Archive | August, 2011

Bloody Mary is the girl I love…

30 Aug

Dang hipster camera makes it look like a Hawaiian (South Pacific?) punch...okay, I'll stop now.

I just got back from my summer vacation. While I would love to lay out on a beach for a week or two, all I could swing was a long weekend in Vegas with my husband’s fantasy football league (I know, I’ll call the waaahmbulance!). I’m not really into football, fantasy or otherwise, so my vacation was heavy on the draughts, light on the draft, if you know what I mean. I also spent a lot of time at the spa and by the pool. 

Pictured at right is a delicious bloody mary that was obtained from the pool bar at the Palazzo hotel. In the background, you can see my attempt to stave off skin cancer (stay safe out there, people).

There are many things to love about bloody marys. To name a few, a bloody mary is:

  • savory–a break from the typical sweet cocktail
  • versatile–a classic daytime drink that can be consumed at any time
  • fun–experiments(!)…you can put LOTS of things in there, and it will still be delicious

The one in the photo was tomato juice, vodka, just a touch of horseradish and olive juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and black pepper, and it was garnished with a celery stick, a lemon wedge, and a green olive.

When I make them at home, I usually use a combination of ingredients that my fellow blog author introduced to me when we had brunch at her house last winter: Hot and Spicy V8 (I use the low-sodium variety), vodka, prepared horseradish, clam juice, Worcestershire sauce, and a little lime juice (my addition), and I garnish with the lime wedge and a celery stick. The prepared horseradish makes it a little creamier, and I love lime in a bloody mary. I may try some olive juice and an olive in there the next time I make it, though.

You can really put anything you want in this drink, as long as it’s hot, salty, sour, vegetal, or briny. When the pool people came around with cucumber slices, I ate a couple and threw the rest right into my drink. My roommate in grad school used to put a pickle spear (and a little of the pickle juice) in hers. I’ve even heard of people putting in bacon or other varieties of cured meats. If you have a favorite non-sweet snack, you can try putting it into a bloody mary. (I’m guessing you’ll want to avoid putting in things like Cheetos…but the prohibition is really only because they would disintegrate and the texture would be gross. I’m sure it would still taste fine.)   

The best thing about a bloody mary, which I alluded to above, is that it’s a drink with a snack. Maybe a lot of snacks, if that’s how you like to make it. And that’s how I spent my summer vacation.

I swear this blog actually has two authors

30 Aug

…but you wouldn’t know it based on my inactivity, now would you?

Boozers and boozybabes, I’ve finally come out of the woodwork, and I’m here this afternoon to talk to you about Ace Pear Cider. Stop it, I can already see that look on your face. This ain’t no Woodchuck. Yes, it’s sweet, not like one of those French “cidres” I had the pleasure of enjoying a few weeks ago, which I also recommend.

Ace Pear Cider Tap

Useta be like this...

Anyway, Ace Pear Cider. It is a beverage. It is alcoholic (barely, I think). And it is available at Galaxy Hut in Arlington, although only in bottles. See, I started going to Galaxy Hut when I was 19, and I would have to drink brand X ginger ale or root beer from a can. But once I turned 21, I was delighted to discover they had Ace Pear Cider on tap. I’d already crossed the threshold into liking the taste of [most] beer, but I liked the taste of this better. Then I went several years without having it at all, as they’d gotten rid of it at the Hut, and I wasn’t spending as much time at the Hut, and then one night I came back to the Hut, and they had it in bottles. Then I forgot this, came back to the Hut last night, and relearned it.

It tastes like pear juice. You know you love it. And it’s a great accompaniment to jaunty indie rock. Therefore, I would recommend going to the Hut on a Sunday or Monday night, listening to some jaunty indie rock, and drinking some of this. Or anything you want, really. They also have a lot of great selections on tap, including a crazy 11% alcohol bourbon stout that I made the mistake of ordering a pitcher of one of the last times I was there. I couldn’t drink more than 4 oz. of the stuff. And that is why I drink ACE PEAR CIDER, friends.

 

Ace Pear Cider Bottle

Now it's like that.

Rating:
Deliciousness: ****
Social Anxiety Soothing: * (well, it depends on how many you’ve had… probably need at least 4 to achieve *** status)
Table Dancing Probability: 0% (because there’s no room, or reason, to dance on the tables at Galaxy Hut)

GAL
AXY
HUT
(for that is how it is written on the sign!)
2711 Wilson Blvd.
http://www.galaxyhut.com/

Enjoy your Ace Pear Cider with some original artwork by Ben Claassen hanging on the walls:
http://www.bendependent.com/

And perhaps some music provided by Greenland:
http://greenlandtheband.tumblr.com/

-kate!

