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Archive for the ‘Whiskey’ Category

Some Drink it Hot

February 7th, 2014 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Whiskey, Wine

I’ll be honest, I like to make a hot cocktail on occasion.

Even more honestly, I’d rather be freezing my ass off cupping a hot mug of mulled wine, than sweating my ass off trying to grasp a slippery beer koozie.

I covered this very topic on Esquire this week, offering a few of my favorite–and manly, boy are they manly–hot cocktails for you to make at home, including:

  • Mexican/Irish Coffee
  • Hot Toddy
  • Mulled Wine
  • Hot Buttered Rum
  • Hot Punch

Find out more over at Esquire.com.

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey

August 31st, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Grade: A regular, Whiskey

Unorthodox Orthodox

I live in a very Jewish part of town known as:  Manhattan.  And, after an incident on Sunday, and if I can stereotype a bit, here I recollect on the ten most atypical things I have seen an NYC Orthodox Jew do.

10. There was the time an Orthodox Jew sat beside me at a real hellhole of a Village dive bar.  It was nearing 4 AM and it seems he was depressed about something or other.  After a few shots of well whiskey he began to doze off in his barstool.  The bartenders at this joint, feisty tattooed dykes in tight wife beaters, had a habit of hosing down clientele with the water gun when they were so rude as to pass out.  As this Jew lolled his head where he sat, a bartender raised her gun, tentative.  It just seemed wrong, even to her.  “Should I do it?” she asked me.  “DO IT,” I smirked.  She nailed him right in the face, jolting him awake as he snapped his head back and ejected his yarmulke from his skull and to the sawdust covered floor.

9. The Orthodox Jew in my Hell’s Kitchen hood who road a big Harley, he enjoyed idling in front of his Synagogue and annoyingly revving his engine.  Never during Shabbos though.

8. The two Orthodox Jews I once saw nearly coming to fisticuffs over a parking spot.  A shoving match ensued, sidelocks jiggled, Coke bottle eyeglasses rattled, Yiddish profanity was unleashed.

7. The time a gaggle of burly Rockefeller Center construction workers cat-called a shockingly attractive female Orthodox in a standard ankle-length Tzniut dress which did nothing to mask her junk in the tuchus.  I swear I saw her self-satisfyingly grin.  Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

6. The Orthodox Jewish day school youngsters I caught heckling a WASPy little boy in a Christmas tree sweater around the holidays.  “You only get one day of presents!  You only get one day of presents!”

5. The Orthodox Jew playing pick-up hoops–with all “brothas” no less–while in his full Orthodox regalia, black wool suit, big clunky shoes, flapping-in-the-wind fringes, and a Shtreimel hat.  He was pretty good actually.  A deadly jumper from the elbow.

4. The Orthodox Jewish couple I saw passionately kissing out the top of a quite decadent Bentley stretch limo as it sped along the Westside Highway.  Her Tichel headscarf flapping in the wind.  My Middle Eastern cab driver got off his Bluetooth long enough to turn around and angrily say to me, “Do you believe this fuckin’ city?”

3. The Orthodox Jew I saw sharing a joint in an alley with some “normal” people as Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” played on a cheap ghettoblaster (shtetlblaster?).  The Jew kept Bogarting the joint I noticed, not passing it in a timely fashion.

2. And then there was the time I was walking down Broadway around 72nd street when I passed a smoking hot girl in her workout clothes, which were simply a sports bra and some borderline pornographic bicycle shorts, God bless her.  Being no better than any other lascivious male, I of course turned to ogle her backside as she passed me, what the gays calling “cruising” I believe.  And, of course, who do I see doing likewise, in identical synchronicity with me, but a Methuselah-esque bearded old Orthodox.  I saw him and he saw me and he winked at me as if to say, “I’d like to give her a little Shvanz if you know what I’m saying?”

1. Then, just yesterday, as I was jogging through an intersection on the UWS, an Orthodox Jew in a Cadillac floated a stop sign and nearly took my legs out.  Furious, he had the gall to vigorously honk me, then slowly follow alongside me down West End Avenue all the while unleashing an aggressive pumping middle finger at me for a good three blocks.  I wonder if he was a Rabbi?

