Not So Old Fashioned

I have previously written about the Old Fashioned; sugar dissolved in a splash of water, bitters, and whiskey. It is a deceptively simple recipe; one which allows for a surprising amount of experimentation.

The sugar and water can be replaced by simple syrup; which is a straight substitution that saves the effort of stirring sugar until it dissolves in cold water. I have also used Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup, and Honey Syrup; all of which add additional flavour.

I have also tried changing out the Angostura bitters with either Cranberry or Orange bitters.

After much experimentation, I think that the combination of Honey Syrup and Orange bitters makes for my favourite variation. The lighter almost floral notes seem to complement the underlying Whiskey, rather than mask it.

Published in: on 24 June, 2013 at 20:21  Leave a Comment  

Honey Bee

Saturday was World Gin Day. We are in allergy season; eating local honey is supposed to help. My wife recently recommended a new Gin and Honey cocktail. I celebrated the day and helped my health by making the drink.

The first step is to make honey syrup. Heat equal measures of water and money. Allow to cool, add splashes of vodka as a preservative.

The cocktail itself dates back to Prohibition when covering rough booze was a necessity. It is a Bee’s Knees and is a more complex parent of a Lemon Drop Martini. It is a classic Sour, base spirit with equal measures of sour and sweetener.


Bee’s Knee

2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Published in: on 15 June, 2013 at 20:06  Comments (2)  


After our previously mentioned lunch in Bodega Bay, we spent an afternoon and early evening in Santa Rosa. As we browsed the shops of this delightful town, it became apparent that there was to be an classic car event that evening; seeing two Bel Airs at a crossroads was a hint.

We decided to stay and see the cars. From about five they drove up 4th Street and parked so we could stroll along the road and look that a large collection of cars from the 50s,60s, and 70s. Automobiles from a time when chrome and fins were the pinnacle of style. There was a car whose bonnet (hood) looked longer than the entire length of a Smart car. They we lovingly restored, with polished paintwork, and gleaming engines.


You may be able to see in the background of the above photo, several kids participating in the event by cruising up the street in replica pull along carts.

Mind you of the many cars we saw yesterday on the streets of Santa Rosa, the most beautiful was there before the event.


Published in: on 10 June, 2013 at 6:00  Comments (1)  

Don’t Feed the Seagulls

Seagulls are not the sort of bird that it seems advisable to feed. They are scavengers with sharp beaks and tend to flock when a meal is in the offing. It seems especially odd to see people doing this on the wharf in Bodega Bay; for it was here that Alfred Hitchcock shot “The Birds”.

Our visit there at the weekend was without avian incident. Lunch was taken in a restaurant full of memorabilia from the aforementioned film. The views across the bay were idyllic and in no way evoked thoughts of horror.


Published in: on 9 June, 2013 at 8:05  Leave a Comment  

Wedding in Redding

First there was The Rumble in the Jungle, then was The Thrilla in Manila, now we have The Wedding in Redding. Last weekend my wife and I drove up to Redding, California to attend the wedding of a close friend’s daughter.

Unlike the English town of Reading, Redding California has a spelling to match its pronunciation. It is about 170 miles from our home, with most of the drive being up I-5. This interstate runs from the Mexican border to Canada; a distance of nearly 1400 miles.  We drove for two hours on the freeway, covering less than 10% of the road’s total length. The drive took us past orchards, rice fields, olive groves, and fields of corn. There was only a handful of small towns on the I-5 until we reached Redding. On the way back we took advantage of these farms by purchasing a bag of freshly picked peaches.

It was a blisteringly hot day. For the last thirty minutes, the car’s thermometer showed a temperature of 100F (37C) . During this hottest part of the drive I could see the snow-covered peak of Mount Shasta in the distance; a sensory commentary on the contrasts of California.

The ceremony itself was outside in the blazing heat; at think I sweated the calories I would later gain from the meal.

The bride and groom wrote their own vows, which included a reference to the TV show The Vampire Dairies; which is a first in my experience.

Published in: on 7 June, 2013 at 6:00  Leave a Comment  

Product Placement

It is probably not a good sign for a movie when you spot product placement. However, last weekend I saw a film in which my attention was drawn to the product placement, by another brand’s absence. At the end of Fast & Furious 6, there was a BBQ scene. The characters all had bottles of a well known Mexican beer. The table was littered with several more of the same brand. On the table thee was a bottle of ketchup and one of mustard; omitting the fifty-five other varieties that they make. The part of the label with the name had been torn off in both cases; presumably because the company would not pay for product placement. However, the shape of the bottle and style of the label made the brand obvious, so it was not an effective way to obscure the company’s name.

Published in: on 1 June, 2013 at 8:06  Leave a Comment