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.

Brace Position

Looking back on a half-century of life well wasted, I am truly shocked at how many of the things that kept me up at night did not amount to a hill of beans. Not that they didn’t matter or weren’t consequential in some way, but in how the things I worried myself sick about seemed to just disappear in recollection. Looking back, there are only a handful of times that stick out as those critical moments when I chose to go left when I could have gone right and ended up on a new path. It’s funny how it all seemed so important at the time only to have those crises fade into obscurity, evaporating like fog in the morning sun of hindsight. I fear I have spent too much time sitting on the end of the runway worrying whether my decisions would help me slip the surly bonds of earth and soar or crash and burn on the symbolic ash heap of my personal history. So with a nod toward that aeronautical metaphor, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Brace Position.

Continue reading

Espresso Martini

It is all so simple on paper. Take it easy, be kind, be decent, listen freely, speak lovingly, live with intent; all those things that we do unconsciously when we are well and comfortable. But what happens, when you get pushed out of your comfort zone? When you don’t feel well, when you don’t feel loved or heard; when fear steps in? That is when the defenses go up. When the insecurities make you question whether you were ever the person you strive so hard to be. What does that have to do with cocktails? Well, won’t you join me and explore the darker side of life as we stand and make the ubiquitous Espresso Martini.

Continue reading

Noble Beast

And with that, the calendar turns another page as we enter a new and unsuspecting year. What will this one hold? Who can tell? Who would tell if they knew? Pretty sure Shakespeare had something to say about that, the mystery of the womb of time and what not. I am a little apprehensive about this one, if I am honest, considering where the last couple have led us. I don’t have a clue about what is to come but, I am counting a some highs, balanced with some lows and a fair number of seemingly inconsequential lulls that will turn out to be more important than I realize until I get to the hindsight portion. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”, Cinderella sang from the shoe store as we all went about our day worrying over mundane possibilities. That’s the human condition, right? What a piece of work is man, indeed. It’s safe to say that one of the few things that separates us from the animals is our ability to fear the mistakes we have not yet made, so with that in mind won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Noble Beast.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading
« Older posts