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey

47% ABV (distilled: 9/3/06; batch # 38)

I’d heard the rumors of this small-batch whiskey from Colorado’s only microdistillery, but never did I think I would get to enjoy some (though it apparently isn’t as rare and as “Colorado-only” as I once had thought).  So glad my friend DW hooked me up.  Stranahan’s is a remarkably interesting and unique whiskey, truly one of a kind, it can’t be categorized or compared to other whiskeys you’ve had.  So vanilla-y, even neat this charred-oak barreled spirit tastes like a bourbon-based cocktail.  It’s hard to believe there aren’t other ingredients mixed with it.  But it’s so goddamn hot and boozy you’ll quickly realize this is 100% malt.  At around $55 a bottle I’d call it perhaps a hair overpriced, considering you can get world class stuff at that point, but it’s damn good and well worth having a glass or two if you ever see it on a menu at your better restaurants, bars, and/or brothels.

NOTE:  Long in cahoots with Oskar Blues, the two have recently joined forces to produce a Ten FIDY aged in Stranahan barrels.  I’m getting a boner just thinking about that.

A

Irish Carbomb

October 21st, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Guinness, Whiskey

ABV insignificant

The Vice Blogger quite notably hates shots. Catchers gear may be the so-called “tool of ignorance,” but shots are the libations of fools.  Shots are for people that don’t like the taste of alcohol.  They’re for people that like giving unnecessary high-fives and woowooing (not a coincidence that that’s a name of a shot).  They’re for men that wear sleeveless shirts to bar.  They’re for people that think the lead characters in “Swingers” are people to be idolized instead of dolts that Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn were actually mocking.

Why would one ever do a shot?  If you’re ordering quality alcohol you should savor it, drink it as slowly as possible.  Shooting some quality booze is like ordering an Elliot Spitzer-approved $1000/hour hooker, then seeing if you can come with a single pump.  Meanwhile, if you’re ordering shitty liquor…well, maybe you should just dump that in the trash rather than your face.

Shots are for movie characters that have just gone through a break-up or lost their job.  For stevedores that head straight from the dock to the local dive, ordering a shot and a beer every single round.  And those shots are straight up hardcore, rotgut.  They are not fit for real humans that check their coats when they enter the bar.  For dainty little people that use coasters and ask for the “lightest” beer on tap.

Doing shots is like cheating to get drunk, a shortcut for people that can’t handle the effort, can’t manage the marathon tippling it takes to get loaded some nights.  Shots are akin to using performance enhancing drugs. And I don’t like it. Which is funny because I actually have no problem with steroids in sports and don’t think they should be banned*.

Having said that, there’s a certain je nai se quois about carbombs that I do kinda dig. No, they’re not something you should have every time you go out, or probably even once every month. And, quite frankly, they’re kinda douchey.  But once every season, when a large group of friends has gathered, when there’s something to celebrate, or something to forget (usually a sports loss), they are a great drink.

I love the ceremony of carbombs, as your waitress sprints back to the bar stand with an “I don’t believe this” look on her face, forced to gather all bar hands on deck for the massive project of halfway filling up countless pint glasses with Guinness, making a complimentary number of Baileys and Jameson shots.

I love the guy, usually the fella that initiated the bombing much to many of his mates’ chagrin, looking around like a good host, making sure, “Everyone got one? Everyone got one? We ready?  We ready?”

I love the anticipation as everyone lines up as if in the starting block of a 100m dash. Their drinking hand firmly wrapped around the pint, their off-hand holding the shot glass above the Guinness. Every time I reach this step a bit of totally unnecessary nerves come over me–being an Aurelius stoic I never get nervous for anything–but car bombings makes you feel like something of deep importance, something of great gravitas is about to occur. And I’m not sure why that is exactly.  I think it’s kinda like a boxer entering the ring, not sure whether the remarkable (or miserable) will happen within the next ten seconds nor possibly not at all.

I’m always nervous that the shot glass will shatter upon it’s deployment, that the cannonballed beer will splatter all over the place. Alas, it never occurs.  I also am always worried about someone inhaling the shot glass down their esophagus. This has SURELY happened somewhere. Surely. Though I have never seen it in any of my career bombings.

