Saturday, November 17, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

This post really has nothing to do with drinking, save for the fact that while drinking in a pub in London years ago, I noticed it on the wall and wondered what it was all about.  Over the years I have seen it more, with many of the posters offering a slight twist:

A few days ago, while I should have been researching an obscure historical event:

655Battle of the Winwaed: Penda of Mercia is defeated by Oswiu of Northumbria.

I took a turn on the winding road that we call the internet and found myself looking at the poster again, but this time I took the time to learn a bit about its history. If you have a moment, view the video which is very well done and hear the interesting story of this poster. The words are as true today as they were over 70 years ago.

Internet Meme - Parodies on Keep Calm and Carry On

For copies of posters, or mugs, or T-shirts:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Crimes and Punishments, Fast Computing and The Capital Punishment Cocktail

On this day in 1849, Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, whose works include The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot and Crime and Punishment is sentenced to death for anti-government activities. Dostoevsky and two others arrested are subjected to a mock execution before their sentence is commuted by Tsar Nicholas I, and serve four years hard labor in Siberia.

“People speak sometimes about the "bestial" cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Historical Inebriant: Capital Punishment Cocktail


1/2 oz Jim Beam® bourbon whiskey
1/2 oz amaretto almond liqueur

While the recipe is for a shot, I might try a cocktail of equal proportions of the ingredients over ice, garnish with cherry.

On this day in 1971, – Intel releases the 4004, the world's first commercial single-chip microprocessor. The world of small, fast computing had arrived.

Without this invention, (and therefore without internet and personal computers) to read this blog, you'd have to come to my house and I would show you something that looked like this:

As always, have a great and safe weekend!

Stop by over the weekend for Drinking Soundtrack of the Week and put December 5th on your calendar for tuning in here.  Special day coming, big, huge.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fathers and Sons, Simple Gifts, La Pola, A Remembrance of Things Past, and Drinking Fire Water

On this day in 1719, Leopold Mozart, composer and father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born.

On this day in 1740, Johann van Beethoven, music teacher and father of Ludwig van Beethoven was born.

On this day in 1900, American composer Aaron Copland was born.  One of my favorite American composers, Copeland's music is accessible, melodic and intensely emotive.  The orchestrations of his pieces remind me of an America thrusting forward its relatively new chest with pride and confidence.  While his early music painted a landscape of an innocent and wholesome America, his later works were infused with an edgier, urban jazz element.

We all know his works. Whether it be Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, Fanfare for the Common Man, Our Town, or even the simple orchestration of the Shaker tune Simple Gifts, they are all instantly recognizable.  Copeland passed away in 1990, and his gift to American music was immeasurable.


On this day in 1967, Colombia would declare this day as "Day of the Colombian Woman" in honor of the 150th anniversary of the death of Policarpa Salavarrieta.

Known as La Pola, Salavarrieta was a Colombian seamstress who, during the age of Spanish control of that country, spied for the revolutionary forces who desired a free and independent Columbia. Captured by Spanish Royalists, she would ultimately be executed for high treason on November 14, 1817 at age 23.

The Historical Inebriant: Aguardiente
Neat, since that is the way La Pola drank it.

Aguardiente is a generic term in many Spanish/Portguese/Catalan speaking countries for an anise flavored beverage that contains anywhere between 29% and 60% alcohol by volume. The term means "fiery water" or "burning water" derived from "water" (agua in Spanish; aigua in Catalan; água in Portuguese) and "fiery" (ardiente in Spanish; ardentin Catalan; ardente in Portuguese).  The name may give some insight into the not so subtle taste of the beverage.

A humorous article in The Village Voice about the beverage:

Colombian Aguardiente: A Drink That May Make You Punch Someone in the Face.


Remembrance of Things Past

On this day in 1995, as a result of a budget standoff between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress, the federal government is forced to temporarily close national parks, museums and some government offices.


'Tis the gift to be simple, Its a gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
Will be in the valley of love and delight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Paging Dr. Erxleben, World Kindness Day, and the Kill 'em with Kindness Cocktail

On this day in 1715, Dorothea Erxleben was born in Quedlinburg, Germany.  Erxleben, a bright young woman, would need to petition Frederick the Great himself, battle sexism for most of her life, and debate officials for over a year to take her final exams to eventually receive her medical degree from the University of Halle in 1754, becoming Germany's first female medical doctor.

I found the transcript (with audio) of a radio program I used to listen to by John H. Lienhard called Engines of Our Ingenuity that featured Erxleben's story.  It's a very short - but very interesting read, so please take the time to visit it here.


Today is World Kindness Day. Introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, it is observed in Canada, Japan, Australia, Nigeria, the UK, the UAE, Italy and India.

