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Archive for December, 2008

3fcfde5bf2c83-2-1Hopefully your night of revelry was worth the abhorrent hangover you woke up with today. As mentioned in today’s edition of Daily Candy, the ladies of LUPEC Boston are an infinite well of hangover cures. We’ve been in this situation before, you know. Many, many times. Here are a few of our signature suggestions***:

The Marconi Tireless: Fancy Brandy’s Runner’s Cure

Highly recommended for athletic types.

Before you pass out:

  • Set alarm for 7am(!)
  • Hydrate! Consume 20 oz of water or Gatorade (stick with one or the other) and 2 Aleve/Tylenol before sleep.  A full bladder brings down body temp and helps you wake up to the alarm.

Upon waking:

  • At 7am wake up, hydrate.
  • Get dressed, drunky!
  • Run/jog for 45 minutes.
  • Hydrate.
  • 15-30 minute hot shower relaxes muscles and steamcleans booze-filled pores.
  • Set alarm for three hours (length of one typical REM cycle) and go back to bed.
  • Take 5 to do whatever it is helps you sleep like a baby — linen spray, eye pillow, warm milk; the routine alone preps your mind for deep sleep.
  • Empty bladder.
  • Nap three hours.
  • Wake up, hydrate, head to brunch.

Fancy Brandy says: “My hangovers tend to last all day, so this trick is designed to essentially interject a tiring little day into another one to get it over with.  Sticking to the 7am alarm also means my circadian rhythms stay on track and I’m not late to my 9-5 all week.”

some-like-it-hot-marilyn-monroePrevention? What’s that? The Pink Gin Method

A kinder, gentler hangover cure.

Pink Gin says: “You need to plan on the possibility that you skip the night before remedy. If you remember it, do you really need it?”

  • Sleep.
  • Avoid getting up early when you wake up – it’s fake & you’re probably still drunk and also tired.  Drink some water & go back to sleep or just relax.
  • Brush & floss.
  • Light exercise/yoga to get some happy glands doing something.
  • Complete shower & some primping. Do some extra nice things – the point is to feel really clean & nice.
  • Rest as needed throughout this rigorous process and drink as much water as your stomach will allow.
  • Do something nice like read an easy book, magazine, or write your Dig article.
  • Try to reschedule the big meeting, or, look at it as a self-imposed challenge.

Andy McNees’ Hangover Eraser

For when you wake up too late to cancel brunch with your folks.

Before sitting down for brunch, head directly to the bar. Instruct the bartender to build the following over ice in a pint glass:

Shot of Fernet, two dashes of every kind of bitters they have, top with Soda water.  Drink as quickly as you can through two straws, like a Mind Eraser.

Andy McNees saved Hanky Panky’s life with this after the LUPEC Boston Tea Party last Fall. It was touch and go on the T-ride to Eastern Standard, says Hanky Panky, but “20 minutes later I felt great!”

silveritchSpiked Tab: Saucy Sureau’s Miracle Cure

Yes, they still make Tab.

  • When you get home, grab an ice cold Tab (currently available at Shaw’s, believe it or not) from your fridge and take a few sips.
  • Fill back up with vodka and put it on your night stand. Make sure it’s the only beverage on your night stand so when you wake up early and are too lazy/hungover/thirsty to move you pound it. Maybe you even forget – you tricked yourself!

Saucy Sureau says: “It’s just the right amount of the night before to get you right as rain.”

Doctor’s Tonic: How Medical Students Do It

None of us has tried this method, but its efficacy has been confirmed by a reliable source (my brother the doctor.)

Convince a medical professional to administer an IV of rehydrating saline solution. Five minutes later you’re fresh as a daisy.

First-year med students work well for this as they need practice putting IVs into veins. They’ve been in school for a couple months so hopefully they won’t gouge you.  Because, you know, they’re hungover.

In addition to our personal modern cures here’s a round-up of wonderfully obscure suggestions*** from some of our favorite cocktail books:

audrey-hepburn-breakfast-at-tiffanys-c10103786jpeg“[E]ven the soberest of men will sometimes wake up and wonder what hit him after the second highball,”  observe Virginia Elliot and Phil D. Strong in their 1930 volume Shake ‘Em Up. “If, after a long sleep, he judges that it was the Himalaya Mountains, he had better take two aspirin tablets with a tablespoon of hot water, chewing the tablets before swallowing. (I know it’s nasty, Mama’s Precious, but so is a bad old headache.)”

