Sweet Baby Jesus (it’s a beer)

13 Jan
sweetbabyjesus

I believe I said, “They made this beer, they tasted it, then they named it because they were like ‘SWEET BABY JESUS, this tastes good.'”

I do my best drinking when I’m playing a rock show, it seems. DCers, if you find yourselves at the Rock & Roll Hotel in NE DC anytime soon, you HAVE to pick up a bottle of Sweet Baby Jesus, a “chocolate peanut butter porter” (I am not making this up). It’s $6. If you happen to be playing there, it’s covered by your drink tickets. If you happened to see me playing there last Friday night, you probably heard my interstitial rave about this beer while the guitarist was spending three minutes tuning. I may or may not have audio proof of this to post in the coming days.

It’s well-reviewed on Beer Advocate, even. How often do you get that? Those guys are total dicks.

DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter
Rating:
Deliciousness: *****
Social Anxiety Soothing: ** (You can probably only have one or two of these at a time)
Table Dancing Probability: 10% (More of a relaxing hangout beer than a wildly raucous one)

2014 Comes To Those Who Wait

2 Jan

bubblesHappy New Year! If you’re one of the few people who is actually reading this blog, THANK YOU. If you’re the person who has asked us how to buy wine without going broke, JUST WAIT ONE MORE WEEK OR SO. We will have something for you. We will have something just as good as the Louise d’Estree Brut NV, which I used to make the cocktails in the picture. I also drank some of it by itself, and have I got some news for you! It tastes nice! The bubbles are small and plentiful, and what little sweetness it has is fruity and a little acidic. Asti it ain’t. For $8 at Trader Joe’s, it was a very pleasant and very affordable way to ring in 2014. To thank you for your patience, here’s a champagne cocktail recipe that can also be made in a very tasty low-alcohol version with sparkling cider instead of sparkling wine.

Traditional champagne cocktails call for dropping a bitters-soaked sugar cube in the bottom of the glass, adding a bit of cognac, and topping with champagne. Cognac is fun for me when I fly Air France, but otherwise, it’s not my thing. Here’s the recipe; I hope you’ve had a recent refresher on logic operators:

Champagne flute
sparkling wine or sparkling apple cider
generous dash of vanilla cordial or cake-flavored vodka
Angostura bitters
orange peel
(IFF you are using cake vodka) a sugar cube

In the bottom of the flute, put either a generous dash of vanilla cordial and a couple of drops of bitters, OR a sugar cube with a couple of drops of bitters on it and a generous dash of cake vodka.
Then, top with champagne or sparkling cider.
Then add an orange twist. I should probably make a tutorial for this, as I had no idea what this was all about until recently. For now, just know that you twist the piece of orange peel over the glass, and then you drop it in.

Then you drink! Here’s the lowdown on the bubbly:

Louise d’Estree Brut NV
Rating:
Deliciousness: *** (great for cocktails)
Social Anxiety Soothing: **
Table Dancing Probability: 45% (Sparkling wine is always a celebratory affair.)

Trader Joe’s, $8

Sometimes, social anxiety soothing is necessary.

20 Dec Hello! I'm on the left! The Washington Monument is to the right, not pictured.

Last night, We Were Pirates played a show at the W Hotel’s POV Lounge. It was a different kind of show than usual, in a different (classy! except for when people get stabbed I guess) venue, and I don’t really get nervous about shows, but I was pretty anxious last night before we went on. Then some more friends arrived and I realized I needed a drink. I wasn’t really drinking because we wanted to be sure to have a stellar performance, but it was at this point that I also realized that needing a drink does not: a) automatically make you an alcoholic, or b) always have to end in sloppy drunkenness.

So (I did that thing where you start a sentence with “So,” which is apparently all over social media and such) I sidled up to the bar with my friends and tried to figure out what to drink. My drink special choices were $5.50 Miller Genuine Drafts (not a bad beer – I’ll always have a soft spot for it because it’s the first beer I drank at a college party where I was like, “Oh, wait, I have stepped over a line. Beer is not awful. I could actually decide to drink this and enjoy it.”) and $8 “Cherry Manhattans” which… yeah. I had a sip of someone’s and it was like those chocolate cherries filled with medicinal liqueur. Although someone else bought me one after the show and it strangely was not as foul. And then I realized we had a band tab, and I could get whatever I wanted for free, so I asked the magic words:

“What do you have for scotch?”

