Yeah. That guy. I had thought that Vince, the World’s Most Awesome Pitchman® was gone forever, after his little misunderstanding with
a hook… the Law polite society. But no! He’s back, with a new product and a long-form infomercial that is playing now. It’s even better than the one he did for me way back when.
I know it’s Tiki Month and all, but you need to take two minutes out of your busy schedule to see my man use what he’s got. It’s almost Shatnerian at its zenith….
Oh, alright. You should watch it build from the beginning, but if you must get back to your life immediately, go to about 57 seconds in from what looks like the Moment of Awesome.
That’s right, Vince. Because the flight attendant is just warming you up (so to speak) for the big moment right after that. Keep all beverages away from the keyboard while you watch.
The Striding Man knows his marketing. Johnnie Walker, makers of damn fine blended scotches and the greatest liquor ad video ever (you rock, Robert Carlyle) have hired a new spokesperson to promote their product.
No show has more concisely embodied the retro appeal of the modern cocktail renaissance than Mad Men. Johnnie Walker has nabbed perhaps the show’s biggest star as its new face of entertaining.
Which star, you ask? Surely it is the icon of cocktail cool, Don Draper’s Jon Hamm? Sorry Jon. The Scotsmen know how Rule 5 works. Behold Jonnie Walker’s hostess with the mostess, Christina Hendricks! (She even better in Firefly, folks….)
Thanks to Ace, who so, um, pithily drew this major announcement to my attention.
Thanks for the link from The Other McCain, originator of Rule 5, who notes in his headlines that this is likely Johnnie Walker’s clever attempt to bring back the concept of The Double….
Got troubles? Life getting you down? At a fork in the road, and don’t know the path to take? Can’t find your car keys?
Bruce Willis has your answers! Just ask him.
This invaluable service is brought to you by the makers of Sobieski Vodka, and can be accessed on their website for the low, low cost of telling them your birthdate.
Bruce recently became “part owner” of Sobieski. Just what this means, I’m not sure, since the purchase of one share makes you a “part owner” of any company. I’m “part owner” of Diageo, for instance. But regardless, these days Willis is all over the Sobieski website, including this new interactive advice interface. His head looks appropriate, but I can’t quite make out where the big “8″ is.
I happen to really like Sobieski, for at least three reasons. Firstly, a bottle of their vodka was my first ever Liquor Fairy free product sample I got through blogging on this site. They will always have a warm spot in my heart, just for that. (Here’s my post on Sobieski from 2008.)
Second, I think it is damn good vodka. Moreover, it is damn good vodka at a more than just competitive price. At as little as a third the price of many “ultra-premiums”, Sobieski is possibly the best value to be found in any kind of spirit in the US market.
Third, I have always found their advertising and marketing efforts refreshing, entertaining, and above all offering some great insights into the nature and challenges of the vodka industry. That last is, I’m sure an unintended feature, but it makes it no less valuable to anyone who is interested in the business of liquor, especially vodka.
All vodka makers are in an inescapable bind. Sobieski has from its introduction not tried to ignore or, worse, deny the issue. Instead, they have embraced it and made it their strength. Here’s the bind: Almost by definition, you cannot compete in the straight vodka market based on the quality or distinctiveness of your product. Vodka is defined by law as being colorless and tasteless. You can (and many makers do) argue all you want about quality, but if you are holding your deep-diving championships in the local YMCA pool, Guillaume Nery won’t be able to beat my daughter.
Sobieski turns that bind on its competitors. The first, and still best, tagline of theirs that I saw was, “Distilled 5X, 8X, 39X. Oh, please. How about distilled enough?” A recent one is “The next gimmick in vodka is, well, the next gimmick in vodka.” Visit the Sobieski website, even if you don’t need the Part-Owner’s advice, for lots more fun stuff. They clearly have fun with their ad campaigns, and you will too.
It is November, so it is obviously time for my annual post/repost on how to fry your bird for Thanksgiving (or any other day of the year where you crave copious quantities of the best fowl you’ve ever had). I might have skipped it this year, were it not for my personal hero, William Shatner.
I thought I was your hero…
Don’t pout, Alton Brown. You’re my hero too. And as it happens, both you and Bill have worked to keep people safe and happy when they fry their turkeys.
I’ve gone over a lot of what Alton has come up with on frying a turkey before, but the Shatner’s deal is new this year. It is actually an insurance PSR from State Farm, who is apparently getting tired of paying for new garages every year at this time. Behold the awesomeness that is “Eat, Fry, Love”, the inevitable winner for this year’s Oscar for best short documentary.
