Archive for the ‘Booze’ Category

Vodca Sméar Dubh   Leave a comment

Vodca Sméar Dubh = Black Berry Vodka

Blackberries grow rampant just outside our back garden gate and, with the large Irish population of our corner of suburban London, it seemed appropriate to invoke Mr Heaney’s words for the blackberry vodka (see bottom of this post).  Here’s the order of events:

12 August 2017: Take a half bottle of berries, ¼ cup of sugar, and top up with vodka.  Shake every now and then until around Halloween.

 

Let’s hope the alcohol defeated the decay (but the smooth, sweet juice seems to say, “no worries, mate”):

 

 

 

Blackberry-Picking
By Seamus Heaney

for Philip Hobsbaum

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.

 

Filtered on 03 November 2017, it is fine, fine, fine.

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Empire of Booze with Henry Jeffreys   1 comment

 

This was a fun evening.  Sponsored by the Hillingdon Borough Council and Majestic Wines, Henry Jeffreys gave a brief lecture on his book, Empire of Booze, and illustrated the concepts with appropriate (and fairly generous) tipples.

 

 

We were met at the door to the Uxbridge Library with complimentary large vessels of wine — red for me and white for Jackie (for that is our way).  At this point, we were breaking even on the evening’s ticket price but the lecture was still twenty minutes from commencing.

 

 

Our fearless leader took us to France with a lovely Bordeaux to introduce us to Claret, then moved on to Sicily for Marsala (the wine of Nelson’s officers).  This was a dry Marsala and very nutty and strongly aromatic — not at all like the sweet stuff we used to cook with in our days, decades ago, in Italian kitchens in Atlanta.  It has the unfortunate name of Terre Arse.  We’ve already got this one, and the Port-styled Tawny (below, from Australia) earmarked for our Christmas arsenal.

 

 

Looking back over my brief notes, I reckon the best suggestion for a food accompaniment would be the dish known as a Fixed Bayonet … chicken stuffed with chillies then boiled in rum.  As scrumptious sounding, easily, as the Iron Duke, if it is even half as <ahem> interesting then we are in for a treat.  I just have to find a suitably inexpensive bottle to use for the pot liquor.

 

 

Posted October 22, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze

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Fill a 6-foot-deep hole with 2 parts gin, 1 part lemon juice, 1 part simple syrup…   Leave a comment

At cocktail bars, I’m ridiculed by bartenders when I order something old-style like a Manhattan or a Side-Car.  But, going by the evidence in the Ruislip Cemetery, the Tom Collins is quite literally dead.  R.I.P.

Posted August 18, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, Obits, Recipes

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Feast of St Arnold 2017   1 comment

 

Today is the Feast of St Arnold, patron saint of Belgian brewers and hop pickers. The long weekend of celebrations started Wednesday with the run honouring Women. While one such Woman out in LA was completing an honour worthy project, we shamefully (or is that “shameLESSly”?) slacked off in the spirit of the season.

 

 

 

It wasn’t all fun and games, though.  Thursday I had to endure a bit of photography based biopsy of some more skin cancers before we were free to go to the Church Street Market in St John’s Wood and then wander around Ealing. The marvelous art deco building at the top of this posting can be found at the intersection of Luton and Penfold in St John’s Wood. After a run down to Hanger Lane, we settled into martinis and some BBQ chicken.

 

 

 

Friday was devoted to household chores such as strimming our weed-and-food-wrapper filled lawn then hanging out in Ruislip thrift stores. Out the back gate, I fought nettles and thorns to gather enough blackberries for some infused vodka (a Thanksgiving treat, if all goes well).

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, I used some of the charity shop finds to start fermenting a jar of garlic then roasted the remaining heads to make a batch of pesto. To ferment garlic, peel the cloves (the last layer should be left on at least a few of them as this is where the bacteria and yeasts that do the work will be found). Leave some head space and pour a brine of 1 TBS non-iodized (think Kosher) salt per liter of chlorine-free water. Weigh the cloves down, cover, and check back every now and again for 4-6 weeks. Use this like roasted garlic although it should still be firm enough to grate. If you add it at the end of a recipe (that is, don’t cook it), you can diversify your gut microbiome with these.

