Accidental Apocalypse

In all of heaven, there was but one fool.

An angel dim of wit and infirm of mind yet excelling at his primary purpose – to exalt the Lord of hosts with mighty praise and  delightsome song. For this, he was tolerated.

Sephiel, he was called.

And it came to pass that one day, Sephiel, looking for a place to rest his troubled head, did stumble into the chamber of the glory of the almighty. A plethora of enchantments immediately captivated his attentions and Sephiel set to entertaining himself with the fine distractions of the chamber. There were swords of the purest flame, burning an incandescent yellow. There were orbs of overwhelming brilliance, even in the blinding illumination of the chamber of divine splendor. There were musical instruments that produced sounds so mellifluous, Sephiel was brought to tears upon touching them even with unskilled fingers. There were jewels, pearls, gems and an assortment of precious things; treasures of the almighty himself.

A gods ransom.

One treasure did captivate Sephiel beyond all others. It was a book. This book shone with a  resplendence that came not from its adornments but from its very essence. Across this book was a silver seal and it appeared that the book could not be opened without breaking the seal for there was no visible slot for a key.

Sephiel bounded across the chamber, having tired of all other treasures and without much hesitation, pried the seal apart in gleeful ignorance. The easily seal gave way but Sephiel was disappointed for there was yet another seal within. He pried this away as well, ignoring the vociferous rumbling that had overtaken all around him since he first set hand to the book. He was met with yet another seal. Sephiel impatiently pried this away as well, continuing until he had reached what was the Seventh seal. And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was a silence in the celestial domains for a time. Sephiel remained oblivious to this also, occupied instead with the reading of the book even as elsewhere, seven dutiful angels, seated in a place contiguous to the gate of heaven, rose to their feet and blew upon seven golden trumpets.

Yet, even this, Sephiel did not acknowledge.

It was a most fascinating book.

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Cocktail (2)

I’ve slowly been improving my cocktail preparation repertoire (mostly by using myself as a guinea pig and also by serving my experiments at several social functions where the general consensus has so far been positive) and I would like to believe I have now reached a stage where I can refer to myself as a reasonably skilled amateur without any measure of remorse. Having created a few cocktails of my own (mostly interesting variants of already existing cocktails but with a twist and in some cases a violent kick), I think its time I started recording them. Knowing how poor my own memory is, I’m sure I will begin to forget if I don’t.

In case you are completely oblivious to what cocktails are or why they are so awesome, refer to:  Cocktail

So, first I will detail a few not-so-popular classics which I have just perfected or discovered and which I find delightful, then afterwards, I will detail the preparation schemes of some of my originals.

Shall we begin?

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CLASSICS

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A) The Harvey Wallbanger  

Allegedly invented in 1952 by Donato ‘Duke’ Antone, the Harvey Wallbanger was made famous by Galliano salesman. And now I am sure you are wondering what Galliano is.

Liquore Galliano L’Autentico, known more commonly as Galliano, contains vanilla, anise, ginger, citrus, juniper, musk yarrow, and lavender. It has a beautiful, vivid yellow color, that is apparently symbolic of the 1890 gold rush but which I find more reminiscent of a the color of emotion one would feel on a bright, sunny afternoon, surrounded by great friends.

Legend has it that the Harvey Wallbanger was named after a Manhattan Beach surfer named Harvey who became a regular patron of Duke’s ‘Blackwatch’ Bar in Hollywood during the early 1950s. True or not, one cannot escape the feelings of Sun and Wealth that come with the Wallbanger.

I must let you know that it is an acquired taste and although I have about 90% favorable feedback on this drink, a few people have complained that it was not to their liking.

To make the Harvey Wallbanger…

You will need:

Vodka, Fresh orange juice, Galliano vanilla liqueur, Ice.

You will do:  

1. Pour 1 part Vodka and 3 parts Orange Juice into a Glass filled with ice

2. Carefully float the Galliano on top over the back of a spoon ( i.e. use the spoon to cover the mix and then pour in Galliano slowly)

3. Garnish the glass with a slice of orange and serve.

The Harvey Wallbanger


B) The Whiskey Dry

I’m sure by now anyone who has ever been to a club has tried the very popular and quite frankly underwhelming Jack Daniels whiskey and coke mixture. I won’t knock the Jack and coke ( or JD and Coke) hustle but the truth must be told and that truth is that Whiskey and Coke is the poor cousin of the whiskey dry. the Whiskey dry is a gentleman’s drink that apparently dates back to 15th century France and was made popular by the Frenchmen who emigrated to Canada. It is a simple drin kto make and was introduced to me by my friend Muthu on one of our drinking sprees. In my opinion, a Whiskey Dry  beats a JD and Coke everyday and twice on Sundays.

