Archive for the ‘booze’ Tag

2017: Year in Review   Leave a comment

Everyone does an End-Of-The-Year retrospective and I almost always do, too (here’s 2016’s review, for example).  Remember, this blog is about pubs and running more than anything else and most of what remains is primarily adolescent humour.  With that caveat, I bring you the Year 2017 In Review:

The Running Year 2017 (painfully detailed post to follow) was only salvaged in the last 1/3 of the year despite an initially strong start.  I started training for the Siracusa Marathon which had been cancelled at the last moment in 2016 and which was again cancelled this year nearly 3 months before it was scheduled to run.  Shit.  However, this left me in pretty good shape for tackling the London Outer Orbital Path mostly in May (while Jackie was Stateside), averaging more than 6½ miles per day and one week over 90 miles.

But, a prolonged respiratory infection hit me the first week of June (lingering for another week and with a relapse mid-July) and a spot of cancer related depression thereafter pushed my weekly mileage down significantly.  I had only managed to hit 1000 miles for the year by mid-August.

Fortuitously, I came into possession of a block of hash and a few very oily buds of home grown pot and, with their help and guidance, rediscovered the joys of hard training with no specific goal.  Well, one specific goal: I decided to try to salvage the annual mileage with a modest 1600 by year’s end, upping that to 1800 as it became clear 1600 was going to fall easily, eventually ending on 2022.  Now, if I hadn’t already blown through the weed I might target some real mileage for 2018.

So, running was all personal this year and that made it a good thing.  No races.  No hashing.  No GHAD.  Just finishing the London A to Z Runs, the London Outer Orbital Path, the Holiday Run Streak, and starting the TfL Run Project with 267 pub stops for the year in the midst of runs (and, 322 total, bringing the grand total to 2038).

Pub details (especially write-ups)

Pubs by month
16   Jan
17   Feb
20   Mar
11   Apr
74   May
12   Jun
19   Jul
23   Aug
30  Sep
28  Oct
40 Nov
32 Dec

Other good write-ups (reverse chronological order under the subheadings):

Favourite Pub visits:

The Woodman, Birmingham (pub #2000)
The Charlie Chaplin, Elephant & Castle (atmosphere)
The Queens, Crouch End (stunning)
The Victoria Tavern, Plaistow (atmosphere)
The Harp, Covent Garden (beer curation)
The Britannia, Plaistow (drunken conversation)
The Land of Liberty, Peace & Plenty, Chorleywood (damn near perfect pub)
The Marquis of Granby, New Cross (weird encounter)
The Old Oak Tree, Southall (whorehouse as revealed at the Lamb, shortly thereafter)
The Pineapple, Lambeth (not a half-bad local this close to Waterloo)
The George, Isle of Dogs (trying to convince a middle-aged guy he’s still fuckable)
The Wattenden Arms, Kenley (surreal art criticism)
The Sir Julian Huxley, Selsdon (foul-mouthed grannies)
The Tiger, Homerton (rare to find a hipster joint so hip)
The Duke’s Head, Crayford (almost too hospitable)
Dive Bar, Hull (they gave me too much change!)
Wm Hawkes, Hull (dark and awesome, despite fucking up my order)
The Rising Sun, Mill Hill (Grade 1 Listed)
Grim’s Dyke Hotel, Harrow & Wealdston (stunning former home of WS Gilbert)
The Queen’s Head, Limehouse (maybe gone by now, but as local as they come anymore)
Ye Olde Greene Manne, Rickmansworth (more encounters with nutters)
The Castle, Holland Park (architecture and hopelessly incompetent staff)
Lavin’s Bar, Hanwell (another psycopath encounter)
The Bull, Iver (for the local day drinkers)
Tap Social, Oxford (awesome microbrewery and tap room)

Other Events:

TfL Run Project (ongoing)
Beaujolais Nouveaux Day
Socialism 2017
Notting Hill Carnival (August Bank Holiday)
Mets vs Capitals Baseball
Nunhead Cemetery
Anti-Tory March and Rally (Not One Day More, July)
My First UK Vote
My Trip To Hull (many good posts)
Shakespeare’s Globe for “Nell Gwynn”
Taping of Have I Got News For You
Anti-Trump Rally at the US Embassy