AND GO!

You drop the shot and with the most melodic *CLINK* it rattles down the sides and hits the bottom of the glass.  You chug the entire concoction, watching out of the corner of your eyes how your friends are progressing.  I’ve never ever seen people bet even a nickel over a carbomb chug, yet we men go after them as if our lives are on the line, looking askancely to see how our buddies, nay competitors, are doing, hurrying up our drinking if necessary to catch up.  Whatever it takes.  A move that frequently leads to brown liquid being poured all down your chin and onto one’s shirt.  Yet another great reason the Vice Blogger is always a man in black.

Upon finishing, you slam your glass on the bar, wipe your face with the back of your arm in a continuous sweeping motion from mid-ulna to fingertips, and smile at your friends.  Triumphantly unfurl a belch if possible.  Like a gunslinger blowing the smoke from his pistols.  Ah yes.

Carbombs, they’re so childish, yet so…manly.  Maybe we should go back to calling them boilermakers like our grandfathers did.  That sounds more masculine, less Jersey shore “Yo, let’s go ‘ave some car bawmbs, yo.”  Boilermakers let you know the gauntlet has been laid down, “Oh, it’s gonna be one a’ ‘those’ nights,” everyone says.   Yes it is.

Maybe next time, children, I’ll tell you about truck bombs.  That’s a pitcher of Guinness with a plopped rock glass of Jameson/Baileys.

_____

*I say this neither to be transgressively contrarian nor ironically humorous.  There is no reason to ban performance-enhancing drugs in sports.  It is impossible to accurately monitor usage, impossible to consistently apply the rules (why is cortisone across-the-board legal?), it gets Washington involved in even more useless exercises of sanctimony than we could possibly need, and the health risks are debatable if not completely dubious.  Oh yeah, and fuck “the kids.”  For the best take I’ve ever seen on steroids please check out this year’s brilliant film “Bigger Stronger Faster*.”

Bangladeshi Mystery Whiskey

October 7th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 7 Comments | Filed in Whiskey

They tritely say that when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade.  Well when bad shit happens to me, I figure at least I’ll get a funny tale from it.  Heading to Astoria last night to retrieve my lost and found cell phone, I figured I might get an amusing update to yesterday’s post.  Perhaps an interesting addendum.  But as my magical mystery tour became longer and longer, stranger and stranger, I soon realized I had an entire post.

Before leaving for Queens I told a few friends where I was going, just so they would know where to find my remains.  A couple warned me that I was no doubt getting lured back to a pervert’s den to get raped, pillaged, and murdered.  But I didn’t think so.  The guy on the phone, Maneek, sounded very friendly and gave me too much of his own personal information to be considered shady.  Nevertheless, I brought no cash, hid my plastic down my underwear, and discreetly armed myself with a stainless steel pocket knife.

Arriving at 36th Avenue in Astoria, I found Maneek’s supposed apartment building projects-esque, a dice game happening on the stoop and weed smoke wafting thick in the air.  I rang B1 and no one answered.  Rang again one minute later and still no response.  I thought the buzzer was probably broken as it is in most low-income facilities.

I waited for someone to exit and snuck in, trekking past countless hallway-hanger-outers to B1.  I rang the doorbell and was greeted by a minuscule Bangladeshi man in a longi skirt.

“Are you Maneek?”

“No.  I am Charbak.”

“Does Maneek live here?  I’m the guy that lost the cell phone.”

“Ah yes.  Please remove your shoes and enter.”

Uh…OK.

I removed my kicks–embarrassed that I was wearing white socks with black shoes–and was led to a well-kept living room with a massive 50-inch Samsung flatscreen.

“Please sit.  I will go to get your phone.”

Uh…OK.

This was weird, I thought, but I did as I was told.

Charbak left the room and remained absent for several minutes.  The apartment was fairly large, certainly bigger than my Manhattan flat, but I had no clue where he could have gone and what was taking him so long.  It was getting fairly creepy.  I made sure my knife was easily accessed as I watched a Bengali sports highlights show (locals, did you know our Time Warner packages actually have Bangladeshi TV?  No shit, check channel 575).

