Inside the Mind of the Monkey

There are more than just bananas in there...

Cocktails from Quarantine

Let’s get this out of the way right up front, this is not really a cocktail blog. I work hard to make sure the drinks info is solid, but if you want to learn how to make cocktails there are probably better options. These missives are mostly my thoughts on the events of the day or reminisces looking back on a half century of misspent youth, loosely draped around a drink made on our kitchen counter. It’s got links to the bars, the alcohols, the music and anything else I find interesting. Nobody is making any money off of them, so click if you are into it or don’t. The bottom line is, we were stuck at home for a long time and these daily shouts into the dark helped me provide some routine and ritual in a world turned upside down. It is my sincere hope that reading them will help you stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.

Mull Again

I said I was gone for the holidays, but clearly, I lied. It happens. I don’t mean to but I get things wrong from time to time. I mean it may not even be a lie, maybe I was just mistaken? I figured I’d be super busy today and not have time to do anything before we headed over the river and through the woods to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving, but then time to kill happened. Which is how we find ourselves here again, gathered virtually for a drink and the requisite words. So, in the spirit of unexpected moments of leisure and the occasional need for a do over, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the excellent Mull Again.

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Mulled Wine

The holidays are upon us again, thank goodness. I am really looking forward to them, especially after all the unprecedentedness of last year. Sure, things are still challenging, but we have more tools to work with and most folks are taking advantages of the wonders of modern science. We’ve done everything we can to protect ourselves and those we love and I am hopeful of a less distanced, more social holiday season. So, with a nod toward the hugs to come, won’t you join me now as we make a traditional classic of the season, Mulled Wine.

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It is amazing what we think we know. I don’t mean things we have opinions about, statistically speaking at least half of those are wrong anyway. I am not talking about misinformation or folks who just don’t want to hear the truth or that surprisingly attractive brand of willful ignorance, though those are bigger problems than ever. Nope, I am looking squarely in the mirror and contemplating things I know to be true, only they aren’t. So, with a nod toward lifetime learning and doing better when we know better, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Haberdasher.

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It seems strange that we are here deep into the fall with a freeze warning tonight, but all the talk is of the boys of summer. Apparently, the major league baseball World Series is going on this week pitting the Houston Astros against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves lead the series 3-2 and one more win will give them their first title since 1995. I don’t follow professional ball that much, but my dad sent me this recipe with a request that I make it, and well, this seems like a pretty good time for it. So, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Curveball.

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Angel’s Tit

Having survived the terror of All Hallow’s Eve once again, All Saint’s Day is now upon us. That’s never really meant much to me, beyond being time to take down the skeletons and turning the jack o’lanterns around to just be pumpkins as we pass from the Halloween season on our way to turkey day. I miss the spookiness already. Frankly, I am better equipped for ghost stories by the campfire than this general celebration of Autumn which feels more like Thanksgiving’s waiting room than an actual season. Still, the tide rises and the tide falls and we are all called forward on this one way trip into the future, so eyes forward. Since we have spent the last week exploring the hellish side of cocktails, so today we are going for a little taste of heaven, if you will join me now as we stand and make the Angel’s Tit.

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Headless Horseman

Childhood fears are funny things. I am not sure we ever get over them, not completely. I’m a reasonably grown man, closing in on half a century of wanderings and I have faced and overcome many fears in my time. That’s part of growing up. The more we learn, the more we realize that the truly scary things in the world rarely go bump in the night and as a buddy likes to remind me when we are hiking in moonlit woods, “If anything out here really means you harm, you’ll probably never hear it coming.” Still, when those cold winds begin to blow rattling the dry leaves in the trees and the fire dances in the jack o’lanterns eyes, it’s funny how those old haunts can rise from their graves. So won’t you join me now as we listen to the distant clatter of hooves in the distance and we stand and make the Headless Horseman.

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Dark & Smoky

They say the devil is in the details. He is also, apparently, on my kitchen counter. If my upbringing is to be believed, which it most assuredly, is not; the devil is everywhere, all the time. It is not always clear what he is doing. Some say he is out running or just around the corner waiting to trip you up, others claim he wants to make a deal for your soul, although this most often happens at a crossroads, allegedly. Details on whether those crossroads are metaphorical, allegorical or physical are decidedly fuzzy, although the Jackson, Mississippi Chamber of Commerce claims to have the answer and a bumper sticker to go with it. I have often heard that he’s fond of wagers and fiddle contests, but I don’t have much musical talent or a hickory stump, so I can’t confirm this for myself. The point is folks have a lot to say about the devil, but little sympathy for him. So, have some courtesy and some taste as we stand and make the devil’s own Dark and Smoky.

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Witch’s Kiss

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” That immortal line from Shakespeare always makes us think of the weird sisters, that famed trio of witches from the Scottish play. The line is so iconic that it is easy to forget the line is not about them. It is actually spoken by one of the sisters, on the approach of the true monster of the story, the titular Macbeth. It’s funny how that happens, as the fire burns and the cauldron bubbles, things get crossed up and the wickedness, well, we tend to lay that at the feet of the witches, no matter who is really at fault. It seems we are always looking for blame, in all the wrong places; and there is probably a reason for that. Won’t you join me now and dig a little deeper as we stand and make the Witch’s Kiss.

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Bitter Heart

Some things stick with you, inexplicably. I have always been curious about that. How I can clearly remember staring at the clouds through the branches of a tree on my great aunt’s farm when I was 6 or 7, but I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. Or how I can remember the smell of the Shogun Warriors mask I wore for Halloween in 1978, but I forget my blood type. I don’t know why some things stick and others fade away. I do know why this drink made my spooky drinks list, when it is not scary in any way. It starts with a poem, an epigraph in a book that kept me awake all night many moons ago. Terrified, I kept turning the pages, pushing through the story, hoping that knowing the end would let me sleep. So, with a nod toward night terrors and carrying on because you can’t go back, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Bitter Heart.

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