To make the Whiskey Dry…

You will need:

Whiskey (Jack Daniels will do), and Dry Ginger Ale (or Ginger beer in dire circumstances), Lime (optional)

You will do:  

1. Add whisky into a glass (on the rocks)

2. Top with Dry Ginger Ale

3. Build over ice and toss in a lime wedge.


Whiskey Dry

C) Classic Sangria

Sangria  is not a cocktail per se but it is a wine-based punch typical originally created by the Spanish and very popular with the Spanish and Portuguese. There are several variants but it typically consists of wine, chopped fruit (such as orange, lemon, lime, apple, peach, melon, berries, pineapple, grape and mango), a sweetener, and a small amount of fine spirit. The sweetener may be honey, sugar, syrup, or any fresh fruit juice.

Sangria is tricky to make and I’m sure if you have attended a party where some juvenile attempted to mix wine with ‘punch’ and ended up with something appalling, you know what I mean. I have actually failed at making Sangria myself but there is one very specific method I have used which worked perfectly and I wish to record it here before I forget.

To make Sangria…

You will need:

Red wine (preferably Merlot but I hear Shiraz works well too), Lemons, Oranges, Limes, Sugar, Lemonade, Gin, Strawberries, Pineapples & Ginger ale

You will do:  

1. Pour 1 bottle of wine into a jug and squeeze 1 lemon, 1 orange and 1 lime juices into the wine.

2. Cut up another lemon, lime and orange into small wedges and toss into the jug ( don’t forget to remove the seeds)

3. Add the cut up pieces of pineapple, add 2 table spoons of sugar, then 1/2 a cup of orange juice and one shot of gin (or more if you’re feeling frisky)

4. Take the jug with the mix and keep in the fridge overnight. (This is important, if possible, do it 2 or 3 days ahead of time)

5. When you are ready to serve, add 3 cups of ginger ale, a bowl of chopped strawberries and lots of ice just before serving.

Sangria

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ORIGINALS

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A) Wole’s Woo Woo (The W3)

The classic Archers Woo woo is a fairly popular cocktail and is one of the major selling points on the manifesto of the Archers distillery. They even have the cocktail recipe on the back of the bottle. I perosnally recommend it and it is my ‘go to’ drink when all else fails. It is also extremly deceptive, as the lime in it masks the taste of alcohol very effectively. Have too much of it and before you know it, you’ll be dancing on a table topless screaming “Woo! Woo!”. It is a crowd-pleaser. I am yet to meet anyone I served it to that did not like it. However, I also discovered that with one minor addition, this drink can go from good to great in less than 60 seconds.

To make Wole’s Woo Woo…

You will need:

Vodka, Archers Peach Schnapps, Cranberry juice, Raspberry juice, Fresh Limes and Lemons, Ice

You will do:  

1. Pour the crushed ice/cubes into a jug/blender – as much as desired

2. Pour in 1 part vodka over the ice

3. Pour in 1 part Archers peach schnapps

4. Pour in 1 or 2 (see step 5) parts Cranberry (at this point, if you used 2 parts cranberry, just add some lime wedges and you have made the classic archers woo woo and can stop.

archers woo woo

(To go epic, continue)

5. Go back to step 4, if you added 1 part Cranberry, now add 1 part Raspberry juice.

6. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice and also squeeze a few drops of fresh lime into the mixture – continue adding both until the taste of the vodka disappears (if that is your nefarious plan).

7. Garnish the glass with a slice of lime and serve.

That’s a me serving the W3 at a shindig. Well… some parts of me anyway.