A few minutes later, Charbak returned with my phone and his cousin Maneek, a 6′5″ Bangladeshi also clad in a longi.

I grabbed my phone, finding it in still-flawless condition with 181 missed calls and 22 missed texts.  No funny business at all perpetrated on the device amazingly enough.  I profusely thanked both Maneek and Charbak and turned to exit.  But, Maneek, the far more talkative of the two, refused to accept my thanks and exit.  In fact, he continued to apologize to me.  “For what?!” I asked.

“For making you come all the way to Queens, sir.  Please sit.”

Uh…OK.

Maneek was super nice but from the corner of the room, Charbak eyed me suspiciously and, I thought, possibly with disdain.  An awkward silence.  What I was I supposed to do?  I decided to get some answers.

“So…uh…where’d you guys find the phone….?”

Maneek looked at Charbak with a “go ahead…” nod.

Charbak claimed that he had been mine and my friends’ cab driver on our drunken Friday night return home from the bars.  He hadn’t found the phone til Monday morning’s backseat clean-up because the cell had slipped deep into a seat crevice.

“Do you remember me, Charbak?” I asked, instantly recalling in my head that my friend T is always a big loud, drunken asshole to livery drivers and was no doubt a big loud, drunken asshole to Charbak that night.  Later, conferring with another friend that was in the cab, I unfortunately confirmed my suspicions.

“Oh, I remember you,” Charbak knowingly said.  But before he could expound with vitriol, the ever-smiling Maneek butted in.

“Would you like some tea, Aaron?”

Actually, I did have a developing sore throat from a weekend of debauchery, but I also had Upper West Side dinner plans at 7.  I wondered if it would be an insult not to accept tea.  “Would it be an insult not to accept tea?” I asked.  Without the smile leaving his face, Maneek replied, “Yes, of course it would.”

Uh…OK.

“Tea it is then.”

Maneek barked something in Bengali at the younger, milquetoast Charbak who bolted from the room.

Once, Charbak was gone, Maneek looked at me, dead serious.

“Aaron, do you like ‘Iron Man?’”

“The…superhero movie?”

“I just got it on digital video disc.  Let us watch.”

And so as we waited for Charbak to steep the tea, my new Bangladeshi friend and I watched ‘Iron Man’ while discussing such topics as:  Maneek’s new American citizenship, the presidential election (Maneek was leaning Obama), the fact that he had first lived in Oklahoma City upon moving to America thirteen years previous, my coincidental childhood in Oklahoma City, Timothy McVeigh, Maneek’s family background (wife and children still in Bangladesh), how Bangladesh is a failed state, and the fact that Robert Downey, Jr. is fucking awesome.

After about fifteen minutes, Charbak returned to the room with a massive silver tray which he placed directly in front of me.  It was a monumental spread of oddball homemade Bangladeshi foods I had never seen nor heard of before.  Some wet tubular pastries called chomchom, another pile of powdered treats that looked like doughnut holes, some sherbet-orange-colored kesar kheer pudding that had the consistency of lard, and a glowing yellow coleslaw-looking thing full of golden raisins.  I have a great poker face but my agog eyes must have betrayed me this time because Maneek tried to reassure my lingering doubts with just one word:

“Sweets.”

“Huh?”

“They are Bangladeshi sweets for you to enjoy, Aaron.”

I was decidedly not hungry enough for such a massive spread, I certainly didn’t want to ruin my dinner which was just an hour away by this point, I somewhat feared the potential for a poisoning as Charbak and Maneek were not digging in too, but I didn’t want to offend and I quickly recalled how just this weekend I had bragged to my friends that I’m not scared to eat anything.  So I dug in.

And you know what, the food was actually pretty good.  Each item had the strangest consistencies, consistencies no American or Americanized foods ever have, but each dish was not half bad.  I particularly enjoyed the coleslaw raisin thing.  I ate far more than I wanted to and that was still barely enough to get a quarter of the spread down.

