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Feb 2005
Issue 057

Out now!


Stay toasty, get toasted

“Modern life, too, is often a mechanical oppression, and liquor is the only mechanical relief.” — Hemingway

So, February. What is there to do this month, truly, aside from getting blitzed while waiting for the weather to clear? Morally sticky though it may be to advocate crawling inside a bottle until cherry blossom season arrives, let us be honest – there’s really nothing else going on these days. Submitted for your approval, then, are five drink recipes combining two things – liquor and warmth – that may see you sanely through this final chunk of winter …

HOT SAKE

Ingredients: sake; hot

“In general terms,” writes sake expert and Yomiuri Shinbun columnist John Gauntner on sake-world. com, “sake becomes dryer and more flavorful when heated, and crisper and more aromatic at lower temperatures.” (Also, he adds, more potent.) Tradition, however, demands you refrain from doing anything as gauche as warming your sake in the microwave – rest the bottle in a pan of hot water, thank you – and that you serve the stuff at around 104 F.

Degree of Difficulty: Non-existent.
Serve With: sushi, sashimi.

TOM & JERRY

1 egg, 1 shot of rum, 1 shot of brandy,
1 tsp. sugar, warm milk

Of all the old-school holiday drink recipes (spiced wassail, peppermint-spiked cocoa), the T & J is still the most worthwhile. Mix the egg white with the sugar, and the yolk with the rum and brandy. Toss it together; the milk goes in last.

Degree of Difficulty: Slight.
Serve With: a whopping slice of chocolate cake.

FEUERZANGENBOWLE

2 to 3 bottles of red wine, 1 bottle of rum,
1 orange peel, 3 to 5 cloves, 1 tightly-packed cup of sugar

Though the equally-German winter concoction gluwein is also tasty at parties, nothing beats feuerzangenbowle in terms of sheer holiday showmanship. Heat (but do not boil) the wine in
a pot; tie off the orange peel and cloves in a coffee filter and hang inside. Place the pot on an open table. Now, put fine metal grating over the pot, and place the sugar on top. Douse the sugar with the rum, and set aflame. Melted sugar should drip through the grating and into the wine in a blue-flamed blaze of glory. Showmanship!

Degree of Difficulty: Horrifying.
Serve With: sturdy sandwiches; a pat on the back for whoever’s making it.

“OYUWARI”- STYLE SHOCHU

Shochu; hot water.

Simply cut the shochu with however much hot water your sensibilities decide on. A recent Japan Times article noted that shochu – sans mixers – contains nearly no calories, can stimulate the nervous system and prevents blood clots. Moreover (though it’s never been scientifically proven), shochu is said to not give hangovers. Bottoms up!

Degree of Difficulty: Nominal.
Serve With: tempura; umeboshi (separately, or inside the cocktail).

COCKROACH

2 shots of tequila, 2 shots of Kahlúa, tiny amount of brandy.

“Try, try! You will like this drink,” a short barista once exhorted some time ago in Tijuana. “You –” grinning now, “– you will like this a lot.” Deftly mixing the ingredients in large snifters, the barkeep lit the concoctions on fire and urged everyone to drink as quickly as possibly through a long straw. (But to watch out for the fire.) Though this was first enjoyed many years back in mid-July, considerable research has concluded that the Cockroach is also an excellent winter drink.

Degree of Difficulty: Tricky.
Serve With: hangover medicine.

BELLY UP TO THE BAR …

Any serious attempt at holiday revelry must begin with a well-stocked liquor cabinet. Recommendations:

SAKE
The title of “best” sake is hotly contested, though Kamoizumi (Hiroshima prefecture), Kubota (Nigata) and Juyondai (Yamagata) appear on a lot of lists.

TEQUILA
Ubiquitous Jose Cuervo; 1800 Tequila; or Patrón Reposado.

SOCHU
Gokujo Mori Izo (from Kago-shima) is regarded as one of
the absolute pinnacles, though its scarceness – the J. Times once listed it as one of three maboroshi (“phantom”) shochu – may instead limit your choices here to whatever’s currently
up for grabs at Lawson.

BRANDY
E&J Gallo.

RUM
El Dorado, Captain Morgan or Havana Club, depending on your budget.

Text: Jeff Lo

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Stay toasty, get toasted
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