Issue No.042 “Tails from the Bookworm” Macbeth





asa wee lass , ok not so wee, more like thirteen , I was terrorized by my english lit teacher, a young somewhat rakish chap who would attempt to engage us in our coursework by calling  on each of us to read a passage out loud to the class . My MOD was to try and act like I wasn’t there a la “make like a tree ” or in the spirit of Cousin “It” I  shrouded my face with a mass of matted curls  . As I slunk down in my hard wooden school chair hoping the desk in front of me would open its lid and gobble me up , my Lit teacher would saunter over and give a wry smile “has any one seen Gaby? I swear she was here a second ago “! Oddly enough he would reward my Boo Radley moments by giving me albums by the Doors or Pink Floyd to listen to, his explanation was always  if you can’t get with old Bill ( as in Shakespeare) perhaps this kind of poetry will suit you better .

Years later I got with it , the stories  of William Shakespeare are woven together  by complex characters , situations, emotions and  tragedies as well as elation , by far I’m most attracted to the darkness of Macbeth , the three meddlesome witches that for sport wreak havoc on the lives of our protagonist and his clan , turning brothers in arms against each other and conjuring madness in their houses . Greed, ambition , insanity   and death are the mainstays of this play and blood courses through each act like an overflowing river .  Macbeth who at the beginning of the tale is considered quite a noble warrior , has a seed planted in his head that germinates and grows like a cancer destroying all reason in both his wife and himself turning him into a tyrannical version of himself .

The story of  Macbeth is set in Scotland , that magical land that gave us “Uisge-beatha na h-Alba” or more simply known as whisky. The five main regions that produce Scottish whisky each with their  own very distinctive characteristics are the Highlands, Campbeltown , The Lowlands, Speyside and my personal favorite Islay . The landscape of Scotland though extremely beautiful  at the best of times  is incredibly damp with a chill that  permeates even the warmest of woolies , no wonder whisky was invented here, its the perfect dram for this climate  and the moody landscape . What’s needed methinks to counter this cold are concoctions to warm from within , toddies , wassails and spiced punches , perfect accompaniments to pair with stories of witches, madness and murder  this Winter .

The story is quite involved with many characters  playing major parts in the story , so in order to make it easier for you to understand all these connections am listing each one of the main players below , I have ruthlessly eliminated all the non essential players in my synopsis .

Cast of characters
Macbeth – 
A nobleman and Scottish General  who is  a trusted ally of King Duncan , he is a brave soldier but not a virtuous one.
Lady Macbeth – Macbeth’s ambitious wife who lusts after position and power , initially she is the stronger of the two but she succumbs to madness once the violence ensues .
Banquo –  Also a nobleman , General and good friend of Macbeth , where Macbeth is sly, Banquo is honorable , also ambitious but does not act on any of his thoughts .
King Duncan The King of course , he is the model of the benevolent leader
Malcolm – One of Duncan’s sons and the heir to the throne
Macduff – A Scottish nobleman who opposes Macbeth’s kingship from the start
The Three Witches – Three mischievous hags who are the servants of Hecate the goddess of witchcraft
Fleance – Banquo’s son
Lady Macduff – Macduff’s wife and an innocent victim in this tragedy .

Act 1 (The Lowlands )

In which we first meet the three hags.
High atop a misty moor these three witches dance and cackle as they share their stories of controlling the wind and the journey  of a sailing vessel or  hexing the poor individuals on board  for no other reason than sport . Macbeth and his friend Banquo fresh from battle  catch sight of them , thinking perhaps these hags are not even human Banquo cringes at the sight of them and questions wether they are of this earth , they look like women but their beards keep him from believing . Macbeth approaches and asks what kind of creatures they are, they respond with a line that so startles Macbeth  that he is  rendered speechless, they call out to him as King and landowner of a particular estate ,   he is currently neither . Banquo asks what wonders they  foresee for him. They reply with somewhat of a riddle that ends with them saying  his offspring will be  Kings though he will never be one himself .

Macbeth demands that they elaborate on such prophecies , but they vanish into thin air leaving our two warriors wondering if they are both high on drugs . As they stand there trying to make sense of the scene two of King Duncan’s men approach to tell Macbeth that the King is impressed by his ability to both fight the Irish and the Norwegian without fear of death and that Duncan will bestow upon him the grand title of Thane ( a land owner who is granted that property by the King ) the title  that the witches included in their revelation .

Banquo becomes skeptical and senses that these predictions will become their undoing if they dwell on them too much  whilst Macbeth is dubious why this is such a bad thing, although he can’t quite understand why  the image of him  murdering the King is stamped on his brain, the King that has just bestowed him this  promotion , out of his head  , in a daze he says to himself whatever will happen will happen and perhaps he doesn’t have to do anything to assist in  manifesting this event  . After meeting with the King who officially gifts him his new title Macbeth pens a letter to his wife .

Methinks a steaming cup of Wassail is what every one of these gentlemen needs after such a hard fought and victoriously won battle ,  as well as maybe the three weird sisters , perhaps they’ve spent too much time in the freezing cold and grown a bit too sinister . Wassail, a hot apple cider based punch  is traditionally drank whilst wassailing or going door to door exchanging cups of Wassail for gifts, pretty much the tradition has been replaced with caroling where instead the offering is a song and the gift is cold hard cash, the Wassail sounds so much more romantic to me and so much more likely to bring people together .

The Lowland Wassail

1 1/2 oz Auchentoshen 12 yr whisky
1 oz Gaby’s Gardenia Mix ( see below for recipe)
2 oz fresh pressed apple cider
1/8 oz apple cider vinegar
1/2 oz lemon
1 oz madera

Gaby’s Gardenia mix 

1 pound unsalted butter
1 quart runny honey
1 cup Trader Vic’s Macadamia liqueur
1 oz vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Place butter in heavy bottomed pan and set onto a medium heat , the plan is to brown the butter by removing the water and caramelizing the milk solids turning  it delicious  and nutty smelling /tasting .

Allow the butter to froth , once it gets past this stage the water has evaporated and the milk solids will start to brown, be patient and keep stirring, there’s a fine line between brown butter and burnt to a cinder butter .

Once the liquid  butter starts to take on an amber hue and you see small flecks of brown in there its time to take off heat and allow to cool slightly , pouring hot butter into a blender will cause the air to expand in the blender and likely blow the top of your blender off .

Once cooled slightly pour into Vitaprep blender , add the runny honey, Trader Vics, salt  and vanilla , you might have to stir a few times with a wooden spoon to get the honey and butter mingling . Blend on high for about 30 seconds then transfer to a lidded container until ready to use

Can be stored in the fridge but you will need to allow to come up to room temp before using , usually I’ll plop it into a bowl of hot water to speed up process .



For the drink 

Add all ingredients to a pan and heat through , stirring till up to temperature, this is best made in  quantities though single servings whilst not as social are still just as delicious . Transfer to a heat proof glass or mug .


Act 2 (Islay)

In which King Duncan is slain.
Macbeth’s letter to his Lady wife brings up much doubt in her , her  ambitions start to rear their ugly head  and she seems  much  more ruthless than the more thoughtful  Hubs. She  starts to plan the perfect moment when they can be rid of the King and have the crown passed to her love Macbeth . The King himself , Duncan that is ,  has arrived for a night of celebration chez Macbeth , in high spirits he hands out many a gift to the folk in his company that night .

Lady Macbeth can think of nothing else than the plan to kill him, Macbeth tries to quiet her saying he has been given such gifts and give him time to enjoy them before offing his benefactor . Instead of backing down she turns on Macbeth calling him a coward for being afraid to fail . Her plan is to get the King’s men so drunk that they  fall into deep sleep and won’t remember any of the events from the night before , and that they should prepare for an end to the night’s celebrations so they can carry out their dirty deed.

As the house becomes still Macbeth takes  a walk through the darkened halls of his home to be greeted by a dagger floating menacingly in the still night air , he can’t quite fathom if its an apparition or if he’s perhaps sleeping. He makes a grab into the air hoping to grasp the weapon, fresh  blood visible on its blade, as he reaches for this vision he pulls out the dagger that has been stowed in his robes , as he stands there his courage  begins  to cool . He shakes himself out of this torpor and presses on to do away with Duncan .

Lady Macbeth meanwhile waits in her chamber  , the strong spirits she has partaken in and  served Duncan’s men have made her bold and fired her up , she revels in the fact that his men make a mockery of their jobs by snoring instead of protecting the now dead King . Macbeth enters carrying the bloody dagger , he starts to tell his wife about the servants and his fear that he had awoken them during the deed , he starts to fixate on being caught,  she tells him to stop thinking so much as he eyes his bloody hands , she calms him and says  a little water is all he needs to wash away the evidence from his hands  . She chides him for bringing the murder weapon into their chamber and demands he go back and place  the knife  at the scene of the crime, he refuses so she carries out the task herself promising to smear  Duncan’s blood on his servants to make them look like the culprits .

The next morning one of Duncan’s servants arrives to wake the King only to find him robbed of life. Macbeth and his Lady of course feign ignorance , the Lady goes so far as to collapse to illustrate her point as to who shocked she is that something so sinister would happen under her own roof . The men though shaken , meanwhile decide to get dressed and gather to discuss what to do , Duncan’s two son’s decide that their best policy is get the hell out of there , not knowing where their enemies could be hiding, in plain sight perhaps . And yet Duncan’s men seem to think that the two son’s are guilty for fleeing so fast , that they instead had the two servants kill their good father so that they could take the crown .

As for Macbeth he is about to be crowned, oddly the roles of Macbeth and his wife have now switched since Duncan’s body has been discovered ,  whilst he springs to action reclaiming  his  position of hero, the Lady on the other hand becomes circumspect and withdrawn .
Lady Macbeth , neptune’s ocean , breast milk, sleeping potion , motifs:floating dagger, crown, macbeth having trouble sleeping .

It seems that everyone needs a sleeping potion , dave wondrich calls this liquid ambien, hot milk spiced with nutmeg , sugar, brandy and islay whisky , breast milk ??

Mother’s Milk , Mother’s Ruin 

1 cup milk ( in Macbeth’s recipe I would imagine breast milk since he’s still being nurtured by his Lady wife at this point in the play ) but whole milk or nut milk would work too
1 oz Laphroaig 10 year Islay whisky
1 oz brandy
1/4 oz St.Elizabeth allspice dram
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
fresh nutmeg to grate over top

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Place ingredients into a small pan and stir over medium heat, I use a Cafe Casa milk frother to get the mix nice and foamy

Allow sugar to dissolve but don’t allow to boil

Once warmed through transfer to a heat proof glass


Act 3 (Campbelltown )

In which Macbeth sees a ghost
Something is not quite sitting right with Banquo, he frets over the prophecy , whilst Macbeth starts to worry about Duncan’s two son’s plotting against the crown so they can steel it for themselves . That night a  great banquet is to be held in celebration of Macbeth’s coronation , Banquo is invited to attend and accepts but decides to spend the rest of the afternoon riding his horse , Macbeth suggests they discuss the problem of the two brothers . Whilst Banquo departs , Macbeth starts to muse on his fear of his friend , how Banquo is the stronger one and the only one that can undo his own legacy and steal the crown for his offspring . He calls on two men who have been waiting in the wings to continue a conversation they had the day before , that Banquo has betrayed them and that  this should make them  so angry as to take their revenge against  him  and his son .

Meanwhile Lady Macbeth is beside herself with angst , Macbeth tells her his plan to be rid of Banquo and only then will the threat to the throne be eliminated and  their minds be clear . As dusk approaches the two men whom Macbeth solicited to murder Banquo wait outside  in the dark and watch as he approaches  with his son Fleance , they set upon them both killing Banquo , the son manages to escape vowing to avenge his father’s death  . As the feast commences , Macbeth learns of Banquo’s death and his son’s escape , it angers him knowing there is no escape from the witches prophecy , he turns to address his guests and sees sitting at the table Banquo’s ghost which he talks to much to the confusion of the rest of the guests who see nothing . Lady Macbeth makes excuses for him saying he has these visions from time to time whilst she privately chides him for his nonsensical outburst . She continues to make excuses for him and sends all of the alarmed guests out of the room , Macbeth mutters that blood will have blood , he resolves to do whatever he needs to to keep his throne and that he plans to look for the witches again tomorrow to find out who is plotting against him , his wife suggest they retire for the night so that he may clear his head .

Meanwhile on the misty heath , Hecate the goddess of witchcraft is annoyed at the three hags for meddling in Macbeth’s life without consulting her and tells them she will take over from here , she informs them that once Macbeth visits them tomorrow they must summon all manner of visions to lull him into a false sense of security and draw him into further confusion .

Back at the castle, two Lords appear , one of them continues to insist there is something strange afoot, why would Banquo’s  son kill him and who indeed has slain King Duncan. And what of Macduff who has fallen out favor with Macbeth for speaking his mind , he has fled to England and the court of King Edward where Malcolm ( oldest son of Duncan ) resides and who is well respected by the Brit King. Macduff hopes to convince Edward to form an alliance and end the violence , this news has enraged Macbeth and puts him on the warpath, meanwhile a messenger has been sent to Macduff to alert him that they are under the rule of a tyrant in Macbeth .

With all this bloodshed I could not think of a better symbol for this act than a blood red mulled wine punch thing, my favorite by far is a Norse  Glogg fitting since at the beginning of the play Macbeth is battling with the Norwegians . In this version am using a whisky with Kummel a Nordic caraway based liqueur , my vessel a mini glass cauldron.

By the Pricking of my Thumbs,  Something Wicked This Way Comes 

For the liquid ingredients :
1 bottle dry red wine
1 pint velvet falernum
3 oz kummel
1 pint pineapple juice
1 cup Springbank 10yr Campbelltown whisky

For the steeping ingredients :
peel of 1 orange
peel of 1 lime
5 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2-3 slices fresh ginger
teaspoon szechuan or pink peppercorns
3 bay leaves


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Take all steeping ingredients and tie up into cheesecloth to form a tea bag kind of thing
place cheesecloth bundle into pot
add all liquid ingredients except for whisky
turn on heat and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes
add sugar if need be to taste

Just before serving add the whisky
Ladle into mugs and serve with a twist of orange and a cinnamon stick or optional peppercorns .


Act 4 ( The Highlands )

In which Lady Macduff is done away with
This act opens with the three witches continuing their mischief , as they dance around the bubbling cauldron tossing in poisoned entrails and other vile ingredients , they chant ” double , double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble ” as they make a charm that will create wreak havoc . As they concoct their boss Hecate appears with three more sorcerers , she declares that she admires their potent efforts , she invites them to all sing a dirge called “black spirits” , one of them exclaims he thumbs are tingling a sure sign that something wicked approaches . Indeed Macbeth appears and demands to know what darkness they’re extolling and that they answer his questions , they bid him to ask as they conjure spirits from the beyond, the first tells Macbeth to beware Macduff, the second apparition tells him no man born of woman will ever harm him , the third phantom appears and tells him to be brave like a lion , that he will never be defeated until Birnam wood comes to fight him . Macbeth asserts this is an unlikely prophecy for who can command the trees to rip up their roots . His question however is will the son’s of his dead friend Banquo ever reign in his kingdom , the witches demand he not search for an answer , but he tells them he will lay a curse on them if they do not give him some resolution . The witches show him a vision , a procession of kings the last one is followed by the ghost of Banquo , Macbeth yells that the sight hurts his eyes and he realizes that these eight kings are descendent of Banquo .

