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 16, 2011
#75: Apollo Cooler
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Combine ingredients in a tall glass with ice, shake, and fill with ginger ale
First off, I needed to find out about this Metaxa. It is a blend of brandy and sun-dried Greek grapes, then it is blended again with aged Muscat wine from several Greek islands. It come in 5 varieties, from 3 to 12 Stars, plus the Grand Reserve. The stars represent the number of years the blend has matured. Supposedly the Grand Reserve is the most expensive and difficult to find, but I didn't even try. I just went for the 5 Star variety, running about $25 for a 750 mL bottle. The top of the line Grand Reserve variety looks like it goes for about twice that amount. Metaxa is traditionally served either neat or on the rocks, but can be mixed, ususally with sours. It appeared that this was the case here, as the Lemon Juice is definitely considered a sour mixer.
This was very refreshing and very light. I thought that the Metaxa would be too strong for the other flavors and blot them out, but I was wrong. It actually went quite well with the ginger ale, and the touch of lemon juice really added that little something it needed. For once this drink worked well in the tall Collins glass. Since the Metaxa is quite strong on its own, it needed the dilution and blending with the other ingredients to make a good mixed cocktail. It still retained its strength, with an added pleasant bite from the ginger ale. Overall I really liked it. I'm not sure I would make it very often, as Metaxa is not the least expensive liquer behind the bar, and is a little over wrought for my taste, but added with these ingredients, I could handle it any time. If I wanted something like Metaxa neat as an after dinner drink, I think I would stick with a port after dessert, but I believe that Metaxa is usually served before dessert, but after a large meal.
Being a "cooler", of course it was light and refreshing. I could definitely see myself sipping this on a beach somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Today I tackle the second part of the 4-part cure from Epicurus
Don't worry about death
Death means nothing to us. When we are alive, there is no death. When there is death, we don't exist. Death is something that most people spend the most time and energy worrying about, or as Epicurus would state, it creates the greatest anxiety for us, both in length (our whole lives) and intensity (you can't escape death, it is final). This anxiety gets in the way of our happiness and the quality of our lives.
The Epicureans did not believe in an afterlife. If you believe in an afterlife, you must inherently worry at some point whether and how your actions in this life will affect where you will spend that afterlife. AN eternity of pain or an eternity of pleasure. That would make me worry too.
So, we follow not fearing god (almost leaning to modern agnosticism) to with not fearing or even believing in an afterlife. Now some people would look at the Epicurean's philosophy of happiness as the ultimate goal in life and use this rule to justify any sort of action. If there is no afterlife, there are no consequences, right? You can do whatever you want.
Well, Epicurean thought was that individual pleasure was the primary importance in life, so you should live your life in such a way to get the greatest amount of pleasure during your lifetime. Of course, moderation was key to this. Gluttony is not a good idea here. Sure, it may sound good to pig out on that cake, but by overindulging, you get a stomach ache and gain weight. That is not happiness. Not all pleasure is short term immediate gain.
Let's apply that standard to not believing in an afterlife, not worrying about death. On the surface, if it seems that there will be no consequences for our actions in the ever after (heaven or hell), then we can pursue our happiness here in this lifetime full bore ahead, damn the consequences, screw everybody else, right? Wrong. Just like eating too much cake will make you sick (interfering with your happiness), so too will treating others around you like dirt, breaking laws, putting yourself in harm's way.
Let's say you decide that your happiness would best be maximized if you had a lot of money. Since there are no consequences after you die, why not just mug the next guy you see on the street (providing he's wearing nice lothes of course)? Well, the short term happiness would be overshadowed by the long term unhappiness of finding yourself in jail. We still have to maintain a balance, a moderation, between short term goals and long term consequences, to achieve the maximum happiness in our lives.
And rule number 2 takes the weight of worrying about how we will be judged shoulders. So far, we can increase our happiness in life by not fearing god and not worrying about death. Check.
Next week, the 3rd step. See my note in the next post that explains the hiatus...