As I ate, I kept giving over-exaggerated, orgasmic mmmmmm’s, continually looking at Maneek to note how tasty the food was.  When I could take no more I assured Maneek it wasn’t because I disliked the grub but rather because I was stuffed.  Finally, Charbak returned with the tea.  Thick and milky, it looked more like a latte.  However, it tasted like tea and was absolutely delicious.  After a few seconds of sipping, my throat and sinuses were completely clear, I felt healthier and more refreshed than I’d been in days.  Nice.

Having barely spoken during the entirety of my stay, Charbak finally began to gab.

“So you go out drinking every single weekend?” he asked me, clearly knowing my type.  An overeducated, undercivilized, brash, entitled white asshole that gets drunk every weekend and takes expensive cab rides home courtesy of struggling immigrants like him.

Uh-oh.

I nervously smiled before categorically denying the charges.

“No, no.  Not every weekend.  I’m too old for that.  In fact, I barely drink at all.  Only special occasions.”

He smiled, not buying my bullshit in the least.  Maneek chirped up, “So what is your poison?”

“Poison?”  Aha!  They were finally ready to poison me!!

“Yes.  What do you like to drink?”

I didn’t know what to say.  Was this a trick question?

“Do you like whiskey?” Maneek asked.

“I do.”

“What kind of whiskey do you like?”

I was to the point where I was answering questions as if I was asking questions in return.

“Bourbon?”

“Ah yes,” said Maneek, “bourbon is good.”

Maneek’s smiley smile became a devious smile for the first time all night and he rushed out of the room, leaving me alone with Charbak again.  I had nothing to say to Charbak and he just kept staring at me with a weird look on his face like I was some alien guest.  I used my silent time to try and come up with an end-game to get out of there.  I tried to down my tea but it was too hot.

Maneek returned with a clear and unlabeled 750 mL bottle full of a brown liquid.

“Let us have some Bengali whiskey.”

Things were getting strange.  “I thought drinking was illegal in Bangladesh?” I asked.

As Maneek took two glasses off his shelf, he Cheshire Cat smiled.  “Oh, it is.”

He poured us each a glass, totally ignoring Charbak who flipped to “The Daily Show.”

“A toast to new friends!” said Maneek as he threw down the whiskey.  I made sure he swallowed it before I did.  Again, it wasn’t bad.  Smooth and fairly complex, like a Jameson 12 maybe.  But it hit the back of my throat hard like firewater.  I would guess this Bangladeshi mystery whiskey was somewhere in the 55 to 60% ABV range.  I coughed a bit after the shot, but the whiskey too helped my ailing throat.

Was I allowed to leave now?! I excused myself to go to the bathroom.  After a quick leak, I thought about making my move, giving these two Bangladeshis an old-fashioned Irish goodbye.  I could have easily executed it too as the bathroom was near the front door and leaving it would not involve passing back through the living room.  No, I couldn’t play my Bengali boys like that.  I returned to the living room.

I finally recalled the reason I was supposed to get to Queens so quickly in the first place:  Maneek had told me earlier that he had a Bangladeshi party to attend in Jackson Heights at 6:00.  It was already 6:30.  “Hey, don’t you guys have a party to attend?”

“Ah, yes.  But we are having too much fun here with you, Aaron. Please, take your time.”

I was halfway through my tea.

“Some more whiskey?,” Chabrak asked without glancing at me.

“How ’bout I quickly finish this tea up and then I’ll go?”

“Fair enough, Aaron.”  And Maneek again ordered Charbak to do something in Bengali.  This time Charbak left the apartment.

When I finally finished the tea a few minutes later, Maneek escorted me out of the building, where Charbak waited with their cab parked in front.

“You took the N train?”

I did.

And so Maneek forced me to hop in the backseat and they drove me to the subway station.  There, the two men got out of their seats and proceeded to give me ten straight minutes of handshakes and hugs and “good to meetchas” and “thank yous” in the street before ultimately releasing me from their grips.  Finally, Maneek handed me a small notebook and a pencil.

“Aaron, that phone of yours we found?  Please to write its number down.  We are having a Bangladeshi party in two weeks and you are invited.”

