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FCB: Gourmet 50’s Cocktails – Frangipani

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Not sure if it is related to their upcoming demise, but Gourmet magazine online is doing a feature where they publish their 20 favorite cocktails of each decade, starting from the ’40s. They are upto the 90s now.

Simply gazing at the wonderful photos are probably worth the time by itself, but it is wonderful stuff for any cocktail connoisseur and additionally, a good lesson for aspiring mixologists.

Being Gourmet magazine, they also obviously get their preparations right:  Martini is  to be stirred (not shaken), the vermouth is ‘to taste’ (and they stress this fact) with nary a mention of vodka. We can but only appreciate.

All the other cocktails similarly exude class and style  – no tropical forests hanging out of brightly colored, over-sweetened drinks calling for 10 different liquors!

So suitably inspired, I have got it into my head now, of trying out all the cocktail recipes posted on the site and then blogging about it!. Of course, given my record in such matters, ‘all’ might be rather stretching it. But this is alcohol we are talking about – so I will give it a fair go.

I wanted to start with a drink I’ve never had before and settled upon this rum-based recipe from the 50s: Frangipani. A combination of being intrigued by the name and the fact that it used gold rum, which I have rarely tried before, and Maraschino liqueur, which I wanted to try out for a while, made me go this one.

Image from Gourment

Image from Gourment

I had this theory that there might be some sort of  Sanskrit roots to the word Frangipani (pani = water and all that), but as far as I can find out, Frangipani refers to a tropical flower (and a few other stuff). How that relates to the cocktail, I have no idea and the web is sparse on details.  The only other mention of it as a cocktail has a very different recipe. As Gourmet put it, the drink  is a variation of the Hemmingway daiquiri:

A cynical cocktailian might look at this as a dumbed-down Hemingway Daiquiri (or Papa Doble, as it’s sometimes called), but substituting more grapefruit juice for the lime and the sugar actually results in a very different drink. Look for Luxardo’s maraschino liqueur.

This is how I made it, based off the Gourment recipe :

  • 1 part Golden Rum (I used the Dominican brand Ron Matusalem)
  • 1 part Pineapple Juice
  • 3 dashes Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo, as suggested in the recipe, I was lucky enough to find it at BevMo)

Give it a few nice hard shakes jig in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a pre-chilled martini glass.  The toughest part of making this drink was getting the Maraschino Liqueur right: three dashes mean dashes – pour a bit too much and the drink is overwhelmed by the honey-almond taste of the liqueur.

In terms of taste, it is indeed a very different drink from the Hemmingway Daiquiri – and much sweeter as expected with the pineapple juice. I also  thought that the juice and the Maraschino liqueur hid the taste of the rum (but then perhaps I need to get myself a better quality or a  more aged rum).  Overall, even though I don’t like my alcohol too sweet,  I can picture myself drinking this while relaxing outdoors on a weekend afternoon. The drink could be a a nice after-dinner cleanser as well.

As such, I also made my own version of the drink by increasing the portion of run to 1.5 parts and then adding a dash of lime juice (in the form of clarified Key lime) to have a bit of balance.

Not looking as tempting as the image from the magazine; Photography skills still need work :Pp

Not looking quite as tempting as the image from the magazine; Photography skills still needs work 🙂

Not a bad start really. Cheers.

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

October 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Beating the funk…

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What a weirdly depressing Friday morning!

I should be thinking end of the week, cocktails/ good beer, good food etc. But here I am on a perfectly sunny San Diego day – one of those mornings that make this city such a fabulous place to live – deep in an inexplicable funk. Gah…

A good experimental result (or two) would be the best way to crawl out of the hole.

But the heart desires something else – a a crazy combination of simple pleasures …..

…a mellow Ghulam Ali ghazal

…re-watching Life of Brian

…a specific Anjan Dutta song – Niye Jaa (wonder where this sprang from?)

…curling up with a nice book…a Scottish noir perhaps – one from my current favorites in light reading – Ian Rankin…

…sip of Islay

……

Ok- back to work, or something.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

October 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Personal

Whoosh….

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….where the fugg did that year go ?

We much prefer the Ha-ja-ba-ra-la world, where age cycles between 10 and 40 (see the clip below for reference, relevant scene comes on at 4:20).

(apologies to non-Bengali speaking crowd who will forever be denied of Sukumar Ray’s comic genius, sorry !!).

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

September 16, 2009 at 12:47 am

Posted in Personal

Easing back….

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So there is a small matter of absence for three months from blogging. I could have just brushed it under the carpet and resumed posting as if the last post was just yesterday. But I am going to trot out the usual lame excuses anyway, if only to get out of the rut of lack of blogging:

One, a move of hemispherical and continental proportions: Around mid-June, we bid farewell to the two years of fun-times in Ozland and returned to the USofA. In fact, moved to one of my favorite cities here. The move itself was quite blog-worthy, involving as it did, flying the longest commercial route in existence (eighteen hours and change non-stop) followed by separate 6-hour and 9-hour road-trips, still followed by another 8 eight hours of flight before reaching the final destination!

Two, change of jobs: but of course that had to happen along with/because of change in continents. It was somewhat of a chicken and egg – I wanted to come back and did because I got a job, and because I got a job I had to come back, or something (okay, so not much of a conundrum). Anyway, the bigger news I guess is the nature of the job – which is a major shift in what I had been doing for the last few years, having switched from academia to the euphemistic ‘dark side’. Perhaps more on this later.

