Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I went to a beer tasting at Mercury Lounge a few weeks ago.  I had Paulaner's Salvator for the first time, and it was one of my favorite beers of the evening.  People have called it "liquid bread" and it is quite hardy.  I was then told of a blog by a brewer who did a beer and water fast for Lent, and not only survived, but was in great health at the end.  I don't feel like linking, but it was a good read.

Based upon the accompanying lecture, the beer style was originally called salvator, but at some point the name was bought and now it's Salvator, capitalized.  Doppelbock is the name of the style, and beers ending in -ator are likely to be one.  But if you're not into learning about beer, all you need to know is that it's a strong beer (around 8%) and quite malty.  I had one for dinner, along with some water, and I'm not at all hungry.

I've picked up several six packs since that day, and at some point would like to do my own beer and water fast.  But probably just for a week.  It would be mostly for fun, to see if I could do it.  When I get around to it, I'll take notes.  And of course, I'll write them up nicely for y'all to read.

I'm told that it is technically possible to live on nothing but milk and Guinness.  I won't be trying that experiment though.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tokyo tea

I'm sure you're familiar with the Long Island tea (vodka, gin, tequila, light rum, triple sec, sour mix, cola) but the Tokyo tea is less popular, though I'm not sure why.  It's mostly the same ingredients as the Long Island, but Midori is substituted for the triple sec (or simply added, if the bar isn't stingy) and no cola.  Sour mix usually.  Back in college my friend Sam told me about 'em.  Once I was 21, I got one at Joe's (if you've been to Santa Barbara, you should know about Joe's).  The bartender garnished with a lime, which was brilliant.  I've had it made by other bartenders who garnish with a cherry, but the drink is already sweet enough.  The bitterness of the lime is much nicer, in my opinion.

I picked up the ingredients, but I went with cheaper booze than I usually buy.  The vodka, gin and light rum were all fine.  The tequila, however, was a bad idea.  Even with using only the slightest splash of tequila, it was off.  Today, I decided to go with some better tequila.  I picked up some Hornitos at the market.  I mixed up a supersized drink this evening.  One shot each of vodka, gin, tequila, and rum, half a shot of triple sec and two shots of Midori.  To that, I added a splash of margarita mix (sour mix is hard to find here) two splashes of soursop juice (an Asian fruit, I can't explain the flavor) and three splashes of 7up.  It's eminently better.  Though a lime wedge would be even better.

Other variations I've been served included pineapple juice instead of sour mix (good, but different) and sans tequila (something to consider if you don't like tequila, but you're making me sad).  And remember, even if it's "normal sized" it's still a lot of booze.  Be careful and have fun!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Well not exactly, but I have started making my own alcohol at home.  By federal law, I'm allowed 100 gallons of beer and 100 gallons of wine a year.  That seems like a lot.  There's a kit one can buy online (I don't feel like looking it up right now) and it comes with pre-measured yeast packs and an airlock.  I started with pineapple, but the brand I was using had pulp, which ended up blocking the vent and caused the airlock to pop off.  I'll keep my eyes out for a pineapple juice without solids in it.  Right now I'm finishing off my apple.  It's not very strong, but it tastes nice. 

I found it especially nice last evening after a night of drinking and dancing.  Most people probably associate hangovers with waking up the next day, but I've noticed that if I drink enough early in the day, I will start to get a headache once I stop drinking.  One way to curb it is to grab a beer and take a swig.  Usually that does the trick, but it's important to not drink too much more.  So I went out for a friend's birthday, but it was also St Patrick's Day.  I started drinking around 7:30 and stopped at 10, or so.  Once downtown, I had a little water and a Red Bull.  Much dancing.  Afterward, I swung by McDonald's for some chicken nuggets and then headed home.  I noticed this weird feeling and identified it as the very beginning of the hangover.  I poured a glass of sturm (technically what I made) and that staved it off until I was asleep.

