Category: Broads
Rule 4
Rule 5

The Perfect Gift to NOT Give the Cocktail Lover in Your Life

Grabbing Hand by ISOStock at DeviantArt
A "Helping Hand"
Image via ISOStock
Obviously, I'm not talking about giving an actual hand to the cocktail lover in your life for Christmas. Even if they were tragically missing one, the medical science isn't there yet to help. I will note that hands (unless we are talking of Gaz Regan's Negroni-stirring finger) are not actual bar tools anyway. You are supposed to use your hands to manipulate tools to do things like prepare ingredients. For example, you put your limes in a juicer to extract the juice. It is messy, imprecise, and wasteful to just use your fingers. This brings us closer to where I'm going...
What the Hell are you up to, Doug? You often take your time reaching the lede, but you are beating around the bush than usual.
Funny you should put it that way. But yeah, this is going to take some discretion. I'm going to show you a video next, a video for making a "Macho Mojito". Deep within this beautifully lit and shot little how-to there lies a horrifyingly, hilariously deep level of wrong. So very, very wrong. The audio isn't the best, so it may be hard to hear the relevant information when it appears. Pay close attention when the little snifter on the left comes into play.... Whether you've watched it or not, let's break this exhibition of very special mixology down, shall we? Consider this in the vein of the master of bar video fisking, Jeffrey Morgenthaler. 1. To make your Mojito, start with a couple of messy barspoons of granulated sugar... because that is so easy to dissolve. 2. Squeeze in your limes by hand? Trust me, pretty soon you aren't going to want this guy's hands touching ingredients for any drink he's making for you.... 3.
Gonna add the rum... I like mine strong.
Um, yeah. I think we are all going to need a strong drink here shortly. And I don't really rate that pour as all that strong, to be honest. 4.
Then we'll mash it all up.
The thing we learn here is to oh so gently tamp down your mint and sugar. If you got in there and used any agitation or pressure at all, you might actually dissolve some of the sugar! Worse, you might bruise the mint, and this dude is muddling like he's afraid to piss off that mint. 5.
And now we're going to add some powdered sugar to the semen.
[Sound of phonograph needle being dragged across a record]
Yup. Semen. The mixologist producing this drink is Paul Photenhauer, author of Semenology - The Semen Bartender's Handbook. Yes, it is real. Click the link. It will take you to the Amazon page for this book. But do not give this book to your cocktail enthusiast friend...
Unless you have a very specific message to send, that is!
You are not helping, Guy. In other news, don't worry my foodie readers, Photenhauer has got you covered too, with a gift not to give this Christmas. Congratulations, you've finally dug down to the well-buried lede of this post. I'm sorry, but Spoogetails are just a very bad idea, for all sorts of reasons. To begin with, Semen cocktails? Really? Disclaimer: I personally am not a consumer of semen (shocking to those who know me as this might be). I thus have no personal experience with its taste. But my sources tell me that for those who do enjoy the occasional loving spoonful, it is really about inducing the production, rather than the end product.... Further, the mixology of this particular drink is just all wrong from a technical standpoint. You see, what they are whipping up in that little snifter is a protein foam, very similar in chemical construction to how a bartender would employ an egg white. Foams are great in certain cocktails, but they have no place in a light, carbonated drink like a Mojito. I'd suggest you use this stuff in something where you are looking for a richer mouthfeel.... It is the holidays, so perhaps you could make an eggnog with this stuff replacing the chemically very similar egg white foam?
How about a Ramos Gin Jizz?
Oh. My. God! Stop encouraging him!
Actually, that would work. The point is that if you were to employ this rather dubious ingredient, at least do it in a way that is culinarily and chemically sound.
You are really going into the science of semen?
Hey, I once wrote that bringing along Gaz Regan would be the secret to a successful Mars mission. We think deep thoughts here at the Pegu Blog, lady. But this brings us to the third problem with this ingredient, it doesn't make for much of a trend unless professionals are going to serve them in bars. The implications here only get worse. Today's cocktail enthusiast demands fresh, um, squeezed ingredients. We are looking at a pretty fundamental shift in the nature of the barback's job here, folks! Further, say we put Guy's Ramos Gin Jizz on the menu, and they grow, God forbid, popular? Hearkening back to the original, will bars that serve this have to go back to the line of ten strapping young men behind the bartender, er, shaking for all they are worth, one after the other, to produce....
Stop! Just stop! I refuse to be a part of this any longer. Wrap it up, Writer Boy.
Why are you so against this, dear? I'd think you could be a big help with....
Are you really wanting to piss me off? Is it truly your intent to make this, of all things, a subject that I angrily reject?
Hey Doug! You're going to edit out this last exchange, right?
Sure, Guy. Whatever you say. abc