The witches vanish and Macbeth hears the sound of galloping horses, he calls to the men outside to come in , the two Lords who were discussing Macduff’s flight to England appear and to tell the King of this news. Macbeth exclaims he will raid Macduff’s castle and seize his town in revenge.

Lady Macduff meanwhile at her castle wonders why her husband has fled , she thinks it makes him look crazy and guilty of a crime , her aide and cousin responds that she cannot know wether he fled from fear or wisdom , Lady Macduff laments it could not have been wisdom that made her husband leave her and their  children in such danger without his protection . A messenger enters and tells her to leave the castle and take her sons with her , that some evil approaches , she can’t quite understand what evil would come her way since she has done no wrong but then she remembers that she lives on earth where villainous deeds are often rewarded . As she stands with her son murderers enter and demand to know where Macduff  the traitor is , her son yells out in defense of his father and is stabbed in retort , he demands his mother flee and as she does the murderers follow her .

Lady Macduff’s cousin has arrived at King Edwards castle where he is greeted by Macduff and Malcolm, the slain King Duncan’s son and heir . He tells Macduff that his wife and children were safe when he left them but that as he was riding to them he learned of sad news  and that rebels were  amassing to fight against Macbeth . Malcolm informs them he will leave for Scotland with the ten thousand soldiers that King Edward has given him to reclaim his father’s throne . Macduff demands to hear what sad new the cousin is keeping from him , he breaks down and informs Macduff of his family’s murders , that they killed whoever they could find in his castle , his grief overwhelms him and he makes it known he will leave to fight with Malcolm to avenge their deaths .

At this point in the story darkness and evil has taken over all , to symbolize this moment a hot dark beer flip, made even darker by the use of activated charcoal . The beer flip is something my Pops Iggy would drink on many  a bleak winter’s night , the scent of it would fill up our house, the memory taking me back to simpler times .

1 cup of dark porter beer ( Pops used newcastle brown ale )
1 1/2 oz Glendronach 12 year Highland whiskey
1  oz brown sugar syrup ( 1:1 ratio sugar to hot water )
1/2  oz PX sherry
6 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chili bitters
1 whole egg
1/4  teaspoon activated charcoal

In a pitcher whisk together all the ingredients , transfer to a heavy bottomed sauce pan

Place pan onto a low flame and keep whisking until the beer mix is heated through but not boiling , its important to make sure the egg does not curdle, if it does you can always pour through a strainer but its not an ideal sitch .

Pour into heat proof cups and grate over fresh nutmeg and  optional dark chocolate


Act 5 ( Speyside)

In which Lady Macbeth commits suicide and Birnam Wood comes alive
Back in Scotland night has fallen and a Lady in waiting sits with the Doctor at Macbeth’s castle, she is concerned for the well being of her Lady who has taken to sleepwalking nightly and seemingly  confessing in her sleep to some gruesome deed. They both watch as the Lady Macbeth enters the room holding  a candle and going to the basin to wash her hands , the gentlewoman tells the Doctor she has watched her carry out this hand washing routine for as long as fifteen minutes at a time . Lady Macbeth continues to scrub her hands ” There’s still a spot there , out damn spot ! ”

They watch as the Lady  continues to talk, the Doctor says this illness is beyond his skill set , Lady Macbeth exists to her bed as the  good Doctor tells the gentlewoman that vicious rumors abound , that guilty people will confess their sins as they sleep and that she needs a preist more than she needs his help .

Simultaneously armies gather near Birnam Wood, the English Army led by Macduff , whilst the tyrannical Macbeth fortifies his castle against attack , more and more rebel armies gather to  punish him for his treason, he tries to reassure himself that he will be safe and no harm can come to him from any man born of woman . A servant enters white as a sheet to let Macbeth know that ten thousand English soldiers have amassed outside , Macbeth readies himself for war by calling for his armor . He calls for the Doctor to ask after his wife, and is told that his wife is not sit but is suffering from antagonistic visions that he can do nothing for .

Back on the battlefield Malcolm orders that each soldier break off a tree branch and hold it in front of them to obscure how many men there actually are and fool Macbeth’s spies . As Macbeth and his men prepare for the inevitable a woman can be heard crying, Macbeth asks what the matter is and is informed that his Queen is dead , Macbeth rather coldly replies that she would have died eventually anyway, today, tomorrow or the day after that. He is interrupted by a messenger who dare not speak, the King demands he be told as the boy advises him that he thinks he sees the forest moving in the distance , Macbeth screams he is a liar and how dare he make up such stories . But the messenger persists Birnam Wood is on the move ,  the King sounds the alarm they are under attack but at least they will die prepared and with their armor on !

Sword fights ensue and Macbeth is confidant he will not be killed since no man born from woman can kill him , Macduff elsewhere in the castle searches for Macbeth demanding he show himself . He enters the chamber where Macbeth stands , the bodies of slain soldiers surrounding him , Macduff yells at him to turn around, Macbeth cockily tells him to not waste his time since he cannot be killed by any sword belonging to a mana bon from woman . Macduff laughs , and informs him that he was not born of his mother’s womb but was cut out since she could not bear him naturally , Macbeth’s courage shrivels before him as Macduff demand he surrender , their wordplay evolves into sword fight and ends with Macduff slaughtering Macbeth and chopping off his head which he carries out to show his army so that they can see he has his revenge and the tyrant king has been conquered .

To put courage into our avenging warrior’s hearts my suggestion here is a Scaffa style drink , drank in the same way that a brandy would be , coddled in a wide bowl style glass the heat of the hand that holds it warms the mix and brings out the nuances of flavor. A touch of  tree resin (frankincense) adds that final purification to rid the lands of evil once and for all !

The Walkin Woods
1 1/2 oz Balvenie  double wood 12 year Speyside whisky
3/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz St.Elizabeth allspice dram
1/2 oz honey syrup
3 dashes angostura bitters
1 pinch smoked salt
frankincense for burning




add all ingredients to your mixing glass and stir to incorporate and dissolve the salt

Meanwhile heat a wide bottom glass such as a snifter or a stemless wine glass by swishing around hot water inside

Drain out water  then place over a lit piece of frankincense , the flame will extinguish once there is no oxygen to feed it and the glass will fill up with smoke, I generally use a small slate or tile to place the frankincense on .

Upturn glass and fill immediately with the whisky Scaffa

Breathe, inhale the good and exhale the evil , no chanting necessary !



Issue No.041 “Tails From The Bookworm ” The Farthest



“This is a present from a small  distant world ,
a token of our sounds, our science , our images ,
our music, our thoughts and our feelings.

We are attempting to survive our time so that we may live into yours”


President Jimmy Carter’s  golden record message
June 16th,  1977



past Summer was a busy one for me , I mean obviously , I’ve not posted since April, shame on me ! Amongst my distractions these last few months was a project that had me creating space themed drinks ,more specifically inspired by “The Farthest” a documentary that aired on PBS a few days ago , produced by Tangled Bank Studios, that charted the journey of the two Voyager space crafts , their inception and the last forty years that they have spent hurtling through our solar system and into the next.

The two Voyagers were sent out both on a fact finding mission to document and report back on our neighboring planets that till then were just blurry orbs in the night sky  ,  more importantly in the long run Voyager’s mission is also as a message in a bottle to let other civilizations ( that for sure exist, I mean ours can’t be the only planet out in the universe sustaining life right ? ) know us humans are here on Earth. Or perhaps I should say were here on Earth because by the time the two crafts are discovered by them and by the rate we’re going our race will no longer have the ability to live on this beautiful rock we are custodians of.

Conceptualized at Caltech in Pasadena with the driving force of scientist Karl Sagan behind it , Voyager is about the size of a small school bus and was launched by NASA in 1977, I watched the film to get my creative juices flowing and ended up having a bit of an existential crises panic attack sort of thing . I’m a fairly spiritual sort of dame and have imagined myself in many a yoga class as a part of something much much bigger, knowing I’m a tiny insignificant speck but this sent my mind whirring into the depths of the unknown, the future, our current destructive path etc.

With their main objectives decided , how to build something that would withstand that kind of journey tasked the group of scientists , inventors  and dreamers with some serious problem solving . My first drink offering pays  homage to that dream or wish to create one of the most  fantastic achievements of exploration , its title also happens to be one of the opening songs in the film’s soundtrack by Rose Royce, the song also released at the height of the Disco era in 1977. The cocktail is riff on a pina colada complete with disco dust and stars.


Wishing On A Star 

Cocktail ingredients :
2 oz silver tequila or mezcal blended with  E3 Live  Blue Majik spirulina
( 1 liter bottle + 6 capsules spirulina blended on high in for 3o seconds )
1 oz John D Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
1 oz pineapple syrup ( equal parts pineapple juice and cane sugar )
1/8 oz vanilla extract

Foam ingredients :
1 x  12 oz can thai coconut milk
2 oz lime juice
5 oz pineapple syrup
1/2 oz vanilla extract

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For the foam make sure all ingredients are chilled and pour into a chilled ISI gun, charge once with No2, test to make sure foam is whipped enough to your liking ( should look like a beer foam not whipped cream)

For the cocktail, add all ingredients to your shaker tin with 4-5 ice cubes and shake for 3 seconds .
Strain into a  chilled vessel of your choice
Top with the coconut foam , a sprinkle of edible disco dust and star shaped apple cut outs that have been dusted with the blue spirulina .



Another iconic song from the soundtrack , also released in 77 is “Us and Them” from Pink Floyd, and  one of my personal favorites , “Us and them, and after all we’re only ordinary men ” the song is  about war, two sides fighting for different causes, in this case its used to illustrate the possibility of connection and communication , sending Voyager out there as a literal message in a bottle, each  module was equipped with a 2 hour long play golden disc that contained songs , greetings and images , the instructions engraved like hieroglyphics on how to retrieve the messages.

The drink I thought would work well here is a charcoal black Penicillin variation , the blackness of space represented by the charcoal , the drink is also laced with silver disco dust to represent stars and for my message an edible xerox printed “Hello” for the earthly greeting .

Us + Them

2 oz scotch whisky that has been blended with edible charcoal
( the same process as above, 1 liter bottle of whisky to 3 activated charcoal capsules , blended on high . Allow the charcoal to sit in the whisky for an hour or so to give it time to complete its absorption process, you see charcoal is used to negate toxins in the body except that it doesn’t know what is a toxin and what is a necessary medicine , if you get my drift )
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz ginger syrup
1/2 oz honey syrup ( 1:1 honey to hot water )
edible silver disco dust
edible xerox ( optional )



Add all liquid ingredients to your shaker tin + 2-3 dashes of edible silver disco dust
Shake for 3 seconds with 4-5 ice cubes
Strain into a chilled vessel of choice
Garnish as desired with or without greeting



One of the problems the Team faced was how to prevent radioactive waves from interfering with the delicate cables  on the exterior  of Voyager , these magnetic fields could undo all their hard work , frying those conduits. The simplest solution was to protect portions of the space craft with  that pantry essential aluminum foil, each cable was wrapped up like a Holiday turkey to seal in all its goodness  . My drink is a play on a Saketini, using a combination of unfiltered Nigori sake for both sweetness and opacity and pisco for flavor , the radio active glow comes from liquid activated non-toxic light cubes , that light up our journey and the glass , the whole shebang wrapped in colored hair dresser’s foils ( used for highlights and available in an array of vibrant colors from peacock blue to black ).

Magnetic Fields 

1 oz Nigori sake
1 oz Capurro pisco ( my preference is Torontel )
1 oz lychee calpico
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz 1:1 simple syrup
a spritz of absinthe to finish


Wrap your glass with aluminum foil and set aside
Add all ingredients to your shaker with 5 ice cubes and shake for 3 seconds
Strain into aluminum wrapped glass
Spritz Absinthe over the top
Serve with a short metal straw


The most important problem to solve  was a crucial step for the Scientists ,  how to catapult the  Voyager space crafts through our solar system and out into intergalactic space   once they ran out of fuel . The answer was to use Jupiter’s orbital speed . As Voyager travelled around the planet this  assist from Jupiter is the force that hurls the ship in an arc as if it was a sling shot , the power of this force sending it on its journey . The major hurdle here was that the planets had to be in exact alignment , an event that only happens once every one hundred and seventy six years.

My last creation also uses gravity to assist the build of this drink , my inspiration the luminescent colors of a super nova ,  Butterfly blue pea tea is the color component that when introduced to citrus changes its color to a vibrant purple, in order to make the purple sink to the bottom elderflower liqueur and simple syrup is added to make its density greater ( heavier ) than the rest of drink . The drink itself is a riff on a Tom collins and is finished off with a champagne elderflower foam that gets whipped up with a milk frother .

Gravity Assist 

For the denser portion of the drink :

1/2 bottle Giffard elderflower liqueur ( contains citric acid so this will start the color change to a deep violet )
3 oz simple syrup 1:1 ratio sugar to water
1/ 2 cup of butterfly blue pea tea
Add all ingredients to a ziplock bag and either soul vide for 1 hours at 55 degrees or hacked sous vide by placing baggie in a container of hot water to speed up the infusion process .
Strain out flowers when mixture is a dark violet

For the lighter,  blue portion of the drink :

1 liter boiling water
1/2 cup butterfly blue pea tea
Steep tea flowers in boiling water for 1 hour
Strain out flowers when the tea is a dark blue

For the foam :

1 cup flat champagne ( or dry  white wine )
1/2 cup of Gifford elderflower liqueur .
1 teaspoon texturas sucro ( a sugar ester )

Add all ingredients to a high sided container such as a liter sized lidded deli cup
Using a milk frother ( I love the one from  Cafe Casa for its superior power ) whip together the ingredients until your mix doubles in size, half of which should be a fine foam .
Re- froth when ready to use .

For the drink you will need :

1 oz  violet elderflower syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
2 oz dry gin such as Fords gin
2-3 oz soda water
1/2 -1 oz of blue pea tea
1-2 teaspoons of champagne foam for garnish



Build this drink directly in a chilled tall glass such as a collins highball .

Add lemon juice and elderflower syrup to bottom of glass and stir
Add ice cubes and optional non-toxic light cubes for drama .
Pour in gin and top with soda water, leave about an inch space from the top of the glass
Pour in the blue pea tea, This should float above the purple layer
Top with champagne foam
Serve with a metal straw

To watch The Farthest for yourself check out your local listings on PBS , an encore performance will be shown on September 13th .

Issue No.040 “Tails from the Bookworm” White Rabbit






a bit of an aging Hippie ( my Pops I can hear groaning in his grave ) who spent a good portion of my Teen years hunting for legit Hash, baking edibles ,  stoned  or coming off a bad trip ( several and some quite embarrassing episodes including being convinced street lights were instead aliens chasing after me as I ducked behind cars ; I kid not) am thrilled to see this current abundance  of Nootropics flooding the market . What’s a Nootropic? A collective word for   smart drugs or cognitive enhancers , plant based CBD is one and there are several  amino acids such as L-Theanine and Levodopa that have similar functions . Ginkgo Biloba is another and though it has shown in clinical trails to have little effect somehow when I put some into a smoothie I turn into an intense version of the energizer Bunny, and am pretty intense already.