This IPA tastes like soap!

19 Aug
Generic pint of beer

I had a lot of delicious beverages over the weekend. Yes, it IS Friday, and I’m STILL thinking about them, thankyouverymuch.

 I’m not going to do any full-on reviews, but I will strongly recommend the Log Towne Lager from Growlers (address and link at the bottom of the post), and Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon (available at the Quarry House Tavern, info also below).
 
At the Olney Ale House (info below), I had a beer that unintentionally tasted like soap. There are a lot of fancy-pants beers out there, many of which incorporate strong flavors of flowers and spices and such on purpose. However, with my drinking experience and my New England pedigree, I can assure you that Harpoon IPA is NOT ONE OF THOSE. If you read the description at the link, you will note that it describes the beer as “floral.” However, there is definitely a difference between “floral” and “feeling like I just took a shot of lady-scented bodywash.” (Hint: if you can’t tell whether your beer is clean, wait for the aftertaste. If the aftertaste tastes like beer, you’re probably fine. If it makes you want to scrub your mouth out with a wet washcloth, ask for another one.)
 
I was about to preface this sentence with, “I don’t like to be a difficult customer, but…” The more I think about it, though, the more I think it’s that I don’t want to be perceived as a difficult customer, or perhaps even that society tells me that as a woman, I’m not supposed to be “difficult.” I mean, yes, I have a genuine desire to not make my server’s life miserable (seriously folks…they’re on their feet for hours at a time…say “please” and “thank you” and leave a good tip). But at the same time, I also have a genuine desire to get what I am paying for. I politely informed our server that my beer tasted like soap, and she promptly brought me a clean one. Which was delicious. I still recommend this establishment because hey–shit happens!–and everyone involved dealt with it gracefully. Also, the outdoor dining area is totally sweet. 
 
The chasm between floral beer and lady-scented bodywash is equally wide as the chasm between standing up for yourself and being a bitch. It is completely possible to get what you want in life and still be the kind of person who never gets the complimentary side of spit sauce with every entree. Don’t sell yourself short. You deserve nice things, and you can do what you need to do to get them.
 
Growlers
227 E. Diamond Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877
 
The Quarry House Tavern
8401 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
 
Olney Ale House
2000 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Maryland 20832
 
   

Want some rye? ‘Course ya do.

18 Aug

Don’t worry, folks…I played text-based Zork first. However, back when I played this one, I had no idea what rye was. Without the obvious context clues, I would have assumed that ol’ Boos was talking about bread.

I know now that rye is awesome. It’s the star in the Sazerac, which is one of my favorite cocktails. I will post more about the Sazerac later. For now, let’s just take a moment to reminisce about the good old days of Zork and Zork-style RPGs.

You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Spicy Cucumber Margarita, Casa Oaxaca

10 Aug

This is actually a photo of a Casa Oaxaca mojito, from the Internet. Imagine this with cucumber and serrano slices in it. Next time I'll take my own photo.

If you had a friend who (fairly suddenly) moved to Paris for work more than a year ago, and that friend e-mailed you in the morning and said, “I’m just going to be in town tonight…let’s get a group together to go out to dinner,” would you do what was necessary to re-arrange your plans so you could go to that dinner with that friend? I did.

Living in Paris, my friend has access to as much stunning French food as he could possibly want. He can take an easy bus ride to the restaurant that serves the absolute best thing I have ever eaten in my life (foie gras crème brûlée with honey crostini). What he cannot get in Paris, however, is Mexican food. So we went to Casa Oaxaca.

There was a lovely selection of specialty cocktails, housemade cheladas and micheladas, and calimucho (wine and Coke), in addition to traditional and flavored margaritas and mojitos. However, the restaurant happened to be out of mezcal, which cut the specialty cocktail menu in half while putting the kibosh on my dinner order of Camarones al Mezcal.

I ended up having the shrimp and goat cheese enchiladas instead. To accompany them, I had a Spicy Cucumber Margarita ($10). I couldn’t help but order it after reading the ingredients: Tequila Sauza Silver/lemon juice/agave nectar/serranos/mint/cucumber. It was served with a lime wedge, which I added to the mix after the first taste. This drink is flat-out delicious. It’s smooth and sweet, with a lot of nice green cucumber flavor and only a hint of herbaceous flavor from the mint leaves (which is good, because I actually don’t really enjoy the taste of mint in beverages). You get the serrano flavor on the back end, with a nice, slow burn. I think I’m going to go ahead and give it the top rating for deliciousness right now.