Mainstreaming of Cocktail Culture: The Blacklist

Greeting Rule 5 Monday folks! I'm not quite sure how I sent Wombat the link to this three year old post! I meant to direct you all to my post Rickey's Gin Dugout about Spring Break and Spring Break Drinks! Sorry! Blacklist Megan Boone James Spader Among the more important elements in growing and sustaining the cocktail movement is the way it is seeping into the popular culture, particularly the entertainment media. The obvious leader here is Mad Men (the show no one watches, and everybody talks about), with its loving ruminations on the importance of a well-made drink. If the world of fine cocktails wants to move beyond the strong fad or wave of fashion stage and embed itself firmly in a place in modern society similar to that of fine wine, it needs shows like Mad Men. But more, it needs scenes like the one that popped up this week on a new NBC show called The Blacklist, a show no one is talking about, but everyone is watching. Below is the entire second episode, embedded for your perusal. NBC doesn't seem to want to let me embed a clip or set the start time, so fast forward to 12 minutes for the scene that concerns us here. NBC may take a few moments to interest you in some insurance or soap before you can watch the video.... Here we see the series's heroic villain (villainous hero?) proantagonist, Raymond "Red" Reddington sitting down with young FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen at a Montreal restaurant. Before I get to the cocktail implications, I'm going to do a brief review of the show, because regardless of your cocktailian proclivities, it is worth a watch. Red is a former government agent who currently holds down the number four spot on the FBI's Most Wanted List, yet he has turned himself in to the feds solely in order to screw with the mind of Keen for some unknown and likely nefarious reason that we'll get a little bit closer to understanding each Sweeps Week. Red is played by James Spader (you know, Ultron), who chews the scenery in a delightfully understated manner and he uses the rest of the cast, and the FBI as a whole, to accomplish lots of Really Good Things, by Really Dubious Means, for reasons that no one understands, but that we viewers imagine are Really Bad. He is stylish, unflappable, decisive, and nearly omnicompetent. He loves a really good drink. Oh, and he's a textbook sociopath. Red's keeper/protegé Liz is played a bit too strongly in the first two episodes as an innocent with things to prove. I think this is to provide contrast to the dark and twisty road that Red (and probably her own past and her apparently too good to be true hubby) will take her on. The rest of the cast is to this point unfleshed out. Most so far remain stock characters that you've seen in a host of other shows. The team leader, Cooper, needs to get some interest quickly before he turns into a black Basil Exposition. Malik is the sweet-faced CIA agent forced upon the team because... Justice always likes to have the CIA around to keep an eye on the FBI or something. Her main role on the show so far is to torture suspects right in front of FBI agents because the CIA is unbound by any law, and to just generally give some ambiguity to Red's evil by being just as heartless. Finally the young FBI field agent Ressler is on the show to look smashing for the ladies while almost being blown up every episode. I snark about these characters because snark is what I do. There is potential in each, combined with Red's already fascinating portrayal and the generally strong stories, this could make for an ongoing hit. Think White Collar, with Hannibal Lecter instead of Neal Caffrey. Now, back to the scene. It was crafted, I guarantee you, by someone who is a genuine cocktail snob who wants to show cocktails as superior to wine, not just a writer in search of a display of sophistication and mentoring (grooming?). Let's break it down. Liz orders first, a glass of chardonnay, as boring and prosaic as you could imagine from someone who isn't really a world class sophisticate. Red immediately overrides her order to the waiter, in French. When the waiter returns with a purple cocktail, Red explains, "Aviation Cocktail. From the 20's. Tastes like... Spring, doesn't it?" The great cocktail in place of the boring wine is meant to be a gift, and also represent another step in taking control of her. But the clear implication here is that he upgraded her. Blacklist Megan Boone The Aviation is less popular today with the top of the cocktail set, but it used to be the cocktail fraternity's Secret Handshake. It is a gateway concoction, and you largely find it on menu these days in markets or areas where the industry is still impressing on the minds of its clientele that cocktails have a next level. Red is using a gateway cocktail as part of a gateway conversation. And like the most effective gateways, the subject doesn't know what she's getting into, with the drink or her relationship with Red. The show also takes great pains make the drink look appealing: It is generally backlit so you can appreciate the exotic purple coloring, etc. (Incidentally, there is no way whatever is in that glass is actually an Aviation. That jewel-like color means there is no lemon juice present, and the purple is so dark you'd need 50% Creme de Violette to get there.) We also get meaning from what Red drinks: a glass of neat whisky. Culturally, this is a cue that here is an older, more mature, and thoroughly masculine man, possessing both wisdom and perhaps inner pain. The scotch symbolizes him. Blacklist James Spader Scenes like this are essential to the mainstreaming of cocktails. First, it appears on a broadcast network, with an audience six times larger than a Mad Men, and ten times as diverse. Second, the drinks are portrayed as distinctly superior, in taste and sophistication, to wine. Third, the drinks are used to advance the story, and at multiple levels. Also, this episode is evidence of how far toward that end cocktails have come, for exactly the same reasons. In the event you haven't had an Aviation lately, or ever, I think I'll finish with what I think is the best recipe, along with a picture of what one really looks like (equally as gorgeous, but perhaps less videogenic.) This is the exact recipe I happened to have just made for myself before my wife and I sat down and hit play on the DVR to watch this week's The Blacklist. The looks on our faces at the twelve minute mark were priceless, I'm sure. Aviation
  • 2 oz. light, floral gin (Bombay Sapphire or a good New American style like Aviation)
  • 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • scant 1/4 oz. creme de violette
Combine ingredients with plentiful ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass, then gently place a single brandied cherry in the bottom.