Uh…OK.  Guess I better go get my longi dry-cleaned.

Jameson Irish Whiskey

June 17th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Country: Ireland, Grade: A-/B+, Whiskey

40% ABV

My friend Derek and I often like to joke about what we’ll do when we’re “fuck you” money rich. Derek hates incompetent jack-off drivers. Thus he claims that any time he saw someone do something stupid on the road in front of him he would just ram into them. Not maliciously or dangerously, just enough to dent their vehicle and let them know they’re a jackass. He’d treat the roads like his own personal game of bumper cars. I, on the other hand, would probably use my billions to buy out every single ticket to games at particularly nasty arenas when my favorite sports teams were on the road. Nothing would be better than going to an away game that has no home field advantage, just me and my half-dozen of drunk friends yelling for our team. But that’s probably not realistic.

What Derek and I would think it most amusing to do with our hypothetical vast wealth is to engage in egregious drinking faux-pas, simply for our own enjoyment (oh, and to piss off tightly-wound and snobby bartenders)*. So we might go to the Four Seasons hotel bar and order a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label WITH Diet Coke. Or, go to Blue Bar at the Algonquin and order a 30-year Macallan with “a lotta ice.” But, our favorite would be to go somewhere real classy and order a car bomb. For the beer base, we’d ask for a three-quarters full pint glass of Sam Adams Utopias and for the whiskey drop we’d ask that Jim Beam Distiller’s Masterpiece bourbon be used. By our estimates that absurd concoction would cost, oh, around $500 and deliver such a potent and brisk jolt of alcohol to our systems that we would probably fall backwards out of our bar stools. But we wouldn’t be kicked out of the bar or hotel. Why? Because we’re loaded recall. And loaded people (definition 1) are allowed to be assholes when they’re loaded (definition 2). I can’t wait.

But, in realty, I am not rich yet. And, thus, I will have to save those antics for when I am older. Which will actually make them all the more funnier. Nowadays when I tipple I got to be a tad thrifty. It’s why I mostly drink craft beer. The most expensive and greatest of beers are at most $15 to $20 for a bomber. That’s pricey, no doubt, but doable. And there are, of course, tons of extraordinary beers that are only a few bucks, allowing one to try plenty of them per night, and thus waste all their free time blogging about them. For liquor, though, that is not the case. One needs to know the best values on the market. For bourbon, there’s nothing better than Old Grand-Dad 100 proof “Bonded,” checking in at around $18 a bottle. For Scotch, I’m not sure if there’s a cheap one on that market that is actually of a quality I would consider consuming. For Canada whiskey…we’ll that stuff sucks and it shouldn’t even be drunk. My mom used to throw a nipple on a bottle of Crown Royal and serve it to me when I was a tot. That’s how weak it is. And, for Irish whiskey, there’s nothing better than the legendary Jameson.

Jameson is the only liquor I will take a shot of. In celebration, in mourning, to “amp” up the night a bit, or to simply wash away pain. I typically don’t believe in shots, as I think they are for people that don’t like drinking and can’t handle the taste of booze. It’s almost an insult to the manufacturer to take a shot of a quality liquor. (I mean, can you imagine pureeing up a slab of wagyu Kobe beef and then throwing it down your gullet as fast as possibly? It would be absolutely mental!) I love the taste of booze, and thus I actually prefer to have Jameson neat, like I have all of my bourbons and Scotches and whiskeys. But sometimes, a man needs to do a shot, and I do understand that. Jameson is a tad weak at 40%, but that’s why it’s so drinkable and that’s why it sells so well. Not much bite, very flavorful. Buttery with some honey, malty, sweet, smooth, and surprisingly fairly complex.

Jameson also has a 12-Year and an 18-Year, both of which are even more outstanding, though those bottles are usually hidden on the top shelf of a bar caked in dust due to the lack of folks ordering them.

Jameson reminds me of drinking late into the night and just shooting the shit with my friends as the crowd gets thinner and thinner in a bar. And, when it comes down to it, the memories a drink evokes may actually be more important that how it tastes.

A-/B+

*These jokes probably aren’t funny unless you’re a massive alcohol nerd.