I decided I would look it up after all.  My e-mail confirmation calls the kit "DIY Juice to Alcohol Kit".  Reading online in various homebrew forums shows the contempt some people have for it, as it's not very sophisticated.  I don't care.  It makes alcohol ;)

Saturday, February 11, 2012


It has been a while.  I've been drinking, but nothing special.  Last weekend, I had some friends over to play cards and we killed six Coronas each (with no hangover the next day).  Then on Sunday was the Super Bowl.  I think I watched about 10 seconds of the game.  I also drank a lot of sangria, but it wasn't that great.  People said they liked it, and it was fine, but it was missing something.  There were also several shots of Fireball (cinnamon whisky) and some Jim Beam Black.  And some beers.  More Fireball.  But not enough food or water.  I can't know for certain, but I probably would have felt better if I had drank more water and eaten more food.

OK, I guess I'll write about hangovers.  They are an important part (consequence) of drinking.  There are other consequences, but I'll save those for another day.

Back in college, I didn't get hangovers.  Even with my worst nights of drinking, I'd wake up feeling fine.  I do miss that.  Some time after I got a full time job is when I noticed the hangovers starting.  It probably was due to a combination of my not drinking as often, thus lowering my tolerance and my just getting older.  But I did learn a couple of "tricks" to help combat them.  The biggest was eating.  My last Halloween in IV, I ordered 3 large pizzas and made everyone eat some before I would pour them a drink.  Some people only had the minimum of one slice, and were in a shitty place later for it.  I had 3 or 4 slices and was fine.  We were drinking hard, too.  One guy didn't even get past the pre-party before getting sick.  He only had one slice.  He was kind of a dick, too, so I did get a certain joy from seeing him miserable.

Honestly, that's my only tip.  I never drink enough water when I'm boozing to know if it really has an appreciable effect on my next day.  In theory, it should help.

And mixing is fine.  Aside from the Mythbusters episode where they showed mixing beer and liquor actually lead to a decreased hangover (when actual alcohol intake remains the same), my theory is that it's easy to lose count when mixing.  So really, just learn how many drinks you can have safely and stick to that number (or fewer).  I know six beers is fine for me.  I'm not sure if 12 are.  Guess I'll have to do some more research ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I remember seeing a segment on Wild On about it back in high school.  They made it out to be some magic elixir.  The footage was even omitted of the guy making it.  Well fine, I don't fuckin' care.  They're probably sour anyway.  (I haven't read the story, but I know the gist.)

Several years later, Matt was making... No wait, those were mojitos (I'll have to write about those another day).  OK, I don't actually remember when I first had it.  I do know that at some point Matt told me his recipe.  Red wine, fruit, sugar, brandy, cinnamon.  I made a test batch and liked it.  I then wondered if I couldn't use white wine instead.  So I made a big pitcher of red and a big pitcher of white and threw a party.  I didn't have sugar, so I used Splenda (which I don't really recommend).  I also had a juicer handy, so I was able to incorporate fresh juice, the pulp (I used only edible pieces - no cores/seeds) as well as chunks of fruit.  Brandy.  Everyone loved it.  My only regret was using non-disposable cups.

Then came World Cup last year and Mike threw a party.  He made sangria, and invited other people to try their hand at making some, too.  There were several available, and I was lit.  I don't remember which was my favorite, but I do know I learned that other spirits could be used profitably.  The batch I assisted with used Bacardi Limon, which I can recommend.

I now had sangria fever.  I started making it weekly, trying different alcohols, different fruits, different diluting agents.  Oh yeah, that's another thing I learned.  This time from Paul.  His summer party was a hit, and I talked drinks with many people.  One lady said she'd used vodka and pineapple in her sangria recipe (I'd be willing to try that) and another person swore by strawberries and oranges as the only acceptable fruit.  After a few glasses I noticed I wasn't nearly as drunk as I would've been on my own batch.  Was it that I was eating too?  No.  Paul came outside to refill the pitchers and I saw him pour wine, rum, and ginger ale over the fruit.  Ginger ale?  He was diluting it, bringing the alcohol level to somewhere around 6-7% instead of the probably 18% mine was.

