Friday, April 6, 2012

Long Friday

Today is Good Friday, the beginning of Passover and a full moon.  Accordingly, I am hoping for more room at the bar tonight and no need for dinner reservations tomorrow.  As you can see, I am always an optimist!  But speaking of food...

Please take a look at my blog page on the benefit for the Lower Fairfield County foodbank.  My good friends know this charity as the beneficiary of last year's Rapture Day happy hour pool (we each bet on the exact time (EST) the rapture would occur).  Amazingly, the rapture never came - no one won the pool and the foodbank made out!

This year's tasting is on April 26th and it's $50 for the opportunity to sample the wares of 50 of the areas best restaurants, caterers and beverage purveyors!  Also, 100% of the proceeds go to the foodbank.  I do hope to see you all there!

By the way, the pool for the end of days (2012) will be starting in the fall, giving you all plenty of time to pick the exact hour (again EST) when Last Call on Earth will sound (12/21/12) and we'll all go to that never ending happy hour in the sky.  On the very, very slight chance that the world does not end, the foodbank will be getting another visit from me.  In the meantime, let's drink!

The Historical Inebriant:  Seder Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz  No. 209 Kosher for Passover Gin
  • 1/2 oz Warmed Honey
  • 1/8 oz Kosher for Passover Horseradish 
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • Soda Water
  • Tiny Pinch of Kosher Salt

Add all the ingredients into a mixing tin. Either shake or stir the contents without ice to make sure the honey dissolves into the solution. Add crushed ice, cover and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass, top with a dash of soda water, and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Whatever your persuasion, I hope you have a wonderful and safe weekend!  See you next week!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vujà Dé?

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Finland!
Déjà vu? Recurring nightmare? Madness in Sparta? Perhaps.

Finland, like Russia, had a long history of alcohol abuse. So severe that there were four attempts to pass prohibition legislation before it was finally adopted in June of 1919 (ours began in January of the following year). I can totally understand though, what else is there to do in a country where there is snow on the ground for 7 months out of the year and you don't see the sun for 7 weeks at a time.

As with the United States, problems began to surface shortly after the start of Finland's prohibition. Illegal stills popped up everywhere dispensing a crude mixture that was sometimes fatal to drink. Crime rates went up and arrests for drunkenness increased by 500% (as in the US, alcohol was always available if you knew where to go). Also, with the world-wide economic slowdown in full swing, Finland started to feel the loss of tax revenue from the ban of alcohol sales.

By 1932, the public opinion of Finland regarding the ban had changed and on April 5th of that year over 70% of the residents voted to repeal it. Amazingly, their experiment lasted for 13 years, the same length as the American prohibition.

The Historical Inebriant:  Finnish Gin Long Drink

  • 2 Shots Gin
  • Grapefruit Soda (Trader Joe's)
  • Splash of tonic water

Pour into a whiskey sour glass, and serve.  This drink was originally developed for the 1952 Summer Olympics (held in Helsinki) and in Finland it comes in a mix - but this is a close approximation.

For more information on the FGLD:

Did you know:

Russia, Iceland and Norway are countries that also played the prohibition game.

The earliest recorded ban on alcohol was in China during the Xia Dynasty (2070 BC).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

City of Angels

On this day in 1850, Los Angeles is incorporated as a city in the California Republic (California would not be admitted into the union until September 9th of that year). The population of the city at that time was well under 4,000 people.

That was then, and this is now.  The 2010 census list LA's current population at a cool 3.7 million people, making it the second largest city in the US behind New York City and as of 2008 it was the third largest economic center of the world.  

The glittering city is known for great sports teams, a home to the music industry, and of course the red carpets of Hollywood.

The Historical Inebriant:  The Los Angeles

  • 1 1/2 oz Blended Whiskey
  • 1/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 tsp Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Whole Egg

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a whiskey sour glass, and serve.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Free Friuli!

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Friuli found itself ruled by Odoacer, but in 488,  the Byzantine Emperor Zeno sent Theodoric – who would eventually hold the titles of King of the Ostrogoths, ruler of Italy, regent of the Visigoths, and viceroy of the Eastern Roman Empire, to the region.

Three years later Theodoric would kill Odoacer with his own hands and re-established Roman rule and prosperity to the land.  By 568 however, Friuli would be taken over by the Lombards who invaded from nearby Pannonia and In 774, Charlemagne would invade and unseat the Lombards bringing new ideas and political systems with him.

On 3 April 1077, the The Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV granted the county of Friuli, with full ducal status, to the Patriarch of Aquileia. Friuli had one of the first parliaments in the world, having not only the voice of the church and nobility, but also of common people.  Unfortunately, it was unseated by the conqueror Napoleon in 1805. 

The Historical Inebriant:  Liberation Libation

  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • 2 oz Vermont Gold Vodka
  • .5 oz Maple Syrup
  • 1.5 oz Sparkling Apple Cider

Combine equal parts cinnamon and sugar on a shallow plate and use to coat the rim of a cocktail glass. Add the vodka and maple syrup to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into the prepared glass. Top with the cider.

Established In 1953,  the newspaper Ente Friuli nel Mondo (Friulians in the World) was established to assist Friulians in foreign countries.

While several languages are spoken in Friuli, a movement has begun to establish Friulian as the official language, their goal, a free and native speaking Friuli.

Free Friuli!

Free Friuli

Monday, April 2, 2012

Festival of Flowers

In 1513 Ponce de Leon was living in Puerto Rico where he had recently served as Governor.  He had explored, colonized and governed lands in the name of Spain and King Ferdinand for years and when rumors of the existence of unexplored islands to the northwest reached Spain, de Leon was asked to explore them.

On March 4th 1513, Ponce de Leon and 200 men sailed from Puerto Rico with three ships, the Santiago, the San Cristobal and the Santa Maria de la Consolacion (sounds vaguely familiar doesn't it). On April 2nd they sighted land and thought it was one of the rumored islands.  Easter season in Spain is called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers) and Ponce de Leon named the land La Florida.

         The Historical Inebriant:  Florida Punch

  • 1 1/2oz  Dark Rum
  • 3/4 oz Cognac
  • 1 1/2 Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 1/2 Orange Juice
Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a Collins glass filled with cracked ice. Garnish with a plastic flamingo or palm tree.


On this day in 1990 Nirvana recorded a demo at Smart Studios in Madison, WI.   They would use the demo which included the songs “Lithium”, “In Bloom” and “Polly” to try to land their first major label deal. Their album Nevermind was released the following year by DCG Records.