I also recently happened upon  a recording of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit ” , Miss Slick’s vocals have been isolated for a breathtaking, goose bump inducing rendition of the song , listen to it here, a song synonymous with the Psychedelic movement of the mind expanding  Sixties.  The song can be interpreted in a couple of ways either to promote drugs or as a warning of a bad trip,  in my mind,  as the song progresses the imagery gets darker and the way the crescendo of the song builds it also implies  bad vibes man . Nootropics have the adverse effect , no killing buzzes, nor chopping off bunny rabbit’s heads, nor street lights out to zap you , just smooth , mind expanding thrills !

So I figured I would use White Rabbit  as my jumping off point for this issue , including “bumps ” of  Nootropics in my recipes ,  my visuals have been enhanced to give the colors a lurid , oversaturated, Tomfoolery  look . And while technically this is not my usual  book dissertation , the song is based on a book . As a bonus , we get to examine that original Badass protagonist Alice and what perhaps drove her to dive into a dark hole after that  strange rabbit . I should mention that Patrick my Photographer  for the blog these past few years is tending to his Mum who is poorly so have been left to my own devices , bought a camera , styled and shot the pics myself , they’re not quite as profesh as Dear Paddy’s but they’ll more than do .

Here for your head bending pleasure my imbibable   interpretations inspired by  “White Rabbit” and excerpts from “Alice in Wonderland ”

One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small

And the pills that Mother gives you , don’t do anything at all

Consider if you will that “pill” . As well as enhancing pills , the word  can also refer to a reductive experience or influence , “pill” an urban slang for an annoying person ,”one pill makes you small “ that pill can be anyone that tries to minimize and mind-bend us  into insignificance placating with empty placebos, medicating to dull the senses “those pills that mother gives us, don’t do anything at all” . I like to imagine Alice has had enough of being squished or told who to be , waking from boredom she  sees that rabbit, a potential metaphor for her curiosity  as her chance to grow, in her case literally and figuratively .

After  falling  down into the dark the first place Alice  finds herself is in a hallway with many locked doors, an allegory for opportunity , except in her current state there’s no chance that Alice will fit into any of these “doors”.  So she has to take a pill or drink a tonic to adapt to her new surroundings  except with unexpected consequences  .

Go ask Alice,  when she’s ten feet tall


E (motion) Potion

My liquid offering is a refreshing  blend of rhubarb and florals with a hint of L-Dopa a supplemental  amino acid that turns into dopamine in the brain enhancing  stamina, pleasure stimuli  and sexual function , the most pronounced side effect with larger does of L-Dopa is an inability to control muscles so no OD’ing please !

For the drink :
1 1/2 oz Cap rock Gin
1 1/2 oz rhubarb and rose geranium consommé ( recipe follows)
1 oz Brovo pink Vermouth
1 oz red verjus
1 drop vanilla
2 dashes Peychauds bitters
1 dropper full  L-Dopa ( buy the liquid form here )
spritz of absinthe
spritz of lemon oil from a peel

For the Rhubarb /geranium consommé :

1000 grams rhubarb stalks chopped into 1 inch pieces
500 grams organic cane sugar
1 quart or 32 oz of water
1 cup of fresh rose geranium leaves (  I grow these but you can also request at your Farmers market )

Add the rhubarb, sugar, rose geranium and water  to a large metal bowl
Wrap the bowl  several times with plastic wrap making sure that is is completely sealed and that no steam will escape, its the steams job to pull out all the flavor from the rhubarb and geranium , without it your concoction will burn .

Place the mummified bowl on top a  large pan thats half filled with water, this is your ersatz    bain-marie , then set onto a medium flame on your stove top.

Allow to steam for up to two hours

When finished allow to cool before removing the plastic wrap, dump contents into a chinoise strainer set over a pitcher to collect the resulting consommé

Store consommé in an airtight container in fridge until ready to use .




Add everything to your mixing glass with 5-6 ice cubes and stir for about 10 seconds .
Strain into your vessel of choice , spritz over lemon peel and absinthe
Optional edibles on the side !




And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall 

As the second chapter opens Alice has increased to an enormous size and becomes so frustrated , hot and bothered that she starts to cry, she finds a fan and starts to cool herself down, the fan also helps her to  shrink down to the size of a mouse , except she is so small she is in danger of drowning in the pool of tears she wept as a giant Alice.

In Miss Slick’s version the song goes ” And if you go chasing Rabbits , and you know you’re going to fall ” infers risk taking, as with any adventure wether its meta or physical , Alice has chased that frantic rabbit in search of answers  and perhaps if she had an energy boost she could have caught up with him, instead she becomes lost and almost drowns in her own tears .

As the floods subside the white rabbit appears again and mistakes Alice for his maid  , he sends her into the house to retrieve a pair of  gloves and a fan for the Duchess that he has misplaced . Inside the house Alice starts to grow again back into her giant self . She’s drank the potion and eaten the cake and now has no control of her body. To me this all sounds familiar dealing with irrationality and whacked logic , reminds me of my experience  being chased by street lights , I lost all control and was thrust into an alternative world with a skewed perception of reality .

Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit, Run, Run, RUN!

Alice would have been well advised to drink this next potion to keep up with that anxious bunny , made using a favorite rabitty treat, carrots .

For the drink :

1 1/2  oz fresh carrot juice
1 1/2  oz pandan infused sake (recipe follows)
1/2 oz Manzanilla sherry
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
1 dropper full of Ginkgo Biloba for that manic , rabbit chasing boost (buy it here)
garnish with coconut cotton candy ( a match made in heaven with carrots ) and represents the fluff of a rabbit’s tail .
Optional I dusted over a pinch of luster dust and a pinch of beet powder for an even more festive ( since its Easter ) feel , both can be found on Amazon .
I also gave my glass a spritz of coriander scent from potion master Mandy Aftel

For the Pandan Sake :

1 quart of dry sake ( does not have to be pricey, the inexpensive sake will do )
100 grams of dried pandan leaves

Add everything to a ziplock bag and either sous vide at 55 degrees C for 2 hours using your Polyscience immersion circulator or place bag in a bath of hot water to speed up infusion process , the only drawback with this method is it takes longer and you need to keep adding more hot water.

Strain and store in an airtight container until ready to use .


Add everything to your shaker tin except for the garnish  with 5-6 ice cubes
Shake for 5 seconds and strain into a vessel of choice , I used  this rabbit  eared trinket cup , you know for a bit of fun .
If using spritz , spray over glass before adding cotton candy which will start to dissolve if it gets expose to moisture too fast .
Top with the coconut cotton candy and dust over optional luster  and beet powders .


Tell em a Hookah smoking caterpillar, has given you the call

And ask Alice , when she was just small


Once more Alice finds herself   in a  pickle , she’s grown too big for the house , her arms dangling out of the windows and scaring all the animal neighbors , who in turn start to throw pebbles at her, the pebbles magically turning into mini cakes which Alice , remembering the cakes in this place make her change size , starts to eat   , shrinking back down to a smaller size, again she goes a couple of bites  too far and becomes as tiny as an insect  .

She gets out of the house and finds herself in a grassy  garden  where she spies a mushroom, sitting on top is a blue caterpillar smoking a Hookah pipe and puffing  out large rings of smoke . He sees Alice staring and questions her ” who are you?”. In the song the interpretation is that the caterpillar poses a more existential question , really who are you ?


When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go

And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low

Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know


Hooooo(kah) are YOU?!

Perhaps if Alice had taken a couple of hits from that Hookah she would have discovered herself  sooner, or at least had a bit more fun finding out .

The drink that follows is pass-aroundable and uses a large flask from the folks at Urban Bar ware in London . The drink is Mezcal based to complement the smokey aroma  that it gets finished with, to make it even more buzz worthy its laced with a vial or two of CBD oil to mellow out that “What is the meaning of life ” angst that Alice is sure to be having  after all that sugary cake , or at least thats what  happens to me with too much sugar,so maybe I’m just projecting on our Heroine .

CBD is also the antithesis to Jefferson Airplane’s bad trip ending in White Rabbit   instead it results in a nice mellow , peaceful “high “. Something  I think Alice would be looking forward to after her illogical journey through Wonderland .


When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead

And the white knight is talking backwards

And the red queen’s off with her head

Remember what the dormouse said

Feed your head, feed your head!


For the drink :
(enough for 2-4 

6 oz mezcal
8 oz pineapple syrup ( equal parts pineapple juice and simple syrup )
4 oz PX sherry
4 oz Manzanilla sherry
2 oz lime juice
12 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters
4 dashes Scrappy’s firewater tincture
4 capsules worth Blue Majik spirulina  ( empty powder out of capsules and discard capsule shells)
8 drops of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
4 oz aguafaba or egg white.
1 vial CBD per person ( approx 1/8 of an oz )

For garnish you will need a smoking gun , buy from Amazon, Polyscience is may favorite by far but you can also make a smoker from a cooking pot, a plastic tube and some plastic wrap ( add wood chips to be smoked into cooking pot , wrap with plastic wrap, poke a hole into plastic and thread one end of pipe into pot – secure with electrical tape – and the other end of the pipe into the vessel you’ll be serving the drink from . The wood chips inside the pan get set on fire the plastic wrap stops smoke from escaping so the only place it can go is through the pipe and into your glass , its very basic  but if you don’t want to invest in the smoking gun this is an experimental way of achieving similar results ).




Add portions of all ingredients  to your shaking tin/s and whip shake with 2 ice cubes for 10 seconds until you get a nice head of foam on the top of the drink, you can probably fit half of this amount in two tins , either double shake , one in each hand or  get your friends involved since they’ll be partaking in the fun why not involve them in the process of whipping the drink up.

Via a funnel pour the cocktail batch into your serving vessel

Place smoking tube inside bottle or glass and turn your smoking gun on or set fire to your wood chips and allow smoke to fill up bottle/glass.

Drink immediately!


Issue No. 039 “Tails from the Bookworm” Ode to the Elements

mother earth

2017will go down in history books as a time of great change and not necessarily all for the better. This will be a year of reflection , of resistance , of uprising and showing up to knife fights with enormous guns . Because if none of this happens we will soon be one of the last generations to live freely on this beautiful planet that we call Mother Earth , as humans we have raped , abused and taken for granted the bounteous gift of the land we stand on and the precious commodities that this great Lady has given us with only one condition that we cherish what we have . Earth is made up of several states of physical matter which the ancient Greeks defined as the elements Earth, Water, Air and Fire , there is a fifth element which is a little more metaphysical , Aristotle called it Aether in Hinduism and Buddism its name is Akasha and describes that which was beyond the physical world . The fine balance of these elements is a requisite for our planet’s survival without them we animals will also rapidly perish , the earth could care less if we exist on it or not and doesn’t need us , we on the other hand rely on its existence , you get the picture .

Great writers of years gone by often paid homage to a particular  subject with a lyric address called an Ode, typically meant to be sung or recited with a certain song-like meter . This issue is my  Ode to those  Elements , my usual drink wrangling  accompanied by  five  revered wordsmiths and their literary interpretations . Sing it loud, I’m an Earthling and I’m Proud !


Emily Bronte – Ode to Earth

Shall Earth No More Inspire Thee

Shall earth no more inspire thee,
Thou lonely dreamer now?
Since passion may not fire thee
Shall Nature cease to bow?

Thy mind is ever moving
In regions dark to thee;
Recall its useless roving—
Come back and dwell with me.

I know my mountain breezes
Enchant and soothe thee still—
I know my sunshine pleases
Despite thy wayward will.

When day with evening blending
Sinks from the summer sky,
I’ve seen thy spirit bending
In fond idolatry.

I’ve watched thee every hour;
I know my mighty sway,
I know my magic power
To drive thy griefs away.

Few hearts to mortals given
On earth so wildly pine;
Yet none would ask a heaven
More like this earth than thine.

Then let my winds caress thee;
Thy comrade let me be—
Since nought beside can bless thee,
Return and dwell with me.

Emily Bronte  was an English Poet and Novelist best know for penning Wuthering Heights, a polarizing  tale controversial at the time of its publishing for depicting mental and physical  cruelty as well as challenging the Victorian ideals of morality , religion and inequality , or so says the Wiki folks . Bronte only published a slim volume of her poetry before she died too early at the age of thirty , her young life was subject to abuse whilst at school as detailed in her sister Charlotte’s story of Jane Eyre .

The poem Shall Earth No More Inspire Thee speaks of a gloomy spirit that is no longer interested in the beauty of the natural world , the narrator in the piece is possibly  nature or Mother Earth herself , the words  reflect on Bronte’s deep love of the natural world and its ability to sooth a troubled spirit .


The liquid Ode here comes from bounty plucked from the Earth itself, golden beets, red beets, carrots, ginger root and that most precious of chemical elements , Gold. The earliest sign of beet cultivation goes back about 4, 000 years it is high in nutrients and has a plethora of health benefits , calming blood pressure and Anemia  to name a couple , ginger adds a lovely digestif kick rounded out by Gold for its therapeutic qualities, rumored by ancient Egyptians and Chinese to prolong life if ingested, Chinese peasants to this day still cook rice with a Gold coin in the pot.

Should you not wish to keep this mix totally Holistic my spirited  suggestion would be to add either Mezcal for its earthy flavor or dry Gin for its complementary aromatics .


earth 2

2 oz golden beet and ginger  juice ( ran through a veggie juicer- a small amount of ginger goes a long way )
2 oz of chilled ginger tea ( a strong infusion of 2 tea bags per cup of hot water works best- for the boozy version steep the tea in Mezcal or Gin )
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz honey syrup
2 drops gentian root  tincture ( from most health food stores)
1 oz red beet juice for the float
Aftelier Shiso aroma for spritzing over ( an optional luxury )

Add all ingredients except the red beet juice to a shaker tin and she for 3 seconds with 5 ice cubes.
Strain into a chilled glass filled with one large rock cube
Using a speed pour fitted onto a bottle filled with the red beet juice slowly pour the red beet juice onto the top of the ice cube, the speed pour will allow the juice to come out slower than being poured from a pitcher and pouring onto the ice cube will stop the juice from mixing into the rest of the drink .
Add your optional spritz of Shiso aroma at this point
Garnish with carrot flowers ( slices of carrot cut out using a flower shaped cutter) and a sprinkle of
food grade gold dust .


Ralph Waldo Emerson – Ode to Water


The water understands
Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.

Ralph Waldo Emerson , an American Scholar , led the transcendentalist movement of the 19th century and was seen as a champion of the individualist. He moved away from the religious beliefs of his contemporaries  and formulated a philosophy that explored the connection between the human soul and the world surrounding it , extolling  freedom and the idea that humankind has the ability to achieve almost anything .

Here Emerson  celebrates the gift of water and its ability to both give and destroy, to cool and to heal us but too much of it for example  storms, melting ice caps and Tsunamis can wreak havoc on civilization .