But I wasn't done experimenting.  After a Bloody Mary kick (these may warrant an entry) I was excited to try other spicy drinks.  I decided to throw a jalapeno in my next sangria pitcher.  Yes!  I was hooked.  I took it to parties and people either loved it or hated it.  Or thought it was OK.  (Do you miss Mitch too?)  But mostly I loved it and others were sometimes willing to drink it with me.  I also used a serrano once, but due to unfortunate circumstances, I was unable to serve that particular batch.  So sad.

Right now I've got a bunch of fruit soaking in my fridge.  They're floating in a mixture of light rum, triple sec, gold tequila, dark rum, more light rum, and some water (I wanted to cover all the fruit, but not completely destroy it).  Tomorrow I'll drain the liquid, add a little more dark rum and then add the wine.  And come next Sunday, it will be awesome.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hot beer!

This is an admittedly small selection (unless I've just somehow missed the rest) of beers.  And only one of them is available outside of Santa Barbara, CA.  I'll start at the beginning.

I like to do happy hours with people from work.  They tend to last several hours, and usually I end up with an eighty dollar tab (I'm not complaining).  A few years back we had one at the Brewhouse in SB, but the only seating available was in the dining area.  It was decided we would make this a dinner/happy hour combination.  I don't remember what my first beer was, but I do remember my favorite.  Rick bought a round of tasters for the table (free booze!) and we toasted to something I'm sure.  I took a swig.  Oh!  Fu- OK!  I wasn't expecting that.  I call down the table to ask what it is.  Habanero Pilsner.  I take a smaller sip, this time knowing what I'm getting into.  It was spicy.  Very spicy.  And cold.  The combination wasn't something I was then familiar with.  Oh sure, I'd had a Bloody Mary (and didn't care for it - it was at Zodo's) but this was nice.  I steeled myself and took a large swig.  Wow!  It was hot, but I liked it.  I drained the remaining mouthful and then turned to ask others what they thought.  Almost everyone was not pleased.  Rick looked bummed.  Valerie told me I could have hers, which I did.  James handed me his.  Pretty much every glass made its way to me.

A few years later I was at the first annual Zoo Brew (zoo beer tasting fundraiser) and the Brewhouse had a tent.  I got a pour and drained it pretty quickly.  I ask (um...) Yager what he thought.  He was OK with it.  Jennifer, his wife was not.  She let me have hers.  That was the last drop I had that day, as they ran out pretty quickly.  The next year at Zoo Brew I found their tent right away and proceeded to get in line and wait my turn.  I got a pour of the good stuff and said I'd be back.  I got in line again and again.  My third time through, the serving girl offered to let me chill in the tent and they would just refill my glass as needed.  Really?  I edged over to the side.  You mean it?  Yes!  I made small talk with the people in the line when they asked how I got my job.  I made something up.  After probably an hour (and several pours) the brewmaster comes to the tent.  I figure the jig is up, but he doesn't kick me out.  We discuss beer, the event, the intricacies of, well, no, mostly just beer and the event.  I took some pictures and had a great time.  Finally, I said my goodbyes and I was told I should visit the restaurant.  Oh right, I could have just been going there all this time to get the Habanero Pilsner.  Duh!

There's another beer fundraiser (something about rugby) and I haul ass to the Brewhouse tent to start off on a hot note.  They don't have the beer.  Damn.  I get a pour of something else and wonder where to go next.  Meanwhile I overhear one of the guys talking about not wanting to pour full glasses since most people won't like it.  He pulls a pitcher from beneath the counter and pours just a smidge of this dark-dark-dark beer into a glass.  The other man takes a careful sip and coughs.  I ask what it is, and I'm told it's a ghost chili beer.  I drain my glass and ask for a taste.  He gives me the same spiel.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I take a cautious sip.  I think I did a little dance.  It was hot, yes.  But it was also deep and almost chocolaty.  I finish the half ounce and ask for a full pour.  I think I got six pours throughout the day.  I told everyone to try it.  I now have to go back to the Brewhouse and get a pitcher.  Spoiler alert: they only made it for the event.  And while they had some left over, they only sold it in tiny tasters.  I got one and it had a piece of chili floating in it!  I didn't eat it, but I did savor the beer.  I ended up getting a pitcher of the Habanero Pilsner, which was excellent.

