Discerning Drinking, Chapter Seventeen.


Originally posted 29th September 2012

Henry David Thoreau was an American writer and philosopher, who once said;

Success usually comes to those that are too busy looking for it

Herein lies an insipid excuse as to why TFT has been relatively low-profile in the last few days.  There has been much going on; one project at work has come to fruition and has inevitably yielded another.  And one more for good measure.  I owe plenty to my manager but one of most fundamental notions was her hammering home the concept of getting ‘on the radar’ and building a personal brand.  This is best sculpted through the undertaking of assignments – managing – and forging the contacts that will stand the test of time and carry one’s legacy.

In short, I’m bloody rammed at work at the moment but loving every minute of it; I celebrate my wooden anniversary next week; it feels like there has been more going on in the last five weeks than the whole five years.

Away from the front line, I have finally become immersed in the weekly arrival of the New Yorker.  My daily commute has been irreversibly transformed by stories as disparate as a personal history of/by Salman Rushdie (‘How the fatwa changed a writer’s life’), to an engaging account of New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and onwards to a dogmatic review of The Expendables – which closed with the wonderful quote;

In English, more or less”.

As magazines go, the New Yorker is ‘wordy’ to say the least and I am ashamed to say that a daily forty five minutes on the Tube is simply not enough time to travel from cover to cover in one week (I am only halfway through the 24 September issue and 01 October dropped into the post box this evening).  My only saving grace is that the current issue is the ‘cartoon issue’.  Looking at pictures is much easier.

Falling behind with reading.  That hasn’t happened since my primary school days at the Richard Pate School.  Maybe I am dim?  Maybe my efforts have been restricted as I find myself having to carry an umbrella as well as magazine; seeing as the inevitable Olympic hangover is manifesting itself as a relentless downpour over London.  Piss down as opposed to piss up, I guess.

It is too easy to get caught up in the rat race around town; the days slip by quicker and quicker it seems!  Thoreau was an advocate of Transcendentalism – essentially promoting the idea that a manic, organised and modern society corrupts the purity of man and that independence and simplicity breeds true success.

Last Saturday I opted to interpret this Nineteenth Century philosophical movement by sleeping in until midday and then messing around on Tomb Raider 2.  Afternoon soon turned to that wonderful Autumn dusk when the nights close in just a little earlier – and BANG!  It was time for X Factor and Carmine’s Bar was open.

I was a little conscious by now that I had whiled away an entire day staring at Lara Croft’s arse (or more accurately, watching her plummet, screaming, into a ravine full of spikes over and over again) and I had at least hoped to update TFT by the time Gary, Tulisa, Louis and that f*****g stupid other one came on telly.  As a result, I was desperately in search of writing inspiration.  I decided to frantically create a few flavoursome cocktails for my housemate and I to wash down our equally flavoursome tea of chicken balls and sweet and sour sauce from May Moon.  Simple way of jujjing up a Chinese take away?  Refer to it in French;

Boulettes de poulet à la sauce aigre-douce

Oui oui!  Anyway, the first attempt at an accompanying drink was a little ‘off’ (more on that another time) but the second – a drink I knocked up ‘off the grid’* after my homie retired to bed (he had likely stomached enough food and ITV idiocy) – was a little cracker.  It all came about simply because I hadn’t recalled using Fragoli in a while – and the Chambord was next to it, within arm’s reach…

  • 1 shot Fragoli strawberry liquor
  • 1 shot Chambord raspberry liquor
  • 1 shot Apple juice
  • 1 shot Orange juice
  • Quarter shot Lime juice

It was like quarter to midnight and I could not be arsed with martini glasses (which was the original plan) so I shook everything up and poured into an ice-filled tumbler.

The result was a silky-sweet and fruity drink was which somehow – and I am guessing the lime juice helped here – also well-balanced and not too sickly.  I am loathe to use Chambord these days as I find it cloyingly rich (and all too reminiscent of Snakebite) but my god I think I have found a use for it.

So I relaxed with this wonderful cocktail, pleasantly surprised with the day’s ‘accomplishments’ following a trying week in the grind and a new, daily mental steeplechase thanks to the New Yorker.

I mulled over a few names for the drink and thought back to Thoreau’s quote – that it’s so true – and in this instance, that this great drink was ‘naturally’ invented through throwing a few random ingredients together.  I am sure the man himself would approve of things coming together so simply, without the aid of books or guidance.  So, in honour of Thoreau and his independent, relaxed take on life and its labours, I present to the discerning drinker;

The ‘Henry David’.

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