The authors go on to prescribe:

“1. A Little Hair of the Dog that Bit Him.

2. One pint of milk.

3. A half-pint of saurkraut or tomato juice.

4. A cup of black coffee to which has been added one teaspoon of spirits of ammonia.”

For the more serious hangover “a Prairie Oyster is a good kill or cure remedy. This consists of a raw egg drowned in Worcestershire Sauce.” Yum.

The list goes on, but some of the quirkier suggestions include the following:

  • If suffering “an exceedingly hot spot at the at the back of the stomach, apparently involving the spine, milk of magnesia.”
  • For legitimate nausea, milk and lime water. (And see what happens.)”
  • For fruitless nausea, almost any strongly effervescent drink, such as sal hepatica, Fruit salts, baking soda in a glass of water strongly tinctured with lime or lemon juice — these to be sipped while smelling a bottle of ammoniac smelling salts, or spirits of ammonia.
  • Ammonia is prescribed as an optimal solution for all cases of headache, as “it steadies the heart…In fact, ammonia, inhaled and imbibed, is a good bet for everything.” (This is not true.)
  • And as the authors finally note: “Lots of rot is talked about remedies. If some of these don’t cure you, there is nothing left except Blowing the Brain Out or De Consolation Philosophie.”

So dramatic. But sometimes it feels that bad, doesn’t it?

Charles H. Baker provides a different take on the “sort of human withering on the vine” that is the hangover in his Gentleman’s Companion, (repubbed  as Jigger, Beaker, and Glass). Baker believes the “Picker-Upper” to be the only possible cure for when you feel “precisely like Death warmed up”:

“We have…come to distrust all revivers smacking of drugdom. It is a small, tightly vicious cycle to get into, and a bit of well-aged spirits with this or that, seems much safer and more pleasant than corroding our innards with chemicals of violent proclivities, and possible habit-forming ways.” (Because morning drinking to calm the upsets caused by nighttime drinking couldn’t possibly be habit-forming.) Hence the inclusion of 27 recipes for Picker-Uppers.

Baker also issues an “earnest plea for a bit of outdoor exercise to those human victims of the “morning-afters”:

“Science has just recognized that with the tummy linings well saturated with last night’s ethyls or methyls, it is best remedied by increased natural circulation removing much of this condition. Therefore, after any Picker-Upper, let’s not lie supine and bewail hard and unjust fate…”

Which brings up an excellent point that is deftly explored by Kingsley Amis in On Drink: the physical hangover is terrible enough, but what about the toll a hangover has upon your mental state? Amis writes that hangover cures usually “concentrate exclusively on physical manifestations, as if one were treating a mere illness. They omit altogether the psychological, moral, emotional, spiritual aspects: all that vast, vague, awful, shimmering metaphysical superstructure that makes the hangover a (fortunately) unique route to self-knowledge and self-realization.” For this he prescribes courses for M.H. (Metaphysical Hangover) Literature and Music, the structure of which “rests on the principle that you must feel worse emotionally before you start to feel better. A good cry is the initial aim.” Course materials include:

HANGOVER READING: The “final scene of Paradise Lost, Book XII, lines 606 to the end, which is probably the most poignant moment in all our literature coming at lines 624-6″, followed by “a good thriller or action story, which will start to wean you from self-observation and the darker emotions (i.e. Ian Fleming); and finally by something funny, “but it must be white – i.e. not black – comedy (like P.G. Wodehouse.)

HANGOVER LISTENING: Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Sympathy (it’s Pathetique, like you) because “its last movement really does what the composer intended and…evokes total despair: sonic M.H. if I ever heard it.” If you can stand vocal, move on next to “Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody – not an alto sax, you peasant, but a contralto voice, with men’s choir and full orchestra”, and finally on to something lively and extrovert, such as “Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, which would make a zombie dance.”

At the end of the day, hangovers are as individual as fingerprints: only you can determine for what will bring you back to life in the cold gray dawn of the Morning After. As with anything, the key to this is practice, practice, practice. And each time you face a P.H. anew, remember to

“Always take cheer from the thought that if you are healthy enough to suffer acutely, you will probably live.”