Finally, for those of you not in Santa Barbara (and you really should be) I present the only commercially available spicy beer I know of: Cave Creek Chili Beer.  I picked up a six pack while in Arizona (and some other stuff that I may have to write about one day, as well as the Everclear I already wrote about).  Back at the ranch, I pulled a bottle out and pulled off the cap with my bottle opener ring.  I casually look into the bottle as I'm bringing it to my mouth and see something not-beer colored in the bottle.  I pull the bottle away and over into some better light.  There at the bottom is a chili pepper.  I pick up another bottle.  It has one too.  Hmmm.  I take a swig.  Another.  I swish a third mouthful.  This shit's good.  It's nowhere near as spicy as Brewhouse's offerings, but it is certainly spicy as far as beer goes.  I tell Adam he should try one.  He's got a beer in hand, but says he'll have one afterward.  A little while later I head a loud, "Wow!" come from the kitchen.  Apparently I'm not the only one who likes them.  Of all the drinks purchased at Liquor Castle, the Chili Beer is the only one to not make it back home.  It was a hit and I only wish I had bought more.

A quick Google search brings up one of the worst looking websites I've seen in recent memory, but it would seem that BevMo! carries it.  I wish I had seen that sooner.  I see a BevMo! run is in my future.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Horchata in of itself isn't alcholic.  Better fix that!  I've been drinking it (Mexican version; without alcohol) since I was five or six.  But it wasn't until college (common theme?) that I tried boozing it up.  Jennifer liked to watch shows like Dawson's Crack.  The plan was to get dinner, head back to her place to watch (ugh) some of those shows and then out to a party afterward.  We'd gotten Mexican for dinner at the now-gone Rincon Taqueria, and I picked up a horchata.  Back at her place, I found myself climbing the walls with how boring the show was.  I checked her cupboard for something to dull the pain and found some Captain Morgan.  I poured a couple of shots in and soldiered on.

This evening I felt like having some horchata.  I don't have any rum at the moment, so I looked around and saw whisky.  Hmmm, that could work.  But wait!  I have Fireball (cinnamon whisky).  Cinnamon goes with horchata.  Let's try that.  It was nice.  Not spectacular, but certainly worth drinking.   I don't know if it exists, but cinnamon dark rum would probably go well.  I'll have to keep an eye out.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


My first experience with them was just so-so.  My roommate Carl told me about them and offered to make me one, too.  Sure, why not?  It was supposed to be something like a beer based Bloody Mary, but with some substitutions (beer for vodka was obvious, soy sauce for Worcestshire (sp?) sauce was a surprise).  I took a sip.  Mmm.  It was OK, but not necessarily something I would want to drink often.  About six months later my friend Adam hands me a Chelas mix cup, a V8 and a beer.  He says he saw it at the store and thought I might like it.  What a sweetheart ;)

I open the cup and find a little packet of chili powder, a salted and dried thing (apricot, it turns out) and a stirrer.  I pour in the beer and some V8, give it a swirl and take a swig.  Whoa!  Now this was good!  I end up getting a few more over the next month or so, but find it a hassle to go looking for the cups whenever I want one.  Plus they're two bucks for a little chili powder and a salted piece of fruit.  Can't I just buy the stuff myself and mix it together?  Yes, yes I can.

