Friday, July 28, 2017

Cocktail ingredient substitutions

Cocktails From a Low-Stocked Bar: A Guide to Substitutions
[...] So you walk into your house and suddenly remember. You're out of gin. Your spouse finished the bottle last night. After all, a screaming toddler and a broken dishwasher and a leaking ceiling is also grounds for an intense Negroni craving.

Now what do you do? Comb the house for replacement ingredients.

That's the purpose of today's piece. If you don't have X, maybe you have Y, and if you have Y, what can you make with it?

For example, if you have everything for your Negroni except gin, but you have rum, are you good to go? If you want a Sidecar, but you don't have triple sec, will the maraschino work, or do you need to schlep back out to the liquor store?

The Substitution Principle
The first thing to think about here is, "Like replaces like." Swap one fortified wine (vermouth) for another (sherry, for example), when making a Martini or Manhattan. Brown liquors stand in well for each other, in drinks such as Manhattans or Juleps. Various liqueurs can tag in for others, within reason. For example, bitter amari sub in well for each other, as I'll talk about shortly, but an amaro might not be a great swap for triple sec in a Sidecar.

Think about the flavor of a given ingredient, and the role it plays in the drink, before attempting substitutes. You'd never try to build a Manhattan out of three vermouths and bitters. Why? Because the main ingredient needs to be a strong spirit for the drink to be anything close to Manhattan-like. Similarly, don't take the triple sec from a Sidecar and replace it with gin. You need a sweetening agent to balance the cognac and citrus. So try another liqueur, even one that's not fruity. [...]
It goes on to talk about the different "families" of drinks, and ingredient substitutions and the logic of how they work. It ends with a cheat sheet of suggestions that follow the logic. Very useful, especially if you don't want to spend a fortune on bar ingredients, and like to experiment with drink recipes.

Also see:       An A to Z List of Popular Liqueurs and Cordials

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Russia Gate: no "golden ticket" for clueless Democrat Leaders?

I think even most Democrats see it for what it is, even if their party leadership is clueless. A case in point:

Russia-gate Flops as Democrats’ Golden Ticket
The national Democratic Party and many liberals have bet heavily on the Russia-gate investigation as a way to oust President Trump from office and to catapult Democrats to victories this year and in 2018, but the gamble appears not to be paying off.


Indeed, the Democrats may be digging a deeper hole for themselves in terms of reaching out to white working-class voters who abandoned the party in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to put Trump over the top in the Electoral College even though Clinton’s landslide win in California gave her almost three million more votes nationwide.

Clinton’s popular-vote plurality and the #Resistance, which manifested itself in massive protests against Trump’s presidency, gave hope to the Democrats that they didn’t need to undertake a serious self-examination into why the party is in decline across the nation’s heartland. Instead, they decided to stoke the hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in the election as the short-cut to bring down Trump and his populist movement.

A Party of Snobs?

From conversations that I’ve had with some Trump voters in recent weeks, I was struck by how they viewed the Democratic Party as snobbish, elitist and looking down its nose at “average Americans.” And in conversations with some Clinton voters, I found confirmation for that view in the open disdain that the Clinton backers expressed toward the stupidity of anyone who voted for Trump. In other words, the Trump voters were not wrong to feel “dissed.”

It seems the Republicans – and Trump in particular – have done a better job in presenting themselves to these Middle Americans as respecting their opinions and representing their fears, even though the policies being pushed by Trump and the GOP still favor the rich and will do little good – and significant harm – to the middle and working classes.
This article, I could argue with that last comment or any number of assumptions and assertions that the author makes throughout. But I'm not going to bother. Because far more interesting to me, is the arguments he makes about how the Dems are out of touch and really screwing things up. Read on:

By contrast, many of Hillary Clinton’s domestic proposals might well have benefited average Americans but she alienated many of them by telling a group of her supporters that half of Trump’s backers belonged in a “basket of deplorables.” Although she later reduced the percentage, she had committed a cardinal political sin: she had put the liberal disdain for millions of Americans into words – and easily remembered words at that.

