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, I am not sure this is really a cocktail blog. The drinks info is solid, but I do wander in the narrative, making you read a bunch of extra stuff to get to the recipe. You end up with 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. Maybe that is your thing, I hope so. It’s got links to bars, ingredients, 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. These shouts into the dark helped provide some routine and ritual when the world turned upside down. It is my sincere hope that reading them will help keep you distracted, informed or mildly entertained, depending on your needs.

Rabbit Hole

I tend to geek out about things. I just can’t help it. I get to thinking about something and suddenly I want to know all of the things. It is not enough to get a good overview, I want to get bogged down in the minutiae of things. I have been that way about syrups and shrubs lately. Making things just to learn a new technique or to play with an ingredient. So I find myself in the kitchen dicing strawberries, pineapple and garlic, chasing some elusive taste through the culinary underbrush. Sometimes it works out, sometimes we get the benefit of having an experience, but either way it is always educational and as the Viscount once said, “education is never a waste.” So with that in mind, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Rabbit Hole.

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Californian Margarita

I am not much of a fan of change for change’s sake, but there are times when a little new blood is a good thing. We need to experiment, to evolve, to change the status quo and make improvements when we can. As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” So with a nod toward good intentions and the roads they pave, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Californian Margarita.

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Yabba Dabba Daiquiri

A big part of the enjoyment of drinking is the opportunity to indulge in questionable ideas. Call it the allure of the lowered inhibition or Poe’s masterfully described “imp of the perverse”, but there is something wonderfully seductive about giving in to an idea that you know is bad and just going with your self destructive tendencies. Honestly, I rarely drink to excess, but when I do, I try to make it count and indulge as many of those whims as possible. This drink was inspired by one such evening, when I did not drink to excess, but I definitely enabled many others to dance with that imp. So, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make, the Yabba Dabba Daiquiri.

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Spicy Schatzi-Rita

When you start out contemplating Newton’s First Law of Motion, you know you are in trouble already. Still, inertia is a thing. A thing that can be terribly difficult to overcome. It’s that first part about an object at rest wanting to stay in bed that gets me. Every time. That’s how it goes, I get all fired up mixing and writing and thinking and being generally excited about the world, then I decide to coast, just a little. Take it easy for a day or two, because I deserve it and all that. Next thing you know I am decidedly at rest and it’s gonna take an unbalanced force to get me moving again. So with a nod toward Sisyphean tasks, won’t you join me now as we stand and make, the Spicy Schatzi-Rita.

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Rum Rabbit Rum

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that we all have our prejudices. Now that you mention it, I suppose we have our prides as well. I am as guilty as anyone of having “preconceived judgments or opinions” especially when it comes to a gimmick. I am a sucker for a good hook, always have been. Whether it’s a cool process or an unusual ingredient, when I read about a drink I always fall for the oddballs. If it has a tincture or a cordial in it, I am all in. So, with a nod toward the complicated characters, won’t you join me as we stand and make the Rum Rabbit Rum.

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Hard Sell

Chicago is a fine town. I love the place, but I don’t always agree with the citizenry on matters of taste. I enjoy a good Portillo’s Chicago style hot dog or a breaded steak sandwich from Ricobene’s, and I have had some truly incredible dining and drinking experiences in that toddling town, but they get some things wrong. Most of these mistakes are minor, like making a float with Green River or calling that awesome deep dish casserole a pizza. However, there are other transgressions that are far more serious and even dangerous. Chief among these is a staple of the Chicago bar scene, Jeppson’s Malort. If you know, you know. If you don’t, I am not sure I want to encourage you to learn. Some folks swear by the stuff, most folks swear at the stuff, I mostly try to avoid it, but I heard it can be lovely when paired with the right ingredients. I am dubious, but willing to take a chance, so won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Hard Sell.

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Umami Martini

There is something to be said for simplicity. Of course, there is also something to be said for complexity, so I am not sure how to balance those two extremes. There are usually at least two sides to every story and often so many more. So let’s take a look at things from both sides now as we stand and make the Umami Martini.

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Barbados Cocktail

Serendipity. That is what we are going to call it. After all, today’s little bit of happiness meets the definition of “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a beneficial way.” How is that different from lucky? Well, I am not quite sure, but things certainly worked out and as my father would say, I’d rather be lucky, or is it serendipitous, than smart any day. So, with a nod toward fortune smiling on us, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Barbados Cocktail.

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Golden Dream

Where does inspiration come from? Great question. Anyone have anything here, because I have no clue. I am equally flummoxed when it comes to where inspiration hides when it does not come, which happens way more often. When pretty much anything consequential happens in my life, I go on a journey to find the root cause. Good news or bad, I end up walking backwards through decisions and circumstances trying to figure out just what happened. When the outcome became fait accompli with the rest of us just going through the motions. So in the spirit of foregone conclusions that may very well be wrong, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Golden Dream.

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Follow That Black Rabbit

I am not a huge fan of orthodoxy, at least not according to Webster. The idea of “authorized or generally accepted theory, doctrine, or practice” seems alright on paper, but in practice it feels a lot more like stagnation and acceptance for acceptance sake. Still, I had a wonderful drink in my back pocket left unused after the Easter holiday, so why not embrace orthodoxy and celebrate Orthodox Easter a week later, which kind of flies in the face of accepted theory, doctrine or practice. Life can be funny that way, so won’t you join me now as we subversively stand and make the surprisingly unorthodox Follow That Black Rabbit.

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