My watery offering uses coconut water, clarified pineapple juice , Seedlip  Wood spice  ( a pot distilled non-boozy spiced tonic and that water loving single celled organism Algae or Spirulina , packed with Iron and minerals a superfood of epic proportions .

water 2

1 1/2 oz fresh coconut water
1/2 capsule of Blue Majik Spirulina
1 1/2 oz clarified pineapple ( recipe below )
1 1/2 oz Seedlip Wood spice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup ( more if you prefer sweeter)
1 oz aguafaba or chick pea water ( literally means bean water,  the water that chickpeas are cooked in )
Silver disco dust ( optional as garnish )

Add all ingredients to your shaker tin with one small ice cube and shake for 5 seconds until you can no longer hear the ice cube banging around in tin. This will wake up the aguafaba and make the drink light and fluffy .
Add 5 more ice cubes and shake for a further 3 seconds
Strain immediately into a glass of your choice ( Inspired by a fellow LA Bartender Ryan Wainwright ,I used a shrimp cocktail glass that comes in two parts , in the bottom I added  dry ice and water to create the smoky effect ) the bowl section of the glass is where I strained my drink into.
Sprinkle the remaining half of Blue Majik Spirulina into a line on top of the drink . Using a straw or skewer draw a concentric circle into the surface of the drink to create your swirl pattern .
Finish with a pinch of silver disco dust .

Clarified Pineapple

4 cups of freshly juiced pineapple juice ( juiced through  veggie juicer )

Add juice to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and allow to come up to a simmer, do not stir, the aim is to get the pulp separated from the liquid , if you stir it will be mixed back in
Remove from heat and strain through a chinoise strainer , allow it to drip through without being agitated
Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.



Emily Dickinson – Ode to Air

Banish Air from Air

Banish Air from Air –
Divide Light if you dare –
They’ll meet
While Cubes in a Drop
Or Pellets of Shape
Fit –
Films cannot annul
Odors return whole
Force Flame
And with a Blonde push
Over your impotence
Flits Steam.


Emily Dickinson an American Poet is perhaps one of the most original writers of all time, she challenge the definition of what it meant to be a writer , like writers such as Thoreau and Whitman  she experimented with expression and crafted new types of persona for the first person. She saw poetry as a double edged sword both liberating as well as un-grounding .

Miss Dickinson uses symbolism and similes in Banish Air from Air, its possible she’s referring to someone’s death , who no longer breathes or adds air to the air , impotence denotes helplessness and inability to act . She lived in a time when Tuberculosis had taken several of a her friends and the window which she sat by whilst writing overlooked the cemetery where they had been interred, air the life giver sucked from their lungs by this vicious disease .

My personal Ode to air is a much lighter affair , using Japanese citrus and Cilantro that was then carbonated Via Perlini magic a CO2 chargeable cocktail shaker , the drink is finished with Li-Hing flavored light as air cotton candy from the folks at Sugar + Spun . For a boozy addition I would add briny Manzanilla sherry or an Aged Cachaca like Avua.


3/4 oz Yuzu Juice
3/4 oz cilantro simple syrup ( recipe below )
2 oz clarified pineapple juice as in previous recipe or 2 oz Manzanilla sherry
2 drops vanilla extract

Add everything to your Perlini shaker with 5 ice cubes , screw on top and carbonate .
Allow to sit for a few seconds before pouring into a vessel of your choice and garnishing with cotton candy and flowering Cilantro sprigs if available .

Cilantro Simple syrup

4 cups cool simple syrup 1:1 ratio of cane sugar to hot water
bunch of cilantro leaves ( pick off the woodier stems )

Add everything your trusty blender and blend on high for 20 seconds
Strain through a chinoise strainer
Store refrigerated in an airtight container .


Jane Hirshfield – Ode to Fire

Sonoma Fire

Large moon the deep orange of embers.
Also the scent.
The griefs of others—beautiful, at a distance.

Jane Hirshfield a modern day award winning Poet , her work influenced by both Western and Eastern traditions and from well known writers such as Dickinson and Whitman to lesser known Eskimo and Native poetry . Her work is constructed using spare lines , short forms and careful imagery she explores themes such as perception and awareness . A reviewer says of her work : “It’s about how to negotiate the difficulties of living while, at the same time, paying homage to what life has to offer. The poems are penetrating; they reveal a quick intelligence and an even quicker intuition.”

Sonoma Fire has characteristics of a Japanese Haiku traditionally constructed so that two opposing ideas are placed together , the beauty and the horrific destruction of a fire ,  however it does not have the traditional 5, 7, 5 layout of 17 syllables in total , the imagery is vivid , colorful and yet all consuming and visceral just like the flames themselves .

The drink you should be sipping on whilst contemplating fire is a combination of smoky Lapsang tea, vibrant orange , chocolate Frankincense and optional peaty Islay Whisky , activated charcoal that by product of fire is added to the drink for a Gothic twist of color.

fire 2


2 oz chilled Lapsang Souchong tea
1 oz Paige Mandarin cordial  ( recipe below )  or  3/4 cordial and 3/4 oz Islay Whisky
1 oz paige Mandarin juice
3 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chilli bitters
1 activated charcoal capsule
pinch black pepper
Aftelier Frankincense aroma or a Frankincense smoked  glass ( optional )

Add everything to your shaker tin, including charcoal.
Allow charcoal to absorb into the liquid, it can interact with medication if you are taking any pretty much cancelling it out ,  so its better to let it do its job of absorbing before enjoying this drink .
After 10 mins or so add 5 ice cubes and shake hard for 3 seconds .
Strain into your smoked glass and top with a spritz of Frankincense aroma
Serve with a stick of smoldering Palo Santo .

Paige Mandarin Cordial

1 lb of Paige Mandarins
4 cups of weak  simple syrup 2:1 ratio water to cane sugar
2 cups vodka ( optional )
1/2 vanilla bean

Strip peel off mandarins and juice , set juice aside
Add peels and 1/2 of the  juiced mandarin shells to a large canning jar or if using sous vide add to a ziplock bag
Add vanilla bean and liquid
Seal jar and shake , store in fridge for 2-3 days or seal bag and add to water bath with immersion circulator set at 50 degrees C for 2 hours
When ready strain off peels etc and allow to cool before using
Store refrigerated in airtight container until ready to use.



T. A Rosenbaum – Ode to Aether

Aeonian Aether

Where the soul meets the sky
All is aether, never why
And in its favor is a place
Where is no sorrow, only grace
In its arms from deep to high
Is where the soul meets the sky

Past the moon, into the night
Which holds the earth in its flight
Darkness folds upon itself
Drinks existence to its health
And there sits beauty’s highest high
Past the moon, into the night

In the abode of Aeons old
Where flaming hearts count untold
No song of earthly tone may sing
Yet echoes of creation ring
There no lies have ere been told
In the abode of Aeons old

Where ages sleep and eternities lie
Where Gods may breathe and stars may die
They sigh, beautiful, poetic weeping
Their tears into the cosmos streaming
Into a Genesis or a Revelation nigh
Where ages sleep and eternities lie
Is where my soul meets the sky

There is not a whole lot of information on modernist Poet T.A Rosenbaum online , as a Metaphysical artist she or he felt it inappropriate to include a Bio on the page where I discovered this poem .  Needless to say if we are not careful this wisp of smoke or aether   is all that will be left of our glorious Planet if we are not more concerned or careful with its health and wellbeing . And in a true existential frame of mind think on this , if there is no Human , Animal or Earth left to remember will any of it have ever existed ?!



Coming Soon…..Clean + Dirty Drinking





olks , please accept my apologies for not posting these last couple of months, I have been hard at work putting together my first book tentatively titled “Clean + Dirty Drinking which launches in early 2018. For now I am madly writing to meet my deadline, there will be oodles of blog posts to come in the future  I promise .

Thank you for your patience and I look forward to sharing the book with you all !


The Loving Cup

Issue No.038 “Tails From The Bookworm” Annie Hall





ew Yawwkers love to hate Los Angeles, from experience I know this , I lived in the city that never sleeps for fourteen of my years, and have now been in LA for almost six, my die hard NY friends turn their nose up when I suggest they come and experience life on the west coast, its just not cool to live here so they say. I like to think of myself as an honorary NYer, I mean after battling through fourteen sweltering summers and frigid winters, countless subway rides with weirdos leering at me ,  been held up at knife and gun point, and turning a blind eye to all the literal and figurative rats I feel I’ve done my time in the trenches and deserve some sort of badge of honor, no ? I also have a luff hate thing going on with LA, so I think its appropro that I write this story.

I moved to Los Angeles to reset my life, to escape the constant clamoring of sirens and tourists and players OH MY! LA has been good to me, because I’m not constantly focusing on my survival or recovering from the exhaustion of the fight I have opened up time and energy  to focus on my creativity and and my general wellbeing, I live minutes from the beach ( that yes I rarely visit, too many people ) but that cool ocean air and misty mountains surrounding to the north of me are a tonic to my nervous system.  Through all of this though I have many moments that I yearn for the thrill of NY’s  vibrant energy where anything is possible, including bugs being tossed at you on the subway,  Los Angeles seems so boring and  pedestrian in comparison.

In this issue  I thought I would pay tribute to New York via that quintessential  LA hater Woody Allen and his nervous romance Annie Hall I know not technically a book but at one point it started life as a screen play which is written word and good enough for me .The poster above is in Polish, thats me representing my heritage in this post, this  issue is  also a loose ode to the  fifteen year  anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and those iconic twin towers the  double exclamation marks at the end of the gritty sentence that is New York City ,  Yo!!

The premise of this edition is taking classic  beverages and either dirtying them up NYC style or making them healthful a LA mode

Nazis and Neurosis 

Woody’s character is called Alvy Singer, a Jewish boy raised in Brooklyn who made good by becoming a famous comic , we first meet him as he laments to the camera the downfall of his relationship with Annie , he can’t seem to grasp what went wrong. In the next scene  he’s waiting at the movies for his girl  to appear,  as he waits his comedic self is recognized by a couple of teamster looking guys that he refers to as the cast of The Godfather, one of which pesters him for his autograph for his brudder . Annie finally shows up  looking depressed, Alvy complains its too late to see the movie ( it started two minutes before) and that he has to see a flick from start to fin, so he suggests they go watch a documentary on the holocaust instead,cheery activity for a Saturday afternoon!  Annie reluctantly agrees . As they wait in line Alvy complains about the guy behind dissecting and critiquing  Fellini’s  film efforts rather too loudly like he’s trying to impress his date , it winds Alvy up to no end ,to distract himself  he asks Annie why she’s depressed , her response that she missed her therapy appointment tightens his ticking time bomb of frustration even further  , he calls it a selfish gesture since they are having problems in the sack and the therapist is helping her work through the issues  she has with Alvy who I should mention at a precocious six years old was already lusting after the opposite sex.

My first offering to accompany Alvy’s neurosis and the melancholy of the film would be that classic movie snack popcorn and a coke, except how about trying it healthy  LA style without all those chemicals and corn syrup, I know how I hear you, how can it be any good if its not the classic, coma inducing formula . Well I think mine comes pretty bloody close, the caffeine kick comes from oolong tea, a cross between green and back teas and packed with natural  stimulants,  its sweetened by a mix of coconut sugar , dates and for color  a bit of  burnt organic cane sugar syrup with veggie bouillon, yes indeed  ! The syrup takes a couple of hours to make but you will be glad you tried it, scent wise it comes ridiculously close and taste wise too but a little more aromatic. Make it as sweet or as not as you feel, its the real, real thing !

“The Real Thing”

For the “Cola ” syrup

*A large pitcher
*A chinoise strainer
*A heavy bottomed pan or an immersion circulator and bath
*A Y peeler
*A measuring cup

For the syrup
1/3 of a cup of dried oolong tea
1 ½ quarts of boiling water
1 Navel orange both peel and juice
2 lemons both peel and juice
2 black limes ( from most Middle Eastern stores or Amazon)
4 cinnamon sticks broken up ( I used a hammer)
6 star anise pods ( whole stars not just seeds)

2 cups date syrup and 1 ½ cups coconut sugar or 3 cups organic cane sugar ( more if you want it sweeter)
¼ oz vanilla extract
¼ cup of bitter orange peel ( from your local brew shop or again Amazon)
½ a teaspoon of veggie bouillon
Optional 3 oz of Tipplemans Burnt Sugar syrup ( Amazon)
Start by steeping your tea in the boiling water
Strain and pour into either your heavy bottomed pan or your ziplock bag
To your pan or bag add your lemon and orange peel, black limes, cinnamon, bitter orange and star anise
In the pan bring to a simmer, then turn heat way down and cover pan allowing aromatics to infuse, in the bag add to your water bath, set immersion circulator to 55 degrees C.
“Cook” for 1 ½ hours , place infusion in fridge overnight to get nice and flavorful
Strain and add lemon and orange juice , vanilla, coconut nectar or cane sugar, bouillon and Burnt sugar syrup
Stir well and refrigerate before serving .

Note: You will need 2 parts of Cola syrup to  4 parts Soda water for a glass of the real “real thing”.

For the Real Thing Cocktail

2 1/2 oz of “Cola” syrup
1 1/2 oz white rum ( I used #62 from Rum Society)
1/2 oz PX sherry ( a raisinated sweet sherry)
1/4 oz lime juice
2 dashes chocolate bitters
2 oz soda water


Add everything to your shaker tin with 5 ice cubes, don’t shake stir to chill the mixture.
Transfer mixture to a your carbonation system (  I used Perlini’s cocktail shaker )
Charge with Co2 and wait for gas to subside before opening
Pour into your vessel of choice .
Serve with a side of popcorn tossed with coconut oil, smoked salt and Togarashi spice

Sacked in the sack

In an attempt to understand whats troubling their relationship Alvy  and Annie discuss his past  sexual relationships with his two ex wives which we watch  via  flash back, the first who was sexually voracious  and turned him off for wanting him too much , the second who found it impossible to climax. He can understand why those two marriages failed but with Annie, things are different, in the beginning they would have a blast doing ordinary  things like buying books, sitting in the park or driving in her VW bug at rapid speeds, somehow somewhere Annie has lost interest in Alvy and he delves even deeper into memories to try figuring out the root cause .

My suggestion at this point would be a good dose of lettuce juice , whats that you say , why lettuce ? Ask the ancient Chinese, they believe that lettuce contains a powerful aphrodisiac , something to do with the minerals within that create a potent love potion to get your mojo moving, your groove grinding and  your bits pumping.

Green Manalishi

Take the standard green juice and dirty it up with a shot of smoky , earthy Mezcal

1 oz Mezcal ( La Nina Espadin or Del Maguey Vida are my choices )
1 oz Floc de gascogne or Pineau des charentes  ( a wine based aperitif )
1 1/2 oz romaine lettuce juice
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
3 dashes Miracle Mile celery bitters
pinch smoked salt for garnish
seasonal green garnish ( I used wood sorrel above but fennel flowers or celery leaves work too)

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything to your shaker with 5 ice cubes and shake for 3 seconds
Strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with ice, preferably one giant cube
finish with pinch of smoked salt and garnish with greenery

Tennis elbow or  speak to me in shellfish 

Flashback to Annie and Alvy’s first meeting , a tennis doubles match set up by friends, after Annie invites him up to her place for some wine and awkward conversation that via mental subtitles we realize is actually flirtation ,  they both start to realize they’re into each other, after having sex on their second date Alvy is a neurotic mess and Annie chills out by smoking some grass, a portent of things to come.  Cut to another scene with Alvy reminiscing about  a weekend getaway with them trying to corral lobsters into the pot , both of them hooting with laughter and screaming as the ill fated  lobsters try scuttling off behind the fridge sensing their imminent butter drenched doom.

