Sunday, December 31, 2006

my new goal in life

My adored angel, Eric Felten (if you don't know who he is, shame on you. Mr. Felten writes the "How Is Your Drink?" column for the Wall St. Journal, bringing erudition and an inquiring mind to world-class coverage of sots and their drinks), has given me a belated Christmas present: a new goal.

I've been casting about, a bit shiftless of late. The first part of the year I was busy running my very own halfway house (we took in a crashing alcoholic, also we attempted briefly and fruitlessly to intervene in the life of a pregnant teen). Then, after we had to shut down the halfway house because our inmate relapsed and nearly burnt the house down, I became involved in the horrific Petaluma rat hoarding tragedy of 2006. That was like having a job over the summer, what with networking, making phone calls, checking email, picking up rats, delivering rats, hosting rats here in my home, etc.. When that was over, it was time for the annual auction at Lola's preschool, and I had a lot of work on my hands to fulfil our family's fundraising requirements. I was looking for a new tattoo artist off and on (this didn't rise to the level of a big, time-consuming quest, but it could have), and that's been achieved (Shannon of Braindrops on Haight Street!), but it has become apparent that each tattoo I get will result in a big hissy fit from the husband, who'll sulk and storm about for a day or two. (I'm still getting a little rocket ship on my right leg in January). I've been fostering kittens, and that gave me some intense weeks (when a litter is tiny and not really mobile, you have to feed them many times a day, do at least one load of kitten-caused laundry a day, bathe them, etc..) But my life had a big purpose for much of 2006, apart from ferrying my children about the city and doing laundry: first my virgin forays into codependence with my halfway house and next the saving of the Petaluma rats. I've felt kind of empty and purposeless since then.

But now Eric Felten is here to (temporarily) save me and redeem me. Mr. Felten confides that anyone who is not a shiftless loser can create their own cocktail. Why should you drink a regular old Manhattan or Cosmo when you should be drinking a personal recipe which reminds you of your heritage or travels? (But what about the people from undistinguished origins they would rather forget, who haven't really been anywhere? What about their pain??) Remember, most great cocktails follow a simple formula:

Take 1 1/2 of a base (vodka is the easiest to work with; spirits such as whiskey, gin brandy, or tequila are more complex and interesting, however).

Add 1/2 ounce of an aromatized or fortified wine (vermouth, Dubonnet, Lillet, sherry, port. Port?? Have I ever had a cocktail with port in it? I love port).

Finish with a 1/4 ounce of a liqueur of your choice (ooh, I love liqueurs).

Jeff Hollinger, the "chief mixologist" (I hate that "word") at the Absinthe Brasserie and Bar and coauthor of "The Art of the Bar"(and incidentally creator of the Galapagos, a cocktail I have greatly enjoyed when I've been to the A.B.&B) says one should fine tune a recipe by making four or five variations of it and line them up right next to each other. As you drink through them all, a greater understanding of the subtleties will emerge (although I imagine I would become seized by some idea that the proportions just don't matter and start flinging the ingredients about willy-nilly).

Anyhow, I am determined to create the Drunken Housewife cocktail. I'll post the recipe when I've reached perfection. I haven't invented a drink since college, when I created the Trash Fairy (whiskey and grapefruit juice with a maraschino cherry). My own child has outdone me in this regard; she came home from kindergarten one day and invented a (non-alcoholic, natch) drink she dubbed the Saint-Saens (god, I love that child).


Anonymous said...

i would think by the time you got to the "fourth or fifth variation", you'd care less about the recipe.

Anonymous said...

as my new year's eve gift to you, i present you and your readers with the perfect margarita...

1 heaping shot of tequila
1 heaping shot of cointreau
1 shot of orange juice
juice of 1/2 lime. but dont simply pinch it, you must squeeze the life out of it so no juice remains.

shake vigorously with ice. serve in salted glass.

enjoy! and happy new year

Anonymous said...

i hearby renounce my name, listed as drunkenmomof2, above.

from here on i shall be lemonjuicer.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if something is in the air -- I just emailed an idea for a new ice cream flavor to Ben & Jerry's through their suggestion site!

I can't wait to hear what you come up with. I hope it doesn't have a name that involves rats, though...

Anonymous said...

hello. Just found your blog and I am loving it. You are very industrious making your cocktails.....I am lazy and thus just keep champagne in the fridge!

Anonymous said...

I so want the drunken housewife cocktail recipe. Is anyone allowed to drink it, or only drunken (or soon to be drunk) housewifes? If the latter, could you define "drunk," and "housewife," for me?

the Drunken Housewife said...

When I have achieved my goal, I shall post the recipe here, and all readers are authorized (nay, commanded) to mix the cocktail promptly.

Anonymous said...

I was in graduate school in NYC when some friends invented a drink and formed a club in order to get together and drink the drink. It was called a Katastroma and was, essestially a very, very dry vodka martini with a cocktail onion instead of an olive. Those "club meetings" were a whale of a good time! Here in Texas, of course, everyone has a favorite Margarita recipe. Here's mine: Three parts tequila, two parts freshly squeezed key lime juice, one part cointreau, shaken over ice and strained into a salt-rimmed glass. Happy New Year, DH to you and yours!

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