Sunday, June 26, 2005

All Blog And No Play Makes A Dull Boy

Hello chums. I realize that I have been unforgivably absent from this odd exercise in ego-massaging for just over a week, but in my defense I'd like to offer up the following excuses:

a) After two months of near constant rain, the sun has been out in Maine and then some.
b) Therefore it has been awfully hot in the upstairs bit where I habitually do my computer buggins.
b) It was my birthday on the 21st (of June, Mondale) and I had to contemplate being 32 for a few days (thank you hops, thank you barley, thank you yeast).
c) I got a bike for my birthday (what am I, 12? Asking for a bike at my age; I must be part Dutch. Suffice to say, I'm very happy). I have been riding said bike, buying accessories for said bike, and daydreaming about riding said bike to work (8 miles downhill to sea level good; 8 miles back up long slow hill at the end of the day bad).
d) I bought a new water pistol yesterday (well, more of a pump action water shotgun actually), ostensibly for repelling skunks in the dark (long story partially recounted below) but in its short reality it has proved more useful for blasting a path through the swarms of june bugs and moths crowding the porch light so that I can nip out for a bifter (Mondale can translate if needed).

I'll brook no argument; these are valid excuses.

Anyway, to the weather; on blistering days like this one can only be thankful that one was born and raised on military bases on the fair Island of Albion and thus developed early the ability to make a bloody reasonable gin and tonic. You can throw your How The Irish Saved Civillisation by whatshisface Cahill in a peaty bog, you can raise the anchor on the Greeks and send them back to Sailing The Wine Dark Sea (Cahill again), and you can even apply kevlar, bactine, and rustoleum to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel; the true mark of civillisation can be found by marching into a local hostelry anywhere in the world and being pleasantly surprised to find bottles marked "schweppes indian tonic water" and either "Bombay Sapphire" or "Tanqueray".

Already I can sense some of your hackles rising; "'(I) thus developed early the ability to make a bloody reasonable gin and tonic'- how hard is it to splash a little gin in a glass, sling in some ice, and top it off with tonic and a slice of citrus?" Far be it for me to claim total expertise in this area, but I will humbly suggest that a properly constructed G & T (or in the Weasel family vernacular, a "grin and vomit") while simple on the surface really needs a gentle hand and a steady eye. Making the first is no trial but if you have done it properly making the fourth will be. Allow me to humbly share my recipe:

3 parts good gin, aka "mothers' ruin". I prefer Tanqueray; Mondale is a Bombay man. Unlike a drink that will be drowned in cola or a fruity disaster blend there is really no top-notch mixer for gin (most tonic being mass-produced in grim soda bottling plants) and so a good spirit is a must. A martini quality booze really makes the drink.

7 parts Schweppes tonic. A conglomerate they may be, but sentimentally British to the core. When I was 14 I took part in a leg of the "Round Britain Walk" sponsored hike for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme(for the Brits out there, my team covered Sandringham to Newark, mostly along Peddars Way; for the septics, the DoE award is like Outward Bound) and the victuals were supplied by Cadbury-Schweppes. Therefore I have fond memories of bottles of bitter lemon and the legendary finger of fudge candy bar.

One ice cube for every 4 fluid ounces of glass volume.

Take glass from cupboard (I like the American pint glass; 16 ounces, while too small for a real beer, is good for mixed drinks). Remove errant spider from glass. pour in gin. Add ice. Take cocktail stirrer or chopstick and "bruise" the gin on the ice to release those fantastic aromatic herb extracts. Pour in the tonic gently, preferably letting it cascade over the mini-iceberg before hitting the gin. Do not add fruit; this is an elephant tranquillizer designed to avert malaria and homesickness, not a salad. Drink while seated in a comfortable armchair listening to English "Sounds of the Suburbs" music like the Pistols, the Jam, or the Libertines with a punkah (with or without punkah wallah) chugging in the background. Verily, you are now a pukkah sahib of your own liberal, boozy raj.

Bugger- I would write more, but a terrific thunderstorm just started. More Grin and Vomits! To the storm shelter Dorothy!


Mondale said...

What do you mean, do not add fruit? A gnt needs a slice of slightly squidged lemon like bowles needs to see lobster.
last week of august?

weasel said...

This is where we see that you were raised catholic and I was raised in the protestant tradition (always go with an orange?). Fruit is for Pimms No. 1 Cup, Mexican beer, vodka tonics, rum, and anything served in a ladies' glass.

Mondale said...

Pimms requires lots of fruit and ladies with large chests.

jamie said...

no to rain on your Schweppes parade, but the good people of SF thought the Safeway brand tonic was the best:

meanwhile, what gives with both Canada Dry and Schweppes both being owned by the same conglomerate? aren't all of their products in direct competition with each other? here i thought i was regularly paying homage to my Canuck roots (rather than those heartless Imperialist empire-builders (of yore)) and it turns out it makes no difference. the switch to shopping by price (hello generic store brands!) begins.

RPS said...

To the storm shelter Dorothy!

I thought her name started with a J.

weasel said...

Bowles: Ahhhh, Pimms! August would be lovely.

Jamie: With all due respect to the people of San Fransisco we are not talking about what they like, we are talking about what I like. I will defer to their opinion in the matter of rice-a-roni flavourings however; it is after all, their "treat".

RPS: Gin poisoning makes one act awfully strange.

Jim said...


I'm thinking we might have some fun with gnt's on Aug. 4th, as in some celebrity bartender action after the game?

weasel said...

Jim, I see traveling to Hadlock Field with Dr. Parsley's Patent Trunk Bar....