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Friday, June 16, 2017

The Palm Beach Special

Bloomsday, and I am an iconoclast on this day, always.  On the 100th anniversary a few years back I staged a reading of you-know-what on my own balcony.  The truth is that I always let Ulysses float through and over my head, gladly--a guy I knew once told me something about Joyce, how he's so obscure that you can't help but love him because you need to study him for years to know him, and who turns on someone you've known and even studied for years--and I rather agree.  Rather, but...I also like Don Gifford's and Robert J. Seidman's Ulysses Annotated--in fact, I may even prefer it to the work itself--it's the work of a lifetime and resplendent with maps of Dublin, and to me it even anticipates wikipedia by about a dozen years.  More than that: the first effort was put "out there" in 1974, and they just kept on working it.  Now, about a Palm Beach Special, which is my Bloomsday cocktail of choice.  This is the perfect prelude to summer drink; not only beautiful but exceptionally tasty, and you only realize that it is over half gin after it's too late.  Here's what you do: get a shaker, put in some rocks, and pour in about half an ounce of sweet vermouth, three-quarters of an ounce of grapefruit juice, and about two or three ounces of gin.  I like to err on the grapefruit juice side--you will calibrate the sweet and sour to your own taste, and when in doubt, consult the Cocktail DB.  No, Joyce didn't drink Palm Beach Specials--which is actually a New York cocktail from the post-prohibition era of exuberance.  But he would have.