Archive for the ‘Advent Booze Calendar’ Tag
Looking back, Year 5 was busier than I remember but not especially productive. Work is about where I left it at the Year 4 post but there has been no slippage, so that’s good. This post, however, is just another annual consolidation of random ‘highlights,’ for lack of a more appropriate term. The photos here are mostly leftovers from graffiti, sidewalk pies, or bits around the neighbourhood or work.
New Morrison’s (white frame) and cinema/restaurant complex (grey) at bottom of Prospect Hill 100m from the house in the new retail development.
I cleared some of the backlog of old t-shirts out of my pile of rags, but then printed shirts for my imaginary liqueur plant and traded them for others…treading water, zero-sum-game. The liqueurs are NOT fake, though, and quite nice in general.
Pavement pizza project…this one spotted near the Roaring Donkey in Septmenber
We moved house from Ferndale Road to Eastcott area of Old Town and, at the bottom of the hill the construction effort has been trundling along well enough. Our locals, the Beehive and the Castle, seem healthy although the Prince of Wales re-opened and closed during the course of the year.
It was a slack year for running despite projects to keep it interesting, like the Swindon Orienteering Challenge and my own efforts to hit every path in Old Town. Including several races and [of course] more of the pub crawl — often during the races — I managed about 1860 miles, down from a more typical 2000 to 2200…but I’m old and creaky. And, creepy. The pub count only increased by 134 but we spent a lot more time in some fine ones we visited previously.
Travel was entirely in England this year but we managed to make the Isle of Wight and I got to see the bustling metropolis that is Hemel Hempstead.
Christmas and New Year were low-key affairs and what you might otherwise expect. We tried very hard to develop gout, as usual, and somehow failed. This could be the year!
One project for the calendar year 2013 was the Kebab Challenge, a variation on the Burger Challenge and that led me to eschew kebabs for a while in favour of fish and chips. As the residence year overlaps the calendar year, I should mention that I have also started another project that involves a different adult beverage each day with a daily caption in the form of a haiku (something I did for a couple of months in Year 1).
So, there you have it. Year 6 begins.
Visits to mom almost always included the retort, “my doctor gave me those,” to any comment on the giant bag of pharmaceuticals proffered along with a drink involving 6-to-8 shots of booze, two ice cubes, and a splash of mixer. Here, we get opiates over-the-counter, cheaply and with the admonition that we shouldn’t take these more than three days (with one of us, ironically and systematically, spouting “what, are you my mom?” under our breath after the deal is done). The drink and drug fest has to slow down soon, but for now, tear me off a blister pack of those and four fingers of that.
Last day of the Advent effort, and I may be awhile. Happy New Year if it catches up before next time!
Previous entry here. Full list:
First thing Christmas morning it must be Egg Nog. Okay, more often it is a Bloody Mary made with a beef stock base, but that’s medicinal. We went light this year and as a throwback to my childhood I made the Egg Nog recipe I grew up with. This is not a good Christmas memory from way back when…none of them are. But, the recipe is tight, and you should try it.
Okay, here’s the recipe but with some of the memories attached (my childhood was not your childhood):
Whisk together some eggs and milk. ‘Use the milk from the dairy, boy. The top part with the cream.’
.. okay for this part one big serving takes two eggs, 1/3 cup milk, and 1/3 cup cream; if you have a cow, let the milk settle and take the top couple inches off a gallon after it settles, and a couple of eggs (scale up as necessary, keep the milk to cream ratio about 1-to-1)..
Once foamy but not solid, slowly add 1/3 cup sugar and an Italian’s pinch of salt (not an Italian’s pinch OF SALT but and ITALIAN’S PINCH of salt or about 1/6 tsp) and continue to whisk until still not firm (this is not a meringue, Boy).
This part is critical. It doesn’t have to be rum. It can be bourbon or straight Canadian or even Bushmill’s straight whiskey but it should be 80 proof (40% abv, even vodka works). The idea is that the booze is drinkable and disables the bacteria native to the eggs–it ‘cooks’ the eggs but if it actually cooks the eggs it is ruined; you have to add it slow enough that the alcohol doesn’t cause the protein to denature–an art but not a high art–and then, once fully incorporated set the goo in the fridge for twenty to thirty minutes to finish the biocidal effects. Anyway, slowly whisk 1/3 cup (or more, go ahead, do more it won’t kill you or the guest…trust me, it never kills the fuckers) into the mixture; slowly…do you hear me? SLOWLY so the egg proteins don’t solidify; you can’t go too slowly but you can go too fast. Okay, if everyone is in a hurry (“ME NEED SUGAR, BOOZE, PROTEIN”) it can be too slow but the only way to make this edible is patience.
