Friday, February 17, 2012

the artisanal cocktails and costumed children of Cataluña

Last night we stopped by a bar around the corner from our hotel, a bar specializing in "gintonics", which is what Barcelonans call that alluring mixture of gin with tonic water.  However.... this bar had shelves and shelves of gins, and the owner had created a special "gintonic" around each gin.  The only fluids involved were gin and Schweppes brand tonic water, so technically these were gin and tonics.... but.... I HAD A GIN AND TONIC WITH MUDDLED FRESH STRAWBERRIES AND WITH LITTLE CHOCOLATE SPRINKLES IN IT, like you'd put on an ice cream cone.  AND I LIKED IT.  There were gintonics with pomelo, with nutmeg, with little sticks of licorice...  The Sober Husband had one with fresh apple slices.

A big TV screen behind the bar played the local version of old-MTV-when-it-played-music-videos, but without the sound while instead American pop music blared.  This was disconcerting.  A crazed gin genius spent a very large amount of time making our cocktails, and his assistant spoiled us with countless dishes of amazing olives and nuts.

All I know is that when I am back home, I am buying some chocolate sprinkles from the ice cream section, and I am putting them in my cocktails, and no one will stop me.

Today we took a road trip to a seaside town an hour away, to see some remarkable Roman ruins and a cathedral which features ancient Catholic art portraying rats staging a funeral for a cat, who comes back to life.  Heartbreakingly the cathedral closed just as we showed up, at only 2:00, and we were despondent and walked about sadly with our heads down.  "Tancat, why'd it have to be tancat?" we complained, having just learned the Catalan word for "closed" that day [a big part of the Roman ruins were also "tancat"].  Then we came upon a parade.  It was a very big parade, composed exclusively of very small children and people who were presumably their parents and teachers.  The parade had a large section of children dressed as "construction workers of tomorrow", lots of mice, a lot of little wolves accompanied by Red Riding Hoods, and then, most fascinating to me, the parade ended with a group of very little children dressed in the local street cleaning uniforms.  We were enchanted, and our hearts, so disappointed by the tancat-ness of the cathedral, lifted.  "It reminds me of how when I was studying Russian, we learned how to say, 'ever since I was a small child, I dreamed of being a collective farm worker'," I said.

10 comments:

Silliyak said...

No tapas?

the Drunken Housewife said...

The gintonics bar didn't have tapas other than dishes of mixed olives or nuts or bags of potato chips. But! The best tapa I have had so far, bar none, was melted brie in little cubes rolled in coconut. A-frigging-mazing! I took the sober husband's picture outside that place so I'd remember it, but I think he doesn't want his image plastered here on this seedy blog.

Unknown said...

Did all Russian language teachers have the same book to teach from? Because I learned that phrase when I took Russian in high school (in the mid 1990's, in Hawaii). Although all I can recall now is how to say, "I know nothing." (Ya nichevo ne znayoo!)

sonia m. said...

it's carnival in europe. most cities will have parades of little children in odd costumes. though i don't recall ever wanting to dress up as a street cleaner.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Unknown, I am so pleased that someone else had that same experience, because whenever I've shared it with anyone, they looked at me like I was on drugs that day (your choice: the day of the Russian class or the day I was telling the anecdote).

Sonia: today in Barcelona they had a parade, no little street cleaners to be seen. To be fair, in Tarragon the street cleaners had extremely distinctive uniform, which no doubt led to the allure of it as a costume. Sure beats Disneyfied things.

A Brilliant Future Behind Me said...

I took two years of Russian in college and did not learn that phrase, although I do recall one of those dialogues you had to memorize at the start of each chapter. It started with one person asking another if they'd like a cigarette. How politically incorrect would that be today?

Valerie said...

Do you know how the man made your muddled strawberry cocktail? I usually just stick a strawberry popsicle in mine ;) However, real strawberries were on sale yesterday and I have some gin that is calling my name.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Valerie! I posted the procedure in full today, but basically they just banged on the slices of strawberries after putting them in the glass (before adding anything else). Any old thing you have on hand shd do. My most revered bartender of all time, (RIP Bruno Mooshei) used to use a big metal spoon for muddling.

Valerie said...

I wanted to post this yesterday but I couldn't remember the exact phrases. When my mother was trying to learn German a few years ago some of the phrases they had were...."The princess is crying in the bathroom with the queen ." and "The skunk ate the bull nettles." I do not think she had to use them while she was in Germany.

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