Monday, March 12, 2012

The Good Old Days

Remember the good old days when you'd get a little extra at the gas station with a fill up. Glasses, toy cars, maps. Hell they'd even check your oil and and wash your window!

One of the mailings I subscribe to had sent out a link for his latest newsletter and he'd acquired a small bar guide that a Shell service station at 5th and Folsom in San Francisco had given out in 1952.

There’s still a Shell Station at 5th and Folsom in San Francisco and it’s got three service bays and no quickie mart! I wonder if they still give out a little extra?

The book included a recipe for a Zombie that's a bit different than the norm. I had to try it! My changes, measurements and notes are in italics

Lou's Shell Station Zombie
  •  1 ounce Passion Fruit Juice – Homemade Passion Fruit Syrup diluted 1 to 2 pts water
  • 1 ounce Plum or Apricot Juice – I substituted 1 oz Mango
  • Juice 1 small lime – 1oz
  • 1 tsp. powdered sugar – 1 barspoon 1/1 simple syrup
  • 1 dash Bitters
  • Juice of 1 medium-sized orange – 2 oz
  • ½ Anisette – ½ barspoon Absinthe
  • 2 ½ oz. rum – Cruzan Aged
  • ½ oz. Apricot Flavored Brandy – Rothman & Winters
  • ½ oz. Dememara, 151 proof – Lemon Hart – I floated this on top
  • 1 oz. Jamaica Rum – Smith & Cross
  • 1 oz. Puerto Rico Gold Label Rum – Zaca 12yr

 Overall I would say this is a damn fine drink. It's not overly sweet and I would probably leave out the additional sugar/simple syrup next time. It's got definite tropical/tiki twist with the rum and topical fruits. I've got a couple of other Tiki Recipes that use Absinthe and it's a nice addition and adds complexity in small, almost undetectable amounts.

I stirred it all together and served it in a pint glass, on the rocks, with the 151 float and I'm going to slowly drink the whole thing and then take a nap

images courtesy of

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Retirement: FAIL!

Apparently I'm not good at being retired. I've worked as much or more since my official retirement on June 1st of last year. Retiring seemed like the right thing to do at the time and I don't regret the decision. But I don't seem to be up to the task of being retired just yet as I've pretty much worked full time as a temp since I "Retired".

I had five weeks off during late December and early January. I was worried about not being busy enough and consequently overbooked myself and caught the cold from hell. I haven't been that sick in many years and was sick for a couple of weeks and I'm still getting over it a couple of weeks later.

Even though I've been busy as the proverbial beaver; I haven't gotten most of what I'd hoped to get done, accomplished. Oh well, I've go the rest of my life.

I've been making cocktails, liqueurs, bitters and the like for the last couple of years - it's part of being a recovering winemaker I guess. I really don't miss the wine business much. I got to the point that my customers were the best part of the business - the rest of it was more trouble that it was worth. I have to confess that when I had good grapes to work with I made wines that I really enjoyed and I enjoyed the process of making those wines, but overall it stopped being fun.

So these days I seek out the great wines that sneak under the radar of the critics and play around with housemade cocktail ingredients to satisfy my creative urges.

One of my favorite cocktails is the Margarita and I love the fact that there are many
variations to play with. An ingredient that is reputed to be in the original formula is damiana liqueur. There are a couple of commercial formulations available; Guaycura and Agavero. Guaycura is perhaps more common and it comes in the pregnant Inca Goddess Bottle. Agavero is subtler and more complex and comes in a bottle that represents the Blue Agave Plant that provides the Reposado Tequila that forms the base of this liqueur.

Damiana is an herb that grows in Central and South America and on the islands in the Caribbean. Supposedly it can be drunk as a tea to relax or used as an aphrodisiac - seems like a bit of a competing view of its effects.

I've made a Damiana Tincture that in the past that I've used with good success in more traditional Margaritas to add a layer of complexity. The recipe for the tincture and a Margarita made with it are included below.

So it's been a bit of a lazy Sunday here at the old homestead and I've been pretty useless. I've done some laundry and a few dishes and I've got a pot of Bayou Butter Beans cooking. Mostly I've been trying a few of these Damiana Liqueur Margaritas for research purposes while being watching some football and working on a blog post.

