A few mornings ago, the PeguWife called me in to see the local news. A local morning radio host and standup comedian named Dino Tripodis was on, promoting his new book, The 25 Days of Christmas Cocktailing: One Man. One Month. One Very Merry Mission. Since Dino is a very funny fellow, and the subject was cocktails, I sprang to Amazon to order a copy.
25 Days is a short, easy, and entertaining read, chronicling the author’s quest with some friends to invent and consume a new cocktail every single day from December 1 to Christmas Day in 2008. I’m not sure who would find a task like this more daunting, your average Joe, or someone who actually knows some mixology. His method for inventing the drinks was to come up with the name for the drink in the morning. (Some highlights: the We Three Kings Disoriented Are, and The George Bailey) He’d get home midday, and mix and taste to try to fit the name, then serve up his best result to his panel about 3PM. It is good to have self-employed friends…. Of course, this is not the way to produce an unbroken string of winner drinks, but the aim of the book is the humor and the journey, not the recipes.
Since Dino lives in that special hellish life known as being a “local celebrity”, he has to do things like answer long lists of questions from people like me, and do it with a smile. I therefore abused the privilege and I’ll illustrate this review with some of those answers.
The only difference between getting drunk with your mom as opposed to your dad is you feel worse about the fistfight afterwords.
—Dino Tripodis 1996
The drinks are presented in chronological order, and each has a quote from Dino’s standup act or his radio show, along with a tale relating how the drink came to be or something otherwise related.
I noticed a paucity of gin in his recipes, but hey, nobody’s perfect. Dino drank a lot of gin in college, he told me, but that’s because he tries “to be accommodating when it came to liquor choices and relationships. Lets not talk about the apple-tini run, if you don’t mind.”
Fat chance, Dino. I assure you that most of my readers are mocking you mercilessly right now….
One of the aims of the process, he says, was to give a workout to some of the bottles he doesn’t much use otherwise. He even added a few new liqueurs to his inventory during the adventure, like Chambord and Grand Marnier.
Although he invented the drinks last year, Dino is faithfully drinking them all again this year, day by day, which is a much easier task. Last year he had to drink the mistakes, too.
Doug: You make wise mention repeatedly of the removal of car keys, etc. In addition to all the bars in your home, do you also have several guest beds, or just a cab company on retainer?
Dino: Yeah, I don’t like anyone leaving my house impaired and have actually gotten in fist fights over it with certain friends who have said, “give me the keys or we’re fighting.” And my reply? “Well, c’mon then. I guess we’re fighting.” Yeah. The extra beds get the occasional guest, but mostly it’s the couch. And (lol) no cab company on retainer…yet.
(See the LOL from the professional comedian? And you thought I wasn’t funny!)
Despite his cocktail cred-ruining affinity for vodka (
With women, vodkas are like shoes: the more you have to choose from, in both color and style, the better your chances of making a sale.), and his disdain for gin, Dino has more hooch-fu than he’s willing to claim. He was a bartender for a brief period in his youth. Today he has four bars in his home, including a fully equipped Basement Bar, a main floor bar with fridge, a bar in his home office, and an outdoor backyard bar for when the weather allows you to be outside when thirsty. He mentions a fifth bar in the book, but it has since been, um, pruned by his lady fair.
25 Days of Christmas Cocktailing is an OK drinks book, but a damn fine read about drinks and drinking. It is selling pretty well this year via online sales only, so you may see it in bricks and mortar shops next holiday season, along with a possible Advent calendar for the drunkenly devout. Though it is too late for you to buy the book and do all twenty five drinks along with Dino, it isn’t too late to order a copy as a gift.
If you’d like to find out more about Dino, he’s on Facebook and Linked In, as well as on his radio station’s website.