Per the website:

"World Kindness Day is the beginning of a global reaction to the exploitation of our human and natural resources. It could be said that the slogan for World Kindness Day might well be "Healing the World!" – and in doing so, there is the possibility of creating something so intrinsically good and wholesome, that the beneficial effects could be virtually endless."

Yeah, whatever. All I know is that if one more person cuts in front of me in this Dandy Donuts line, I will END them where they stand! That said, for a total hoot, (if you have absolutely No Life and still have delusions about making things better on this god forsaken planet) - check this out: 

And btfw, if you find some great idea on that site about helping humanity, Do Not Call Me.  I'll be in the park drinking Jäger out of a paper bag, listening to melodic death metal on my headphones and flicking lit cigarettes at squirrels.

The Historical Inebriant: Kill 'em with Kindness Cocktail


1 oz. Amaretto
1 oz. Irish Cream (Bailey's)
1 oz. Frangelico
1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Schnapps, butterscotch
1 spiral Syrup, caramel
1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 splash Whipped cream

Make a spiral with the caramel around the inside of an Old Fashioned glass. In a shaker with ice, combine the Amaretto, Bailey's, Frangelico, Kahlua, butterscotch schnapps and vanilla extract. Strain into previously prepared glass and top with whipped cream.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Movember is for Men, The 'Stache Drinking Game, and The Don't Touch My Moustache Cocktail

Shave the Date!

Welcome to Movember, the month in which men the world over begin sporting mustache's to raise awareness (and money) on the issue of men's health. Movember ( for Men + November) spotlights two male-prone illnesses -  prostate cancer and testicular cancer.  Since 2004, the Movember Foundation has raised over 300 million dollars for The Prostate Cancer Foundation and other organizations that further research, awareness and treatment of this disease.

Traditionally slow moving, the key to surviving prostate cancer is early detection and treatment. Remember that even with today's technologies, there are over 145,000 deaths annually due to prostate cancer vs. 207,000 deaths to breast cancer, and it can strike anyone.  Just to bring the point home, Johnny Ramone (of The Ramones), Earl Woods (Tiger Woods' father), the actor Jerry Orbach and the singer Dan Fogelberg all died of prostate cancer in the past few years. So, face the finger and get checked out!  'Nuff said.

Grow a stache' and spread the word that your health is important to you and at the end of the month attend one of the many shaving parties to raise funds for the fight to cure these diseases!  Or just grow one cause it's cool (winter is coming).

If you are near Stamford, CT (my hometown) one of my favorite bars Butterfield8 is hosting a Mustachio Bashio to benefit Movember with open bar from 9pm - 12am, with a prize for best 'Stache (male or female), plus raffle giveaways.  Remember, you don't need to be hairy to have a good time.  Hope to see you there!

For more info on Movember:   Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Historical Inebriant: Don't Touch My Moustache


1 oz Captain Morgan® Parrot Bay coconut rum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz grenadine syrup

Pour all three ingredients into a shaker half-filled with ice. Cover, shake, and strain into an old-fashioned glass full of ice.

*Per the Drinks Mixer site where this drink resides: 

"This is a popular drink at the air base where we are stationed in Japan. It's really called Do Itash Imashte which means 'you're welcome' in Japanese, but Americans say "don't touch my moustache" because they can't pronounce the Japanese version. I learned the recipe from the bartender and surprisingly I remembered it - I'd already had a few!"

Great site, please give it a visit when looking for a new cocktail!


If there's no drinking game for it - does it actually occur?

The Moustache Drinking Game:

The rules are simple.  Cut out moustaches from black construction paper, tape randomly onto your TV screen and turn it on.  When the 'stache lines up with a character's upper lip, take a drink.  I would NOT recommend this game while watching split screen talking heads!

For a video simulation of the game:

Download the complete game rules and 'stache cut-outs here:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Drinking Soundtrack of The Week

Two for Today.

Pink performs "Sober"

Tool (wearing pink) performs "Sober"

I love both of these songs, although marjorly stylistically different, both are great songs for the Sunday after the Saturday night.  A good friend of mine would always play them back to back, and that is how I came to know them.

Merci Benoit, je m'ennuie de toi mon bon ami.


The featured drink today is one whose name has special significance. While we all know the Dark n' Stomy this variation adds a dash of water to remember those who were and are still effected by hurricane Sandy.  The drink is being served in many restaurants and bars in NYC, but many city streets are still in the dark, and may be for a while.

The Historical Inebriant: The Dark and Sandy 


4 oz. Ginger Beer
4 oz. Gosling’s Rum
1 Dash water

Place ingredients in shaker along with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into chilled cocktail glass.

Please keep those whose lives and possessions were damaged by the storm, in your hearts.  For some it will be a very, very long road back.  Do what you can to make their struggle a little easier.  Donate food to foodbanks, donate clothes to shelters, donate money to the Red Cross. You know what to do.

Thank you.

To view all Drinking Soundtrack of the Week posts, click here and scroll down.