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

 

 

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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 .

 

 

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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 .

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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 
tokers)

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 ).

 

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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 .

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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 .

 

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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

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 .

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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.

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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.

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fire

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 ?!

aether

 

Issue No. 027 “Tails” from the Bookworm “The Sun Also Rises”

 


“One generation passeth away and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth forever.

The sun also ariseth and the sun goeth down and hasteth to the place where he arose.

The wind goeth toward the south and turneth about unto the north;it whirleth about continually,and the wind returneth again according to its circuits.

All the rivers run into the sea;yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come,thither they return again.”

emingway, the master of deep dark stories, war hero and legend as well as legendary drinker, Hemingway and his generation that endured the First World War and came out the other side darker and disillusioned and yet in some ways emancipated from the morals and traditions that their ancestors held so highly . The quote above from Ecclesiastes discusses our impermanence , the cycle of life-death-life, how everything that is returns to where it came from, it is also where the book gets it’s title from. WWI was the catalyst that made a good portion of the world examine this Zeitgeist, writers, painters, poets all wondering and exploring who are we, where did we come from, where are we going, a major theme in this story of the lost generation in The Sun Also Rises, who wander empty filling their time with partying, drinking, traveling , chasing after what they can’t have and searching for the unknown to make them feel whole again , no-one exemplifies this more than the main protagonist Jake Barnes.

In an alternate universe where the war had never happened, Jake would be considered a total stud, men want to be him and women want to be with him, but Hemingway decided to emasculate this poor chap who’s war scars are not only mental but physical too. After suffering a serious injury he is left impotent ( I think the one thing men fear most ) its almost cruel that papa doled out such a heavy burden on this poor chap, there’s not much else for him to do but to drink and hide himself in a glass of beer, brandy ,absinthe, wine and back to beer again, yes this guy knew how to hold his drink , and sometimes not, in every way but one the true man’s man . The other major theme for Jake’s character is his relationship with Miss emancipation herself Lady Brett Ashley, she nursed him through his war wounds then tears his heart to shreds all through the book , all because she can’t live a life without S.E.X.

So in following Jake through the book I decided to concoct drinks for him through various points in the story, there’s a lot of travel and back and forth, Paris, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Madrid and stop offs in between, Hemingway had a deep affection for Spain, along with fellow journalist Martha Gelhorn he covered the conflict of the Spanish civil war and became an aficionado of bullfighting, the flavors of Spain are my starting points in most of the drinks, from the saffron and fennel in Paella, cherries and chocolate in Basque country , to Jamon and sherry in Jerez.

Hotel Crillon, Paris

Its Five O’clock and I’m waiting for Brett, but she’s not here, I fill my time writing letters, they’re not very good letters but they’re on Crillon stationary so I hope that’ll make them better. At a quarter to six Brett still has not shown up so I head down to the bar to see George the bar-man, he fixes me the popular drink of the day a Jack Rose, I take a sip and give a deep sigh , where could she be?

The classic Jack Rose is made from applejack brandy, grenadine and lemon, simple and tasty enough but what if we tweaked the ingredients and gave it some complexity and Jake Barnes something else to think about other than the heart stomping “Lady” Brett.

Le Jacqueminot

1 1/2 oz Lustau Spanish Brandy de Jerez infused with black peppercorns for a couple of days ( 1/4 cup black peppercorns to 1 750ml bottle brandy)

1 oz Spanish rioja/tempranillo

3/4 oz pomegranite grenadine ( I used Wilks & Wilson)

3/4 oz lime juice

2 dashes peychauds bitters

two drops rosewater

1 drop vanilla

1/2 oz egg white

fresh ground black pepper

strawberry lambic ale for finishing

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Toss everything but the ground black pepper and lambic ale into your shaking tin with 4 ice cubes, shake for about 20 seconds, and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass, top with splash of lambic ale and finish with ground black pepper

 

Fishing in Burguete

It was a long walk and the country was very fine, but we were tired when we came down the steep road that led out of the wooded hills and into the valley of the Rio del la Fabrica. The road came out from the shadow of the woods into the hot sun. Ahead was a river valley.Beyond the river was a steep hill.There was a field of buckwheat on the hill. We saw a white house under some trees on the hillside.It was very hot and we stopped under some trees beside a dam that crossed the river. Bill put the pack against one of the trees and we jointed up the rods, put on the reels, tied on leaders and got ready to fish…..this is thirsty work and we hadn’t even begun!