By insisting that Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee – after leftist populist Bernie Sanders was pushed aside – the party also ignored the fact that many Americans, including many Democrats, viewed Clinton as the perfectly imperfect candidate for an anti-Establishment year with many Americans still fuming over the Wall Street bailouts and amid the growing sense that the system was rigged for the well-connected and against the average guy or gal.

In the face of those sentiments, the Democrats nominated a candidate who personified how a relatively small number of lucky Americans can play the system and make tons of money while the masses have seen their dreams crushed and their bank accounts drained. And Clinton apparently still hasn’t learned that lesson.

Citing Women’s Rights

Last month, when asked why she accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking to Goldman Sachs, Clinton rationalized her greed as a women’s rights issue, saying: “you know, men got paid for the speeches they made. I got paid for the speeches I made.”

Her excuse captured much of what has gone wrong with the Democratic Party as it moved from its working-class roots and New Deal traditions to becoming a party that places “identity politics” ahead of a duty to fight for the common men and women of America.

Demonstrating her political cluelessness, Clinton used the serious issue of women not getting fair treatment in the workplace to justify taking her turn at the Wall Street money trough, gobbling up in one half-hour speech what it would take many American families a decade to earn.

While it’s a bit unfair to personalize the Democratic Party’s problems, Hillary and Bill Clinton have come to represent how the party is viewed by many Americans. Instead of the FDR Democrats, we have the Davos Democrats, the Wall Street Democrats, the Hollywood Democrats, the Silicon Valley Democrats, and now increasingly the Military-Industrial Complex Democrats.

To many Americans struggling to make ends meet, the national Democrats seem committed to the interests of the worldwide elites: global trade, financialization of the economy, robotization of the workplace, and endless war against endless enemies.

Now, the national Democrats are clambering onto the bandwagon for a costly and dangerous New Cold War with nuclear-armed Russia. Indeed, it is hard to distinguish their foreign policy from that of neoconservatives, although these Democrats view themselves as liberal interventionists citing humanitarian impulses to justify the endless slaughter.

Earlier this year, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found only 28 percent of Americans saying that the Democrats were “in touch with the concerns of most people” – an astounding result given the Democrats’ long tradition as the party of the American working class and the party’s post-Vietnam War reputation as favoring butter over guns.

Yet rather than rethink the recent policies, the Democrats prefer to fantasize about impeaching President Trump and continuing a blame-game about who – other than Hillary Clinton, her campaign and the Democratic National Committee – is responsible for Trump’s election. Of course, it’s the Russians, Russians, Russians! [...]
He's nailed it! Read the whole thing for even more about the deep roots of the problem, and the serious errors the Democrat Party are continuing to make.

Monday, July 03, 2017

What do you drink with your boss?

Having drinks with the boss is not a situation I've often found myself in, especially since I've been self employed. But here is some interesting advice for that scenario, which could also apply to drinking with a client or someone you want to leave with a good impression:

7 Drink Orders Guaranteed to Impress Your Boss
It’s a cardinal rule of corporate life: if the boss asks you for a drink, you say yes. Period. We don’t care if you’re a teetotaler or it’s your 20th wedding anniversary—you’re accepting that invitation. Over a few rounds of cocktails you’ll learn more about the company than you ever will in a boardroom setting, and you’ll put yourself in his or her good graces for the foreseeable future. Blow off the boss? Don’t be surprised if he or she returns the favor one day.

But there are rules for boozing with your corporate leader. No whiskeys neat, and no martinis. And definitely no cruiseliner daiquiris that will (rightfully) make you look like a less-than-serious man. Instead, select drinks that are manly and respectable, but won’t floor you in the process. If you’re not sure what those are, don’t worry. With the help of some top mixologists, we’ve compiled them all right here. And for more great drink recs, try one of these amazing spring cocktails. [...]
I was a bit surprised that the Martini was on the forbidden list. Isn't that a popular one for businessmen? I think the point is not to come across as a lush or a boozer, and the martini might be a bit strong? But they recommend the Manhattan cocktail, and that can be very potent.

This advice also seems to be for men. And perhaps a bit old fashioned. But perhaps that's the best way to behave when drinking with the boss? ;-)

Read the whole thing for the list of drinks, pics, and embedded links.