I’m a bit of a trivia nut, sometimes. For example, I’ve always wanted to know where Wayne Manor is (1007 Mountain Drive, Gotham). Another burning question is what does Alfred drink. As he’s the quintessential Englishman, my guess would have been gin & tonic, yet there is always that niggling doubt that perhaps I my guess is not correct. So here is a crucial deal being struck between Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox in Gotham, Season 2 Episode 1. If you’re a Batman fan and not watching this series you really should take a long hard look at yourself.
Our bartender doesn’t wait for the particulars since there are only a few things more one would ask to go with a gin & tonic.
The slice is actually a wedge.
And what better way to start a relationship than with a gin & tonic.
Alfred, being the consummate gentleman, not only doesn’t impose his tastes on his drinking companion, but also buys a drink for the bartender as well.
A Gin & Tonic is usually the drink I go to if I have no opinion on what to drink, or if I don’t want to give anything away when I first meet someone. The Gin & Tonic is also a pretty versatile drink since there are so many kinds of gin out there. The garnish is also not standard since some gins go better with lime, some with lemon, some with cucumber. Best to find out what the manufacturer recommends. The gin I used recommends lime, which is as close to a standard garnish as you’ll find. And as a cocktails in films, it’s pretty ubiquitous.
lots of ice
50 mL gin
100 mL tonic water
garnish of choice
Fill your Collins glass all the way to the top with ice (use a wine glass if you want to go Spanish). As a bonus, a Collins glass prevents the carbonation from escaping too fast, and lets you appreciate the bubbles as you drink. Add your gin. Add juice from your garnish if using citrus. Give it a stir. Add your garnish. Make sure you get your nose into the glass so you can smell the garnish as you drink. Enjoy.
I feel like I didn’t do the White Russian from The Big Lebowski justice with my earlier post. So here, for your vicarious pleasure, are all the times The Dude, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing, is making or drinking a White Russian. He occasionally calls them Caucasians, hence the post title.
In all, The Dude drinks nine White Russians, four of which he makes himself. He uses light cream (half-and-half) when at home and non-dairy creamer at Maude’s. There may be a meaning behind this, as the film is loaded with cryptic metaphors and hidden jokes. Never does he use a cocktail shaker.
2. At Maude’s #1, with what appears to be creamer
3. In a limousine
4. At the bowling alley
5. At Maude’s #2, with what is definitely non-dairy creamer.
This is one of my favourite cocktails, and, as far as I can remember, the first one I ever had since I had just turned 18 when The Dude changed the world. The Big Lebowski was recommended to me by a primary school friend (elementary school for the NAs) who ended up running a bar near Town Hall in Sydney.
This drink is usually made in the glass so there is no need for a cocktail shaker. The puritans will insist on using cream instead of milk, with the concoction shaken and then strained into a glass, but I’ll do as The Dude. Besides, what’s more chill than the sound of ice cubes against the glass as you drink?
60 mL vodka
30 mL Kahlua or any coffee liquor (no one else need know)
Milk (or soy milk)
Fill an Old Fashioned glass to about half way with ice. Add the vodka (The Dude uses more than 60 mL) and Kahlua. Top up with milk. Stir. Channel The Dude.
As a nightcap, I usually don’t add the vodka. Nightcap, not cocktail; cocktails must have at least three ingredients.
At my favourite table right by the door, enjoying the last sunlight of the day.
There’s a Korean-American family of four at the table in front of me. The eldest boy is lost in a Roald Dahl book. The youngest insists he isn’t a baby when his mother tries to feed him a brisket slider. It is not so uncommon even for adults to feed each other, less so after a few drinks. One is essentially creating a morsel of love for the other. This son is the one whose eyes widen when he sees whiskey on the menu; his father asked him to choose a drink. He eventually settled on blue lemonade.
The husband jokingly says “one shot” when the beers arrive. The wife rolls her eyes; not for the the first or last time. The father explains to his eldest how to eat a pulled pork sandwich; he continues reading his book. Food for thought beats a thought for food, this time.
Inspired by a friend, I thought I’d look at cocktails in movies. Specifically, cocktails I like in movies. This first one is the Old Fashioned. So named because it’s the oldest cocktail out there. Here is Ryan Gosling making one in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
My local speeds up the process of dissolving the sugar in the bourbon by using a milk frother. Without the frother, it takes forever for all the sugar granules to disappear. If not dissolved properly you’ll end up with a grainy sludge at the bottom of your glass; no thanks. I usually use simple syrup instead: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water; heat until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes; store in fridge forever; as that takes care of the sugar and water components of the cocktail.