Lima Beans are one of my favorites. The large beans, also known as butter beans, are creamy and have a faint vegetal or herbaceous note that other beans lack. As I was tasting this batch I was thinking that they'd make a wonderful bean puree. Maybe next time!

Bayou Butter Beans

1 lb Dried Butter Beans (AKA large lima beans)
1 small ham hock - about a 1 1/2 pounds
1 large onion - diced
1 red bell pepper - diced
2 jalapeno peppers - veins and seeds removed and diced
2 or 3 stalks of celery - diced
2 Tablespoons of Cajun Seasoning (use a commercial brand or even better - make your own - see below)
3 quarts of water

Use a 6 quart dutch oven.
Put all of the ingredients except the beans in the dutch oven and bring to a boil - simmer for an hour
Add the beans and bring to a boil.
Lower the temperature and simmer for and hour or two until the beans are tender.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Cajun Spice Mix and Rub
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons dried sweet basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 5 tablespoons sweet paprika
Mix thoroughly in a large bowl. The recipe doubles or triples well. Give it away as gifts to your family and friends. This mix also works well as a rub for chicken or pork on the barbecue
Demian's Damiana Margarita   (Variation)- Via Casa Coctel

3oz Reposada Tequila - I used Lunazul - this cocktail really shows off the tequila so go ahead and splurge a little.
1 1/2 oz Agavero Tequila Liqueur
Juice of one lime (about an ounce)

Mix all over ice. Shake and strain.

Serve in a large coupe with a salted rim and garnish with a slice of lime.

Variation - if you'd like it a bit sweeter or you just have to have a hit of orange - muddle a lime in the shaker before adding ice and the rest of the ingredients.

Margarita with Damiana Tincture - This is a basic 3-2-1 Margarita with a twist

3 oz Tequila - Blanco or Reposado (100% Blue Agave)
2 oz Cointreau
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
a couple of dashes of Damiana Tincture

Mix all over ice. Shake and strain.

Serve in a large coupe with a salted rim and garnish with a slice of lime.

Damiana Tincture

3 oz Blanco Tequila
1 oz by volume Damiana

Mix together in a jar and let sit for a week. Strain into an old bitters bottle and use a shake or two in a margarita.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Roots Less

I've never been much of a beer drinker. It's just never been my thing and that's unfortunate living in a town that arguably has the best available selection of beers in the world. Part of the reason for the vast selection is the late Jim Kennedy of Admiralty Beverage who had a long list of world beers long before it was trendy. The culture of Portland is a large part of the equation as well; with microbreweries in all quadrants and fine dining restaurants with beer lists longer than most restaurants wine lists.

For a long time I looked at an opportunity to drink beer with the same enthusiasm I usually reserve for an invitation to a white zinfandel tasting. But times and tastes change and now I find that I'm drinking more beer than wine over the last month or two. I don't know how long that will last, but I'm having fun sampling beers from around the world.

Portland is blessed with more than it share of bierstubes and some of them sell by the bottle as well. One of the oldest, if not the oldest biercafe/bottleshop in town is Belmont Station. I've been shopping and sampling here lately. It's far enough away that it's not too convenient and close enough that it's not a pain to get to.

Last Tuesday Belmont Station hosted a vertical tasting of the recently closed Root's Brewing Epic Ale. They served the 05, 06, 07, 08 and 09 versions. I was sure it was going to be a zoo and I decided to pass on this once in a lifetime, last chance opportunity. Wednesday I stumbled in to Belmont Station looking for a beer or two to take home and low and behold the opportunity to try all five versions was still available. I grabbed a seat and placed my order.

 I didn't take notes and it's been a few days, but here are a few of my general impressions. 2005 - Wow! this is a phenomenal product. Hints of smoke, a mouthful of toffee and espresso. It was rich and sweet; like a port aged in a scotch barrel. 2006 - the little brother of the 05. I don't think it will reach the depth of the 05, but it was my second favorite. The 07 & 08 showed the same character of the first two, but didn't seem as well built and it didn't seem to me that they would ever become what the 05 or even the 06 attained. The 09 was my third choice and it seemed to be built to go the distance. I don't know that it would become the 05...but you can only hope and then hope that a few years down the road you get the chance to find out.

So the brewery is closed and I won't get this once in a lifetime opportunity again, but I'm glad I did make it in and try the line up.