G&T

A classic refreshing drink to partake in when you’re hot and parched is the Gin & Tonic, a drink that the Spanish have come to claim as one of their national drinks, sipped at lunch with boquadillos or at the beginning of a late late dinner. I’ve been playing with flavoring tonic water for a while, my most successful were a red pepper tonic where I used red pepper juice instead of water or my other favorite a pinch of saffron that gives that golden hit of yellow and intense, complex flavor.

One of the quintessential seafood dishes of Spain is Paella, rice flavored with saffron and fennel that is baked in skillets with a selection of seafood, mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari or whatever came fresh from the water that day, peppers and pimenton also imbue this dish with fruity and earthy flavors.

Tie me up, Tie me down

1 1/2 oz Bols genever gin ( maltier than a regular gin)

1/4 oz kubler absinthe

3/4 oz genepy

3/4 oz dolin or martini blanc vermouth

3/4 oz white verjus

for the saffron tonic

if you want to be adventurous you can make your own tonic syrup but you have to be very careful about the amounts of cinchona bark you put into the mixture, too much can make a person quite sick.

if you feel like cheating as I very often do, ( not from laziness more that I’m incredibly impatient) try this hack…

1 liter bottle tonic water

4-5 strands saffron

add saffron strands to tonic water and tighten bottle so you limit the bass that escapes, if you’re luck enough to have a CO2 tank at home and the carbonating apparatus that goes along with it then you don’t have to worry, and good for you! The Saffron infuses fast so don’t worry too much about time on this one

 

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

For the drink

Build your ingredients into a mixing glass, add 5-6 ice cubes and stir for twenty seconds or so. Strain into a chilled collins glass filled with ice cube of choice, top off with the saffron tonic, and garnish with a long fennel frond and if in season some halved pea pods and a pea tendril make this drink really super pretty as well as tasty.

Fiesta of San Fermin, Bullfights and Pamplona…

“I leaned over the wall and tried to see into the cage. It was dark. Someone rapped on the cage with an iron bar. Inside something seemed to explode. the bull, striking into the wood from side to side with his horns, made a great noise. Then I saw a dark muzzle and the shadow of horns, and then, with a clattering on the wood in the hollow box, the bull charged and came out into the corral, skidding with his forefeet in the straw as he stopped, his head up, the great hump of muscle on his neck swollen tight, his body muscles quivering as he looked up at the crowd on the stone walls. The two steers backed away against the wall, their heads sunken, their eyes watching the bull.

“My god isn’t he beautiful?” Brett said

Bloody Mary/Bloody Bull

The Bloody Bull is a drink similar to a Bloody Mary but has the addition of beef stock, the Bloody Mary ( or Bucket of Blood as it was first called)has its origins in early 19th century Paris made in Harry’s Bar ,an American bar that had been shipped over to Paris and reassembled just in time to rehydrate all those thirsty expats who had decamped in the city around the time of Prohibition, also just after the Russian Revolution happened, Paris was flooded with that odorless , clear spirit called Vodka, that the bartender at Harry’s began mixing with tomato juice , salt, pepper and other seasonings. It quickly caught on with the American contingency as a hangover cure and was renamed sometime in the Forties as the Bloody Mary.

Rather than use beef stock to flavor my version I used a ham bone and some bacon fat, that I sealed in a vacuum bag with vodka and allowed gentle heat to do the rest. I’m also quite obsessed right now with making a clear drink that looks like water but packs a punch of flavors so instead of tomato juice I made tomato water, made by hanging pureed tomatoes in muslin over a container where the tomato water drips into, all the flavor of sweet ripe tomatoes without the chunky bits.

