Wednesday, November 28, 2012

33 1/3, These Three Ships, The Rach 3, The Rachmaninoff Cocktail and The End of the World as We Know It.

Today, is the 333rd day of the year with only 33 days remaining till the end of the year.
Unfortunately, there are only 25 days left till the end of the world.


On this day in 1520, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, travelling across the Atlantic Ocean to find a new spice route, would navigate through a strait at the southern end of South America that would later bear his name. The three ships under his command would carry the first Europeans to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

Of the five vessels to begin a voyage to circumnavigate the world, only one, the Victoria, would travel the whole distance.  Magellan himself would be killed in the Philippines.


On this day in 1909, Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff would debut the performance of his Piano Concerto No. 3, considered to be one of the most technically challenging piano concertos ever written. Referred to simply as the Rach 3, and made popular by the movie "Shine" the piece remains as a dividing line between the truly talented and the truly gifted (or the truly crazy) pianists .

While his personal life was turbulent and haunted by demons, his professional life was indeed blessed.  Born to amateur pianists, Rachmaninoff's teachers would include his cousin, Alexander Siloti, who had been one of the most promising of Franz Liszt's pupils. He was also a friend to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, to Alexander Scriabin and the famed pianist Vladimir Horowitz.

A masterful composer and a truly gifted pianist, Rachmaninoff also had two physical attributes that aided in his success. He possessed a remarkable memory, and was able, upon hearing a piece of music once, to replay it, the next day or the next year, note by note exactly as performed and he also had extremely large hands, large enough to be able to play the cord C Eb G C G with his left hand.


The Historical Inebriant: The Rachmaninoff Cocktail


1 oz. vodka
1 oz. cherry vodka
½ oz. maraschino liqueur
½ oz. heavy cream
½ oz. absinthe
Dash orange bitters

Fill a cocktail shaker half-full with crushed ice. Add the vodka, cherry vodka, maraschino liqueur, heavy cream and absinthe to the cocktail shaker. Cover the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain the contents of the cocktail shaker into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the orange bitters to the cocktail and garnish the rim of the glass with a fresh lemon wedge. Serve while ice cold.

25 Days Left!

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