Cocktails and Music

March 3, 2011

Sazerac Recently, I was at Cicchetti, a hip local Italian restaurant here in Seattle. They make fancy drinks.  Whiskey Drinks, Vodka Drinks, Scotch Drinks (see how I came dangerously close to getting you to sing "He takes the Whiskey Drink / He Takes the Vodka Drink /...He sings the songs that remind him of the good times..."). They have a robust cocktail list, specializing in classic cocktails with some of their own creations mixed in for good measure. The tapas-style menu is great as well, but this isn’t about food. That night they were spinning one of my favorites, Beirut's newest album The Flying Cup Club.  From the large picture window the bar looks west to Queen Anne and the Olympic Mountains.  The dark blue sky was still streaked with the pinks and oranges that are typical when the dusk is relatively clear in Seattle. The Flying Cup Club is perfectly suited to a bar on an evening like that and fancy, classic cocktails.  It's slightly hipsterish and influenced by Serge Gainsbourg, amongst others.  It's a little French (even though Cicchetti is Italian) and full of longing and love and a search for grace. Plus, it was recorded with a euphonium (yes, I had to look it up - it's a brass instrument that looks like a tuba), mandolin, accordion, and even a conch shell. There's this bizarre little story on the backside cover about hot air balloons and beaches and a retired legionnaire.  In short, it’s a great album for friends and drinks and dusk. At a bar or in your home, for a slightly but not stereotypical French or Italian cocktail hour consider the following drinks and playlist. All the drinks are scotch and whiskey with, perhaps, a little Benedictine. All are served up (no ice). The music is best heard on vinyl, but an mp3 will do in a pinch. The Manhattan – Classics are called that for a reason. You can’t go wrong with a Manhattan.  It’s a dark amber and looks good in a martini glass with a book in one hand. A few notes – A Manhattan should be made with Rye, not bourbon.  Any bar that calls itself a bar should have at least a bottle of Old Overholt Rye on its shelf, as you should at home. Ask for Rye. If you have to go with bourbon make it a good one, not Makers. Finally, say it with me, Angostura Bitters. You might think that it’s the Rye or the Vermouth that makes a Manhattan. It’s actually the bitters. And if you want bitters, Angostura is what you want. When the company that makes the bitters had to shut production down for lack of properly sized bottles a couple years back, there was a panic and a run on bitters. Classic Manhattan Cocktail The Tartantula – Seattle in the throes of a classic cocktail revival at the moment.  There are lots of flips and fizzes and sweeter drinks out there.  Places like Cicchetti are balancing the classic sweet with a few herbal cocktails.  You can find the Tartantula, or variations, at a few places.  It’s a nice, slightly herbal Scotch cocktail.  It clears the senses and warms you on a cold winter night.  You don’t have to be too particular about the Scotch, but it’s nice with a slightly peaty Scotch like a Laphroig or an Ardberg (also good on their own). The Tarantula Sazerac – The original American cocktail as legend would have it. Created in New Orleans in the mid-19th century, the Sazerac is a simple cocktail.  Rye, Absinthe, simple syrup and Peyshaud Bitters with a lemon peel to garnish. Sazerac – 2 parts Rye | 3 dashes Peyshaud bitters | Splash of Absinthe | The trick is in the preparation.  Muddle the simple syrup and ice in your mixing glass and add the rye.  Splash the Absinthe in the serving glass (old fashioned) and swirl it around.  Pour the excess Absinthe out.  Strain the Rye and Syrup into the serving glass.  Garnish with lemon. Sazerac Cocktail on FoodistaSazerac Cocktail Also good: Blood and Sand | Le Rive Gauche Now you have your drinks, here’s what you do.  Download these Beriut songs and organize into this play list.  Invite friends.  Make a bowl of truffle popcorn.  Make your drinks.  If you have a porch or a room with a view, go there.  Press play.  Converse. 1 - This is the list.  There is no other. 2 - No shuffling the first time around. 3 - Or the second. Brandenburg - Gulag Orkestar My Family's Role In The World Revolution - Lon Gisland EP Guyamas Sonora - The Flying Cup Club Cliquot - The Flying Cup Club Scenic World (Version) - Lon Gisland EP In the Mausoleum - The Flying Cup Club Carousels - Lon Gisland EP My Wife, Lost In The Wild - Realpeople Holland Postcards from Italy - Gulag Orkestar Elephant Gun - Elephant Gun (3 Track Maxi-Single) Mt. Wroclai (Idle Days) - Gulag Orkestar The Concubine - Realpeople Holland Napoleon On The Bellerophon - Pompeii Nantes - The Flying Cup Club After The Curtain - Gulag Orkestar Listen to all here Truffle Popcorn



Helen's picture

Cocktails and Beirut! You, sir, are a genius. Love both. So much.