B) The Delicate Dania

I created this cocktail out of sheer determination to make something that tasted like my friend – Dania’s – personality (Happy birthday DanDan!). I did promise that I would. She is fun but in a subdued way, intelligent and friendly, flirts with sadness while managing to be be mostly cheery all the while being very complicated and very talented. When I began, the only thing I knew for sure was that it would contain coconut rum. After using myself as a guinea pig and almost ending my life via alcohol poisoning, I created this fanciful drink. Which I think is perfecto! Happy birthday again Danny 🙂

To make The Delicate Dania…

You will need:

Malibu Coconut rum, Archers peach schnapps, Vodka, Raspberry juice, Apple juice, Pineapple juice, Fresh Lemon, Ice

You will do:  

1. Pour the crushed ice into a large glass/jug

2. Pour in 1 part Malibu coconut rum over the ice

3. Pour in 1 part Archers peach schnapps

4. Pour in 1 part vodka

5. Add 1 part Raspberry juice

6. Add 1 part Apple juice

7. Add 1 part Pineapple juice

8. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice

7. Garnish the glass with a slice of lemon and serve.

The Delicate Dania

C) Memories of Mexico

This cocktail is essentially the result of a question I asked myself one day after attending a friend’s birthday at  a Mexican restaurant. the question was: “What would happen if the Harvey Wallbanger had sex with a Tequila Sunrise”. The answer, I discovered, was “It would be bloody well awesome”. Ladies and gentlemen…enjoy. Memories of Mexico.

To make Memories of Mexico…

You will need to go to Mexico, find a specimen of glorious Latin beauty and have a whirlwind romance…. errr… oh, sorry… what I meant to say was…

To make Memories of Mexico…

You will need:

Tequila, Galliano vanilla liqueur, Grenadine syrup, Orange juice, A Fresh Orange, Ice

You will do:  

1. Pour the crushed ice into a tall glass

2. Pour in Tequila over the ice till the glass is about 30% full.

3. Add orange juice till the glass is about 80% full.

4. Float the Galliano on top till the glass is 90% full

5. Pour a little of the grenadine syrup slowly over the entire mixture without shaking it so that it settles nicely for that ‘sunrise’ effect. That should leave you with a glass that is almost full.

6. Garnish the glass with a circular segment of the fresh orange and serve.


Memories of Mexico

That’s all for now. Feel free to try making any of these and let me know how it all turns out for you. There are a few other originals I’m working on. Perhaps next time I shall record the making of the Tequila sunrise and the Caipirinha as well as also detail my latest ideas when I perfect them: The Avengers sunrise, Pimm’s poison, Vengeance, Chocolate suicide and a few other choice suggestions from my comrades in spirit (see what I did there?)

🙂

Cheers to the Weekend!



Midnight in Paris

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The train begins to move erratically, like a confused millipede unsure of which direction to take and yet compelled to begin its movement. My head jerks back and forth in response to its shudders until it finally finds its bearing and begins to move with some measure of confidence. My head regains stability. I turn to my left and tell Bena that she can sleep if she wants to; only one of us needs to be awake to alert the others when we get to Val d’europe. She says something to me in her soft Scottish accent – a thing which has now become lost in the labyrinths of my memories like many other inconsequential things before it. I think it was a joke of some sort. I vaguely recall laughing. It was a few minutes past midnight and we had just managed to hop onto the last eastbound train at Charles de Gaulle Etoile after walking from the Louvre to the Arch du Triumph and prancing about Champs Elysees, taking in most of the sights that the city of love had to offer along the way. It is 12:04 a.m., we are all tired and the rest of our party had already taken up sleeping positions before the train came alive. I cannot sleep despite my physical weariness.

I miss sleeping next to you.

Bena is starting to nod off now, her dark blonde hair draped around her right shoulder and her left hand resting on her right thigh with her engagement ring visible to see. She had shown it to me earlier that evening during dinner when we talked in some detail about her fiancée and their coming naturalist wedding. I had queried in whispered jest as to whether the stone was a real diamond or cubic zirconium and she had whispered back to me in what I assume was good humour that it was real. In the dim light of the Midnight train from Paris, it looked simple, elegant, and beautiful. I turn away from her, lean back in the uncomfortable seat of the train to retrieve my iPod with the hope of listening to some music when I see her – a caramel-coloured vision of beauty seated across the carriage, three rows away from me. Just like Bena’s ring, she is simple, elegant, and beautiful.

