Category - Rule 2

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Space Cocktails
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SideBlog: Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa
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Lime Wars
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SideBlog: Complete Still Design From IKEA Hacker
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Tiki Month Roundup 2014
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New Tiki Drink: The Tiki Tree Viper by Rated-R Cocktails

Space Cocktails

The Zero-Gravity Cocktail Project from the Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation
I have written before that mankind cannot successfully make it all the way to Mars without taking along Gaz Regan. It’s Science. It’s Settled™. Forget it at the peril to the mission. Astronauts need a good drink, but once you establish that, the details get pretty intense.

NASA keeps doing study after study (of the Well, No Duh results variety) that show that astronauts would benefit greatly from a small belt or two from time to time because Space is boring, and stressful, and if you eat the food for so much as three days in a row you will find that you have “lost the will to live.” Most ordinary adults know that the solution to all these things is booze in rational amounts.

Ordinary adults, that is. When NASA was readying the first space station mission, they determined that sherry was an excellent choice to fulfill this basic human need, since it is stable in difficult conditions like zero-gravity. But then they caved to pressure from people who screamed about astronauts being role-models, and as such should not be seen drinking like Niles Crane. You will note that the Russians, in addition to such crazy expedients as retaining actual manned space travel capability, do allow their cosmonauts to have a drink for mental health reasons.

There is no way that you are going to get a crew of the alphaest of alpha males (and females) all the way to Mars, though, without sending along either some booze or dueling pistols. When the prohibitionists come back at NASA again, I suggest that they lock said protesters together in a metal can for five hundred days. They might go in Baptists, but they are a comin’ out Episcopalians.

But the therapeutic nature of a good drink is about more than just the ethanol intake. (Note that even the Russians don’t take up vodka, they bring along cognac.) It is also the joy of the aesthetic experience of a good drink that will help people make it to far destinations. Thus, to my way of thinking, the keys to the aesthetic drinking experience are variety and presentation.

If you want variety, that means your ethanol vehicle of choice is the mixed drink. Mass restrictions would restrict taking beer, and they would certainly prevent laying in any kind of broad-appeal cellar. But a relatively small number of low-mass ingredients can create a dazzling variety of cocktails. Thus my call to have Gaz sent to Houston for training, stat.

But, like everything else, the tools needed to prepare and consume a good cocktail, like everything else from pens to toilets, need to be updated or even reinvented for use in zero-gravity.

An essential tool, the shaker, appears to not have an elegant solution for zero gravity yet. The following video from Stoli should show any reasonably educated drink mixer the multifarious problems that surround trying to whip up a Pegu in outer space.

Clearly, there a significant effects from zero-gravity on most any beverage container/dispenser, as the following video reveals…

In all seriousness, terrestrial tools for mixing a cocktail are totally unsuited for space. Newton is going to bang the bartender all over the walls when he goes to shake. A strainer will do nothing but break up the drink blob and spray it all throughout the atmosphere. And gin does not mix well with integrated circuits.

Still, I think that re-engineering the mixing component will be fairly easy. I envision a flexible rubber box which you can fill with ice, then inject ingredients into. Attach it to an agitation platform affixed to the wall to mix and chill, then use a tube to dispense. Eject the ice into the recycler, and it is time for the next round. Astronauts will miss the Flair and Hard Shake experiences, but you can’t have everything.

The final piece is actually getting the maximum enjoyment out of your Space Martini™. To do that, it needs to look and feel like a Martini. You need a stemmed cocktail glass. To see why this presents problems, look at the video above. (The first one, not the one with the nice stems). But man is ingenious. Behold the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project, from the Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation.

zerogravity-cocktailglass-web-7Source: Make

Stem, check.
Click-in base so you can set it down, check.
Proper shape, check.
Open top, so your beverage will float out and ruin all the electronics on the space station, leading to the plot of Gravity 2, not so fast.

Look at all those ridges. Astronauts have discovered that when you have a crease in a container, the angle of which is less than 90 minus two times the contact wetting angle, surface tension will keep the liquid inside. More importantly, it will wick that fluid along the crease and you can suck it out, i.e. have a sip. The technology is based on the way liquid fuel tanks can restart a rocket in space. It has already been proven as a beverage drinking technology (in primitive form) with coffee cups.