I figure some light refreshment at this point would come in the form of California Chardonnay, great for their rooftop scene or to pair with shellfish, the first cocktail I experienced  in NY was a classic martini, its also rumored that the dry martini was invented in the Knickerbocker Hotel in NY . In the EU when you ask for a martini you’ll get a glass of martini vermouth served over ice with a twist or olives, same premise but packing way less  of a spirited punch, a dirty gin martini still happens to be one of my all time favorites though these days I’m drinking it as a 50/50 half gin and half vermouth, great if you want to keep your night going a little longer as I suspect Annie and Alvy would want to do , only in this case  using some Cali chardonnay  instead of dry  vermouth .

The Long Shot Martini

1 1/2 oz London dry gin
1 1/2 oz Broc Cellars Neutral Chardonnay ( great with Lobster)
1 1/2 oz olive brine , my current addiction is to castelvetrano olives, salty without being bullies



Stir in a mixing glass for 10 seconds with a scoop of ice
Strain into a chilled martini glass or coupe
Garnish with olives or a couple of cucumber slices

LA Woman

Alvy’s neurosis  starts to get the better of him, he  becomes a man obsessed with Annie, she catches him following her as she innocently  walks arm in arm with another man, Annie starts to feel stifled by him and annoyed by his lack of support for her aspirations  so she  breaks it off with him, Alvy still hanging on to the idea that he’s done nothing wrong questions random people in the street about the success of their relationships , his agent Rob encourages him to start dating other women. He agrees to go on  a blind date with a writer for Rolling Stone mag , whilst consummating their first night together   the date gets cut short when he gets a frantic call from damsel in distress  Annie , can he come over to kill the spiders in her bathtub, spiders as big as a Buick are as good an excuse as any to restart their romantic dialogue , Annie extends a peace offering of chocolate milk, Alvy  the knight in shining armor slays the dragon, erm spider  his reward a giant case of Miss Hall.

A few days after they get back together , Annie has a gig at a local club singing her usual torch songs, Alvy is there naturally perpetuating their push , pull relationship . Tony Lacy excited by Annie’s performance introduces himself as a Hollywood music producer and man about town , asks if she has representation and  invites them to go hang out with Jack and Anjelica, you know the it couple of seventies New York. Alvy declines for them saying they have a “thing” afterward but Annie is obviously into the idea, Tony tells her to look him up if she ever in LA. Coincidentally Alvy’s agent  Rob suggests he present a TV  award in LA that winter, Annie joins him and  they spend Christmas in LA. Driving through town  Annie Remarks how clean Los Angeles is, Alvy quips  “Its so clean because they don’t throw their trash out they turn it into TV shows” , later they wind up at a house party hosted by none other than Mr.Lacy, much to Alvy’s displeasure. The next day as he preps for the award ceremony Alvy starts to feel ill, complaining of feeling nauseous , perhaps disgusted from watching Rob add canned laughter to a skit he’s just recorded either that or he’s anxious of presenting an award for crap TV , as he’s lying in bed with a Doctor by his side, Annie lets him know that he needn’t worry they found a replacement presenter for him, Alvy miraculously recovers  and starts to chowing down on boiled chicken .

Boiled chicken for an upset tum never much worked for me ,ginger ale or ginger beer are the usually prescriptions I’ve been offered but  my own  miracle elixir is anything gentian based and bitter, Fernet especially  puts me right pretty much in minutes.

The Franciscan

The drink of choice for many a San Franciscan Barfly is Fernet and ginger, I Californiafied it with Ginger water Kefir, water Kefir is sparkling probiotic beverage that helps restore the healthy flora in your gut , mixed with Fernet I think Mr.Singer would have been much happier than eating his boiled chicken regardless of where the drink hails from .

For the Ginger water Kefir


1 large sterilized mason jar
Muslin or a clean tea towel
Elastic bands
A chinoise strainer
1 large plastic soda bottle with cap ( cleaned out please)
Measuring spoon
Measuring cup

Kefir ingredients
4 cups of  water
1 tablespoon prepared water kefir grains ( that have been soaked in sugar water to wake them up)
1 oz lemon juice
4 1/2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup ginger juice or chopped ginger if a juicer is not handy

Pour  everything  into your mason jar
Add the kefir grains and cover with the muslin or tea towel, secure with elastic bands
Store at room temp and out of sunlight for 48 hours
Strain and transfer to your clean soda bottle, at this point you can add some  botanical flavorings if you wish .
Leave at least 2 inches of space at the top of the bottle, screw on cap tightly and store out of sunlight until carbonated. The beauty of the plastic bottle is it will fill up with gas and turn rock solid letting you know its ready.

Store in fridge to stop fermentation

Note : must be consumed within a month, mine lasts a day or so. Water kefir grains can also be used to make a delicious sparkling wine

For the drink

2 oz Fernet Branca
4 oz ginger water kefir


Fill a tall glass with ice
Pour in Fernet and top with  sparkling ginger kefir
garnish with a lemon or lime wheel

Dead Sharks and Mashed Yeast

Returning from LA, Annie and Alvy  realize they’re headed on different paths she dreaming of being an LA woman  he likens their relationship to a dead shark, they agree to  call it quits on the plane , Annie returns to LA to take up with her music producer, Alvy trying to reconcile how easy it was for her to leave him pines after her and comes up with a plan to win her back  , he goes back to  LA where he meets her at a health food restaurant  on Sunset Blvd , he  orders a plate of alfalfa sprouts and mashed yeast,  she’s not too pleased at him being there and gets annoyed with his yet again questioning what she’s doing with her life . She storms off , he races after her but she drives away into the sunset, frustrated he tries to follow her in his giant yacht of a convertible car but he can’t even maneuver it out of the parking lot, he gets arrested for causing a scene and spends the night in a lock up, giving him time to ruminate over his errors . Its interesting too that Woody uses the symbolism of white clothing to show LA people as enlightened creatures who can wear white because LA is so clean in comparison to the grime of NY.

The movie ends with Alvy writing a play about their relationship only he changes the ending to where Annie goes back to NY with him.

Rather than the unappetizing plate of mashed yeast I thought perhaps a glass of mashed avocado smoothie would go down a little easier, its sullied with a mix of Tikiesque ingredients , Tiki being a movement that was big in CA , its  topped off with sprouts yes, but  the flowering cilantro variety . The glass is wrapped on the inside with a Hoja Santa leaf or a “Sainted” leaf for  Holier than thou white clothed saints of Los Angeles .

Yogi’s Choice
The drink is called Yogi’s choice since you can choose to drink it boozy or booze free. If you choose no booze add 1 oz of coconut or date nectar to sweeten it up .

1 ripe avocado
2 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz aged rum
1 /2 oz mezcal
1 oz lime juice
1 oz Velvet Falernum
drop vanilla
1 tablespoon coconut oil


Add everything to your blender with a 5 or 6 ice cubes  and blend on high for until avocado is completely mashed . You can omit the ice cubes if you ,like me  prefer warm beverages, I am English after all!
Transfer into a tall glass and garnish with cilantro sprouts


Issue No.037 “Tails from the Bookworm” Vita Sackville-West




hcapital-A the English summer , that season of light fluttering dresses, strawberries and cream , delicate flowers, Wimbledon, torrential rain and cracking thunderstorms , sticky underarms ( for me out of control frizzy hair-not on my underarms on my head ) non existent A/C and this summer will go down in history as the year of the great “Brexit”. If you hadn’t guessed already from previous editions of The Cup, I’m a first generation Brit, so I don’t have that Nationalism thing drummed into me and naturally am disgusted with the fiasco of leaving the EU .My parents came over after WW2, had a mangled arranged marriage that produced two offspring, myself and a brother, my Pops would have given anything to turn me into a proper little madam, you know a pinkie in the air kind of lady with manners, spotlessly clean shoes and combed hair. Instead he got an outspoken, tomboyesque, leftist leaning socialist with , torn jeans and paint splattered sneakers . Appearances can be deceptive , a bad ass looking punk can be a softie at heart and a lady to the manor born all buttoned up on the outside can be raging and debaucherous wild child !

Such is the tale of our Heroine this issue, the daughter of a Baron, Victoria Sackville-West or Vita for short was an Edwardian Lady who despite the risks she knew she was taking with her reputation was a romantic rebel who made plot lines of Downtown Abbey  pale in comparison . She inspired ardor in men and women alike but most of her lovers were women including a short lived romance but a long lived relationship with Virginia Woolf who was so inspired and besotted by Vita that she wrote the novel Orlando as an homage to her, who’s voracious sexual appetite had her “conjugating verbs” with both sexes way before the names Lesbian or Bi-sexual were in existence .

Virginia Woolf herself was a member of the Bloomsbury Group ( a collection of  bohemian painters, writers, sculptors and aristos) and was a great source of inspiration for me during  my art school days . The country house that they inhabited , Charleston House now a national monument in the south of England became their giant evolving canvas, every corner and every surface is painted with beautiful scenes and frescos.

Vita’s other passions were tennis and as she grew older she became an incredibly accomplished gardener,  in her dairies that are detailed in the book  ‘ Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita-Sackville-West” Vita has entries that list her activities for the day, listed in alternating order on one page are “made love” and ” played hours of tennis”, as one of the most privileged young things of the Edwardian era she  lived in a sprawling mansion and had a pet tortoise with a monogram picked out in diamonds that would roam the house . Because her life story is a long one and her affairs many here is just an extract of her escapades that starts  with summer love , the drinks I chose to illustrate these moments take their cues from the plummy proper English, their love of that summer time obsession Wimbledon,  and the good old English country garden .

In the summer of 1910  at a dinner party Vita met a young diplomat called Harold Nicholson, they both fell in love with each other and whilst he was away  taking care of his diplomatic duties Vita continued her extra curricular activities with her best friend Rosamund , though Harold was mad about Vita he also understood that his primary sexual desires were for men though his dalliances never over took him emotionally as Vita’s did .

Watermelon Rose Jallab

The classic Mint Julep gets its name from this Middle Eastern drink the Jallab, a type of fruit syrup made with molasses and rosewater that is served over crushed ice . Its a perfect summer drink, boozy yet refreshing , my version is served in a hollowed out mini watermelon and though I could not get my hands on pellet ice I found a mini ice cube tray that makes these centimeter big cubes that keep the drink iced cold without turning into wet slush.

For the drink:

1 miniature watermelon, top cut off and saved and watermelon flesh scooped out
1/2 bunch of  fresh Moroccan mint
1 1/2 oz Giffard Black rose liqueur ( if this is not available you can sub out by making a simple syrup  with rosewater , for every cup of syrup add 1 oz of rosewater)
2 1/2 oz Bourbon ( my go to is Buffalo Trace)
handful of rose petals
rose buds and mint sprigs to garnish


Add the watermelon flesh, mint and rose petals to your juicer, strain so any chunky bits and seeds  are removed .
Set watermelon shell on top of a small shallow bowl so that it stands up
Fill hollowed out watermelon with pellet ice
Pour in Bourbon, watermelon juice and rose liqueur
Using a swizzle stick gently agitate liquid and ice being careful not to rip open watermelon shell.
Add more ice to top and garnish with rose buds and mint sprigs, slurp through a straw .


After much courting Vita and Harold married in 1913, Rosamund was devastated , Violet another of Vita’s lovers was livid and later on exacted her revenge . Vita and Harold at this point had not admitted their sexual proclivities , but lived a blissful life with a Honeymoon that lasted four and a half years and produced two sons , Vita concluded it was hardly possible for two people to be any happier. This ended when Harold had to admit an encounter with another man had resulted in venereal disease and that he was forbidden to have sex for 6 months, terrified that he’d lose his wife he tried to  convince her that his homosexuality meant nothing to him and for a while all seemed to blow over.

Garden Gin and Tonic 

There is something wrong with me that I thought this drink would be an appropriate Ode to Virginia Woolfe, she drowned herself by putting rocks in her pockets, I slapped myself several times and decided instead to have it be a tonic for Harold’s V.D and am sure his accompanying fever, the original tonic water was made out of cinchona bark that helped with malaria, the gin was added to make the bitter tonic more palatable and so a classic drink was born, favored by the Brits and the Spanish but also has a growing fan base world wide. My friend Gabrielle  here in Socal does a frozen G&T out of her slushy machine at a Spanish restaurant called Vaca which for the summer sweats is a ubiquitous drink to have close at hand .

Mine is a wee bit more conventional , in that its still  liquid . Served over Nitro frozen garden pebbles that have been washed and sanitized in boiling water, the pebbles take the place of the ice which means you get zero dilution but a really bloody cold drink . Its topped off with a dollop of salt water foam.

For the drink:

1 1/2 oz Cap Rock gin
1/2 oz white verjus
3/4 oz Nikolai elderflower syrup
1-2 oz Fevertree elderflower tonic

For the foam :

4 oz saline solution ( made from 10:1 water to Maldon salt flakes)
3/4 oz yuzu juice
1/2 oz Nikolai elderflower syrup
.5 grams ( or half a bar spoon) of Texturas sucro

Allow the Sucro powder to dissolve fully into your liquid by using a small hand whisk.
Using an immersion blender blend the mixture then allow the blades to skim over the surface to aerate into a bubbley foam, set aside  ( it will stay foamy for about 10-15 minutes after which time you’ll need to re blend and froth)

For the pebbles: 

If nitrogen is not available make sure you have your cleaned pebbles sitting in the freezer at least two hours before you need them. If you have liquid nitrogen have the pebbles sitting in a stainless steel bowl and pour over the liquid nitrogen, using a spoon place pebbles in your glass of choice.



To assemble, add pebbles to your glass, place your garden sprig garnish into the pebbles making sure it is situated securely .
In a mixing glass add your gin, versus and syrup and stir for about 5 seconds over ice , strain into your pebble filled glass , add tonic water and spoon over the salty foam, you can add an optional dusting of spirulina as your pondweed element .


Violet however had not stopped pining for Vita and with Harold’s admission her chance came to get back into Vita’s life, two days before the doctor was to give Harold the all-clear Violet happened to be a house guest of the couple . Vita had just just gotten some breeches delivered and when she put them on she went wild with excitement , running and jumping and feeling like a young school boy freed for vacation, as she ran through the grounds Violet followed her. The outfit seemed to liberate something within the two women , by nightfall they were sleeping together, ten days later they ran away to Cornwall, Violet later said “we loved each other so much we became inarticulate “. Harold on the other hand begged Vita to return and suggested he would drown himself .

Matcha Made in Heaven 

Yes I’m corny, but at this point in the excerpt  am assuming the ladies will be a bit spent with all that romping and need a little pick me up, taking its cues from the traditional afternoon  tea ( well , tea with milk) I thought this would be appropriate for an energy boost, matcha green tea has a healthy dose of caffeine, the drink is constructed in a similar way to a classic Ramos fizz but using  the Japanese  milky soft drink Calpico as its dairy element .