So it's Boxing Day (and the Feast of St. Stephen) and I'm distinctly lacking in ambition today. Plenty that I should be doing; laundry, dishes, vacuuming and the like - just the time to procrastinate and write to this poor neglected blog.

I made some oyster stew today and it turned out really well. I had all the ingredients on hand and it came together really well.

Keith's Damn Good Oyster Stew

1 Pint of oysters and their liquor
1 quart of milk
1 cup of half and half
1/2 a large onion - chopped
3 stalks of celery - fine dice
4 slices of good smoked bacon - diced
Salt, Pepper, Old Bay Seasoning
a splash of Absinthe or Herbsaint if you've got it. It's traditional in New Orleans oyster dishes and adds a hint of anise.

Saute the bacon until it's crisp and remove from pot and reserve

Saute the onion and celery in a couple tablespoons of the remaining bacon fat.

While the onions and celery are cooking; put the oysters and their liquor in a pan and poach them until they are just cooked. Set them aside to cool.

When the onions and celery are softened and before they brown add the milk, half and half and the liquor out of the poached oysters. Season with a couple of good shakes of Old Bay or salt. Add a couple of grinds of pepper and a splash of Absinthe or Herbsaint.

Cut the cooled oysters into 3 or 4 pieces.

When the stew mixture is getting hot but not boiling, add the oysters and bacon and give them a minute to warm up.

Serve it with Oyster Crackers, Pepper, a shake of Old Bay for color, some Tabasco and a cold beer (I'm drinking a Deschutes Jubal Ale)

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Home Run and a Foul Ball

I needed a three day weekend. The nature of my temporary position filling in for my old job requires full time work - no vacations, no sick leave - welcome to the real world! It makes me appreciate what I used to try not to take for granted and appreciate it even more in hindsight.

In spite of having a three day weekend I've been as cranky as a sow grizzly with a sore tooth. I'm coming out of it now, but I couldn't stand being around myself most of the weekend I was so crabby.

I've been trying to be productive and addressing the lengthy list of long neglected chores.

I fixed the lawn mower and mowed. The lawn was only mildly horrendous - the lack of water had slowed the growth of the lawn and only the weeds needed to be topped.

Got caught up on laundry, washed all the damned dishes and did a couple of plumbing repairs.

The plumbing repairs were minor but aggravating; a leaky faucet and a bad toilet fill valve. The faucet repair went smoothly; the toilet valve not so much - my fault really, I wasn't paying attention and left out a washer. It wouldn't have been an issue if I'd been paying attention. Always, Always, Always! Check your connections right after you turn on the water! Don't get distracted selecting a bottle of wine to enjoy as a reward for finally getting off your ass and doing something. Fifteen minutes later when I finally made it upstairs to open the bottle of wine and Oh Yeah, check the plumbing repairs, I was faced with a minor flood. It wasn't biblical and certainly the bathroom floor needed to be mopped.

I decided that I'd make a couple of items I'd bought ingredients for when I'd hit up the Hollywood and Montavilla Farmer's Markets. A homemade version of Chinese Plum Sauce and a homemade version of Sriracha Sauce.

I'm not a big fan of plum sauce, but I don't hate it either - it's just not something I use. The recipe sounded good, the comments section was positive and plums are in season - what could go wrong? Not an epic fail, but Heavens to Betsy, did any of these people actually make the recipe? The stuff was distinctly not thick - thin and watery. All is not lost though; the flavor is good and hopefully it won't taste nasty when I reduce it down. It's simmering away right now. It does smell really good.

The Sriracha Sauce got started last night. Chop up some red pepper and garlic, soak overnight in some vinegar and salt, cook it up with a bit of sugar and blend away! Booyah! This stuff rocks!

Homemade Sriracha (Rooster Sauce) from

Makes about 2 cups
  • 1/2 pound red fresno chiles, coarsely chopped - I used red jalapenos
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar - no I didn't have palm sugar in the house - I had to go out and buy it
  1. Place all the ingredients except the sugar in a jar and let sit overnight to mellow the heat of the peppers. I guess one could consider this a brine.
  2. Place the mixture and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Transfer to a blender and puree for about 5 minutes, until a smooth, orange-red mixture forms. Run through a fine strainer and smush out as much juice as possible. 
This was the first time I've used palm sugar. It's got and interesting flavor, almost like sweetened condensed milk - a bit of a caramel flavor. They say you can substitute light brown sugar, but I thing I'd just use white sugar.

