Rules

This article got me thinking — or rather, its title did:

Rules for a deconfinement dinner party

I thought about it for a while (about 30 seconds), and came up with Kim’s Rules For A Post-Lockdown Party:

  • invite a group of really good friends, or family members you get along with, or both
  • have an ocean of fine booze at the ready — in my case, Glen Morangie single malt;  Sipsmith gin;  champagne (for New Wife, her favorite tipple);  a case of Barefoot wines, in different colors;  two cases of decent beer;  a bottle or two of Tawny Port;  Richelieu brandy;  and whatever the guests want to drink (prearranged)
  • a huge rib roast (or leg of lamb), accompanied by roast potatoes and -parsnips, asparagus, and some other veg TBD by New WIfe, along with crusty French bread and farm butter;  with peach cobbler dessert and vanilla ice cream (dieters, vegans and teetotalers, needless to say, are persona non grata).

And that’s it. Good food, lots of booze and good company, all seated together round the dinner table at the proper social distance (12″-18″ apart), and have at it.

Of course, those are my ingredients for any decent dinner party, but let’s not get all bogged down with details.

Necessities

Following the comments in one of yesterday’s posts, Young Reader Hank F. emails and asks:

“What would YOU consider a decently-stocked liquor cabinet?”

I’m not going to comment on quantities, because that depends on personal / family consumption levels (e.g. whenever Son&Heir comes over, all my beer magically disappears, while when Daughter and Fiance visit, my gin supply gets absolutely devastated).

Likewise, what you keep on hand depends on what you, and any likely visitors, may prefer.

I grew up during a time when not having a selection — whereby a visitor wouldn’t find at least a second- or third choice of liquor — would be regarded as poor hosting.  So here are my thoughts:

  • Blended Scotch  a.k.a. “drinking in quantity / with a mixer” Scotch. Two bottles should suffice.
  • Single-malt Scotch:  I have quite a few, but one bottle each of two or three different brands should do likewise.
  • Irish Whiskey:  like blended Scotch, this can be mixed at will.
  • Ordinary gin:  not everyone likes gin (poor fools), but as long as you have one brand to be mixed with tonic or whatever, you’ll be okay.
  • Sipping gin:  like single malt Scotch, you only need one or two.
  • Brandy:  I only keep South African brandy on hand, but good luck finding it outside Seffrica.  (I’ve found that Spanish brandy is actually quite drinkable with a mixer, especially when compared to Californian brandy, which is uniformly dreadful).
  • Rum:  I like the dark, spicy kind, which makes the best Cuba Libre (rum ‘n Coke) for serious drinking.
  • Bourbon:  I don’t drink this much (or at all), but it’s like blended Scotch — mix it with anything. or nothing.
  • Vodka:  get a cheap brand like Smirnoff for mixed drinks.
  • Tequila:  I’ll admit to not knowing diddly about this Mexican stuff, as I only ever drink it in margaritas.
  • Vermouth:  only if you plan on serving martinis .
  • Liqueurs:  you’ll need quite a few because of the taste range, but really only a bottle of each:  Kahlua / Tia Maria (coffee), Amaretto (nut), Drambuie (whisky), Cointreau / Grand Marnier (orange), Godiva (chocolate), Midori (melon), Chambord (raspberry), and so on.  I love the hard-to-find Mandarin Napoleon (mandarin orange, duh), but most people find it way too sweet.
  • Port:  here we have the dry / sweet / semi-sweet divide (ruby, tawny, muscat etc.), but anything by Taylor, Fonseca, Sandeman’s or Warre will impress.  For an “everyday after-dinner” port, the Australian(!) Cockburn Fine Ruby  is excellent.
  • Sherry:  As with port;  but Harvey’s Bristol Cream is the J&B of sherries:  just about everyone likes it.  Dry Sack isn’t bad, either.

So, to summarize:  if like Reader Hank I were starting from scratch to create an Everyman liquor cabinet (i.e. without the high-end sipping stuff, but with brands of decent quality which you wouldn’t be ashamed to serve), it would contain one or two brands from each of the following categories (and everything depends on how it tastes to you):

Scotch:  J&B / Famous Grouse / Dewar’s
Irish:  Bushmill’s / Jameson’s / Tullamore Dew
Gin:  Tanqueray / Bombay Sapphire
Vodka:  Ketel One / Grey Goose
Bourbon:  Maker’s Mark / Knob Creek / Jack Daniel’s / Jim Beam
Tequila:  Jose Cuervo Gold (dark) / Patron Silver (white)
Rum:  Myer’s Dark / Captain Morgan Spiced / Wray & Nephew White
Sherry:  Harvey’s Bristol Cream
Port:  Sandeman’s Rich Ruby / Cockburn’s Fine Ruby
Liqueur:  Kahlua, DiSaronna Amaretto, Grand Marnier and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

If you wanted to extend your cabinet by adding some sipping liquors (one or two brands only, and once again without nosebleed prices):

Scotch:  Glenmorangie Original 10-year-old /  Aberlour 12-year-old
Brandy:  Courvoisier XO
Gin:  Sipsmith / No. 3 London Dry
Rum:  Pusser’s 15-year-old / Gosling’s Dark
Vodka:  Belvedere / Grey Goose
Tequila:  Patron Extra Anejo (I was told by the Son&Heir)
Bourbon:  Barrell / Rabbit Hole Dareringer

There you have it.  As everyone has their own opinions about booze — which is a Good Thing — feel free to add your suggestions in Comments.  But I don’t think the above would be a selection that Reader Hank would be ashamed of.

Spoilers

I am completely hostile towards people who seem to be unable to get on an airliner without either being drunk, or getting drunk on the flight, and causing trouble either way.  As with all things, as long as drunk people are quiet and keep their shit together, who cares?  But then you get this kind of situation:

As Kenny would say at Knuckledraggin:  straight up White trash, God bless ’em.

I can see the day coming when all flights are booze-free, and passengers suspected of being drunk (think:  breathalyzers before boarding) will be denied their flight.  Or, this may only happen in shithole places like Manchester UK or Las Vegas NV, which is where most of these incidents seem to arise.

Look:  nobody enjoys a relaxing pint of gin more than I do, so I feel a little sorry for people such as Mr. Free Market, who routinely get completely whacked when flying — especially on the very long ones such as UK – Hong Kong or Australia – anywhere — because frankly, it’s probably the best remedy for boredom.  But people like him may have to have their fun curtailed by louts such as the above prize pair, because at some point, a drunken asshole is going to pop the cabin door at 30,000 feet, with predictable consequences.

I have to say, by the way, that I myself always travel sober for the simple reason that the normal dehydration of flying + the dehydrating effect of booze has only one result: 

 

…so a ban on booze wouldn’t affect me at all.

But it’s always the few idiots who fuck things up for the many, isn’t it?

Just… No

Aaaargh  is nothing sacred anymore?

The makers of Glenlivet whisky have been ridiculed on Twitter after revealing a new method of consuming their product.
Posting a video to Twitter, the company plans to share clear cocktail capsules made from seaweed to house the drink.
The user simply places the capsule in their mouth and pops it to enjoy the ‘perfect flavour-explosion’ experience that will set ‘a new standard on how whisky is enjoyed.’

Here’s a game I’d suggest:

Whoever dreamed up this fucking terrible idea should swallow eight of these capsules whole, one after the other.  Wait five minutes.  Get on a fast motorcycle in Edinburgh and head south towards London on Britain’s M1, at 100mph.

The game is for Scotch drinkers to bet where the “flavour explosion” will occur and the stupid asshole wipes out and dies.

Growing Market

I have spoken before of my irritation with unnecessary tinkering, specifically with gin.   Now I read that gin sales have gone through the roof:

Gin has moved from suburban cocktail parties to the height of fashion with a 276 per cent increase in sales in less than ten years, according to official figures.  A report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows the value leapt from £130million to £461million since 2009, and Britain produces some three-quarters of all the gin made in Europe.

And why this growth?

On its own, gin is an unremarkable, albeit powerful, spirit, distilled from barley, maize or wheat.  However, the secret of its success and new found popularity comes from the many exotic flavourings that are added.

Chocolate gin?  Great Caesar’s aching liver.  And just to put the icing on my cake:

Today, gin has been reinvented for young adults with more than half of gin drinkers under 35.

[groan]

That’s just what I needed:  one of my all-time favorite drinks has become popular with snowflake millennials and hipsters, albeit after having had its taste changed into kiddie-type flavors.

Is it too early to have a Tanqueray?  If so, I think I’ll go out and kick a random hipster in the ass.  God, I hate “progress”.