Three, Twitter. Okay – so this is the lamest of all. Not totally blaming it on Twitter, but I find myself nowadays increasingly unable to break through the shackle of 140 characters. When I started blogging (as in both reading and writing blogs) many years ago, I realized that I was gradually losing the ability to read any reports longer than two three paragraphs ie the typical blog post. If a piece of news or comment was not wrapped up in that space, the mind would start wandering. Hopefully, Twitter won’t induce a far greater attention deficiency syndrome.

Anyhow, this here is the first step. The Dictator’s recent return to longer posts is bit of an inspiration as well. If any of the regulars are still around, look forward to more ranting and irrelevant posts pretty soon.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

August 14, 2009 at 11:05 am

Posted in Australia, Blog, Personal

Twitter killed the blogger ?

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Not that I was very persevering at it, but the advent of Twitter seems to have cut into my already dismal state of blogging. Most off-the-cuff remarks I might have considered putting into a blog [1], I now find myself finishing in 140 characters or less. An example would be the early morning (by Australian time) Champions League final game between Barca and Man U. that Barca won through some superb midfield play, which in other circumstances,  I might have devoted a paragraph or three, I Twittered (Tweeted? Twat ?) about.

For lazy bums such as myself, 140 characters or less is just too tempting; get the rush of sharing your  (half-formed) thoughts with the world out of the way quickly – thoughtful analysis and introspection be dammed.

Then there are other advantages: you have a list of people who follow you on Twitter, and with judicious calculations of whether they are online (or will be) or a  knowledge of their interest, you know you will attract their attention to your Tweet (Twit?). With blogs, it has recently become a crap-shoot: your RSS feeds (wow, that sounds so 2005-6ish!) could be on the subscription list of hundreds (mine isn’t), but most people, I suspect, dont bother reading beyond the first 140 characters anyway. However, this could be a problem with Twitter too: there are those insanes that ‘follow’ hundreds and thousands, and I have no idea if they actually read a quarter of them. But at least you are assurred of being skimmed over by a few, versus the neglect of all.

On balance however, I am not a big fan of Twitter. So call me old-fashioned and stuck in the Web2.0 age, but here goes some reasons:

First, I have noticed that the overall productivity of quite a few of my favorite bloggers has declined since the advent of widespread Twitter usage. This is a personal loss – I do get their Twitter updates, but often it gets lost under a mountain of trivial stuff. Blogs – I can read at leisure. Twitter – early mornings, I cannot be bothered beyond the 5th, or the 2nd if I haven’t had my coffee yet. So I assume I am missing out on the richness of much rants, fisks, and other such goodies.

Second, the tendency of many Twitters (Twats? Tweeters ?) to go on a self-absorbed chronicling of their everyday mundane activities is often disgusting, not to mention boring as hell (ok, so that was the third soy-latte-chai you had today morning, now get over it and be a man by ordering a triple-shot Venti or whatever abomination).

Finally, while Twitter can be put to good use in quick dissemination of information (e.g during the Mumbai blast) – or for interesting updates on the go with iPhones  (e.g. a  few droll observations by the ever reliable gawker from a suburban pub tonite) etc., the total misuse or worse, cluelessness, of the platform by many is absolutely irritating. A well known blogger and journalist I was following for a while suffered from the worst case of verbal  diarrhoea I have had the misfortune of reading – his opinion seemed to be that the 140 characters limit was a simple inconvenience, easily abrogated by breaking up a blog-sized posting  (never pithy to begin with) into 30-40 Twitters!! I exaggerate of course, but not by much.

So unfollow these people you miserable Luddite twat, I hear the cry goes. Rest assured, my Twitter following is kept at the bare minimum: I think I follow a little more than 30 people (!) – four of them are celebrities, or people who I consider celebrities (Stephen Colbert, Kal Penn, Mindy Kaling and Samit Basu), a few were reciprocal followers (I have stopped this now, unless I know the person) and why they wanted to follow me in the first place I don’t know, a couple are institutional Twitters (e.g NIH, CDC) and I plan to expand into this soon, and the rest are people whom I used to follow on their blogs, some I have met personally as well.

As such, I don’t think that Twitter is a very bad thing, but hope it will be put to better use.

Anyhow, there ends a not very brief rant. And now, excuse me while I link this to an Twitter update 😛

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[1]: Even on a good week, less than 50% of putative blog posts actually get past the drafts stage.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

May 28, 2009 at 7:55 am

Groovy

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There are lots of negative things to be said about Sydney: the  multitude of dodgy characters, the  incredible rents, the hole-in-the-wall that purports to be a place of residence for the next few months (hopefully a longer post about the city etc in a while).

However, they are all balanced by the fact that right opposite the said hole-in-the wall is a pub. And not just the run of the mill, typical Aussie pub that satisfies itself by pouring weak lagers, but a true-blue alehouse that serves at any time, about 15 different beers covering ales, lagers and stouts on tap (not to mention the multitudes available on bottle). Apart from style, they cover different countries as well including US (the good ones), German, Czech, New Zealand and of course Australia (the good ones). And they keep changing the beers weekly/monthly.

Overall, some interesting beer-drinking experiences ahead.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

April 9, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Posted in Australia, Martinis, Personal

Tagged with ,

Boston ahoy.

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Off to my favorite scientific conference. I wish the organizers had chosen a warmer clime, but then hopefully the science within the heated indoors will more than make up for it. So here is looking forward to meeting old friends, making new ones, networking, and of course, some awesome science.

After the conference,  a bit of nothing to do (unless someone wants to offer me a job interview 😛 ) and then San Francisco for a couple of days.

Any lurkers from Boston/Bay Area, give a toot. Beer shall be consumed in good company then.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

February 25, 2009 at 9:20 am

Posted in Personal, Science, Travel