Jamon , Jamon

2 oz smoked ham and bacon fat washed vodka

2 oz tomato water

1 oz fino sherry

1 oz white verjus

good 2 pinches of maldon smoked salt

1 pinch ras el hanout

1 pinch pimenton espellete

3 dashes celery bitters

baby radish with leaves to garnish

For the tomato water

blitz 15-20 roma tomatoes in a vitamix, pour liquid tomatoes into a heavy bottomed pan and set on a medium heat until it starts to simmer and the pulp rises to the top of your pot. whilst this is happening line a large chinoise strainer with an even larger coffee filter and place over a pot or large pitcher. Once the tomato liquid has bubbled up, pour it into the chinoise strainer and allow the tomato water to drip through without agitating it. The yield should be about 2 quarts, store ing the fridge it will last a couple of days.

For the Jamon vodka

for those of you without fancy gadgets here’s a hack to achieve similar result to sous vide….

1 liter bottle vodka

1 ham bone ( your local butcher can provide and also chop in half if needed)

1 tablespoon smoked bacon fat ( a good excuse to make BLT’s, save the bacon fat after cooking)

1 large ziplock bag

1 ice cooler ( igloo will do, keeps ice cold but also hot things hot due to its insulation)

a long cooking thermometer

Add your vodka, ham bone and bacon fat to the ziplock bag, zip up the bag until almost closed, leave a small opening where you can squeeze the air in the bag out, if you don’t the bag will not sink the air keeping it afloat and the vodka will not infuse fully) once the air is removed seal the bag fully. To your igloo ice chest add 60 degree celsius hot water, insert thermometer and bag of vodka/ham. Close lid on chest, I’ve gone so far as to place my igloo in a box surrounded by a blanket ( no I did not sing it a lullaby ) The water temp can go down as far as 54 degrees but you will need to top it off with hot water once it starts to dip below 55, so have a kettle of hot water ready to go. Let the bag sit for a couple of hours, then remove and allow contents to cool off before straining out fat and ham bits. Pour vodka into a sealable container , put on lid and store in fridge for 3-4 hours until fat has frozen solid and is easy to scoop off. Strain vodka again then store in airtight container back in the fridge till ready to be used.

 

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

For the drink

add all ingredients to a mixing glass with 4-5 ice cubes, stir for about twenty seconds , strain into a chilled collins glass filled with ice , garnish with a pickled or non pickled radish and a spindle more of smoked salt and pimenton. You can also garnish with pickled peppers or baby tomatoes, the choice is yours.

 

After Fiesta and back to Bayonne

“It was pleasant to be drinking slowly and to be tasting the wine and to be drinking alone. A bottle of wine was good company. Afterward I had coffee. The waiter recommended a Basque liqueur called Izzarra. he brought in the bottle and poured a liqueur glass full. he said Iazzarra was made of the flowers of the Pyrenees. The veritable flowers of the Pyrenees. It looked like hair oil and smelled like Italian Strega. I told him to take the flowers of the Pyrenees away and bring me a vieux marc. The marc was good. I had a second one after the coffee

Bayonne , a town that straddles the Pyrenees on one side of it Gascogny on the other the Basque region,( oh, no you thought I meant Bayonne NJ famous for its drugs, prostitution and mob influences as well as for producing Shaquille O’Neil) no the original French Bayonne is famous for its chocolate making, wine production and scenic vistas and is slightly more civilized. Vieux marc is a dessert brandy made from grape pomace similar to grappa, a great accompaniment to the classic Basque dessert of cherries, kind of like a cherry soup , officially known as Gerezi beltza arno gorriakin, mmm, yes long isn’t it? Imagine trying to say that after making friends with a bottle of wine and a couple of brandies. This cherry soup served with a dollop of fresh cream to balance out the sweet tartness of the fruit, all you need is chocolate curls and you’d have a liquid Black Forest cake…so I got to thinking

For my cherry soup I kinda sorta made a version of a Ramos Fizz crossed with an egg cream, but with a cherry shrub and Maraschino instead of lemon and orange flower water, and chocolate chili bitters with a dusting of chocolate powder atop, and to give it some base a touch of dry oloroso and topped off with soda.

