Friday, September 18, 2009

On Drink, or, How's Your Glass?

I have been somewhat obsessed by this little book (I wish it were pocket-sized so I could bring it with me when I need it most) and having just finished it and some of the recipes within, I thought to share it with you too. Sir Kingsley Amis (1922-1995) was well known for his writing, his humor, his misogyny, and his love of drink – particularly what he called the English workingman's liquor: gin (what I call crazy juice). This collection of short essays, recipes, hangover helpers and a questionnaire on all things drink-related comes from years of experimenting, dinner parties and mishaps. On more than one occasion I found myself laughing outloud on a plane ride from Albuquerque to Seattle last month. An excerpt:
The Copenhagen
4 or 5 parts Vodka
1 part Danish Aquavit
Blanched Almonds
Ice Cubes

(i) Use a British Vodka, the cheapest you can find, in pursuance of
G.P. 4: For any liquor that is going to be mixed with fruit juices, vegetable juices, etc. sweetening, strong flavoured cordials and the like, go for the cheapest reliable article. Do not waste your Russian or Polish vodka, etc.

(ii) The character after whom I have named this drink would probably make his Clement Freud face if offered one, but he would be among the first to appreciate that its apparent mildness might make an excellent love-philtre to press on shy young ladies, if there are any of these left anywhere in the land.

Proceed as before (making a standard martini) dropping an almond into each glass as you serve. Wondering what the almond is doing there (I believe it is a Scandinavian love token) will keep your guests tongues wagging until the liquor sets them wagging about anything under the sun. Distilled out at 79 percent, Aquavit is a strong drink, so much so that it seems to extend its power over the whole.
Enjoy your drinking and "enjoy it in moderation." For further reading and viewing, Amis' first and most famous book is Lucky Jim. In closing, a joke (NSFW) by the aforementioned Clement Freud, son of Sigmund:

No comments: