Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bartender turned me into an alcoholic.

They knowingly conceived this project to exploit the finely romantic sensibilities of dreaming youth, lost youth, and youth being lost. It seemed, and now undeniably is, so natural, so beautiful, to forge one's courage, drown one's failures, or relive one's past through the lens of a cocktail. The bottles spin away into the horizon, endless labels of industrially distilled spirits, each containing glimpses of a dream. The strangely earnest jazz trickles past, a tributary to the river of sentimentality. And Ryuu creates his Glass of the Gods for the evening, and stricken with a desperate need to savor the same flavors and feelings, we rush out to buy gin and Drambuie and champagne and tonic water.

Well, we're not that desperate. I did end up having to try my friend's "Jack Rose", which he made by adding apple cider (or was it apple juice?) to a bottom-shelf brandy, together with some citrus component that wasn't a lime. Suffice it to say, it didn't really work. For my part, I bought a bottle of gin, which I gradually figured out how to drink. After that came a bottle of (lousy) tequila, and then a bottle of (awesome) rye. Now I think we have ten bottles of whiskey in the house.

I can't completely put the blame on Bartender for my alcoholism. Recent years have seen resurgence of cocktail culture in the United States, and perhaps the madness has made it to Japan. There are no melodramatic TV shows in the US about cocktails, though. Just articles and columns in the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. And some great books.

On your personal road to developing an emotional dependence on alcohol, I advise not buying the liquors featured in Bartender's product placement spotlight. Spend a bit more to get top-shelf liquors. Your cirrhosis will be far more pleasant to develop. Now excuse me while I deal with all this acetaldehyde.

2 oz Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz Red Vermouth
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Assemble ingredients in mixing glass with ice. Stir a good bit, then strain into other glass of choice. I drink everything out of a "Scotch glass".

(Note to the PC police: alcoholism is a serious problem. Professional help is advised.)

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