Read more:
Good Stuff - I'll be making more of this soon

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Father's Day Post

Happy Father's Day to all of you Fathers out there.

Nicholas Kristof wrote a moving tribute to his father who passed away a couple of days ago.

I've got a late lunch, early dinner cooking right now - a one pot meal by Cook's Illustrated's reckoning. Granted you only cook in one pot, but I'm one of those mise in place [miz ɑ̃ plas] kind of guys: yeah, me and Tony Bourdain - it's our religion. So while it only messes up one pot, I've got a sink full of dishes, ramekins, utensils and other implements of destruction waiting to be washed.

I can rationalize my procrastination about doing the dishes by using the excuse that I'm only addressing the issue of the much lengthier procrastination of writing on a blog post. Hmmmm... a very awkward sentence and I haven't even partaken of intoxicants at 11:45. Noon will be here soon!

My god I need a drink - I've got World Cup Soccer on the tube. The Beautiful Game! A game played by players whose names I can't pronounce, from countries I've never heard of, playing a game I've never understood - and the crowd is blating on the vuvusula; a dime store noisemaker thusly and accurately described; "But when thousands of people toot them simultaneously, you get a loud, incessant hum that makes the entire stadium sound like it's being attacked by angry bees. It's a staple at any South African soccer match and ... surprise! Everyone hates it!". So far the only good reason I can think of that I'm still watching is that it gives me something to whine about.

The best thing about the soccer match so far is that the Brazilian's have a player named Kaka -I'd heard a couple of shouts of caa caa, before I figured out it was a players name.
By the time I get done writing this post I'll probably have eaten and partaken and will be able to critique the effort. So far it's smelling pretty good.

Southwestern One-Post Chicken Rice - via a blog posted to Saveur
One-Pot Southwestern Chicken and Rice  (Cook's Illustrated)

Serves 4 hungry people - this could easily serve 6, especially if you added a few more pieces of chicken

You can substitute any semi-soft shredded cheese, such as fontina, Gouda, or Colby, for the cheddar.

4 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or 4 thighs
2 tablespoons salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped medium - I used a large one - there's no such thing as too much onion
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic , minced
1-1/2 cups long grain white rice - I used brown jasmine rice
3-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth - I used homemade
1/2  cup dry white wine - I used white vermouth
4 ounces cheddar cheese , shredded (1 cup)
1 15.5 ounce can of black beans, drained, and rinsed with water
1 10 ounce package of frozen corn, thawed and patted dry - I used a can of corn
1 4 ounce can of green chiles - this wasn't called for in the recipe - but, hey it was a SW recipe!
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
salsa for serving

I also added a tablespoon or two of chili powder and a couple of teaspoons of ground cumin

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the fat in the pot.

Add the onion, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the fat in the pot and place over medium heat. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook until the edges turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and wine and bring to a simmer.

Return the chicken to the pot, skin-side up. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 25 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Stir in the black beans, corn, cheese, and cilantro. Let the cheddar melt for 1 minute. Season the rice mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with salsa.

I served it with the cheese strewn on top, not stirred in.

This made a slightly loose rice dish - not quite risotto. I think you could make a big batch of this and serve it buffet style for a real football game. I'd accompany it with a couple of salsas, a bit of sour cream, some lime slices and some tortilla chips.

I had brunch with some friends at the Country Cat recently. We all had a cocktail called "El Gato Verde". Basically it's a margarita made by muddling some celery and cilantro in the mix. We all liked it, but thought it might be made a bit better with a bit less celery, a bit more cilantro and spiced up a bit with a dash of hot sauce.

El Gato Verde - the Green Cat

2 oz Sauza Hornito's Tequila - I used Lunazul Reposado
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz Cointreau - I used housemade orange liqueur
an orange slice - 1/2 of a quarter inch thick slice of lime
a couple of drops of Damiana tinture - recipe below
a 3 inch stick of celery cut in 3 or 4 pieces
a couple of sprigs of cilantro
a dash of Tabasco or a chipotle hot sauce for a smoky hit.

Muddle the orange slice, cilantro, celery, hot sauce and damiana tincture together.