For the drink:

1 1/2 oz Cap Rock Vodka
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
dash of vanilla extract
1 oz  peach calpico
1 oz aguafaba or egg white
splash of soda water to finish
garden herbs for garnish


Add everything but the soda water to your shaker tin with 1 ice cube.
Whip shake for 5 seconds to wake up the proteins in your emulsifier
add 4 more ice cubes and shake vigorously ( depending on what shenanigans you’ve been up to its ok if you can’t muster vigor)
In your chilled glass add 2 ice cubes , strain your drink into glass and top with soda water
Finish with a few sprigs of vegetation, I used cilantro blossoms.


Vita however was only just coming into her streak of recklessness, one night in London she dressed up as a man to meet with Violet and asked her lover to call her Julian. So confident was she that no-one would penetrate her disguise the two traveled to a boarding house and spent the night there as husband and wife , before long the couple were cutting a swath in France and Monte Carlo, though Julian’s disguise was not always effective the pair had to change hotels rather rapidly as their secret became apparent . Vita, now always dressed as Julian had stopped wearing her wedding band .

To take  his revenge Harold decided to have a very public affair with another male diplomat, knowing full well that it would not be hidden from Vita. Violet,without telling Vita decided to marry a military man in the hopes it would provide her with a beard of respectability so she could continue her affair , the night the couple were married Vita abducted Violet and took her to a hotel where she savagely had her way with her, she didn’t care if she was hurting Violet she just wanted to hurt Violet’s new husband . The next day the women told him of their relationship and he almost fainted.

Rhubarb “Pimms” Cup

After cutting swathes in France, Monte Carlo and London I’m pretty sure our heroine would b pretty thirsty especially after her debauching of Violet on her Honeymoon night. What better way to quench a thirst than with the light and refreshing Pimms cup , mine is made using my own mix of rhubarb, lemon peels , gin and Brovo pink vermouth which tastes like roses and rhubarb. For garnish it gets what I like to call “surround smell”, you know like a pair of headphones that surround your head with sound , this is the same but for your schnoz . Rose geranium leaves and verbena sprigs get placed around the glass and add to that feeling of being transported to an English country garden, cue the Morris Dancers !

For the “Pimms”

1/2 a bottle of Cap Rock gin
1 bottle of Brovo pink vermouth
3 cups of rhubarb chopped into inch cubes
1 lemon peel cut into strips

You have two options  for infusing, either place in a ziplock baggie and sous vide for 1 1/2 hours then let sit for a day in the fridge or do a cold infusion for a week. I’m impatient as ever as prefer to cheat, much like Vita . Once the “Pimms” cup is ready strain and bottle, keep in the fridge until ready, mine never lasts longer than a few days

For the drink:

2 1/2 oz rhubarb “Pimms”
1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz Aperol or Contratto bitter
1/2 oz lemon juice
strawberry lambic to finish and give some spritz


Start by constructing your surround smell garnish, place your stemless wine glass onto a shallow bowl and poke stems into the gap between glass an bowl until your glass is surrounded
Add everything to your shaker tin except for lambic ale and shake briefly for 3 seconds.
Strain into a chilled ice filled glass, garnish with a couple of seasonal flowers, I used the ironically named Heartsease .


The affair continued with voracity , though there were moments when Vita pleaded with her husband to win her back, she was no longer sure that choosing Violet over her husband and respectability were the right thing to do for her reputation . Back in London Violet’s mother was determined to salvage her daughter’s marriage , when Vita learned that Violet and her husband had slept together she left with Harold horrified and said she could noter to look at the two of them any longer, but the drama had by no means ended . To make matters worse, Violet’s mother had employed a chaperone , Pat to separate the two ladies, the female chaperone on meeting Vita fell madly in love and set out to woo her away from Violet, having witnessed Vita dressing up as Julian , Pat nicknamed her the Dark Man, playing into her fantasy which all too quickly became a reality as she became Vita’s new lover . As with most of her other affairs this one was short lived  and as she tried to extricate herself from Pat’s clutches, she became aware  how much she  underestimated Pat who threatened revenge by taking her story to the newspapers , when Vita agreed to see her Pat produced a pistol and aimed it at her own head, a fight ensued and she managed to wrestle the gun out of Pat’s hand , after some talking they parted amicably as friends.

As for Vita’s relationship with Violet that too was coming to an end , Harold was understandably skeptical , he wrote his wife ” I know that when you fall into V’s hands, your will becomes like a jellyfish addicted to cocaine,” but Vita had made her choice though her affair with Violet turned out to be only one of many extra marital affairs that she had with both women and men.

Parfait D’amour 

A cross between a milk shake , a parfait and an egg cream this last drink is for the blissfully wedded couple to share on a summers  afternoon or eve after their broadcast of their guide to matrimonial success, there’s also nothing that screams more English Summer than strawberries and cream  . It includes “tequila for mi amante ” , or tequila for my lover which is strawberry infused tequila. Use only the sweetest tasting strawberries, no insipid ,anemic half  ripe specimens please, only use strawberries that make you salivate , the flavor translates to your tequila remember ! It gets whipped together with strawberry ice cream and is finished with  a splash of soda water, seasonal berries and a dusting of powder sugar , mine here is served over a base of strawberry caviar, make your own if you wish but you can buy them online or from your local Japanese market.

For the Tequila for mi Amante :

1 pint sweet ripe strawberries
1 750ml bottle of silver tequila

Halve the strawberries and place into a large screw top jar
Top with tequila and allow them to get to know each other intimately for about a week ( store in the fridge whilst they co-mingle)
When ready strain and store in an airtight bottle or jar in fridge until ready to demolish,and you will!

For the parfait:

1 cup of strawberry ice cream ( sure you can make your own if you have time, my current favorite is Haagen Dazs)
1 1/2 oz tequila por mi amante
1 oz  manzanilla sherry
1 dash rosewater
4-5 chopped strawberries


In a medium sized pitcher add all of your ingredients .
Blitz together using an immersion blender, or if you have a blender, blend on high for about 5 seconds , if you want it frosty cold add a couple of ice cubes, I prefer it sloppier.
Pour into your glass of choice ,  top with seasonal berries ,mint sprigs and powdered sugar.
Share or not depending on your frame of mind!


Vita and Harold continued to live together and  ironically even broadcast a talk  on tips for marital bliss, though they continued having extra marital relations there was a bond between them that was unbreakable , more best friends than partners , when Vita died in 1962 Harold spent the next six years heartbroken until he too passed away, we can only assume from a broken heart pining for his Vita !

Issue No.036 “Tails from the Bookworm” Far from the Madding Crowd





omance novels have never been my thing , you know the ones,those blouse ripping tomes where man falls for girl, girl shuns man, she gets into trouble through her strong headed nature and is saved by that knight in shining armor that she previously abhorred . Though I love a good romantic story I’m more attracted to fantastic or mysterious stories rather than naturalistic ones like Far From the Madding Crowd written by British novelist and poet Thomas Hardy ( no, not that strapping nemesis playing fellow Tom Hardy ) . Madding however is a beautiful story , one of only a couple that captivated me into awake mode during my English lit classes back in the day , you see my lit teacher was an old bore of a man , with coffee tainted breath and rumpled tweed suits that could send a whirling dervish to sleep and he would dissect a story into oblivion so that you had no idea what the meaning of it all was. However, why Madding managed to knock me out of my day dreams was due to the female protagonist Bathsheba Everdene , an untamable slightly haughty lass who preferred her independence to being a man’s beck and call, she captivates the hearts of three men, interestingly each one depicts very different interpretations  of what it means to love , one obsesses over her, one wants to protect her and be her equal and one who abuses her . She states toward the end of the book when asked to explain herself “It is difficult for me to express my feelings in a language chiefly made for men to express theirs” , I’m sure the suffrage movement was well on its way when Hardy wrote of Bathsheba’s strong will and refusal to be put into a box but the fact that he created such an inspiring character shows us that not all men back then were misogynistic neanderthals .

What makes this story so appropriate for me at this minute is this disturbing political climate in this country of “women’s cards” and governments passing laws that allow women to be raped when they’re passed out drunk, it feels like we are headed back into the dark ages when a man could grab a by the hair and drag her off into his cave , though Far From the Madding Crowd is set in Victorian times Hardy and our heroine Miss Everdene are thoroughly modern in their outlook , thank goodness!


Our story starts with Bathsheba , a proud beauty joining her aunt on her farm for the winter, we first meet her as she’s tilling  the frozen earth  to turn it over for seed planting in the coming months . On occasion she rides her horse astride ( not side saddle as ladies of that era would) through the copse delighting in the intermingling smells of wet soil, hoof oil and horse sweat. It is on on of these afternoon rides that she is spied by her first love interest, Gabriel Oak a young sheep farmer with the savings of his frugal life, who is intent on buying his farm out right and on becoming the master of his own destiny , he is described as a faithful and good man , hard working and moral and true to his word, in other words he’s a bit of a catch in them there parts . Bathsheba and Gabriel grow to like each other becoming friends . However when Gabriel makes her an offer of marriage she declines since she values her independence over her feelings for  Farmer Oak. A few days later she leaves for the village of Weatherbury , some miles away . The next time they meet their circumstances have changed drastically , Oak has lost all of his sheep due to an inexperienced sheep dog , young George, who drives the flock over the cliff one spring night . He manages to pay what he owes to his lenders and moves on to find work and rebuild himself elsewhere . Bathsheba on the other hand is now a landowner, having inherited her uncle’s farm she is now the Mistress of a small estate .

To honor Farmer Oak, the drink below is a combination of the Brits love of tea for a shock, Sheep milk ( for the obvious ) and spirit, I mean after losing two hundred sheep a stiff drink would be most necessary .

The Madness of Young George

I love tea in cocktails but to get a full flavor from black tea you have to do a super intense infusion which means that the tannins become way too strong and bitter and take over the rest of the drink. To balance the tannins out I use Dave Arnold’s method of milk washing the tea ( appropriate since Brits drink their tea with milk) the casein in the milk latches onto the tannins and strips them from the spirit leaving only the aromatic flavor of the tea, its similar to doing an egg wash where the proteins soften both the effect of the spirit and the tea . Clarifying spirits and cocktails are not a new thing they’ve been around since the 1800’s but it takes a genius like Chef Arnold to make them relevant again.

The drink is delicious just by itself over rocks with a lemon twist, for that added barnyard flavor I finished it with a toasted hay goat milk foam

Milk washed Earl Grey tea vodka

1 750ml bottle vodka
4 earl grey tea bags
1/2 cup of sheep or goat milk ( goat milk gets the spirit more clear than cow milk)
1/2 oz lemon juice

Steep the tea in the vodka for a good 12 hours if not using your trusty immersion circulator, 1 hour if you are using . Strain tea and set aside making sure its totally cooled down before you mix with milk.

In a clear  lidded container pour in the milk, slowly add the tea infused vodka stirring it in, then gradually add drops of the lemon juice stirring lightly until the milk solids begin to separate . Allow to rest for at least 4-5 hours in the fridge before straining off the curds.  The result should be a totally clear pale yellow liquid.

Toasted hay goat milk foam

8 oz goat or sheep milk
2 hay scented egg whites
1/2 oz honey syrup

turn your oven onto 350 degrees , line a small sheet tray with parchment paper and layer on top fresh green hay ( I used alfalfa)  which you can get from your pet store. The hay should be evenly spread on sheet tray so that it all gets toasted .

Once hay has gotten a nice deep yellow color and has a rich aroma, remove and put into a plastic container , nestle 2-3 eggs in their shells in the hay and store in the fridge overnight  ( you could be doing this whilst the tea is being milk washed )

when ready to make the foam add everything to your ISI chamber and charge with two No2 cartridges , the drink needs to be served straight away so the foam stays light and airy .

For the drink

2 oz  milk washed tea vodka
1 oz white verjus
1 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz drambuie
1/2 oz honey syrup ( 1:1 honey to hot water)
barspoon benedictine
2 dashes orange bitters
finish off with an optional toasted hay goat milk foam


beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything but the foam and lemon twist to your mixing glass and stir for 10 seconds with 6 ice cubes , strain into your vessel of choice either ice filled or as I chose in a mini milk bottle without ice , top with a lemon twist and your optional milk foam.


Farmer Oak finds himself heading to a hiring fair , on his way there he happens upon a dangerous fire on a farm and leads the farm workers in putting the fire out, dousing himself with water he climbs upon the burning roofs and hacks the fire to death. When the veiled owner comes to thank him he asks if she needs a shepherd, though somewhat uncomfortable she agrees and so they reunite with her having the upper hand which is exactly where she likes to be .

Meanwhile the fair Miss Everdene has attracted another suitor, a middle aged gentlemen farmer Mr.Boldwood who whilst considered an extremely eligible bachelor by the locals is lonely and repressed, not exactly a ball of fun but fully loaded. He becomes a man obssessed . Bathsheba attracts his attention somewhat unwittingly after she sees him at market and he does not give her the customary glance that all men bestow upon her, she sends him as a joke a Valentines card that reads “Marry Me” , pretty wicked of her really! Boldwood not realizing the card was a joke turns into a man possessed and he eventually proposes marriage to her too, she tinkers with the idea after all his fortune would more than assure her safety and comfort for the rest of her life , so she postpones giving him a firm answer so as not to let him down completely , Gabriel on learning of her actions rebukes her for being so thoughtless and for that she fires him.

Ambrose Heath suggests rhubarb as a fruit option at this time of year and its blushing pink color is perfect for the Valentines time of year, I attempted to make a Victorianesque V-day card in the tableau below . You may wonder why three cups, well one for each of B’s suitors and once for the lady herself .

Kiss Me You (Rhubarb) Fool

Rhubarb is  a vegetable thats available from spring to early summer around the time of Valentines day , its beautiful pink hue and vegetal aroma pairs beautifully with strawberries the chosen fruit of this holiday for lovers . A fool is a dessert that has fruit folded into whipped cream and sometimes egg whites . My liquid version is made using rhubarb consommé .

Rhubarb consomme

1000 grams diced rhubarb
100 grams water
5oo grams cane sugar
1 vanilla bean ( optional ) seeded and popped into bowl

you will need either a  warm water bath and immersion circulator or a bain marie consisting of a bowl and a saucepan filled to half with water ( so that it does not touch the bottom of the bowl when placed on top)

add everything to either a ziplock bag or  large stainless steel bowl, if adding to a bag this will get placed into a warm water bath with your immersion circulator set at 55 degrees C. If using a bain marie, wrap the entire bowl securely with plastic wrap and place on top of simmering water, if using the bain marie allow to steam for at least two hours, if using the sous vide method you should have adequate consomme after an hour.

For the drink 

1  oz Rhubarb consomme
1 1/2 oz bourbon
3/4 oz aperol
3/4 oz lemon
1 drop rosewater
1 dash of egg white
top off with Timmerman’s strawberry lambic and  a pinch of pink peppercorn

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything to your shaking tin with 5 ice cubes and shakes for 5 seconds, strain into either chilled coupe glasses or chilled punch glasses ,top off with lambic ale and peppercorns .