As with all things Shatner, it needs to be watched in full to absorb its majesty.
Unfortunately, it is a bit shallow, and misses a few very important safety tips. (State Farm, what the hell?) I’ll run down where Bill is still in danger of setting himself on fire in this safety video, touch on a few other points, and then repost my annual rundown on the complete, nearly bullet-proof, procedure below the fold.
I’ll start with the turkey fryer kit shown. Each year these get better, and closer to actually being safe and effective. But only closer. I still recommend you build your rig from individual parts. The kit pots are often too narrow or too small to hold enough oil. A larger pot is both going to produce a better cooked bird, and be safer. One of the critical elements in a deliciously fried bird is maintaining the proper oil temperature. The more oil you have going, the easier it is to maintain your temp when that huge amount of room-temperature flesh goes in to cook. But nothing is more important than keeping that oil inside the pot, as the video demonstrates, so a bigger pot is essential. See the post below where I describe how to exactly determine the right oil level before you heat it.
The second, and larger, problem with most fryer kits is the burner. This is usually the disqualifier. Your burner must be ballsy enough to keep all that oil hot, and to make it recover its hotness quickly after the bird goes in.
And from a safety standpoint it must be ridiculously stable! If you can’t stand on it and safely do the Watusi, you probably need a lower, sturdier, burner. Get a more powerful one while you are at it.
Shatner also touches on the fact that your bird must not be frozen. If you put a frozen bird in your oil, it will be a lot of paperwork for your State Farm agent. It’s the holiday season and she’d really rather be out fighting the Black Friday crowds than arranging for your new garage and hiking your premiums. Also, it is nothing compared to the paperwork your doctors and nurses will have to do down at the hospital….
I usually try to buy a fresh bird so no defrosting will be needed, but if you must go with a frozen turkey, remember that defrosting in the fridge is safest. This will take a day for every four pounds of your bird. So get cracking.
Next, is the “dingle-dangle”. For safety reasons, call this a “lifter”. Calling it a dingle-dangle will likely result in an immediate atomic wedgie from any of your friends who hear you use such a dorky name… even if all your friends are elderly ladies. Do not ever be tempted to use the coat hanger-like upper handle! To use this, you must actually put your body right over the oil at the most intensely risky part of the frying process: initial immersion. The best way is an apparatus like the turkey derrick I
rip off from Alton Brown describe in the Spa Day for Tom repost below. If you don’t want to go to that trouble, attach a hook for the lifter to the middle of a long broom handle and two people can safely lower the bird into the oil while maintaining a couple of feet distance. If nothing else, it will save you spatter burns. No matter how dry you get your bird, there will be a hell of a lot of popping when it first hits the oil. Just like you don’t fry bacon in the nude, son, you don’t put your hands over that fryer.
And kudos to Shatner and State Farm for mentioning at the end (though not portraying in the film where people will actually see it) the most important turkey frying safety precaution of all: Turn off the damn flame when the bird is going in! No matter how careful you are, freak accidents happen. If that pot tips, the boiling oil is lethal enough. If there is a flame…
If Bill had actually just dropped a bird into boiling oil that then sloshed over like that onto a lit burner, we’d have had a year of Shatner Memorial ComicCons around the country. Kill the fire until the bird is in and the bubbles have stopped rising. Then relight it quickly.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving, folks, and thanks to Verum Serum, where I first saw this video.
P.S. That looks suspiciously like a Gin ad Tonic that Bill is enjoying while frying his bird. Don’t. Even. Think. About. It. Until after the bird is out and resting.
I’ve been in a bit of a blogging funk of late, with all sorts of posts piled up in the draft folder and none ready to post. So I thought I’d put up this little palate-cleanser to make folks smile and perhaps be a bit of a slump-buster….
Beer ads have for a long time been sort of the pinnacle in advertising, booze or otherwise, of the Sex Sells meme. Whenever a latter day Don Draper comes up with a ridiculously over the top sexy idea, his agency just puts beers in the participants’ hands and pitches it to Budweiser or Miller. Every once in a while the result is pure, trashy genius. Most of the time, it is pretty much trashy hackery.
Of course, sometimes, Don’s descendants’ imaginations get a little carried away. The following Guinness advertisement is a case in point. Once conceived, it had to be made. But it was never gonna air. I should advise you that this is very likely not safe for work. (But if you are at work, is this or any other cocktail blog all that safe a site to be surfing in the first place?)
