Category: Rule 2
drinking, Funny, Rule 2, Rule 4, Whiskey, Whisky

Business Insider Shows Off Its Cocktail Chops… or Lack Thereof

gif_450x254_17bc26 I like Business Insider. It is an interesting source of all sorts of information on business and even politics. In their new cocktail post, 8 Tips for Drinking Whiskey Without Looking Like a Newbie, Business Insider really shows off its knowledge chops as a... business and politics site. The post seems based on a visit to Noorman's Kil, a whisky and grilled cheese bar in Brooklyn, New York City.
Wait. Just wait. A grilled cheese bar? I'm going to take a wild guess and say this place must be located in Williamsburg, not just any random neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Googling now... Yup. Williamsburg. And that just gives further credence to my opinion about pieces like this one by Business Insider: No journalist writes anything about Williamsburg that does not make knowledgeable readers want to laugh derisively... or hit something while laughing derisively. To be clear, I'm not slamming Noorman's Kil, or the concept of a Whisky and Grilled Cheese bar. I may in fact try a nice grilled cheese with a Manhattan this evening, as I suspect the flavor profiles will mesh nicely. I don't know what it is about writers who go to the Burg and publish about what they find their, but they either find the most ridiculous things and write about them credulously, or they misconstrue what they hear is ridiculous ways. This is not my first time posting on weird Williamsburg writing, by the way. I just guess that rampant hipsterism achieves its central goal of being subtly incomprehensible to, well, everyone. In this case, I find it difficult to believe that these 8 rules are ungarbled advice from Marcel Simoneau, because if you were to follow them as written, you may not look like a newbie, but you will look like a maniac. Not all are bad, but some are awful. Oh, and the first step to not looking like a newbie, oh Williamsburg Writer, is to know that when referring to Scotch, do not use an 'e' in whisky!
Spell-check always rejects 'whisky', but spell-check is known to have terrible taste in liquor. I hear it drinks schnapps-based Appletinis....
Let's start with number two: "Relax. You’re not doing it wrong." I think, I pray, that point two is one of those times where the subject says one thing, and the writer understands something else entirely.
Simoneau has seen every request, from a Laphroaig 10 year Manhattan (a cocktail usually prepared with rye) to Johnnie Walker Blue and ginger ale.
Wha? Wha? WHA? I'm sure Simoneau has seen every request. I strongly doubt, however, that he up and suggested that anyone wanting to learn more about whisk(e)y just throw whatever sounds nice in a glass and experience the magic. If he did, do not go to his bar! Both of these are wrong, for different reasons. A Manhattan is not usually made with rye, but with bourbon. (As it happens, I make most of my Manhattans with rye, because it is better that way. But I'm not most people.) Casually dropping the statement that the Manhattan is "usually" a rye drink is a great way to appear to be a newbie. Say, "Manhattans are better if you make them with rye instead," and you sound like you know what you are doing.
See what he did there?
And more to the point, a "Manhattan" made with scotch is a Rob Roy. It already has a name. If you want to arbitrarily call one drink by another's name, why not just f'n call it a Mojito? And I'd now like to apologize to the mighty Angus Winchester, from whom I totally stole that joke. Also, Rob Roys are usually made with blended whisky, and for a reason. Throwing the second peatiest single malt in the world into one will leave the impression not that you are a noob, but that you are a dangerous lunatic. As for the idea of placing Johnny Walker Blue in the same glass with ginger ale...! A reasonable scotch lover would beat up the perpetrator for using a high end scotch like that in such a way as to make it indistinguishable from J&B. (If you don't want to be mistaken for a newbie, one of the most important things you must learn is that sweet sodas will make the finest liquor indistinguishable from its cheapest mainstream competitor.) And a real Scot would beat up ginger ale boy twice. Once for ruining the Blue, and once for wasting so damn much money! We are a frugal folk, if you hadn't heard. How about tip number three? "Look for 'distiller's editions'." Um... Look, if you are seeking advice from a column about how not to look like a newbie, it kinda implies that you in fact are still a newbie, or at least still unsure of yourself. A quick way to look like a newbie is to assay an advanced maneuver you can't carry off for sure. Yes, there are plenty of "distiller's" or other special edition whiskies. Yes, many are indeed a "tasty, rare, and expensive treat." But until you've worked your way through understanding most of the bigger, common bottlings of various genres of whisk(e)y and know what the hell you actually like, the emphasis will be on "expensive", not on "tasty". Drive some regular sports cars before you pop for the Maclaren. Incidentally, the article casually refers to un-aged grain liquor, or "white dog", as "whiskey". This sort of thing will not get you branded as a newbie, since all too many people in the industry itself have lately begun to do it. Regardless, all right-thinking me and women need to stamp out this dangerous affectation right now. Alcohol which has not at least seriously made out for a while with some charred wood is not whiskey. In fact, make sure at every turn to denounce this practice with all the inquisitional fervor of a medieval Catholic bishop confronting the Aryan Heresy. No one will suggest you are a newbie, and you'll be doing God's work.... Tip number eight is, "It's fine to shoot flavored whiskey." No. No, it is not. Unless you are doing it like [expand title="this...." trigclass="noarrow" tag="linky"][/expand] In fact, I can think of no finer use for flavored whiskey. Tip seven, "Get Local", will either save you from the newbie label, or brand you with it indelibly. Yes, craft distilling is in a renaissance right now, but it is in the early stages, especially when it comes to whiskey. Craft brewing is much more mature than distilling, and there are still a huge number of craft beers that taste like ass. Add in the fact that distilling is much, much harder than brewing in terms of skill, time, and governmental overhead, and noble an effort as craft distilling is, the results are very spotty. Confidently ordering one of those disasters while thinking that it's "local and artisinal", will get you pitying looks behind your back. Pitying looks and a glass of ass... overpriced, poorly aged in too-small barrels, ass. On the plus side, on a later date when some other poor schmoe orders the same poorly executed "bourbon", you can share condescending looks with the bartender and whisper, "noob!" Tips one, four, and five are pretty solid, for what it's worth. One points out that for most vodka or other non-whisk(e)y drinkers, bourbon is the place to start. Move on to scotch (or rye) once you get used to the effects of wood. Four notes correctly that the age listed on bottles is not a reliable indicator of the relative quality of the liquid inside. It kind of glosses over why and how this is, or what you should do about it, so while true, it's not exactly useful. Five is very true, in that it notes the joy of experience you can have when you "branch out" to more and more different labels and varieties of whisk(e)y. Again, it's kind of unimportant for the purposes of this list, since, once you've drank enough to be able to "branch out", you will by definition not be a newbie!abc
Tiki Month 2013