Farmer Oak leaves the next day, only has fate would have it Bathsheba winds up needing him back to save her own sheep, sheepses are not the smartest of creatures you put something green that smells fresh and delicious  in front of them and well they’ll eat it, except instead of grass they eat young green clover which causes them to bloat up with gas and if left can blow up their intestines , as you can imagine its not something that can be left to subside by itself and wouldn’t you know it the only man in the county that can fix these poor beasts has just up and left . Bathsheba beside herself calls for one of the farm workers to go track Oak down and bring him back to relieve the sheep, only problem with this plan is that Oak being a proud sort refuses to come back unless the Lady herself apologizes and asks him back herself . So off she rides gathering up her pride and begs him to return ,which he does and saves the day and the sheep. Bathsheba starts to realize that she cannot do without Gabriel and he is falling ever harder for her.

Around this point a dashing young Sergeant Francis Troy returns to Weatherbury his native home and bumps into Bathsheba one night as she’s out for a walk (  a little back ground, Troy was recently jilted  mistakenly  at the alter by his sweetheart Fanny Robbin who shows up to the wrong church, Troy humiliated by these events calls off the wedding) we first think he’s a sensitive fellow being so heartbroken by Fanny’s mistake , or at least I did. But soon Troy shows his true nature to be controlling, egotistical and abusive , but I’m jumping ahead to far….Troy bumps into B and is bewitched by her beauty, she initially dislikes him but agrees to meet him in the hollow the next day and is so excited by his swordsman ship that she allows him to steal one big juicy kiss before he marches off into the woods. They next meet when he shows up at Harvest trying to show Bathsheba that he’s her kind of man, a wheat chopping, haystack making and sheep wrangling heartthrob .

John Barleycorn Must Die

The Ploughman’s lunch is a simple packed lunch that mostly consists of apple, cheese bread and pickle, maybe a beer, its served in pubs across the UK but has its roots as the humble farm workers snack to tide them over until dinner time . Instead of beer I thought perhaps a nice refreshing veggie based low ABV drink would be just the trick .  If you want to make enough for two  and bottle it for your next  roll in the hay double up the amounts, just make sure its served over ice or well chilled.

For the drink 

1 oz Vida Mezcal
1 oz celery and romaine lettuce juice
1 oz floc de gascogne  ( a wine based aperitif)
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
3 dashes of celery bitters ( Miracle Mile is by far the best on the market)

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Shake for 5 seconds with 5 ice cubes and strain into either a chilled ice filled glass or bottle and cap for transporting , serve with sliced apples and a hunk of cheese for eh full experience .


Gabriel noticing her interest in Troy tries to dissuade her from pursuing him but like most proud and stubborn young ladies the more she hears she shouldn’t the more she’ll go in the opposite direction to defy her critics. Troy and Bathsheba elope  and marry igniting anger in Boldwood and disappointment in Oak. Upon their return to the farm Bathsheba begins to realize her new husband is not what she first thought him to be , het gets lazier having no interest in the farm, starts to gamble and drink her money away . A chance encounter  that he has with the innocent  Fanny Robin in the village where she informs him that she’s carrying his child makes Troy despise his wife even more . He arranges with Fanny that she must go find a bed for the night in the work house and he will find money and come and fetch her the next day. The next morning he demands money from his wife who denies him, he storms out and starts walking to the work house on his way passing a horse and cart carrying a coffin, not until he returns home does he learn that its Fanny an his baby in that coffin. He storms out of the house in a rage of grief denouncing his love for Bathsheba , his solution for this pain is to throw himself into the English channel to drown.

A year passes with Troy gone and Boldwood starts to court Bathsheba again,she tells him she will only wed after six years have gone since Troy’s passing, its around Christmas time so Boldwood decides to throw a holiday party for the villagers mainly to show to Miss Everdene what kind of life style lies ahead for her once she marries him. Only Troy is not dead, having been reduced by a fishing boat he learns that Boldwood is once again pursuing his wife and goes back to claim her, he tries to force Bathsheba to return with him and she struggles away, Boldwood seeing her in distress picks up his shot gun and shoots Troy dead. Boldwood is arrested and tried for murder however he does not receive the death sentence since his crime was inspired by passion. Bathsheba distraught with theses events  buries Frank with Fanny and their child  so they may at last lay together once again.

Shot Through the Heart

The classic ” corpse reviver” cocktail was a tongue in cheek name for a morning after or hair of the dog remedy for someone that had enjoyed a little too much of the grog the night before . My version here is for young Frank who comes back from the dead only to be shot and killed , its a good drink to have to shock your system back up and also whilst waiting for an unexpected firing squad .

For the drink

1 1/2 oz of Cognac ( I used Parks)
1/2 oz green chartreuse
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes angostura bitters
the oils from an orange twist

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Stir for 10 seconds with 6 ice cubes and strain into a chilled cordial or coupe glass, spritz the orange oils over the top of the drink and discard peel, good for sipping , equally good as a quick shot before you know, you get shot.


With both Troy and Boldwood out of the picture , Bathsheba is left with her true love Gabriel who has stood by her side through the good and bad . One summer morning he announces to her that he must leave to set sail for America  to search for his fortune there and to avoid the gossip that he means to marry her himself , she tells him that its absurd that they should marry, when he repeats it she says only that it is too short a time since Troy has passed. Filled with hope Gabriel asks here again to be his wife only this time she accepts , they wed quietly and live happily ever after.

Midsummer Madness

Another traditional summer favorite in the UK is the Pimms Cup, I decided to make my own version inspired by a limited release that Pimms made that is flavored with sweet summer strawberries . For the long awaited wedding celebration I thought a touch of bubbles would be nice for the happy couple’s day.

For the Pimms

2 cups sweet vermouth
1 1/2 cups Cap Rock gin
1 teaspoon bitter orange peel ( you can buy this from your local brew shop)
1/2 cup manzanilla sherry for a nutty finish
Peel of one orange
1 pint seascape strawberries cut in half

In a screw top jar add all of your ingredients and allow to steep in the fridge for 2-3 days to get full extraction from the strawberries ,when ready strain and bottle. Store in the fridge until ready to use

For the drink 

3 oz strawberry Pimms
1 oz lemon
1 oz simple 1:1 ratio simple syrup
1 dash celery bitters
mint leaves and sprigs
cucumber  and strawberry slices ( mine were cut using a small cookie cutter)
sparkling rose to top off

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add all liquid ingredients except for rose to shaker and shake with 5 ice cubes for 5 seconds . Stain into an ice filled glass, arrange strawberry and cute slices and top with rose, finish off with a nice fragrant mint sprig, summer perfection in a glass!

Issue No.035 “Tails from the Bookworm” Auntie Mame (an irreverent escapade)




there was ever a motto that inspired my pre-teen and teen ardor to live ,live live and get up to no good it would be a line from Mame Dennis ” Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death !” Miss Dennis viewed life through a kaleidoscope of mildly controlled chaos, she encouraged  the unexpected to happen and embraced eccentricity. I was once told that I am an alien looking for my people, well Mame Dennis is my kind of people , from early on   I could not wrap my head around life in a safe little box, if there was a rule to break  I wanted to smash it, if there was a uniform to wear I would bastardize it beyond recognition  , if there was a statement to be made I wanted to scream it ,  from the minute I popped out of the womb ( and most likely before ) I needed to push the boundaries  , to challenge  my family and  the world in general and Mame Dennis, my screen  idol,  made me do it….well , you know almost. As a kid in school I was sent home regularly for not adhering to dress codes , for not being the proper little miss , I would show up channeling  a cross between Janis Joplin  and Dr.Who or I would skip classes altogether and go to an anti-fox hunting rally. In college I embraced androgyny choosing super short hair and a masculine Oxfam inspired wardrobe whilst smoking cigarettes from  a foot long holder. I had affectations galore but  I was a kid that knew my own mind and refused to be budged regardless of the consequences.

Nothing much has changed, though now I’m a big girl and calmed down a great deal, not all of the themes in Auntie Mame resonate as much with me anymore, Mame Dennis was a strong who am sure would have been capable to get back on her feet after the stock market crash of the twenties without a man to prop her up, but the rest of the book ( and the movie) is solid gold , irreverent  inspiration , my first taste of an independent , free spirited dame . Back in the twenties were Mame any younger she would have been a flapper, flaunting her disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior, drinking excessively and touting social and sexual norms.

33 Beekman Place
The story begins in the book with Mame’s brother dropping dead of a heart attack and leaving his only son Patrick in her care , he arrives  at Beekman Place with his nanny  Norah Muldoon on a night when Mame is holding one of her many “affairs” , her apartment would change decor depending on the theme of the party all of which were lubricated by bootleg gin and bucket loads of caviar ( which she pronounced “cav-YAAAR) or fishberry jam as she calls it to help Patrick better understand what it is. On the night of Patrick’s arrival the soiree theme is inspired by the Far East, Chinese dragons and buddhas abound with sukiyaki and raw fish tails along with women dressed as men, a monkey wearing a turban and a pianist playing upside down. Since its also a time of prohibition I figured my first drink would be disguised as a box of Chinese take-out. The drink itself is flavored by toasted brown rice orgeat and Chinese five spice


Inspired by a classic Mai Tai this drink takes its flavor cues from Cantonese roasted duck that uses five spice as its dominant accent. The orgeat is made using toasted brown rice that is then ground up in simple syrup and left to release its milk ( recipe below)

Brown Rice Orgeat
2 cups organic brown rice
2 cups rice milk
2 cups cane sugar
1/2 oz orange flower water
1 oz unflavored vodka

*toast the brown rice in a skillet over a medium flame until its medium brown and smelling nutty.
*add the brown rice to a large container along with sugar and rice milk, blend on high with an immersion   blender so the rice resembles coarse grains
*dump everything into  a ziplock bag and sous vide for 1 1/2 hours at 55 degrees C, alternatively you can put it in a screw top jar and let it sit for 24 hours in the fridge, I am impatient so the sous vide is my cure for this downfall.
*strain when finished and add the orange flower water and vodka to perfume and help stabilize . store in the fridge till needed

Chinese 5 spice rum
1/2 cup Chinese fixe spice powder( might sound like a lot but you want to taste the 5 spice once cocktail mixed)
1 750ml bottle of anejo rum such as zacapa or appleton estate

again I sous vide this infusion  as above but it works just as well in a screw top jar that you agitate every so often, steep for about 24 hours.

For the drink
(per 16 oz box)
2 oz five spice rum
1 oz brown rice orgeat
1 oz lime juice
1 oz pierre ferrand orange curacao
1/2 oz pernod absinthe


Add everything to your shaker with 5 ice cubes, shake for 5 seconds strain into a pellet ice filled take-out box of your choice ( I like the pagoda decorated 16 oz version)
garnish with a pickled kumquat, a pinch of 5 spice powder and a mint or basil sprig, add straw for easy consumption

Knowledge is Power ( or bully for Bixby)
Patrick settles into his new routine with Mame, a couple of weeks go by and the trustee that his late father has appointed, Dwight Babcock of the Knickerbocker Bank, sends a telegram that he’s coming to visit to discuss Patrick’s schooling, its the morning after another night before where Mame’s bestie , the honorable Vera Charles is sleeping off her gin fix in the Marie Antoinette room. Mame panics, she can’t be seen to have Patrick living in a house of  ill repute as it were so she sends him down stairs to greet the trustee whilst she wrestles with her halo and reviving Vera. Whilst waiting for Miss Dennis to appear Patrick prepares a Martini for  Babcock, he accepts the drink but then questions Mame on how such a youngster knows drink mixing, she responds with “knowledge is power” ! Which reminds Babcock why he’s there , he suggests Bixby school for Patrick where he’ll turn into a bully little chap,  though Mame has decided on a progressive school in New York’s Greenwich Village run by the dashing and free spirited Acacius Paige, where the kids pretend to be fishes and swim on the floor naked together to learn about conception, nothing in the least wrong with that! Mame feigns agreement with Babcock and shoos him away .

The Shiso-tini
Since Patrick is swimming with the fishies in this scene I thought perhaps a Martini accompanied by some fishberry jam , what goes better with fish than shiso and cucumber , the drink is served in a traditional coupe modeled after the breasts of  Marie-Antoinette herself .

For the drink
1 oz of Cap rock gin ( aromas of cucumber and rosewater)
1  oz shiso infused dolin blanc vermouth ( I sous vide this to get maximum flavor extraction)
1 oz  cucumber junmai sake  ( slice cucumbers and allow to steep in the sake for a day or so)
4 slices of english cucumber
1 drop rosewater


*muddle the cucumber gently into the gin, you want to release the favor without muddying the gin too much
*add the vermouth and rosewater , stir for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish with cucumber slices.

Meditation and the Jackson-Pickett-Burnsides
Babcock soon figures out that Mame is pulling the wool over his eyes, he demands that Patrick gets sent to his alma mater  the restricted and exclusive St.Boniface, this also happens to be the same day as the great crash of 1929 where fortunes, including Mame’s are wiped out. Miss Dennis obviously devastated starts to brainstorm on jobs she can do, she is consoled by that first lady of the theater Vera Charles, who asks her to join her on the stage in a dramatic production, needless to say the gig does not work out and Mame moves onto her next performance as a switchboard operator which again ends in comedic disaster, lastly she signs up as a Macy’s store assistant where she meets her future late husband Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside of the Georgia Pickett Burnsides y’all hear. Her Macy’s career may be short lived but a love blossoms fast and hard between the two and soon Mame is being whisked off to Beau’s plantation to meet his mama and the extended family.  In order to show Beau she’s an all round gal,  Mame  agrees to go on a fox hunt and is saddled with a wild horse called Meditation a jealous neighbor’s attempt to de-seat Mame from the the hunt and Beau’s heart , needless to say our heroine lives to tell another day , saves the fox and bags the man.

When I think of Georgia of course I think of peaches, since Mame is hard up for cash I thought perhaps I would use canned peaches gussied up to make a thrifty Peach Bellini style drink , using of course only the finest Crystal to serve it in, the dichotomy in this drink of white trash ( is that horrible I think canned peaches are white trash?) and high class are very satisfying to my sensibilities .

The Fox & The Hound

2-3 canned peach slices
3/4 oz peach liqueur such as gaffed peach de vigne
3/4 oz domaine de canton ginger liqueur
3/4  oz white verjus
3 dashes peach bitters
3-4 oz of bubbles, your choice cheap and cheerful or higher priced .
1 spritz of Aftelier’s galangal essence ( to finish drink)


In the bottom of your glass place the peach slices, crush gently so they break up slightly . Build the remaining ingredients on top and finish with the bubbles, give a couple of stirs with a bar spoon and spritz over the galangal spray, it will fill the nose with a  lovely spiced aroma as the drink is sipped, you can also provide long spoons to fish out the drunken peach slices too.