Add the rest of the ingredients and shake vigorously with ice.

Strain into a highball glass on the rocks - a salted rim if you so choose.

Housemade Damiana Tincture

2 Tbl damiana
1/3 cup silver tequila

Mix it in a jar and let it steep for a week.

Strain through a coffee filter and store in an amber dropper bottle

BTW - Brazil beat Ivory Coast 3 to 1. Kaka got red carded.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Damn Good Sandwich

I was cruising the internet after work on Friday and saw an article on about a Boston area restaurant's unexpected hit menu item - a roast beef sandwich.

I like a roast beef sandwich as well as the next guy, but I couldn't imagine what you could do to make it a big hit/menu favorite. I realize Arby's has built an empire on roast beef sandwiches so my first thought is it wouldn't be hard to improve on that mass market mediocrity.

So what's the secret to an awesome roast beef sandwich? The basics of course; good meat, good bread and good toppings. This one uses a couple of unusual ingredients and the combination is sublime.

So add Cutty's in Boston to the places I want to check out if I ever blow this town. I want to go to the mother ship and try this sandwich. I want to see how my version stands up to the original, because frankly the one I made is the best damn roast beef sandwich I've ever had!

I made a few changes to the original Cutty's Amazing Roast Beef Sandwich Recipe - I get the impression that Chuck Kelsey, the owner of Cutty's would approve; it sounds like he's a pretty good guy.
So the basis of this sandwich is Roast Beef and Cheese on a Bun. What sets it apart is some jazzed up thousand island dressing and some crispy deep fried shallots - a Vietnamese touch that puts it over the top.

The Kutty Sandwich

  • A Kaiser Roll or a Pub Bun - the original sandwich calls for a pepper brioche roll - I don't know of anything like that available around these parts - but it sounds like a fine idea.
  • Thinly sliced roast beef - you can buy it from the deli or make it with the recipe below
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese - I used Tillamook Vintage White
  • Jazzed up Thousand Island Dressing (Thousand Island with bit of horseradish to taste) or use the recipe below
  • Crispy Deep Fried Shallots - recipe below or buy them pre-made at an Asian Market. You might get by using those Durkee's French Fried Onions of Green Bean Casserole fame, but I don't think it would be the same
  • Pre-heat the broiler while you're assembling the rest of the ingredients
  • Split the Pub Roll and and top each half with a slice of cheese and put under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and the edges of the roll are browned.
  • Top the bottom half of the the bun with a pile of thinly sliced roast beef
  • Top the pile of roast beef with a tablespoon or two of the Thousand Island Dressing 
  • Pile on some of the crispy shallots
  • Put the top half of the bun on the sandwich and prepare to be amazed!
Roast Beef
  1. Salt and Pepper a two plus pound sirloin tip roast - put it in a ziplock bag and refrigerate overnight
  2. The next day pull the roast out of the fridge an hour before you're going to cook it
  3. Preheat the oven to 500 and let it heat for 20 additional minutes after it comes to temperature - I can't emphasize enough how important it is to properly preheat an oven! Listen Dammit! I know what I'm talking about!
  4. Put the roast in the oven and turn the oven down to 475
  5. Cook the roast for 5 minutes per pound - I had a two and a third pound roast - I cooked it for 12 minutes.
  6. Turn the oven off and DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!
  7. Let the roast cook in the oven for 2 1/2 Hours and DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!
  8. While it's cooking make sure you have a really sharp knife - if you don't, you've got about two hours to get it sharp 
  9. Okay, now you can open the door and pull out the roast - let it rest for 15 minutes
  10. Thinly slice the roast - as thin as you can - this is why you have to have a really sharp knife
Housemade Thousand Island Dressing
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup bottled chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped drained pimiento
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle or cornichon
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons horseradish
 Mix together all of the ingredients except the horseradish.

Horseradish varies in it's heat level - the idea here is to have just a bit of the heat and taste of the horseradish,  so add a the horseradish a bit at a time until it's right.