Femme Fatale Finishing School

Your Turn, Ladies
Let's face it, speaking from experience, I can say it's good to be a Man. One of the great things about being a guy is in the field of indulging yourself in Badassery. Our popular culture is awash in badass guys, and our country is equally awash in businesses who want to let regular guys get in on the fun. Whether it is flying a Russian MiG fighter, attending baseball fantasy camps, manning the rigging in a Tall Ship, or these friggin' idiots, the world is filled with opportunities for men to indulge their self-image. Even real life superstars give it a shot, as with the program where the Navy SEALs drag off our top Olympic swimmers and give them a look at what REAL training in the water is like. (Actually, they don't. The Olympians can't take what the SEALs dish out to real trainees.) But when women want to lay out money for recreational escape, what is mostly on offer? Culinary camp? The spa? Pottery weekends? In case you haven't noticed, popular culture is increasingly embracing the concept of the female badass.

Miss Romanoff doesn't do cupcake class.
Enter Femme Fatale Finishing School in Central Ohio. Femme Fatale is your one-stop shop for a taste of all the best aspects of being an International Woman of Mystery. What's great about being Jane Bond? Shooting guns for a start. They have that covered. Hand to hand combat. Check. Skilled gambling, car chases, and the art of seduction? Check, check, and check. And of course, neither self-image nor public persona is complete without knowing to the core how to drink a cocktail better than everyone around you. Femme Fatale Finishing School is owned Peg McCort, a mother, businesswoman, and fitness enthusiast, and Jason Holt, a personal trainer and Krav Maga instructor. Together, they had an idea for a series of experiences for women looking for ways to be more adventurous, exciting, and assertive without sacrificing any femininity. Over the year they spent developing the concept, it grew into the metaphor they now use. The name really says it all. FFFS doesn't do "classes", they offer "Missions". The names of these Missions, such as Loaded Guns, tell as much about the attitude as they do the subject matter. Combat Ready, for instance, embodies in its name the difference from more prosaic offerings such as How Not to be a Victim, or simply Self-Defense. The kind of training Combat Ready introduces participants to has a more assertive mind-set than, "just kick him in the knee and run away classes," as Peg describes them. Combat Ready is more about the concept of taking the gun or knife away as a means of ending the conversation. Not that a session of Combat Ready is going to give a woman the ability to safely do that. The point is to show participants that it is possible, that learning to actually do it can be fun, and give them the contacts to pursue these skills in the future. Most of FFFS's missions are like this. The Missions are about having fun and expanding the horizons of what you can do. The advantage over things like Fantasy Baseball Camp is that the activities Femme Fatale introduces are one that real people can actually participate in and use when the adventure is done. Their two biggest mission specialties so far are Loaded Guns and Seduce. Loaded Guns 1 and 2 are firearms experiences. Loaded Guns 1 is an introduction to guns, primarily aimed at women who either have never touched a gun or otherwise feel uncomfortable around them. It starts with range and safety instruction at Black Wing Shooting Center (they are negotiating adding other venues in the area), then an extended period out in the range, shooting with handguns. They start with .22s and eventually work all participants up to 9mms and .45s. They finish up with more discussion and a light party. Loaded Guns 1 Personally, I'm a big believer that adults, and even most older kids, should at least be familiar with firearms, know their real safety issues, and simply have some