Frankly, I’m not sure where to categorize this one. It is definitely trashy, but it is also pretty clever in how it forces speculation on the part of the viewer. The mind is engaged on this. But I’m thinking it wouldn’t move that much Guinness, because while you are perhaps supposed to focus on the bottle and why it doesn’t fall over, that is not what most people are going to be furiously trying to work out in their heads. What do you think?
A tip of the hat to the the good folks at Cracked for this one. Their article has six other ads that similarly were way beyond the pale. I recommend the post, but for the love of God, do not play or even read about Number 5!
Like most Americans, I hate ads. Unlike most, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship.
Long-time readers (all three of you) may remember my writing incessantly about Tanqueray Gin’s spokescharacter, Tony Sinclair. His silly, exotic adventures on television and YouTube were the stuff of booze ad legend.
For a while now, I’ve been similarly enjoying Dos Equis’ ad campaign that features The Most Interesting Man in the World. This mysteriously unnamed man has much of same vibe as the apparently shelved Sinclair, having incredible adventures, and improbable successes.
The difference between the two is that Sinclair always had an undertone of British
Eccentricity, whereas the Most Interesting Man has a Latin Cool about him. I like both, slightly preferring Tony, if only because he promotes a liquor rather than a beer. But it is impossible to not be a fan of a Man so Interesting that he,
lives vicariously… through himself.
A recent profile of The Man’s actor, Jonathan Goldsmith at Lushangeles (H/T: Jacob Grier) is an interesting and rewarding read. In discussing the ad campaign, the author notes what I think is the most striking and effective aspect of the whole campaign: The Man is not a Dos Equis fanatic.
I don’t always drink beer.
But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.
Here is his iconic ad, which ends with the quote above. Note how effective the soft sell is.
For Americans today, the assumption is that class means cosmopolitan tastes, not slavish devotion. We are unlikely to fully buy into Dos Equis being so magnificent a creature’s only thing, but we can eagerly accept the concept that it is one of his favorite things. When I first saw this ad campaign, I had to remind myself that I frankly don’t like Dos Equis much, and didn’t need to pick some up. It took but a few seconds to realize how effective the soft recommendation is.
There is much fun to be had at the Man’s website, and I embed a few more of his favorite hits below the fold!
From time to time, I look through my logs to see what kind of search terms people are putting into Google or Yahoo that end up bringing them here. The two that seem to be a running theme are inquiries about Tony Sinclair, and a burning desire to find out how much juice there is in a lime.
I’ve touched on this before, but for those who come here looking for just this info, here it is. I’ll start with an uncharacteristically brief version, then proceed in my usual maundering style for the long form.
How Much Juice Will I Get From One Lime?
There. How’s that?
Fortunately, that is not remotely all the story, or I’d have a real short post!
Why do you need to know how much juice is in one lime? Do you have a recipe that calls for
the juice of one lime?, or do you need
1 oz. lime juice? Is it for a cocktail, a cake, or perhaps a sauce?
If you are making food, first ask ourself one question: Am I baking, or am I cooking? Food Genius, Alton Brown says over and over on his show, and in his book I’m Just Here for More Food that cooking is an art, but baking is chemistry. When cooking a sauce, or entrée, or some such, feel free to go all Benihana and madly squeeze the requisite lime halves right in and be about your business. You folks are done with this post. One lime = one ounce juice. Go about your business. For bakers, you just can’t count on it: Measure your squeezings!
What about cocktails? Art or science? Art. But be reasonably precise anyway. Precision is important in cocktails. The amounts are small, so variations of even a small amount will result in large flavor changes.
What causes variations in how much juice you get? Well, size for one. Even thought current commercially available limes are pretty uniform in size, they are not clones. And if you slip up and get stuck with a bag of Key Limes, then all bets are off. But don’t get stuck with them unless you really want them. The flavor is very different.
More important than size, which effects a few limes, is squeezing method, which effects every lime you squeeze. I don’t like power juicers, so I won’t address them here. That leaves me with three basic methods.
The first method is called the Mark I Hand. Cut your lime in half, position over the vessel, and squeeze the dickens out of it. With an average sized lime, this will probably get you:
- Much less than an ounce of juice.
I don’t recommend it.
The second method is to use a reamer. You cut your lime in half, jam the pointy end of the reamer into it, then squeeze and turn the lime and the reamer. When you are done, you will have:
- Less severe cramps.
- Somewhere between one half and one ounce of juice. With very little idea where you are in between.
- A sticky mess in your hands, and on the counter around whatever you were squeezing the juice into.
I still recommend this over the hand. You can get a lot more juice out of your lime, especially with practice.
The third method, and my favorite, is to use a hand juicer, like the OXO Citrus Press. You put each lime half in the squeezer, and give it several good squeezes. By your second or third try, you will end up with:
- Relatively little mess.