Crispy Fried Shallots

  • two cups of peeled sliced shallots - slice them a scant 1/8th inch thick
  • four cups of canola oil
  1. Slice the shallots and lay them out on a sheet pan to dry for 20 or 30 minutes
  2. Heat the oil to 350 in a deep sauce pan - a 3 qt pan is good
  3. Add the shallots to the oil - be careful - they have a lot of water and the pan may want to boil over
  4. The oil temperature will drop to about 250 - keep it here and cook for 10 to 15 minute until the shallots are caramel brown - peanut butter brown is almost too much.
  5. Drain the shallots on several layers of paper towels
This will keep for a week or so in a covered container

Since it's Kentucky Derby Weekend - I've been drinking a few mint juleps

Mint Julep
  • 2 to 3 ounces bourbon whiskey – I used Buffalo Trace
  • 4 to 6 sprigs of mint
  • ½ to ¾ ounce simple syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar – bring to a simmer and then cool)
  • crushed ice
  1. Add mint to bottom of glass.
  2. Add simple syrup and gently muddle mint into syrup, rubbing it all around the sides of the glass. Do not over-muddle the mint - the idea is to bruise it and get the essential oils into the syrup
  3. Pull out most of the mint, leaving the minty syrup behind.
  4. Fill glass halfway with crushed ice.
  5. Add bourbon. Jiggle ingredients but do not stir.  The drink should get mintier and a bit sweeter as you get to the bottom of the glass
  6. Add crushed ice on top until mound forms.
  7. Garnish with large mint sprig

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What's in a name? That which we call a rose

The Monkey Gland is a most unfortunately named cocktail. Frankly it bothers me more than just a little that I like this cocktail as much as I do.

I don't know if there is another drink that I like that has a name with such an "Ick!" factor. I suppose that this is one of those "a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet" things.

I like Manhattans - the name sounds like a sophisticated cocktail from a sophisticated city - I can imagine drinking them at a cocktail party in a Manhattan Loft with Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond playing a soft version of Take Five in the background - not on a cd or vinyl - the two of them together again - I know Desmond is dead, but I saw him playing with Brubeck once; front row, center. Amazing - pretty vivid imagination in play here don't you think, but I really was front row, center.

A Sazerac conjures up images of a smoky joint in New Orlean's or bottles of Rye Whiskey, Absinthe and Peychaud's Bitters. Max Rebennack; Dr. John the Night Tripper playing "Right Place, Wrong Time"

Martinis make me think of riding the Green Tortoise to San Francisco - My cousin Mark picked me up - several hours late and I was irritated . We stopped and had a pint of Anchor Steam with a couple of Martini backs to calm me down. It was some funky place that served barbecue turkey legs. I guess I should have some Grateful Dead song rolling as I write this bit, but frankly I'm drawing a blank - Truckin' doesn't really seem like appropriate martini music - but then again, barbecue turkey legs don't seem like the kind of finger food that would go with martinis either. Canapes and Julie London would be more like it.

I don't have any positive imagery with the Monkey Gland cocktail. Somehow what comes to mind is a doctor doing physicals on a bunch of naked guys lined up at the old military induction center near SW 5th and Taylor in my aborted attempt to join the Navy in 1972 - maybe Country Joe McDonald got through to me. Sorry, it's not a pretty picture - more "Ick Factor"

Maybe there is hope though as noted below it was also known as the McCormick - which somehow reminds me more of little tins of herbs at the grocery store. Then again, the story also includes the real origin behind the name of the cocktail.

From the Washington Post – Washington, D.C., Apr 29, 1923:
“Preparing for a busy tourist season, Frank, the noted concocter behind the bar of the Ritz, has devised a new series of powerful cocktails, the favorite of which is known as the “monkey gland”, or , as it is popularly called, the “McCormick.”
Like Frank’s “poixxito quinte” [?] gloomer raiser, the monkey gland requires absinthe to be perfect, but its amateurs have found anise a substitute with a sufficient kick.
For the benefit of friends over in America who have not exhausted their cellars, here is the recipe: half and half gin and orange juice, a dash of absinthe, and a dash of raspberry or other sweet juice. Mix well with ice and serve only with a doctor handy. Inside half an hour the other day Frank purveyed forty of these, to the exclusion of Manhattans and Martinis.”
 Monkey Gland or McCormick

1 1/2 oz. London dry gin  (I use Cascade Mountain Gin)
1 1/2 oz. orange juice
1 tsp. grenadine - make your own - it's so much better
1/2 tsp. Absinthe

Stir with cracked ice and strain.