That, my friends, is when at the end of a long list of sundries, I parroted, “Yes. Lagavulin.” Because I know some people who like that stuff. I also know myself well enough to know that I needed two rocks in it. And upon my first sip or two, all anxiety vanished, and then we played a ridiculously good show. I took occasional sips between songs, which was amazing and not like chugging beer or guzzling a Jack and ginger with a straw, which is what I’m ashamed to admit I usually do between songs. Repeat mantra: Needing a drink does not always have to end in sloppy drunkenness. Drinking is okay. Sometimes it’s more than okay; it’s necessary. And I am totally okay with that.

Rating:
Deliciousness: **** (add or subtract one star depending on whether you, you know, actually LIKE scotch)
Social Anxiety Soothing: *****
Table Dancing Probability: 50% (Depends on the venue. At the POV Lounge, the people watching is so good, there’s no need for you to actually dance. And no, I don’t mean there were fancy famous people there like we’ve all been led to believe. I mean there were lots of drunk people sloppily making out and bumping and grinding on the dance floor and climbing onto the windowsills and making silly poses with the Washington Monument. So you just leave the table dancing to that crowd, why don’tcha.)

The best beer I’d never noticed

25 Aug

Kate and I drank these Tsingtao beers and ate hot pot and were hungover the next morning…from the hot pot.

20130825-085846.jpg

Melanie and Kate tested, Jesse approved.

I’m finding myself really attracted to crisp, light lager-type beers lately. I think it’s the oppressive end-of-summer heat (although the night pictured was distinctly autumnal). Or maybe it’s the heavy food I’m gravitating toward right now. Either way, all I really want to drink is something light and beery that won’t make me think too much about flavor profiles or hoppiness or mouthfeel. I want it to be there, in a bottle or a glass, to wash down the scallop and noodles that I’ve just cooked in boiling chili oil with Sichuan flower pepper and dunked in sesame-peanut-chili-soy-scallion-garlic sauce. Tsingtao does this with aplomb.

Rating:
Deliciousness: ****
Social Anxiety Soothing: *
Table Dancing Probability: 1% (You try dancing on a table with a giant well of boiling chili oil in the middle of it.)

Not drinking is okay.

23 Aug

That would probably be rule #1 of Booze Therapy, if we had rules like Fight Club. You can talk about Booze Therapy all you want, though…talking is important.

Anyway, the new man I mentioned in my last post doesn’t drink. I, on the other hand, occasionally contribute to a blog called “Booze Therapy,” for chrissakes. So you know what’s great about that? It doesn’t matter.  I do drink a bit less than I used to, but I don’t necessarily drink less often. Part of this is because my man doesn’t drink. But certainly, part of it is because I’m so much happier now that my life is different, I don’t think it’s necessary to engage with alcohol as more than an epicure.

Not drinking is okay. In fact, I think Kate and Christie are cooking up a post about their recent cross-country road trip, during which no booze was consumed at all.

ouzo

Never pictured it quite like this…

However, I did promise a post about ouzo. That’s a picture of the ouzo I drank on Santorini. I think my love affair with Greece started with a brief love affair with a Greek boy, back in my formative years. He used to write poetry about his idyllic summers in the Cyclades, and I hung onto every word like a bee on honey. (Yes, Internet. I have a type, and that type is “sensitive artists.” So sue me.)

Here’s a little something I wrote a couple years ago about that particular little (fruitless as usual) high school crush:

Then there was the Greek statue, the tall, lean muscled man-boy who looked as though he rubbed his skin with olives every day. Her wildest fantasies were his memories, cliff-dives and ouzo and making love for the first time on a black sand beach, speeding through all the necessary touches because he was afraid that the girl’s father might discover them. He had a particular knack for admiring her from afar, and he took care to make sure that she noticed it. She would not have gotten tired of the furtive glances, the words of his favorite love poems recited cautiously in her presence.

Right. So…I mentioned ouzo in this rumination because he talked about drinking it (even though we were all just high school kids then), and for some reason, I pictured drinking it out of something like an obsidian sake set. Actually, that was the exact thing I pictured, even though I’d never even seen a sake set back then (although I did know what sake was because I liked anime).

Flash forward 15 or 16 years, and I suddenly find myself on Santorini, staring out over the sparkling blue expanse of the Aegean, where I have just gone swimming with my boyfriend, two nurses from Boston University, and countless European tourists who either didn’t care that the path to the swimming area between the cliffs was marked “DO NOT ENTER, DANGEROUS FALLING ROCKS” or perhaps just didn’t know because the warning wasn’t printed in their language. I am living the life I dreamed of at that particular moment of youthful folly and holy crap this restaurant has ouzo and I’ll be damned if I don’t order some.