Look at the cocktail glass. Its entire surface is a series of channels, each of which I’m sure is contact wetting angle-appropriate, which cover most of the inner surface of the glass. These all eventually come together at a single spot on the rim, which is, I’m assuming, the point from where you must drink. The only question I have is what material is the vessel made from? It obviously isn’t glass, as you can tell by looking, and I’m sure this is for prototype fabrication reasons. But if you are going to make a number of these, I’m assuming the final product can’t be glass either, for safety reasons. What can you make it of, so the rim is properly thin and cold to get the sipping experience just right?

I’ll wrap by noting that this technology is important for more that distant exploration. It’s going to make a difference in commercial space tourism as well. Over the long run, how many rich as Croesus tourists are going to any hotel, even one in orbit or on the Moon, where they can’t enjoy a quality Manhattan?

playboy-club-space-station-exteriorSorry, still not going unless I can get a decent Sidecar…

SideBlog: Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa

Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa. Different means to the same end, but mixing the methods would be a disaster. Related: New pasteurization method coming for eggs to make them more like fresh. Whiskey Sour lovers, rejoice.

Lime Wars

Darcy O'Neil and his Acid Phosphate

This man may be our only hope….

If you give a damn about drinks, you have likely noticed that the price of limes has gone berserk recently. They clocked in at a buck a piece yesterday at my favorite supermarket. That is twenty cents more per fruit than lemons. I don’t remember seeing that ever. It is making amateur mixers like myself rather grumpy, forcing menu changes on fresh ingredient cocktail bars, and absolutely killing Mexican restaurants and tequila bars. It has gotten so bad that, in another sign of the mainstreaming of cocktail culture, the situation is being discussed on national morning chat shows like Live! with Kelly and Michael.

Why are we in this pickle? The answer is a perfect storm of forces, ordinary, extraordinary, and chronic.

First off, this time of year most of our limes in the US come from Mexico, and the areas there where limes are most heavily cultivated saw an unusual amount of rain last Fall. This apparently inhibited the formation of flower buds on the trees, resulting in a reduced yield. Weather happens, and alone this would likely have created but a blip in prices, not a shock.

Of more serious concern is Huang Long Bing. This is a bacteria spread by insects which first ruins the fruit of citrus trees, then kills them entirely within a few years. It is taking hold in Mexico’s lime-rich Colima area and will likely affect lime production for the foreseeable future. If that doesn’t make you shudder by itself, how does the fact that Huang Long Bing has settled into Florida, and its carrying insects have been found in quantity in California?

So the one season weather problem and the longer-term bacteria problem have driven up lime prices in other Mexican areas that do have produce coming off the trees. Which has drawn the attention of Mexico’s largest plague: Drug cartels. They look and see all that green moving through their territory and do what any criminal entrepreneur would: Grab automatic weapons and set up road blocks to extort “tolls” from trucks full of limes, or even just outright hijack them to sell the fruit themselves. There are even reports of the Knights Templar narco gang going right to the source and outright taking over entire farms for themselves!

So yeah, the argument can now be made, similar to the old one about cocaine, that that Margarita you are enjoying is supporting drug lords.

What is to be done? Well, perhaps America’s forlorn cocktailian eyes will have to turn to Canada for help in the fight against citro-terrorism. Pictured atop this post is Darcy O’Neil (some Photoshop may have been applied), who stands ready to help you fight back. Darcy makes Acid Phosphate (and Lactart) an acidifier for cocktails that, while not a direct replacement for lime juice, alas, is well worth exploring to assuage your taste for tart in drinks. And it is 100% free of interference from, and subsidization of Mexican drug lords. At least until they start hijacking trucks from Amazon.com. Lest this give the Knights Templar any ideas, they should remember that Bezos has drones….

As a last resort, if you have a lime tree of your own (lucky stiff), there are business out there who need your help!

SideBlog: Complete Still Design From IKEA Hacker

Complete home still design and “blueprints”, centered on an old IKEA pressure cooker. With a Lowe’s and a Bed, Bath, & Beyond, you too can violate Federal law!

Tiki Month Roundup 2014


Click through to YouTube for HD video.

Well, another Tiki Month is (mostly) in the books. I’m leaving the decor up here on the website for a few more days, just as I’m leaving the decor up in my basement a bit longer. I still have a number of people who need to see it and visit, but who got snowed out earlier in the month.

I feel like I’m getting the hang of Tiki more and more each year, and this year was the first that I had to do little or no basic research to get the results I wanted. I know the history of the movement, and it’s current state. I know the attire, the music, the lingo. And I know the drinks. My experiments this year have been exploring some holes in the repertoire, trying a few creations on my own, and formalizing the decorations of my own facility.

Next year, I expect to delve a bit deeper into Tiki food. It is the one area I’ve not been able to crack into fully.

Herewith, a roundup of my posts for Tiki Month, 2014. I was less prolific this year than last, but I hope a bit more on point.

I’ll start with my biggest achievement of the year, my man-sized, light and smoke effects-enabled volcano—a middle school science project gone mad. It is portable, so I can store it for next year, and on into the future. It produced one of those wonderful moments when the PeguWife is forced to admit that strangers actually do read this blog, when someone I’d never met exclaimed to me, “Oh! You’re the dude with the volcano!”
Completed paper mache volcano

I also showed you some video posts on Tiki bombshells of one sort and another….
White-Rum-Has-A-New-Captain
Chrissy Teigen

Mixology Monday brought me a whole bunch of posts to link to which discussed the theme of Sours in a Tiki or Tikiesque context.
MxMo-Tiki-Logo

Of course, I posted a whole bunch of drinks individually as well, listed here with pictures.

I also came up with two new cocktails, both well-received, and both riffs/tweaks of classics.

Margarita Atoll-A Tiki Margarita
Margarita Atoll
The Regal Daiquiri, a Tiki drink for MxMmo: Sours
And my own MxMo entry: Regal Daiquiri

There were also things I did not get to in the time the calendar grants. I did not review Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s new book in full, largely because Real Life™ has precluding my finishing it. This should not preclude you from buying it anyway. What I’ve read is fun and supportive of my long-held contention that the Bum should be considered a serious, perhaps a leading, American historian, rather than just a huckster of funky dunky drinks.

I also wanted to do a separate post on Putney Farms’ Hanalei Sour, which is delicious, and different in presentation, but which I didn’t get a chance to try until too late in the game to make the end of February.

I may yet take the time I’ve granted in keeping up the decor to post on these this year. If not, I’ve got all sorts of ammo to kick off the next!

Aloha, Y’all!

New Tiki Drink: The Tiki Tree Viper by Rated-R Cocktails

Tiki Tree Viper Cocktail from Rated-R Cocktails
The Tiki Tree Viper is one of those newly-invented cocktails you get to see all the time when you read cocktail blogs. Usually, they stick in your mind because of a gorgeous picture, or funky name, or maybe an ingredient that you just haven’t done much with. Most of the time the drink, should you find the time to make one yourself, ends up being fairly “eh”. But sometimes, it ends up being a real find.

JFL, of Rated-R Cocktails, invented the TTV, and posted it just days before Tiki Month began. I had been looking for recipes to blog about, and this one was well-timed. It is a riff on the popular Chartreuse Swizzle, as Tiki/Classic Crossover a cocktail as you will find.

Here is my recipe for it. The brands are a bit altered from the original, and I make one critical change in amount, all of which I detail below.

TIKI TREE VIPER

  • 1 1/2 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Hart 151
  • 1/2 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • 1/4 oz. Bols Blue Curaçao
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat

Combine ingredients with cracked or small ice and shake to combine. Serve in appropriate Tiki vessel and garnish with dry ice and lavish produce.

The biggest change I make is to back the Chartreuse back from three-quarters in JFL’s to half an ounce. At the full three-quarters, I think the Chartreuse starts to bully the other ingredients. At a half, you still by God know it is in the drink, but is stays part of the larger ensemble. I think the suggested mint as garnish is also a bit over the top, too. (And I garnish everything with mint in February.) The cocktail doesn’t need more competing herbal notes.
Tiki Tree Viper by Rated-R Cocktails
Finally, a sliver of dry ice in the bottom gives it the appropriate atmospherics. This is a very mysterious, darkest New Guinea kind of Tiki drink. I have also saved it for the homestretch of Tiki Month because it has been so very popular with my friends. Incidentally, they all independently drop the work “Tiki” from the name, just asking for a Tree Viper. When I ask, they mostly say they don’t know what a “Tiki Tree” is. The glasses have, with the exception of one guy whose evening was ending and hadn’t expected the potency, come back uniformly empty. I use Tiki Month get togethers as an opportunity to use my guests as lab rats for new drinks, and the Tree Viper has had this year’s best results in both attracting orders, and in well-received results.

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