Food and Feasting, mostly Recipes:

Vodca Sméar Dubh (Blackberry Vodka)
Tom Collins Obit
Feast of St Arnold
Hot Dogs
Treasures From Trumpministan
Yellow Peril Dandelion Wine
Angostura Tinted Martinis
Iron Duke Punch
Limping Lotta’s Banana Muffins
Tafel Spitz (Viennese boiled beef and stuff)
Chateaux La Limace et Le Gaz Hilarant (Drunken Bunny Cabernet)
Tamarinds (also, growing them)
A Week Of Haggis
Lyme Bay Mead (gift from workmates)
Winter Solstice Mead (another Drunken Bunny brewing attempt)
Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch Bourbon (gift from a lab visitor)
Best Kebab: Streatham Kebab, Fish and Chips House
Best Fish: The Carp & Trout, Hampton Hill

Previously Unwritten Recipe:

Basil & Grape Cocktail (from a food section article in The Guardian): makes 2 (these were really refreshing at the end of Summer)

Put these in a blender and blitz:
3 shots of good gin (I know, I know … all gin is good gin)
16 chilled green, seedless grapes
12 basil leaves
2 tsp sugar
juice of a lime

Pour into a shaker with ice, shake vigourously, and strain over 6 FROZEN grapes in each of two glasses. Garnish with one more basil leaf in each.  Yummy.


Obits (note, Tom Collins Obit in Food, above):

Robert Blakely, designer of the Fallout Shelter sign
Unnamed Person’s Wake at the Red Lion, Southall
Bill Simonsick (one of the few truly great Americans I have known and loved)
Bruce Langhorne (one of Dylan’s inspirations and dead ringer for my cousin, Chuck)
Lord Snowdon (trivia topic at the Sportsman, Croxley Green)
Tommy McDermot (late of the Old Crown in Hayes)


Best Ludicrous Posts:

Be Careful Of Your Dreams Coming True
Unfortunate Business Name
The Man Cave, Oxford
Party On, Wayne
The D.H. Lawrence Car Hire, Sudbury
A to Z Run W for Women
Jello Biafra/Dead Kennedys Tribute
A to Z Run U for Udders
New Cds From Notting Hill Market
Julie’s In The Drugs Squad
A Cancer On The Presidency
D90B (Drunken Bunny version of P90X)
NOT a Fetish Bar
Post to President Bannon
Trumpageddon…Inauguration Day

What an absolute bastard year.




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…   1 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   2 comments


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   3 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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May Early Bank Holiday Charity Shop Finds (Martini recipe)   1 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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Iron Duke   2 comments


Almost exactly a year ago I rode to Reading with one of the professors I work for/with/despite (strike through as appropriate). On the trip back to Oxford, he was telling me about this wild professor — John Albery — that preceded him and who, amongst quirks too numerous to review here, would demonstrate the enthalpy of solution with gin-tonics. Alcohol figured, as it should, prominently under his tutelage:

His first year chemistry tutorials usually (depending on the time of day) involved a glass of sherry which, by the end of the third year, had become a “White Lady” (gin, Cointreau and lemon juice). Research students graduated to “dry martinis of ludicrous proportions” and, as a “coup de grace”, at chemists’ dinners were often served with a lethal concoction known as “Iron Duke punch”.
–From John Albery’s obit in The Telegraph




The Iron Duke punch is named after the ship (HMS Iron Duke) that is named after Wellington and this may go some way towards explaining Albery’s preferred salutation, “Hello, Sailor.”

So now nearly a year later, my erstwhile leader has tracked down the original recipe for The Iron Duke. I suggested it might blunt the edge of some upcoming student talks and he gathered supplies forthwith and, the next day, appeared at my office with a sample of this brutish concoction. Not at all vile, it still rates somewhere between ghastly and dreadful. And, oddly moreish … I could drink this until the Iron Puke.



Posted April 27, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, Recipes

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