Ryan doesn’t add a cherry to his Old Fashioned, though that is a pretty standard garnish. Some bars decide they want to crush the fresh cherry, then put sugar on it, then light it up as if it were crème brûlée, then add the rest of the cocktail. It’s gimmicky, and it takes forever for the drink to be made. I can see the appeal if you’re sitting at the bar and you have the barkeep’s undivided attention: drink and a show, and a little bit of banter. Photos below of my “signature Old Fashioned” being made taken by a girl enjoying the show.
Ryan also skips the dash (or more) of water as watering down the alcohol probably wouldn’t help his end goal. Turns out it isn’t Emma’s favourite drink but she drinks both anyway. He finishes the cocktail by squeezing orange peel over the top of the glass for that distinctive orange smell. One of the bartender’s at my local puts a flame to the citric acid as he squeezes it over the glass.
The worst Old Fashioned I’ve had was in Seoul in a usually reputable bar: great Moscow mules; though how hard is that; and the HBC intelligentsia/celebrity bloggers love this place. Holding to the adage ‘to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail’, they drown their cocktails in orange oil. You know you’ve messed your cocktail up when one ingredient overpowers the others.
1 splash simple syrup
couple of dashes bitters
60 mL bourbon/rye
orange peel, for garnish (add a slice of orange and cherries if you like fruit salad)
In an Old Fashioned glass (sometimes called whisky glasses, these have thick bottoms) add your simple syrup and a few dashes of bitters. Give it a stir, then add your bourbon. Taste and add more syrup or water as required. Add ice. Squeeze some of the orange peel over the glass before serving.
It’s been a while since I posted a recipe. It’s been even longer since I’ve had pasta; last week of May; reasons. I like cooking pasta because it reminds me of my Italian teacher in high school; HBHS for life! That man taught us all kinds of secrets for making pasta sauces. Of course, I learnt some watching my mother cook, too.
And so, my dear three readers (Hi mum!), I present to you my capellini arrabiata recipe.
300g capellini (angel hair pasta)
3 tablespoons olive oil (mine is from Greece)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced (this is for aesthetics)
3 peperoncino, chopped
100g prosciutto, chopped (optional, but I like some meat in my pasta)
411g can tomatoes (canned is usually best in Korea as local tomatoes are expensive and these are picked at peak ripeness)
170g can tomato paste (deeper red for the sauce)
1 teaspoon thyme/oregano/spaghetti herbs
a splash of vodka (trust me)
1/2 cup water (change this for wine for a different flavour)
salt/pepper to taste
Put a pot of salted water on your stove and bring it to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions. Generally, pasta shouldn’t cook for more than 11 minutes. Being so fine, capellini is usually done in 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Now, get a pan and add your olive oil. If you want a little extra kick to your sauce you can put a few peppers into the oil while it heats up. Just remember to remove them before adding anything else.
When the oil is nice and hot, fry your onions, crushed garlic, chopped peppers, and thyme for about 3 minutes. Don’t forget to enjoy that awesome smell of olive oil and onion.
Add your water and let that reduce to about half. Add your tomatoes and tomato paste, along with the sliced garlic. Add a splash of vodka. The alcohol in the vodka will draw out the flavours of the tomatoes without adding extra flavours that would come with wine. Cook on high heat until some of the tomato juice has evaporated, about 5 minutes; we don’t want this turning into a soup. Taste and add salt/pepper/sugar accordingly. ONLY add a pinch of sugar, and ONLY a pinch, if you find the sauce is too tart.
Get your drained pasta and add it to the sauce. Mix well and then serve. You can add Parmesan shavings as I’ve done below or some basil leaves as a garnish. For pairing, I like Chianti. It has a nice spiciness that goes well with this dish.
The problem I have found with any arrabiata sauce in Korea is that restaurants tend to overdo the peppers; the saying “to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail” perfectly describes the approach some restaurants take when they see a dish with any kind of red sauce. Some even add the fermented pepper paste; not a good idea. If you prefer a smoother sauce, put the cooked sauce throw a blender and then add to the pasta. I didn’t do this this time because I like the look of the sliced garlic and prosciutto.
And now you know why I never order this at a restaurant.