My personal recipe: 6 shakes of Cholula, 2 shakes of chili powder (these are all technical measurements, of course), 1 saladito (I use the plum, as I haven't found apricot ones), about 4 ounces spicy Camaronazo (like Clamato, but shrimp instead of clam) and a 12 oz beer.  I prefer Modelo Especial, but found that original Budweiser tastes almost exactly the same and is significantly cheaper.  It's spicy, saucy, and flat (the juice quashes the carbonation).  It doesn't work with all beers (Belgians especially) but definitely try it with a lager.  An IPA sounds like a possibility too.  Maybe next time?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vodka Gummies

I believe it was 2007.  Stefani told me about a gift she had received from a friend: vodka soaked gummy bears.  She said they were awesome.  I wanted to get her something she would really like for her birthday, so I found the recipe and tried it out.  I was sold.  She loved her gift.

I've actually made several batches since then, but it's not something that I think to make very often.  You see, the problem lies in the prep-work.  If I want, say, a Bloody Mary, and have the ingredients, I can make one and have it in a very short time.  Vodka gummy bears takes about 24 hours for the vodka to soak in sufficiently.  48 hours are even better.

The beauty of the vodka gummy bear (aside from its glistening adorableness) is that different flavored gummies can be used, and different flavored vodkas, too.  Do you like lime?  If you're willing to sort your bears, you can fill a small sandwich bag or lidded cup (being able to seal the container is a good thing) and pour enough lime vodka (why not?) over them to cover, and toss it in your fridge for a day.  I recommend using a spoon or toothpick to eat them with, as they are rather slimy.

I waited 48 hours and then dug in this evening.  I had used standard gummy bears and soda flavored gummy (barrels?), along with some French vodka.  When they were gone, I saw there was some vodka-syrup left over.  So I poured a little club soda in the bowl, swished it about and drank down a mouthful of boozy childhood memories.

Edited 12/JAN/12 (because it didn't really have an ending, as so much just stop):
As I watched a Seinfeld re-run, I felt quite inebriated, but it didn't make sense at first.  Despite the fact that there was quite a bit of vodka (I didn't measure, so I'm really not sure how much) I hadn't "drank" more than ounce or two.  So, you should probably keep that in mind should you decide to give these a whirl.  And you really should.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blue Moon

On my walk home, I decided I needed beer. Well, not need exactly, but want. I picked up a sixer of Blue Moon bottles, though I think I prefer it in a can. Sadly, 7 Eleven does not carry a wide selection of beer and I should just be grateful they sell Blue Moon at all.

Speaking of Blue Moon cans.  Aside from their superior taste, they are much safer to drink in the shower (over the bottles, not other canned beers.  Or are they?)  OK, so this requires a story too.

Back in college, I was hanging out at my friend Mac's place.  The plan was to eventually walk down to DP and try to find some parties.  Mac said he needed to shower first, so I booted up the DVR and looked for something to watch.  As he left the living room, he went to the kitchen and grabbed an armful of beers, didn't offer me one, and went down the hall.  One episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force later and I'm figuring he must be almost done.  Another episode of ATHF passes and still no Mac.  Finally, halfway through the third he walks into the living room.  Drunk.  It seems he drank all those beers in the shower.  It seemed weird to me at the time.

Fast forward to that summer.  I had purchased a six pack of Mike's Hard Cranberry and was enjoying their crisp flavor on a hot summer day.  Hot for the Santa Barbara area, at least.  I realized I needed to shower before heading out, but wasn't done drinking.  So I took my half full bottle into the shower and drank it while the water washed over me.  I set the bottle on the ground outside of the shower and proceeded to shower as usual.  Therein lies the problem with bottles.  I was too concerned that my hands would not be able to grip the bottle completely and I'd drop it, getting lacerations on my bare feet.

Rewind to this last summer.  I had just discovered Blue Moon cans.  I picked up the last case and wondered how it could be.  I was pleased with the flavor.  But it wasn't until a couple nights later that I discovered just how awesome they could be.  I couldn't sleep and thought maybe a hot shower and a beer afterward might do the trick.  Hold on a sec, I have canned beer.  Blue Moon cans no less.  I grab two from the fridge and head to the shower.  I was free to drink them at my leisure, since even if I dropped it, there'd be no carnage.  Not that I planned on dropping them.  30 minutes and two beers later, I'm feeling much more relaxed.  I towel off and hit the sack.  Sleep achieved.