Imagine my surprise when it came to the table and looked like that, all creamy white and in a little glass with ice! Of course, by this point in my life, I’m familiar with absinthe and other such beverages, so when I taste it, I’m no longer surprised at the presentation. The weather is a balmy 78 degrees or so, with a warm, salted breeze coming in off the water. Although I expect things flavored with anise to be heavy because they are intense, this is light and refreshing. I don’t know why I never pictured ouzo with ice in a glass, but now I know I will never picture it any other way again.

I think back on the time in my life when everything was a delightful mystery, and while I have some nostalgia for that, I also relish the pleasure that only knowledge can bring. If I were being really heavy about this, I’d say something pithy about the fruit of knowledge, but this is a drinking blog. And not just any drinking blog–it’s a drinking blog where not drinking is okay. So…do what you want! Enjoy life.

Of mythological proportions…

21 Aug
This is beer. It is cheap in Athens because there isn't any work there. Look out, "The Economist"...here comes Booze Therapy!

This is beer. It is cheap in Athens because there isn’t any work there. Look out, “The Economist”…here comes Booze Therapy!

Holy crap it’s a new post!

I have hereby come to the conclusion that either my life is a telenovela, or it’s been way too long since I last updated this blog. Since my last post, I’ve moved to a different state, gotten divorced, changed offices, found a new man, had a crisis of “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?” and decided to go on vacation in Greece. This post is a little bit about that vacation.

So, basically, I’d always pictured myself as a cool, jet-setting world traveler. Then I sat at home and watched while all my friends who actually were cool, jet-setting world travelers went on adventures. Then I met and fell in love with a guy who, if he tattooed the list of countries he’d visited or lived in on his arm, he’d run out of arm well before he ran out of countries. And I was like, “What the hell am I doing with my life? What can I write about if all I see are my home, my office, and the inside of a Metro car day in and day out?” We’d had a road trip to New England planned, but not booked yet. The morning after my little personal crisis, I told my man that we were canning that trip and going to Italy or Greece instead. Of those, he picked Greece, so I guess Italy’s next on the list.

My well-traveled man hates flying, actually. So by the time we got to Athens, he was a little cranky, we were both exhausted and starving, and even though I wanted to fully embrace the opportunity to stuff myself with recession-priced Greek delicacies, I knew I also wanted a Greek beer. The one I drank is pictured at right. They have this beer stateside, too, but it’s what they had at the taverna in our neighborhood. Plus, it has a crisp, light, pleasant flavor that didn’t compete with the giant feast we’d ordered. AND, as an added bonus, it came in a 16-oz. bottle. The winner was me. I can also write a bit about ouzo, but I think I’ll save that for another post.

I recommend this beer.

Rating:
Deliciousness: ****
Social Anxiety Soothing: *
Table Dancing Probability: 1% (I think jet lag somehow fixed it so that I was not tipsy in the slightest after consuming this beer. It was either that, or the massive quantities of excellent, heavy food I consumed while drinking it.)

P.S. If you happen to have commented on this blog, oh, say, last year…asking for wine-buying tips for people who want to drink good wine without going broke…don’t worry! We heard you. We’ll think about this and get a post up.

Blame Canada…

27 Nov

not suitable for listening to Nickelback

… for apparently *not* having Cherry Coke.

As I explained one evening to my special friend (shut up) in Victoria, British Columbia that my Skype text chat typos were the fault of some regular ol’ brown Bacardi (not the upgraded Silver, which I always seemed to spring for in college) plus that delicious flavored and aforementioned carbonation, his response was this:

“Wait, does it have cane sugar in it? I want it, but I don’t think we have that here.”

Although I knew damn well it didn’t, I still went and fumbled around in the recyclables to make sure I wasn’t stupid and/or more intoxicated than I actually thought. I was right, however. Instead, it has high fructose corn syrup, like most other sodas (but for the “throwback” issues of things like Pepsi and Mountain Dew, which can still be found here and there).

Then he wondered aloud–er, on the keyboard–exactly why they might not have Cherry Coke in the True North. This took up a good 15 minutes, until we went back to cursing Gary Bettman at his having thus far foiled our plans for a recon mission to Winnipeg to see some NHL action.

Even worse, I’ve found a better mixer, one that I know damn well they wouldn’t possibly have there either, because it’s New England specific and made by the Polar Beverage company, based out of Worcester, MA. It’s raspberry lime soda. It kills all of the alcoholic bitterness. It’s dangerous and will turn your poop bright red, but my god, it tastes good.

So, Canada, how aboot it, eh? What’s the deal?