Every day a different drink. Not just how to make them, but a detailed review of how they actually taste, photos of the drinks, and stories along the way. Starting from the beginning, The Bartender's Black Book will be our guide, taking us

(and our livers) on a journey from which we may never recover. Cheers!

February 6, 2011

#37: Algonquin

1 1/2 oz Whiskey
1 oz Dry Vermouth
1 oz Pineapple Juice
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice, shake, and strain into a chilled glass

My grandson just turned 1 last month, and it's fun to watch him grow up. I am looking forward to when his old enough to go to baseball games and other fun stuff with his Grandpa. But what I am secretly looking forward to is convincing him about weird things, wrong things, things about the world around him that make no sense. He'll reach that age, I'm not sure exactly when, where he will be filled with wonder about the world around him, and just as full of questions about that world. That's when I'll step in. I can teach him all sorts of oddball stuff that will totally drive his parents crazy.

Maybe one day while we are driving somewhere, and he'll wonder about the chainlink fences by the side of the road. I'll convince him that they grow on hill sides, and that they are tended by special gardeners.

Or that the White House lawn is mowed by special helicopters flying upside down.

When I was acting up, my Grandmother would wonder out loud what she was going to do with me. Her answer to herself was always "give you back to the Indians." I figure that's worth a few years of therapy.

I could convince him that thunder and lightning are Odin and Thor, the old Norse gods, making a bunch of noise in the sky. But he can only tell people that when they start talking about ghosts, since it makes just as much sense, plus Odin and Thor protect little children from ghosts.

The wind is caused by all of the trees sneezing.

Babies are assembled from special kits you buy at Target. His might have been missing the instruction manual when we brought it home.

A classic from my mother was when we asked what was for dinner, of course for the 100th time, and she would answer "garbage". An naturally, she amde a dish she call "garbage", which was basically all of the leftovers thrown together. I could totally sell him that we are going to eat out of the garbage can for dinner. Maybe he'll buy that living like a hobo builds character.

At least I have a few years to come up with some other good ones. Suggestions welcome, please. Therapists around the country need your support!


First off, it sounds like Dorothy Parker is going to join us today for a few quips and barbs slung at the unfortunate few who do not sit at our table. This drink sounds literary, cosmopolitan, and in the know.

It's actually bitter, opinionated, dry, and odd. Just like the great Dorothy Parker herself, it tells you what it thinks of you, then kicks your butt in a subtle way, leaving you feeling ashamed that you can't keep up. I felt like I should have enjoyed this, but I didn't. And now that I've tasted it, I feel as if I meet her 3 requirements for men: handsome, ruthless, and stupid. Stupid for thinking I was going to like this drink. The pineapple juice mixed with the dry vermouth made for an oddly bitter drink, with some white wine sweetness, but overwhelmingly dry on the palate.

Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with herbs and spices. Some varieties are sweetened, and others are dry, which tend to be bitter. Honestly this is the largest amount of vermouth I have ever encountered in a drink, as it is usually used as an agent in mixed drinks to reduce the alcohol by volume and provide an herbal flavor.

To be honest, this drink didn't even smell good. I can't even imagine a food that it would with, and wouldn't want to eat whatever we could come up with. It seems like a waste of good whiskey. If you want to get smashed that quickly, just stick to the whiskey.

I'll leave you with a quote from Dorothy Parker that seems appropriate.

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy.

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