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!

March 14, 2011

#73: Antiquan Smile

1 1/2 oz Dark Rum
1/2 oz Banana Liquer
Pinch of Powdered Sugar
Combine ingredients in a tall glass with ice, fill with orange juice, shake, and garnish with lime

Compared to yesterday's drink, this seemed more like inetersting. The dark rum made this a darker color, and the flavor came through the orange juice nicely. Sadly, I really couldn't taste the banana.

Again, if I had used a tall glass, I feel that this would have been too much orange juice, and it would have overpowered the rest of the drink. So this time I actually remade the drink in a shorter glass, as you can see in the photo. I wanted to actually be able to taste the other flavors this time, and it worked.

This was definitely a better drink in a shorter glass. I could taste the rum, and just the tiniest hint of banana. The pinch of sugar cut the tiny amount of lime from the garnish, and everything went together very nicely, flavors complementing each other throughout. The entire drinking experience was much, much better.

As I read through other parts of the Bartender's Black Book, I came across the section on which glasses to use for different drinks. One of the things I really like about this drink guide is that the author doesn't promote specific brands of alcohol, so you are free to make swill or ambrosia, you and your wallet decide. The section on glassware also does not discriminate. He basically says to use whatever glass you feel is appropriate for the drink and the situation. So for those drinks that call for being made in a tall glass, I have been using a fairly tall Collins glass, which run about 10-14 oz, and are narrower than a highball glass. Mine is at the upper end of that scale, and I think that I have been making drinks that are a bit too diluted for my taste. When I remade this drink, I opted for what would actually be a double Old Fashioned glass (12-16 oz), so called because it is a little less than twice the size of an Old Fashioned glass (6-10 oz). They got the name from the cocktail called the Old Fashioned, which many mixology historians consider the first true cocktail. It seems to have made quite a difference.

Anyway, back to the drink. I am not normally a big fan of juiced based cocktails, but in the end this was pretty good. It did have an odd color to it though, which was a little off putting, but the flavors were nice and refreshing. Certainly a winner in the end.


I wanted to start a little experiment in my non-drink writing today, and see where it takes me. I want to explore a bit of the Tetrapharmakos, or the Greek "four-part cure". The Greek philosopher Epicurus in the 3rd century BC originally created remedy of four drugs for leading the happiest possible life. They were wax, tallow, pitch, and resin. But the word Tetrapharmakos came to be used metaphorically by Epicurus and his disciples to refer to the four remedies for healing the soul. They are:

• Don't fear god
• Don't worry about death
• What is good is easy to get
• What is terrible is easy to endure

They all boil down to a quote from Epicurus:

"The fundamental obstacle to happiness is anxiety"

Over the next few days I want to explore each of the four remedies, and see if they can lead me to a happier life.

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