Systemic Analgesic

One of alcohol’s strongest selling points, per yer average Western movie dentist or surgeon, is as an analgesic.

I always think of the body as struggling towards equilibrium.

If you add another element to the balance, it adjusts the other way.

The body has a bunch of strategies for dealing with pain, mostly psychological.

However, if you pour in an analgesic pain reliever into your gullet every day for decades, your body probably discards a bunch of those strategies for dealing with pain, or they fall to disuse.

You stop drinking and everything just sort of hurts.

Even worse, habitual use of a painkiller allows you to damage yourself physically without noticing it so much.

Watermelon Coolers

Mrs Flannestad’s sister is visiting and the two of them challenged me to make a before dinner cocktail. I’d been craving watermelon, so my first thought was watermelon, Tequila, and Mezcal. But I knew Mrs Flannestad wouldn’t be super happy with that. Next I thought Miller’s Gin, with its cucumber, would be an interesting combination with its relative watermelon. Warm day, so a long drink seemed appropriate, and a little spice never hurt anyone.

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Watermelon Cooler

1/2 Cup Watermelon, Peeled and cubed
1/2 oz Rich Simple Syrup
Small Pinch Cayenne
Small Pinch Salt
1 1/2 oz Miller’s Gin
Juice 1/2 Lime
1/2 oz Seltzer Water
Watermelon spear, for garnish

METHOD: Place watermelon in shaker with Simple Syrup, Cayenne, and Salt. Muddle. Add lime juice and Gin. Shake with ice and fine strain over fresh ice and seltzer in a Collins Glass. Garnish with Watermelon spear and serve with a straw.

Routine

250ml Sicilian Nero d’Avola.

Like I mentioned, I had a drinking routine.

I would come home from work, make and photograph a Savoy Cocktail.

Attempt to get it blogged.

My wife would then get home from her work, and we would have a beer together.

After which, we would go out for dinner.

One of our favorite local pizza places is always busy and we’ve been going since it opened. As there is always a wait, the establishment let’s you hang out in a nearby bar and then they come and fetch you when your table is ready. We’d usually have another beer and play some pinball.

Well, they take the excuse to leave work and get a shot of Fernet, Jaeger, or Tequila at the bar, then tell you your table is ready. It’s a cozy arrangement.

So, by the time we’re finally in the restaurant and our salad arrives, we’re feeling pretty toasty. Of course, we then order a bottle of wine to split while we enjoy our dinner.

In January, I was trying not to drink, and so my wife just got wine by the glass. “Oh that is very healthy of you,” was the comment from the waiter.

Lately, we’ve taken to not drinking before dinner and then just ordering a carafe of wine to split with dinner, instead of a bottle. The waitress was downright Sarcastic with her comment about Carafes vs Bottles the last time we were in.

And it’s not even that they are grumpy that we are spending less, as often they would just charge us for two glasses, and serve us a whole bottle.

It’s like we’re letting them down. And, of course, they are now charging us full price for a carafe of wine.

No Drinking Alone

Seems like a no-brainer, eh?

However, my method for the entire Savoy Project was to get home from work and get a drink made, photographed, and blogged before my wife got home from work.

Early on, especially when I would attempt more than one drink in a night, (hey, I don’t like to waste,) this was a disaster.

As relationship mistakes go, unbalanced levels of inebriating substances being consumed has to be right up there in the top 10.

Being mostly in the bag before your significant other gets home from work is kind of a disaster.

Heck, the opposite is even challenging, one partner trying to stay sober, while the other doesn’t quite feel as urgent a need for sobriety.

Well, anyway, the new rule is, no drinking alone, and it is a good one.

Sun Tea

Sun Tea.

Sun Tea.

Lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of bottled tea.

The other week, things were just getting silly, bottles and bottles piling up in the recycling.

I had to remind myself that there is almost nothing in the world easier than making Sun Tea.

Fill jar with water. Add an appropriate amount of dry tea. Place in Sun. Relax in hammock for a while or play some video games. Strain out tea leaves and refrigerate.

As far as amounts of dry tea goes, the general rule for hot tea is 1 teaspoon for cup. For Sun Tea, since it isn’t heated as much, you want to be a bit more generous, maybe 1 1/2 teaspoons per cup. You also want it to be a little stronger than plain tea, as you will be serving it over ice.

For the above two litre container, I found about 2/3 of a cup of tea seemed appropriate.

As far as what type of tea is most appropriate for Ice Tea, Lipton uses mostly Indian type teas for its blend. For a traditional flavor, teas from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) are good. But the sky is really the limit.

As to whether it is appropriate to add lemon juice, sugar, and bourbon to your iced tea, I leave it up to you.

Tightrope Walking

From a Shakestir.com interview with Mr. Erik Adkins:

“It’s a tightrope. I always think there are two types of bartenders: those who have quit drinking, and those who are on their way to quitting drinking. There are a lot of bartenders I know who have quit drinking, because you can’t manage it. If you drink at work and you drink when you’re not at work, then you’re just a drunk.

“In my 20s, you’d say, “Only drink after the sun goes down,” but during winter, that’s a problem. Now, I have a glass of wine with dinner, I may split a beer with another bartender, but you’ve got to have those boundaries.

“There was a bartender I once worked with, he’d only drink at work — when he was at home and on his days off, he wouldn’t drink. Most of us do the opposite. It’s hard, because then you get home and you want to unwind, and that’s at least two drinks — or three — and if you’re not careful, you’re gonna wake up and be tired. I have a set wake-up time, so if I decide to stay up late, I pay the price, and that reminds me the next time it wasn’t worth it.

“When you’re in your 20s, you don’t have to worry about it. In your 30s, it doesn’t hit you physically as much, but in your 40s, between eating restaurant food for staff meals and consuming alcohol, there are some serious lifestyle issues with your health. My doctors laugh and say it’s an occupational hazard, like it’s forgiven because of my job, but it still has that effect on your triglycerides and your blood sugar and all that stuff.

“You’ve got to set your lifestyle for what you’re going to be doing in your 50s and 60s.”

An Inappropriate Relationship

From an interview on ShakeStir.com with Mr. Dale DeGroff:

“I did have a period when I was a heavy drinker, but I don’t know a single bartender who’s out there working as an older man who still drinks heavily.

“A doctor said to me about 10 years ago, “You’ve got problems—they’re not serious, but your liver is stressed. You can keep drinking the way you are for another 10 years and then you’ll probably die; or, you can stop drinking for a while, and if you leave your liver alone and let it recuperate, you can probably go back to moderate drinking.” And that’s what I did.

“There comes a point—your body will tell you—that you either do what I did, or you take the tradeoff and die when you’re 65. I had a customer at the Hotel Bel-Air in L.A., who got exactly the same ultimatum I did at the same age. He’d sit at the bar and talk about it, and for a year he tried to stop drinking; eventually he said, “Oh, f*ck it,” and several years later, he died. He made the other choice, and he was happy—drinking was too much a part of his life, and his life wasn’t pleasant without it.

“Every bartender who’s a heavy drinker will have to make this decision when it’s time.”