The only drawback to this drink was its surprising lack of punch. I had two, and could very easily have had two more before feeling more than a little tipsy. I didn’t have the opportunity to say much, though, other than to catch up with my friend a little. The group was made up of very smart people who like sharing their knowledge (and a law firm summer who maybe wanted to impress us). I learned that I should probably try to get invited to les vendanges, that the acidity in fruit on a vine/tree changes as the ambient temperature does, and that the flavor of guanabana is like its own tropical fruit medley. In sum, this drink was delicious, but it was not about to give shy persons the courage to drop knowledge on that encyclopedia of trivia.      

Rating:
Deliciousness: *****
Social Anxiety Soothing: **
Table Dancing Probability: 13% (speculative, based on my desire to drink more of them)

Casa Oaxaca
2106 18th Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20009
http://www.oaxacaindc.com

Bell’s Oberon Ale, Black Cat Red Room Bar

9 Aug

The room is full of people from “the scene” who vaguely know each other. One band brought their school-aged children. There were sightings of at least two pairs of noise-canceling earmuffs. Everything has to happen a little bit earlier than everyone thinks it should, so people can catch the Metro and still be chipper for Tuesday morning. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like a rock show on a Monday night.

If you find yourself at a Monday night rock show, as I did last night, you will probably have a lot of options when you belly up to the bar. Unless you’re actually in one of the bands that’s playing the show (or you have coworkers who are cool with your stuffing a sausage McGriddle in your face and chugging your weight in coffee during your early morning meeting), you will have to choose wisely. I had a Bell’s Oberon Ale ($6 on tap).

If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of this beer, you can click here. I’ll give you the highlights: it’s a wheat beer with a nice balance of flavors–a little spice, a little fruit, a little maltiness. The beer was light and crisp enough to complement a falafel sandwich, but it also had some dark, heavy character to it that made me feel like I was drinking something worthwhile once the sandwich was gone.

At 5.4% abv, this beer did not prevent me from having two semi-disastrous “conversations” (a.k.a. my weird ramblings that everyone is too polite to stop) with acquaintances. I did a fair bit of embarrassing singing along to the band I went to see, but that was actually not the beer’s fault. 

Rating
Deliciousness: ****
Social Anxiety Soothing: *
Table-Dancing Probability: 2%

Black Cat Red Room Bar
1811 14th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20009
http://www.blackcatdc.com/red-room.html

Two Recipes for a Dirty Martini*

5 Aug
a fine beverage
“Fuck yeah, martini glass!”

As a general rule, I like drinks that come with snacks. Bloody Marys, dirty martinis, most anything with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice in it…yes, yes, and yes (although I might just take the cherry and orange and leave the drink).

I have two recipes for making a dirty martini. Please enjoy responsibly.

Recipe #1

Holy shit, I’m gonna make a drink! YEAH! What goes in this, again? Right. Vermouth. That’s good, right? And it’s dirrrrrty, so a lot goes in, right? Just a splash. Okay, maybe a little more. Just a big splash. Whee! What else goes in this? Vodka? Sweet, I have a whole bottle of that shit. I’m gonna pour some in. Wait, isn’t there supposed to be ice in here? Yeah! Ice! And olive juice? I fucking love olive juice…but I know I have to be careful, so I won’t put too much in. *glug, glug* This party is awesome–these bleu cheese olives are awesome. I’m gonna stab a few and put them in this drink—wait, where’s my glass? I’m not so drunk that I can’t have a classy glass. Fuck yeah, martini glass! Shake it a little…but not so much that the top flies off and martini goes everywhere, which would be totally embarrassing, and not cool, because this is my house and I’d have to clean it up. That’s enough shaking. Now pour it into the glass with the olives in it. You know what does not go together? Bleu cheese and vermouth. This is not good. In fact, I think this is an abject failure of a beverage! But it’s vodka, so, yaaaaay!!!

Recipe #2

1 splash dry vermouth
2 oz. Ketel One vodka
1 splash of juice from the olive jar
olives

To serve: chilled cocktail glass and picks

Add ice to the cocktail shaker and put in a splash of vermouth. Swirl this around the shaker a couple of times. Then discard the vermouth. Pour the vodka into the shaker and give it a healthy splash of olive juice. Shake until extremely cold. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Spear three olives on a cocktail pick and place the pick in the glass. Serve.

*You’ll notice that I did not address the vodka vs. gin question.