The Parched Garden
One would think the next chapter would be about how they all lived happily ever after, they did indeed live happily but the ever after only lasted about eight or nine years, Mame and Beau travelled extensively for their honeymoon , in fact eight or nine years and on one of their excursions up the Matterhorn Beau took a step too far back whilst trying to focus his camera and ended, well you know the rest. Mame spends the next few months in mourning when Patrick ( now he’s all grown up and graduating college) suggests  she come back home and write her memoirs. He enlists one Brian O’Banion to help in this endeavor , he charms Mame and presents her with a book of his “pomes” called “The Parched Garden” , along with her secretary Agnes Gooch who follows her every word Mame recounts her life adventures , O’Banion it turns out is a bit of a freeloading scoundrel, whilst the ladies work, he lords it up eating and drinking at his leisure and contributes barely a lick of work, his ardor for Mame growing with every moment, Agnes on the other hand develops a crush on O’Banion  . One evening Mame is invited to a a meeting with Warner Bros. to discuss buying the rights to her book for a film, only thing is Patrick and his girl Gloria are visiting too so she gussies up Missie Gooch to go to the meeting with Brian instead. Agnes returns the following morning looking the worst for wear and not remembering a thing from the night before , O’Banion is nowhere to be found , when Ito the butler asks her what happened all she can say is “I lived!” Of course we later learn Mr.O’Banion had his way with her.

In honor of that cad O’Banion I thought I would recreate a wood sorrel sour I came up with a couple of years ago, wood sorrel looks almost exactly like clover but is tart with yellow flowers , great in salads and on raw fish but also when blended into a liquid creates a great sour layer to drinks . I acquired some from a hike last year and now its taking over my not so parched garden.

O’Banion’s Obligation

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
3/4 oz elderflower liqueur
3/4 oz wood sorrel cocchi americano ( 1 cup of wood sorrel leaves blended into 1 bottle of cocchi americano)
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz meyer lemon juice
2 drops lime bitters
1 oz aguafaba ( chickpea water, used instead  of egg whites )


add everything to you shaker and whip shake for 5 seconds with 1 small ice cube, this will aerate your aguafaba , add 4 more ice cubes and shake hard for a further 5-6 seconds , strain into a vessel of choice , a coupe or goblet works best, garnish with a single wood sorrel leaf or a garland depending on your desire for dramatic effect.

Upson Downs
Lets back up a bit , so you remember Patrick was introducing his girl Gloria to Mame? Well the next day Mame is invited to visit her parents in Connecticut , Mame is not altogether impressed with Gloria but she visits with the parents for Patrick’s sake , whilst at their estate she learns just how wrong Gloria and her family are for her nephew, snobs and racists to boot . Gloria’s father tries to show off his prowess in the drink mixing department and makes her his signature drink the Upson Daiquiri, a trick he learned from a Cuban using honey instead of sugar. You realize thats probably all he’s put in the drink since Mame can hardly drink it, but its a good starting point so the drink that follows is I hope a slightly more drinkable version.

The Upson Daiquiri
The classic Daiquiri Naturale  is three ingredients , rum, sweetener and lime juice , its shaken and served up and its delicious ! Not wanting to stray too far off the formula I added a couple of things to make it my own.

2oz chai green tea infused white rum ( cruzan is the one I use most often)
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz yuzu juice
3/4 oz manuka honey syrup
2 dashes lime bitters
1 drop vanilla
pinch of smoked salt
bee pollen to garnish


Add everything to your shaker with 4 ice cubes, shake hard  for 6 seconds , strain up into a coupe glass and finish with a pinch of bee pollen

Yul Oolu
Mame horrified by her experience at the Upson’s starts working on a plan to turn Gloria off of Patrick, she decides to plan a get together at Beekman Place and make it as eccentric an experience as possible . She enlists the help of her new secretary Pegeen Ryan, a smart and savvy young lady. Beekman gets decorated in the style of Danish Modern complete with interactive furnishings and a mobile that could also double as a giant catcher of dreams.  The Upsons arrive with Gloria in tow expecting a safe family get together ,  Mame terrorizes them with plates of pickled rattlesnake and chalices of burning booze that she calls “The Flaming Mame” , to top it off they get stuck on the elevated furniture which for everyone but the Upsons turns into a hoot. Needless to say both Gloria and her folks storm off into the night never to be seen again, leaving Patrick in the every capable hands of Miss Pigeen Ryan.

The Flaming Mame
Who knows what Mame Dennis put into her concoction but it reminded me of a tiki drink called the Scorpion Bowl that has a small amount  of absinthe ignited on the top, super tasty, pretty boozy and great party drink. This version is an individual serving but if you found a bowl large enough multiply all ingredients by four for a community bowl.

In advance prepare your ice balls, I used  a cube mold then popped them into the cocktail kingdom ice ball maker that magically reshapes a cube into a ball, whoever said you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole be damned!

for the ice cube

1/2 cup filtered water
1 oz grapefruit juice
1/4 oz cynar or campari
freeze overnight then when ready pop them out of the mold, don’t add too much juice or sugar or it wont freeze.

For the Drink

1 oz anejo rum
1/2 oz mezcal
1/2 oz cynar
3/4 oz cinnamon infused orgeat ( cinnamon powder allowed to steep in almond syrup)
1 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 oz lime juice


To present the drink you can get as creative or as simple as you wish, I hollowed out grapefruit halves and place them in large stainless martini  glasses, then surrounded the grapefruit shell with kafir lime leaves to add a touch of a tropical element . The Iceball then went inside the shell

to make the drink add everything to your shaker and shake hard with 4 ice cubes for 6 seconds , strain into your grapefruit shells and garnish with  a lime half that has been doused with absinthe , the lime half is skewered so it will sit on the top without rolling away, when ready to serve light the absinthe.

and finally they all lived happily ever after!

Cheers and Cin Cin!

Issue No.034 “Tales from the Bookworm” A Christmas Carol


the night before Christmas and all round the house, not a soul was stirring, not even a mouse, perhaps he had partaken in  a few sips too many of spiced wine left out for Santa?

The Holidays are always a time of melancholy for me as am sure a number of people, I’m far away from my family with airline tickets costing way too much to travel and so I have a tendency to hide in my den until all the smiles and celebrations that I’m not a part of disappear. To top it off this year I managed to break my wrist a couple of weeks ago which has brought me its own special kind of  magic ,  I’m a bit of a curmudgeon as my dear friend Kate likes to call me  though on the inside as gooey as my spirit animal brie en croute .  Since I know am not alone with this seasonal malady I thought I would focus on the most famous grump Ebenezer himself brought to life by Charles Dickens that Victorian foodie extraordinaire who fills his stories with libatious references. What? you thought being a foodie was some hipster invention that came about with the birth of the iPhone? Nay my friends methinks if you look back food and drink has been our inspiration for centuries, or at least for those that could afford it ! Dickens was not the first author to celebrate the season in literature but he was the first to superimpose  his ideal of  a humanitarian vision on the public, he himself started life in impoverished circumstances after his father was imprisoned and he was forced to sell everything he owned to survive, in many of his stories we see him highlighting the plight of the poor.

Since I am currently  limited in my mobility ( well typing and mixing drinks one handed)  I thought I would keep this issue short and sweet basing each drink on the ghosts that visit dear Mr. Scrooge, the ghosts of  Christmas past, present and of future and  taking my cue from Dickens himself who was a lover of spiced wine,  each drink has as its base flavored wine.

Marley is dead….is how we first meet Ebenezer, his business partner Jacob Marley has died on Christmas eve and it is supposed that because of this his disdain for the holiday continues to grow over the years, he feels he needs to be somber in memory in stark contrast to the rest of the population who can only hope for joy at that time of year. In the first stave of the book Scrooge is described as a whining, covetous, miserable grasping old sinner who on Christmas eve rudely turns down two gents looking for a donation for the poor, throws his nephew Fred  out of his office for suggesting he join him for Christmas dinner and berates his overworked and underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit for wanting to spend time with his family for the holiday, the only gift he gives  is  of a paid day off to Cratchit, likening it to having his pocket picked.

That night as Scrooge sits at home he is visited by his ex partner Marley’s ghost who enters the room weighed down by masses of chains which he explains he spent his lifetime accumulating , inch by inch, yard by yard. He warns Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts on consecutive evenings and tells him to take care and listen to what they have to say or be doomed to carry chains like him in his afterlife , he leaves Scrooge cowering restlessly under his bed covers. At the stroke of 1am the first ghost appears like a bobbing candle flickering in the breeze . The spirit whisks Ebenezer on a journey back to his innocent and hopeful youth where he sees his old school, his sister and his friends , its here we see the first weakening of the armor Scrooge has built around himself .

A drink of the the past, The Negus
The Negus is a hot port base punch created in the 1700’S and  named after its inventor Francis Negus a British courtier and master of the hounds who no doubt needed something other than a wanton young ( or man for that matter) to keep him toasty at night .The drink is a combination of port, sugar, spices and hot water and is the inspiration behind the Smoking Bishop mentioned by Dickens in a Christmas Carol, called so because of the bishop’s miter shaped vessel it was served from and for the steam rising from it. My own version is a blasphemous one since it can be served hot or chilled ( I mean I live in the land of eternal sunshine) and is scented with the heady aroma of frankincense .

The Bishop’s Wife (MK2)

Per drink you will need
1 1/2 oz of  gingerbread spice infused ruby port
3/4 oz cherry heering
3/4 oz benedictine
1 oz  strong brewed chai tea
1 oz red verjus
2 dashes orange bitters
1 teaspoon demerara  sugar
2 turns of cracked black pepper
( for a punch bowl multiply everything by 10)


add everything to your pan and heat through until steam starts to rise on the surface . Put aside and prepare your cup/s set on fire one small piece of frankincense resin and place on a heat proof surface , cover it with your upturned glass , the smoke will fill the glass . When ready to serve ladle the warmed wine mix into the glass and sip immediately .

Life in the moment….Scrooge gets deposited back into his bedroom, exhausted from his  travels he is immediately forced into another scene by the ghost of Christmas present, a Bacchanalian looking man with a full beard and green robe wearing a wreath around his curly hair, he also wears a swordless scabbard as a representation of peace on earth and goodwill to all men, he is himself a representation of one day lasting only 24 hours and dying at the stroke  of midnight. He shows Scrooge into the living rooms and parlors of his nephew Fred and of Bob Cratchit, the former shows pity for his uncle whilst the latter raises his glass in toast of his employer as his wife scoffs at the little he provides the family in wages. Its in this part of the story that we meet Cratchit’s youngest son Tiny Tim who is sick and crippled and we learn if the Scrooge’s shadows continue to grow unaltered he will most likely not survive. Scrooge is horrified to learn how he is perceived and how his actions effect those around him.

 The Nogettone or Pan-e-Nog
A drink that is meant to be consumed in the moment for its freshness and air dissipate quite rapidly is egg nog or an egg flip as its called in the UK. A combination of rich and fatty yolks , sweet cream, spiced liquor and sugar made fluffy and light by whisking egg whites and serving them almost like isle flotants on the surface of the drink. This one takes a bit of time to prepare but the results of your patience are most gratifying and all worthy.

You will need:
4 eggs, yolks and whites  separated
1 cup + 1 tablespoon  cane sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup panettone infused madeira ( Italian spiced bread, which you can drop into a ziplock bag with a bottle of madeira and either sous vide using the handy dandy immersion circulator for home use from Polyscience or ghetto sous vide using ziplock bags and a  hot water bath)
1/2 cup of good brandy
nutmeg and candied peel  to garnish


In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and 1 cup sugar until frothy and the yolk turn a pale yellow. Add the milk and cream and stir, lastly add your spirits and stir again. Set aside and whisk egg whites with 1 tablespoon sugar util whites form soft shiny peaks . Assemble immediately by pouring in egg nog into glass and topping with a spoon of whisked whites, finish with nutmeg and a slice of candied peel.

Fear the Reaper….at the stroke of midnight the ghost of Christmas present withers and dies leaving Ebenezer to face the ghost of Christmas future as it approaches like a mist on the ground, it rises to from the shadowy shape of the reaper with its claw like fingers pointing Scrooge forward . The ghost shows him Christmas exactly one year on, starting with a dead man lying in his bed swathed in sheets, his belongings having been stolen Scrooge begs not to know who the man is ,  instead asks to be shown any emotion associated with this man’s death, he hopes to see someone sad but instead is shown a young couple who are delighted they no longer have to pay their creditor and a sad Crachit family as they mourn the loss of their youngest son Tim who they could not afford to heal. The Ghost then pushes Ebenezer to a graveyard where he sees his own unkept gravestone, sobbing he pledges to the ghost he will change his ways .

What would Abe do?
Looking toward how we might be drinking spiced wines in the future I was reminded during research of that genius  Abe Schoener, ex philosophy professor who turned his hand to wine making and who has turned wine making on its head bottling oxygenated wines on purpose and a force carbonated bubbly called the “Blowout” made by charging the wine with Co2 rather than by creating yeast made bubbles. He’s a man way ahead of his time when it come to anything grape related and so thinking about this drink I wondered what would Abe do to create a wine drink of the future ? The result was a force carbonated spiced wine that is chilled using  cryo berries that have been rapidly infused with allspice liqueur then frozen with nitrogen  ( ok so I don’t expect you to have  tank of N2o at home so a freezer will more than do the trick) Without further waffling…

The Scholium Fizz

per drink you will need:
3 oz of shiraz
3/4 oz st.elizabeth allspice dram
3/4 oz pierre ferrand dry curacao
3/4 oz ransom sweet vermouth
3 dashes orange bitters
1 dash cardamom bitters

for the  cryo berries :
1 cup of firm berries like cranberries with their ends cut off ( so liquid can enter easily)
1/2 cup either kings ginger liqueur or more allspice dram
either an ISI gun with a couple of N2o cartridges or Polyscience’s  nifty home vacuum sealer
a small tank of Nitrogen for you adventurers or access to  a blast chiller or freezer

place the berries in your vacuum bag plus your liqueur , seal via the vacuum sealer interrupting cycle so you don’t end up with liquid everywhere , or place bag into your ISI gun chamber, screw on lid and charge with two N2o cartridges. Allow berries to sit in bag and get extra drunk, then pop bag open and place onto a metal tray and pop into freezer, or if Nitro freezing ad berries to ladle and dip ladle a couple of times into gas canister until all berries have been zapped with the gas. Needless to say these must be used immediately or placed back into freezer for future use.



For the drink:
add everything together into a sealable container and chill for a couple of hours, Co2 attaches to cold liquid way better than room temp liquid. Pour the wine blend into either an ISI chamber, a highly illegal twist and sparkle , a sodastream mix ( I think only available so far in Europe ) or if you have a Co2 tank and soda bottle rig into the soda bottle. Wherever you put it charge with Co2 now, allow gas to permeate liquid by shaking it slightly .

To assemble add your cryo berries to glass and unleash your bubble goodness into glass . Spritz for an extra aroma with Aftelier’s Galangal spray, its quite lovely!

Thank fully Ebenezer makes a complete turnaround , he increases Cratchit’s pay, he shows up to Fred’s for Christmas dinner and he bequeaths an undisclosed sum to the poor. Honestly ,  I dare you to read this book and not need a hanky to mop up your eyes!

Lastly in the words of Tiny Tim,  God Bless us,  everyone ! If this story reminds us of anything it should be to be safe and merry and spend time with your loves whilst you still have them!




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