 

 

 

Pesto recipe:
shitload of garlic
some toasted pine nuts
lots and lots of basil
olive oil
salt & black pepper
Parmesan Reggiano

Blitz all of this together, taste, and adjust to taste whilst trying hard not to eat it all during preparation.

 

 

 

 

The second fermentation project (remember, this is all about St Arnold), is a turmeric bug, sort of a starter culture for carbonated lemonades and limeades. Wash the turmeric but chop it up skins and all to make about 3 teaspoons. Add this and 3 teaspoons of brown sugar to 750 mL of water. Cover and put it in an airing cabinet or other stable, warm place. Feed it, daily, 3 more tsp each of turmeric and sugar until it starts to bubble up pretty good (as much as a week) then transfer to the fridge to slow it down. Feed the bug with a TBS of sugar each week. A half cup of the bug juice plus a half cup of sugar in a gallon of lemon water makes your fizzy lemonade (use Grolsch bottles to store it).

 

 

Things went a bit awry Sunday as I broke a cocktail glass then Frank Sinatra screwed us: One For My Baby, the last cut on Only the Lonely, was far enough toward the warning track on the album that our turntable shut off and I had to turn the disk by hand (the very hands, I remind you, that had just clumsily dropped a cocktail glass).

 

 

Eating well is the best cure for a streak of bad luck like this and I opted for a big pot of prawn Phô. I couldn’t find unpeeled shrimps at the store but I had some frozen bits of sea bream in the freezer from last week and combined them with some existing broth and vegetables to cook into a makeshift fish broth (normally I’d use the prawn heads and shells). Cassoulet may be my Desert Island Dish, but if I were able to find some way to make noodles and gather seafood this would diversify my menu.

 

 

So, now it is off to work … and, on a proper Holy Day, no less.  The plan is to down a Dubbel in Arnold’s name ahead of barbecuing some burgers tonight (although that should probably be some “Brugers”).

 

 

Treasures from Trumpministan   2 comments

 

Jackie returned safely from the Undignified Stupidity of America safe, sound, and because it is so hard to find decent food there a few pounds lighter.  She also — as usual — brought tequila (despite the new wall stretching the entire length of the border with Mexico) and Goody’s!  She is the best.

 

Posted May 25, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, Drugs

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It’s Your Round   Leave a comment

Funny.  I had not thought of the Buy Me A Beer Page in ages then a generous woman from The North dumped some cash into my PayPal account.  I hope she looks like this:

 

Posted May 6, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Beer, Booze, Made Me Laugh

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May Early Bank Holiday Charity Shop Finds (Martini recipe)   Leave a comment

They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, no, no, no

We were dumping off some stuff at a charity shop the first day of the Bank Holiday weekend and found something, as usual, to take home with us: Martini glasses! Four for £2! This prompted us to buy some vermouth for the bar, some stuffed olives for the finished product, and to seek out suitable music.

In vinyl, we struck gold for the cocktail hour: in pristine condition, Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me and …Sings For Only The Lonely. However, we didn’t find these until the penultimate stop of our foraging trip and, in the meantime, racked up these CDs:

Amy Winehouse Back In Black
Iggy Pop Live at the Hippodrome Paris 1977
Slim Gaillard and Babs Gonzales Shuckin’ and Jivin’
Elmore James Canton Crusade (1951-56)
Strut That Thing: Essential Recordings of Piano Blues and Boogie
And, a four CD set of Classic Doo-Wop Vocal Groups
R.E.M. Automatic For The People

How bad can the rest of the weekend be when it starts this well?

Make it one for my baby, and one more
For the road

The martini is this one (makes 2):

3 shots of Greenall’s gin
3 shots of Cinzano dry vermouth
3 dashes of Angostura bitters (hence the colour)
6 olives with pimentos

Stir with ice, strain and decorate with the olives.

I know.  If you use bitters it should be orange bitters and a lighter hand.  And, the vermouth is a lot more than most would expect from me, but this really is a sublime mix.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, y’all.

Posted April 29, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, music

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