Aloha Y’all

Aloha Y'all Aloha, Y'all! Another Tiki Month has come and gone here at the Pegu Tiki Blog. No... as of tomorrow, it'll be back to the Pegu Blog. I'll be starting things off this March with a serious, cool post about (drumroll) the Pegu! Seriously, it's pretty cool. But for now, I just want to say thanks to all who dropped by this month. To the regular cocktail crowd who put up with my temporary tropical insanity: thanks, and it is back to the usual. To the Tiki lovers: hang around, the rest of the cocktailosphere is pretty cool too. And to all the other bloggers who came along for the ride this Tiki Month... you guys are awesome! I hope I linked you all properly. If I didn't, sorry. I wasn't prepared with a good plan for all the buy-in this year. I'll have a plan for next. I have many plans for next! Each year, Tiki Month gets more fun and more elaborate. This year, instead of one big Tiki blowout, I hosted four casual drop-in Tiki happy hours for local friends. They all went well, but I expect more of you local types to show next year! I love Tiki Month, but it is time to take down the decorations and store them, drop the Martin Denny and crank up the Psychedelic Furs, finish off the passion fruit syrup and make up some blueberry, and put away the blender. Tiki Detox around here always means a lot of Old-Fashioneds.... Thanks for the ride,
Funny, Rule 2, Rule 4, Tiki Month 2013

“Tiki Compliant”

