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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ulanda and me

Are you seeing a whiff of the green fairy in it? Good, because that's how I made mine.  A Ulanda cocktail is two parts gin, one part triple sec, and a good splash of anis, or, as I used here, absinthe.  The book is Pritchett, my favorite short story author, vurrry late.  The drink is close to a Vesper but the offsetting of bitter and sweeter is even sharper.  I guess you could call it also a Sicilian Vesper, and I'm not going to help you out of that one.  Ulanda is good enough for me, and I dare you to walk into a bar and order one--it is, in fact, one of the best-known drinks among mixologists, but not taught much in either bartending schools or on the job.  Try to change that, will you? But why walk into a bar mid-summer? In thirty-two years, I want to be where Pritchett was when he wrote this collection--ungainly paisley and hounds' tooth, some kind of wool pants you can only wear after a lifetime of contrary living--the bottom half of a mohair suit, really.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

La bohème

There's no question that Bohemia is among Mexico's five top tasting beers. The evidence of this is clear enough: you don't often see people urgently running into 7-Eleven or Rite-Aid to fetch 12 of them at a time. The taste is cleaner, sunnier than Modelo and it's far crispier than any stripe of Dos Equis. The question is: Bohemia every time, or Bohemia once in a while?

Here's what I like to do with Bohemia: I like to serve them at parties and I like to drink them myself one at a time through a given week. I do it this way because the beer remains a little more special to me that way. It goes a little ways towards IPA with its hops content, but only a little, and that's especially what I like about it. In fact, how it manages the hops content even while remaining so clean tasting fairly makes it an engineering marvel.

Even if it was originally brewed by a Czech expat in Mexico, this is a beer that first and foremost has to complement Mexican cuisine. I think marriage of Czech style and Mexican sentiment was an excellent one: Bohemia's slight whiff of hops, which is almost undetectable in other Mexican beers, goes a long way with Mexican food, which is often elaborately spiced. You wouldn't hesitate to order an IPA at an India restaurant; the hops round out the palate as the meal itself is rounded out by the spices.

But I wouldn't hesitate to drink it with Thai food either, and I would certainly serve it at a party at which the featured drink is wine. It's far from overpowering but also far from thin, and it much benefits from a glass pour.