 

Matador

1 1/2 oz bourbon

1 oz cherry shrub

1 oz dry oloroso sherry

1/2 oz maraschino liqueur

1/2 oz simple syrup

1/2 lemon

1/2 oz cream

1 oz egg white

3 dashes chocolate chilli bitters

1-2 oz soda water

For the cherry shrub

pit about a pound of cherries and let them cold macerate with 1 cup of sugar in the fridge for a couple of days, the juice should be drawn out of the cherries , then add 1 cup of banyuls vinegar, stir and put back into the fridge to allow, fruit, sugar and vinegar to get on first name terms. Leave for further 2 days. When finished strain liquid through a cheesecloth and chinoise strainer, taste, you are looking for a balance between perfect tartness and a little sweet, you can add sugar or vinegar as needed but remember you don’t want to wash out the cherry flavor.

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything except the cream and cola to your boston shaker with 2-3 ice cubes, whip shake to froth up the egg for about 40-50 seconds. Add cream and gently stir in, pour into a chilled collins glass and top off with coca cola, dust on top a pinch of chocolate powder. Garnish with fresh or homemade maraschino cherries.

 

Madrid, to pick up the pieces of Lady Brett

The Norte station in Madrid is the end if the line. All trains finish there. they don’t go on anywhere. Outside were cabs and taxis and a line of hotel runners.It was like a country town. i took a taxi and we climbed up though the gardens by the empty palace and the unfinished church on the edge of the cliff, and on until we were in the high, hot modern town. the Taxi coasted down to Puerta del Sol and then through the traffic onto the Carrera San Jeronimo. All the shops had their awnings down against the heat. The windows on the sunny side of the street were shuttered. The taxi stopped at the curb. I saw the sign HOTEL MONTANA on the second floor. The taxi driver carried the bags inside and left them by the elevator. I could not make the elevator work so I walked up. On the second floor up was a brass sign: HOTEL MONTANA. I rang and no-one came to the door. i rang again and a maid with a sullen face opened the door.

“Is Lady Ashley here?” I asked, I knew what was waiting, Brett would fall into my arms and I’d make her feel safe but she would never truly love me , it was pretty to think we could have had a damned good time!

To come to Jake’s aid on this hot summer day in Madrid , were I the maid opening the door I would be handing him a cold refreshing glass for his thirst and his woes, this drink below is based on Ajo blanco or what is sometimes called a white gazpachio, that uses grapes , almonds and bread, instead of bread am using manzanilla sherry for a touch of nuttiness and depth , for the almond factor a delightful orgeat from the gents at Wilks & Wilson and then of course crisp , sweet grapes with dry Txakoli as a spritz, its a sort of take on a Rebujito a couple of these and a plate full of pintxos and he’d forget all about that fickle lady he lost his heart to, at least for a moment !

 

Volver

2 1/2 oz good manzanilla sherry, Lustau is my current favorite

1 oz orgeat

1 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz amaretto

6 or so ripe green grapes, plus a small bunch for garnish. If you can get muscat grapes even better

2-3 lemon verbena leaves plus a sprig or two for garnish

1-2 oz Txakoli ( a sparkling dry white wine drank in regions of Spain as early as breakfast, I mean we have champagne brunches so why not eh)?

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

In your trusty Boston shaker muddle lightly grapes and lemon verbena leaves with orgeat and lemon, add the rest of your ingredients plus 5-6 ice cubes. Shake for about 20 seconds then dump into a vessel of your choice. Top off with the sparkling Txakoli , garnish with either a mini bunch of grapes or a few grape halves plus a lemon verbena sprig.

 

Next up….an ode to Autumn

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