cat-in-a-fez"Oh, I think we'll be the judge of that!
Source: Meme-O-Rama
Twitter is, no doubt, a terrible time-suck. I can think of any number of great cocktail blogs whose death can be attributed to being cut up into 140 character chunks and fed to the big blue bird. And if you follow and are followed by the wrong sort of tweeter, Twitter can be a hive of scum and villainy so awful it makes Mos Eisley spaceport look like a convent. But if you have the right followers, Twitter can also be a great place to start conversations and develop new ideas. One such idea we've been kicking around this month, that I believe first arose from the mind of Joe Garcia, an otherwise excellent blogger, tweeter, and commenter who apparently constantly teeters on the edge of washing his clothes with dried coconut flakes, is the cocktail class we'll call Tiki Compliant. A Tiki Compliant drink is one that is not, due to its origin, history, name, etc., a Tiki drink, but which sure as hell works as a Tiki drink. If you were to find one of these cocktails on a real Tiki bar menu, the ignorant drinker would not be able to tell the difference, and the average cocktailian would say, "you know, that really makes sense if you think about it." Even the serious Tiki types, the ones who will argue vehemently until 3 in the morning that the Q.B. Cooler is really the prototype of the Mai Tai, will look at a Tiki Compliant drink and go, "Eh. I'll allow it."
To be clear, people who argue that the Q. B. Cooler is the progenitor of Trader Vic's Mai Tai are known, clinically in the Latin as, "wrong". They are hapless Donn Beach fanboys deluding themselves about this subject, and who, if outnumbered by drinkers who test positive for "correct", are always nine seconds away from making this YouTube video: Leave-Donn-Alone And yes, I am aware that this Q.B. Cooler thing is espoused by no less a light than Jeff Beachbum Berry himself. But Jeff is forgiven for it because he has to sell tickets to seminars, and Rule 4 says there is no success like controversy.
I want everyone to know that Guy's opinions are his own, and if you don't like them, address your flames to his Twitter feed, @TheGuyPegu, that way your mascara won't run all over me. And now, if I may have my post back before you completely derail it?
By all means. My work here is done.
So what are some Tiki Compliant drinks, and why? I'll start with the one that started this whole process, the Dark 'n Stormy. Intellectual property issues aside, the Dark 'n Stormy is no Tiki drink. It has only two ingredients. And while it is from an island, it is one on the wrong side of the world and which is known chiefly as the home of funny shorts and where Bloomberg runs off to hide when there is to much unremoved snow or storm water lying around for his limousine to navigate the streets of New York City. But with its particularly dark rum, and the spicy sweetness of ginger beer creating such a mysterious and unaccountably deep blend of flavors, the DnS just works. Another obviously compliant non-Tiki drink is the Hemingway Daiquiri. The ingredient list reads a lot more like a Tiki drink this time, with two citruses, rum, and an oddball liqueur in the mix. But it clearly isn't Tiki again because it's Caribbean and it's godfather is one of the least Tiki old SOB's I can think of who nonetheless slept that much on a boat. There are lots more, lesser known drinks that are Tiki Compliant to one degree or another, like this new Martinique Cocktail from Chow. And how about drinks considered Tiki drinks that should really be considered Tiki Compliant? The Carioca Hawaiian that I blogged earlier this Tiki Month is maybe one of these. It is called a Tiki drink because of the recipe, and because it was invented as a Tiki drink to begin with. But it isn't really that Tiki in its actual flavor. Do we perhaps call it more Tiki Compliant than straight up Tiki? It's a fun game to play. What is your favorite Tiki Compliant cocktail?
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!
Photography, Rule 2, Tiki Month 2013

A Tiki Original from Fogged in Lounge: Up the Beach

Rowan at Fogged in Lounge offers an original cocktail for Tiki Month, the Up the Beach. It features overproof white rum, lime, Chartreuse, and creme de banane. I won't post the recipe here because I want to force you you hit his site. Also, because I haven't made one myself yet. I don't have a key ingredient, the creme de banane, and don't think I'll have the time to make it from scratch, as he does. Instead, I will steal his picture, because A) it is gorgeous, and B) it offers me something to talk about as regards Tiki drink appearance. While hardly a Suffering Bastard mug with a forest of mint and orchids garnishing the top, I just think this is a strikingly Tiki-looking drink. I'd like to examine why. Context of course does a lot. The bamboo backdrop provides immediate effect. This isn't a cheat. After all, lots of Tiki bars serve various cocktails in pretty mundane glasses, counting on the rattan, and bamboo surrounding to alter the visual impression. Then the glass itself is lovely. While it is hardly specifically Tiki, and would look just as striking if housing a Ramos Gin Fizz, the shape is right in line with a primitive vessel. And the garnish is neat. A cherry on a pick is about the antithesis of Tiki garnish in its simplicity, but these picks upend that with their thick, rough but elegantly primitive shape. No element here alone would accomplish the Tiki look. But together, they show that you can carry off a lovely Tiki look without spending weeks scrounging on eBay and Ooga-Moga....
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!