This is harder than you might think especially if you are successful the first time (…beatings…so many unnecessary beatings…) but really is worth the stress or, should you have avoided the beatings (you pussies) and just lucked into this (you’re welcome) and find it happily awaiting you in a glass, nonjudgemental and smooth and, frankly, a delight then you should scrape a few grindings of nutmeg atop and sip away whilst listening to some delightful Christmas crapola — I would suggest the Flagpole Christmas White Album or one of the Christmas Cocktails line of recordings, but feel free to DeeJay whatever-the-fuck works for you (you’re all at the hospital with salmonella before lunchtime, anyway).
Best to all, sorry if any of this was a bummer (a third cup of booze will be a start on forgetting it, btw). Christmas ain’t Christmas if it ain’t dark. Or, intoxicating.
Previous entry here.
This has been a holiday tradition at ours since the mid-80’s…bake up a shitload of biscotti and splurge on some Vin Santo to dunk them in. In the civilized world, they have this year-round; we savages, on the other hand, have to make do with the very occasional special occasion and nothing is more special than catching a 6:35 am bus to sort a lab flooded with funky cooling water on Christmas Eve. Yesterday’s beverage here.
The massive duckling is thawing (breasts for dinner tomorrow, cassoulet on Christmas) and the fence nearly destroyed in the 70 mph gusts of this storm seems stabilised. Settling into the Christmas Box, the penultimate of the pre-Christmas Advent Calendar beverages seemed a good way start the mid-afternoon movie session (watching Scrooged, which I have only seen one scene of–the one where Carol Kane is kicking Bill Murray’s ass–but I’ve seen it dozens of times, à la Groundhog Day, flipping channels).
Overall: Box Steam never let’s me down. This has a lot of the character of a boilermaker (American version) made by dropping a shot of peaty Islay malt into a glass of stout. Good stuff.
Colour: Coal tar.
Aroma: Machine shop…cutting oil and hydraulic fluids. Compelling, to me.
Mouth: Not as full-bodied as I expected, and more bitter and astringent than I would have predicted from the other evidence (and the label).
Flavour: Quite bitter but a good back note of chocolate and dried fruit…European fruit like cherries, nothing tropical. Definitely something from the cold lands for people living with early sunsets.
Yesterday’s entry here.
We made the annual Christmas trip to Franco and Anna’s Italian shop in Gorse Hill and (due to sudden traffic on this site searching for places to buy Vin Santo in Swindon) bought up their remaining stock; then we headed home and I started baking the biscotti di Natale. Then, a miracle happened.
It’s not a miracle that I decided to drink a beer, but it is one that the Cotswold Spring Brewery managed to make something so spectacular out of nothing more than hops, malt, yeast and water (no flavouring or aromatic agents at all). Unusual for these reviews, I will try hard to give an accurate – if not erudite – representation of this spectacular beverage (shifting the order of the reviews to match the order in which this stuff delighted me):
Colour: A brown deep and warm that would make stronger men weep for some lost love; think the colour of Bambi’s mother’s eyes if you can’t fish around for something more appropriate.
Aroma: Spicy and, I shit you not, strongly reminiscent of the Monstrous Erection Sloe Gin that, sadly, no longer is available.
Flavour: There is a sweetness and tang that reminds me of mince pies with a bit of orange peel added to the mince and perhaps some spelt or rye flours added to the crust. Not a small hint of rye whiskey, either.
Mouth: Full bodied and tart-to-very-bitter; so full-bodied, in fact, that it struggles to clear the mouth of the gooey biscotti dough it now competes with.
Overall: My god. Really, Jesus on a stick. I do not have words for how wonderful this is. I am purchasing a few more bottles to parse through the coming months since it is bottle conditioned and the active culture will continue to change the product through to at least the ‘USE By’ date, handwritten on each bottle (May 2014 for the ones I bought on the hill):
Yesterday’s beverage review here.
Overall: Bitter and sweet competing almost equally (what better metaphor for Christmas). Very much like an American blond, odd for a brewery started half a decade before the War of 1812 (sorry Brits, I know you had other things on your plates back then, but the Americans remember this one like it was yesterday).
Aroma: Frankincense (or some other aromatic I can’t put my finger on)
Mouth: Myrrh – bubbly, medium density and waxy on exit
Flavour: Weed: it really wouldn’t be Christmas without the tree, or in this case a shit load of weedy hops
Yesterday’s entry here.