bottle of Beviamo Mosco d'Asti at Sam's Club to take to the neighbors' New Year Eve. They opened a bottle of "white Zin" for dinner. Fortunately it didn't throw me into a diabetic coma; it's the sort of American college wine ideal that my sibling goes for. Then a Shiraz of unknown origin around 10 that left me cold; I don't think I finished before I left, before seeing out 2007. One thing I'll say for my friends is that they almost inevitably pull a bottle of red wine out of the cupboard, not the ubiquitous Midwestern Chardonnay or white Zin.

Though after drinking the Beviamo I shouldn't be making fun of the sugar content of the white Zin. It's pretty bloody sweet, but at least it has a little more depth than the Zin. I decided to make a stab at a cocktail on New Year's Day, so I made a quasi mimosa with some orange-banana-pineapple juice. The result wasn't as good as the Beviamo straight up. And more sweet. Tonight I tried a touch of curacao with the last glassful from this bottle. Better than the orange juice but still not the ideal cocktail.

Hopefully tomorrow the Cocktail a Day calendar will get here. I have 2 days of drinking to catch up on.

The Beginning

Every year for at least the last 10 years, I've had a 365 day calendar in my kitchen. One year it was a dog a day, another year the Joy of Cooking, one year French phrases (how many of those do I remember?), in 2007 a Don't Sweat the Small Stuff calendar (or how many of those?). I'm a bit of a calendar freak actually. I have this kitchen counter calendar, one on the kitchen wall (this year artistic riffs on Snoopy, my childhood hero) (who wasn't in the Dog a Day calendar), a calendar on the wall in my office (this year a Men's Health one, since I've decided I need to get healthy so I'll live forever), and a desk calendar that I tend to use as a diary/journal. This year it's an exercise calendar. I'm taking no chances on the Living Forever bit. Like the 365 day calendars, this one has had a different theme over the years (Ansel Adams, lighthouses, Shakespeare). I used to buy little monthly desktop calendars for the bathroom, but I decided a while ago that if I was going to obsess over time, I already had a mirror in there.

So, my 365 day calendar for 2008 is The Ultimate Bar: Essential Cocktail Know-How for Every Day of the Year (I hate long titles), by one Mittie Hellmich. Amazon says she’s a columnist for The Oregonian and lives in Portland; I’d drink a lot if it rained all the time too. I really didn't see a calendar until I came across this cocktail one that really excited me. I didn't want to learn and forget a phrase a day. I didn't want to fold a different paper airplane every day. I almost bought the Bon Appetit one, but then I'd have to wash dishes. (And I'm already a good cook.) Then I saw this cocktail one and thought, Saint Anthony of Bourdain would go for this. The wine one I'd had a few years ago was pretty worthless, since most of the wines were hard to find around here and frankly above my budget. $14 wines are only bought for very special occasions around here.

But cocktails are cheap, and I already have a small supply of bottles of ingredients at hand. A cocktail a day in the evening (or in the morning if one looks really good) could be fun. Some weeks I might get busy and have to save five days worth for the weekend, but that won't be so bad. If one day calls for some exotic liqueur that I don't want to pay $30 for just to make one drink, I can rip off the page and hand it to some friendly bartender, and put out $30 for the drink and his tip.

So today is January 1st, and the drink today is: I don't know. I don't have the calendar. It hasn't come yet. You think I actually go to stores and look at calendars and buy them? Actually, I did with the Snoopy one, but I was spending quality time with my niece. I'm expecting it to come tomorrow, or I'll be very unhappy with calendars.com. Check back tomorrow and you'll get (I hope) a report on my first 2 mixed drinks of the new year.