experience with what happens when a gun goes off nearby. Peg talks eloquently about the therapeutic and empowering value shooting a firearm for the first time can have for women. For some women, just doing it once will be enough to scratch the itch, others may find it to be a great pastime and go on to try recreational shooting, or even take a concealed carry class. (I intend to take a concealed carry class myself for the legal, safety, and skills training. I doubt I'll actually carry.) For many, it is simply a fear to eradicate forever. Jason told me, "we have lots of women come in who are scared to death when they walk out on the range and we put a gun in their hands for the first time. I had one lady who was literally in tears at being expected to fire a little .22. but by the end of the session, we practically had to pry the .45 out of her hand. She wouldn't even swap back to the .22." This brings up something important about what they are doing with FFFS. When men do an adventure experience, we have ways of psyching each other up to get on that animal, or jump off that thing... ways that are neither pleasant nor particularly effective with normal women. These folks work very hard and very carefully to recognize the different motivational techniques you need to not only succeed and but make it fun for female clients to take that leap. Whatever the leap may be. Loaded Guns 2 is more pure adventure for women who have already experienced the introduction. It gives them the chance to experience firing serious weapons such as assault rifles, carbines and a machine gun or two, I believe. At the other end of the spectrum, but just as Bondian a skill if you think about it, is FFFS's other most popular series of missions, Seduce. Seduce is about learning to control and enhance your sensuality through movement and dance. They start out with just how to walk and move on to a variety of dance ideas. Yes, they include an introduction to dancing with a pole, but Peg goes to pains to explain that they are not teaching stripping, or the kind of dancing strippers do. It's about asserting your femininity. To me, it's about a perfectly acceptable way to keep one's rightful share of power in a relationship. And it certainly fits with the spy movie-esque theme of the business. If 007 didn't know how to Seduce a variety of women, he'd have been in an unmarked grave a long time ago! While most Femme Fatal Finishing School Missions are just a couple of hours, they are beginning to do some longer, more involved events as well. A great example is the upcoming Ride the Edge special mission. Held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, one of those tracks where the Indy cars get to turn right every so often, this full day mission will involve training the women on spin-outs, evasive driving, pursuit driving, and a high-speed run. Oh, and there also will be the opportunity to drive around the track at speed, shooting pistols out the window of the moving cars at targets by the side of the track.... Will someone tell me why the hell this company only allows female customers? At least for right now, the mixology missions are mostly piggy-backed on other missions, after the activity is over for obvious reasons. They make a pleasant and enjoyable wind-down from the excitement and a great way to enjoy the more relaxed elements of being an international mystery woman. All missions have different pricing, but a few examples are: Loaded Guns 1 at $100 and Loaded Guns 2 at $150; Seduce 1 at $75; and Ride the Edge is obviously pricier at $650. While larger groups can reserve an entire mission to themselves, most missions are made up of individual women and groups of a couple of friends each. The company's website is here, and this is their Facebook page. The fabulous broad that is the PeguWife will be trying a mission or two, but I'd love to hear from any of you out there who give being a badass a whirl! abc
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