- Clean hands.
- On the close order of one ounce of lime juice per lime squeezed!
Obviously, this is how I recommend you juice limes. It is even easy enough to get me to more often than not these days put up with the inventory issue of keeping limes on hand. These days I actually squeeze my own for Pegus and other cocktails more than using bottled lime juice.
I really am liking the Rangpur a bit more lately. The first bottle I bought was a hip flask of the stuff on a lark. I tried it at first, and it went OK. I’m finding that on a second go round, it really has its charms. It is never going to be my first choice for Pegus, but it does well for a change up. And if you don’t like my basic recipe, or think it is missing something, do give the Rangpur a shot.
Oh, and I must also admit that part of my going round again with the stuff is my boy, Tony Sinclair. He works so hard to bring us the stuff. Here is a spiffy little vid the good folks at Tanqueray put together of his adventures in search of the rare and wondrous Rangpur (h/t Sachin Agarwal):
Ok, first off, I’d like to apologize to my fives of readers for the posting hiatus this week. It wasn’t that I didn’t have time to blog, I didn’t have time to do anything to set up the next couple of posts I want to do! Tops on my list of upcoming projects is doing a series on alternate gins for making Pegus. Herewith is my first in this series, please enjoy responsibly.
The first gin I’m going to touch on is the new Tanqueray Rangpur Gin. I used to be all for the infused vodka products, when they first appeared, but now they’ve gone completely overboard. The Three Olives shelf in our liquor store looks like a Crayola truck smashed through the window of a produce market. Tank Rangpur is a bit of a play on all the flavored vodkas out there, but seems to be a more sophisticated project. Some decent Tanqueray gin is further infused with ginger and rangpur
limes. I put the limes in quotes, since they are apparently not limes at all. Slashfood says this about Rangpurs:
Sometimes called rangpur limes, many people assume that rangpur are in fact limes. They have a very strong lime taste to them but they are actually a lemon x mandarin orange hybrid that probably originated in India. They are one of three similar fruits from the family Citrus × limonia Osbeck, commonly but incorrectly called mandarin limes. Other names for rangpur are: rungpur, marmalade lime, lemandari,; Canton lemon in southern China, hime lemon in Japan, Japanche citroen in Indonesia, sylhet lime, surkh nimboo, shabati in India, and limao cravo in Brazil. Rangpurs are orange skinned and are the size, shape, and look like tangerines, but with a very sour, acidic juice that is used like a lime and has a very pronounced lime like flavor and aroma.
So, let’s see what we’ve got here: Decent gin of ancient pedigree, with lime-like flavor, using a fruit from the region surrounding the Indian Ocean. Is it too far a stretch to think that those dottily brilliant Brits of the Pegu Club in darkest Burma might have used Rangpurs in their original invention? And this simply got translated to Limes upon export back to Britain, and our fair shores as well?
I still put off buying a small bottle, mostly out of sheer inertia, until I was spurred to action by a new television commercial from Tanqueray, featuring Tony Sinclair.
Mr. Sinclair certainly shows how far Britain has come, now that even men of african descent have joined the ranks of upperclass twits! Anyway, the latest ad Tony has put together for Tanqueray is about Rangpur. He’s such a charming, if kind of eccentric, gentleman that I finally felt Ready to Tanqueray. Aren’t I just the marketing victim?
Yes, I know he’s not real! Shame on you.
I’ve mixed several Pegus now with Rangpur, varying the amount of lime juice and bitters. I first tried the recipe unchanged from the Sapphire version, but this was simply too… too. I liked the tonality of the drink, but that smooth Pegu Punch that appeals so much to me was not so smooth! Thus I soldiered on, secure in the knowledge that you would thank me for my intrepid efforts! The next batch I simply cut the lime juice in half, but this was a bit pungent for my own taste. I tried one more batch, this time side-by-side with one made with the classic Sapphire recipe, in order to compare and contrast. I used about three-quarters of the lime juice, and went a little easy on the Angustora.
Voila! This gives us a nice, smooth, tasty cocktail. It’s a Pegu, but it tastes much milder and a bit sweeter than the Official Pegu Blog recipe. The Rangpur and ginger add some neat new flavors as well. What I don’t like about it so much is that while it is less punchy that the classic, it does taste a bit more ginny. I’m not a huge fan of getting punched in the nose by juniper, and the Tanqueray reminds you that this is a gin drink a little more than I like. If you do like your drinks more distinctively ginny, this is a very interesting variant that you ought to try!