She is wearing a grey jacket and black tights with a thick grey shawl around her neck. Her hair is done up in a bun atop her head with a pair of black Beats by Dre headphones resting in front of it, much like a 21st century tiara. From the colour of her skin and the curly appearance of her hair I can tell she is of mixed race – most likely European with some African (perhaps Caribbean) blood or vice versa. Regardless of which it is, she presents a glorious visage to behold. And behold I do; until she sees me staring at her from across the carriage.

Mildly embarrassed, I am about to turn my head away when she smiles. It is a faint smile, barely there, but I see it as clearly as a lost seaman would see the beacon from a lighthouse guiding him home. It’s the kind of smile I imagine a woman would wear when she sees that a man has taken a liking to her and is wondering if he will do something about it or not. I sit there transfixed, as though her beauty is a bright blinding light and I am a small woodland creature caught in its rays. Her smile widens a little bit more and some courage takes a firm hold of my erratically beating heart. I begin to map out a course of action in my head.

First I will get up slowly from my chair and walk over to her unhurriedly, with a smile kept firmly in place on my face – one should not create the impression of desperation in the mind of a beautiful woman. Thankfully, there are three free seats beside her, more than enough space for me to come within conversing distance without making her uncomfortable. I will then say to her in my atrocious French “Tu es magnifique” – a cheesy pick-up phrase I had learned just the day before from Delphine while we were on the bus back to the hotel. I imagine she will laugh at my clumsy command of her language and then I will ask “Tu parle Anglais?” To which she would invariably reply “A little bit” in equally atrocious English. We would then stumble into a conversation about where she was from – she will say her father is a French engineer who married her mother while he was stationed in Trinidad and Tobago (or something of the sort) at which point I will tell her I am an engineer as well and she will make an awkward joke about how happy her father would be to meet someone like me in her company. After sidestepping a few awkward silences, our conversation will casually drift towards movies and music and I will tell her all about the genius that is Quentin Tarantino and speak quite highly of ‘The Artist’ which I saw just a few weeks ago. As I put together this plan in my head, I am mildly aware that this is more or less the same conversation I had with Delphine two days ago. But then again, as the Americans say…

‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I resolve that when the train is finally about to reach my stop, I will ask her for her phone number and then proceed to ask her if she will accompany me to the Eiffel tower on Wednesday if I am still in the city, even though I am sure she has been there several times before. At the point of asking, I will be sure to put on the warmest smile I can muster. Yes, this is a fine plan and if all goes well, she will say…

“Yes”

She is still looking at me steadily, but her smile is gone. It appears this nameless beauty and I have been staring at each other for a considerable amount of time, the exact quantity of which I am not aware. I place my right hand on my thigh to support myself and I glance as my watch as I do so. I recoil with shock. It is almost 1:00 a.m.! We will soon be at our station.  I must have fallen asleep while staring at her – plotting my advance – and then woken up at an instant when she happened to look back towards me. Time had flown by in an instant. I clandestinely drop my chin to my shoulder and use my forearm to wipe my face. I try to recompose my thoughts and work up some confidence to approach her again but just as I make my attempt to rise, Bena touches my shoulder lightly and asks me to wake the rest of our party. We are almost at Val d’europe. I sigh heavily and wonder what you would say if I told you of this.

I miss talking to you.

As we clamber out of the train and onto the platform, I turn back to look at the vision that will come to represent my missed opportunities and haunt my subconscious for some time to come, sitting on the carriage seat  and looking at me with mildly disappointed (or perhaps just indifferent) eyes. I call out to her in my atrocious French…

“Tu es magnifique, mademoiselle, une autre fois peut-être”

…just as the doors of the train shut and the metal millipede continues its journey through the tunnels of Paris. I turn away quickly so that I will not be sure if she has heard me or not. If she has, I hope my words flatter her enough to make her smile again. Perhaps someone else on the train will see that faint, radiant smile and make the move that I did not have the chance to.

“Friend of yours?” Bena asks me, tugging gently on my arm to remind me that we need all to get back to the hotel.

“Not really” I reply softly.

I shall be going to the Eiffel tower on my own when Wednesday comes. Perhaps it’s better that way. Perhaps there is a part of me that has not moved on from us and resists my efforts to move past what we had. Perhaps I am my own saboteur. Perhaps I am not being honest with myself. Perhaps, if I were, I would call you and tell you…

I miss you.