- Virginia Elliot and Phil D. Strong, Shake ‘Em Up (1930)

***EDITOR’S NOTE: Please note: not a single member of LUPEC Boston is a doctor, nor were any of the cocktail book authors we quoted above. Should you wish to test the efficacy of these cures, you should most definitely consult a doctor beforehand. And if you do, please let us know what they think of the Saucy Sureau Method.


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Here we come A-Wassailing

by Hanky Panky

Hopefully in the midst of the holiday hustle you were able to snag a copy of this week’s Dig in which the LUPEC ladies unraveled the mystery of wassailing.  Who knew that the phrase that has been confusing us for years could actually be pointing to a delicious libation that can warm us throughout this festive and hectic season.

Thankfully making Wassail is not complicated.  It can, however, be a bit time consuming.  For this reason we decided to feature a recipe for Wassail from one of our favorite books, Jigger, Beaker, & Glass: Drinking Around the World by Charles H. Baker Jr. Mr. Baker is best known for traveling the world over to write about all things related to food and drink.  Those who are fortunate to own this tome know that his prose is as remarkably delicious as the recipes featured therein.  So who better to walk us through the ancient ritual than Mr. Charles H. Baker Jr.  Enjoy!

THE ANCIENT WASSAIL BOWL FROM AN ANCIENT ELIZABETHAN FORMULA, CIRCA 1602, & TRULY NOTABLE FOR ITS EXCEEDING MILDNESS

In Saxon times this custom of the Wassail Bowl at feast days was an important ceremony, and later it became an accepted custom at Christmas Eve, when minstrels or choirs, or village singers went about singing carols where there was a candle lit in the window.

In the Feudal castles, and manor houses, the Wassail Bowl was borne into the banqueting Hall with songs and carols, and crowned with garlands.

Nutmeg, 1/2 grated; or 2 tsp powdered

Powdered or grated ginger, 1 tsp

Cloves, 6 whole

Cinnamon, 1 inch of stick

Sugar, 1 cup

Eggs, yolks 6; whites 3

Apples, 6 cored, but not pared

Mace, 1/4 tsp

Water

Sherry or Madeira, 2 qts

Take spices and cover with a cup of cold water.  Fetch to a boil; adding wine and sugar.  Let heat up…Meanwhile in the Wassail Bowl (Punchbowl) previously warmed:

Break in six yolks and three whites.  Beat up.  When wine is warm – not boiling – mix a teacupful with the egg.  When a little warmer, add another cupful, and repeat until five cups have been used…Now let the rest of the wine boil up well, and pour it into the bowl also, stirring well all the time, until it froths in attractive fashion…Fill cored apples with sugar, sprinkle on a little of the spice and roast until nearly done.  Time these to suit the end of the wine-pouring process.  Throw them into the bowl, and serve the whole thing very hot…Some stout hearts add a tumbler full of good cognac brandy to the whole – and we, after testing the business, heartily agree with them; since sherry of itself isn’t potent enough to make any Saxon defend his native land, much less a 20th Century wassailer, with all we have been through during one and a half decades that Saxons never even considered as drinkable fluid!

wassail_song_37b1

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If you checked out this week’s Dig column, you know we are hot for Hot Toddy’s this week. This is for several reasons:

1. The weather has been sucking.

2. Some of us have been battling colds and still believe the toddy, when made with brandy or a peat-y scotch whisky, to be actual medicine.

3. Hot Toddy is the chosen cocktail moniker of one of our newest members! Welcome to the Lady Lush club, girl!

We also mentioned in this week’s column that the Skin, the Sling, and the Sangaree are cousins of the Toddy (which could be taken hot or cold back in the day.) Such names! In a nutshell, here’s what makes each drink, and what makes them a little different (as explained in great, enlightening detail in David Wondrich’s IMBIBE):

  • The basic Toddy recipe, as given in David Wondrich’s IMBIBE, was believed to be of Scotch descent and was quite simple: 1 teaspoon sugar, 3-4 oz water, 2 oz spirits, stirred with a spoon. Writes Wondrich, the toddy “is a simple drink in the same way a tripod is a simple device: Remove one leg and it cannot stand, set it up properly and it will hold the whole weight of the world.”
  • The Whisky Skin is little more than a Hot Toddy + a strip of lemon peel, minus the sugar and is believed to be of Irish origin: 2 oz whiskey, 1 piece of lemon peel, fill the glass half full with boiling water. Bostonians also called this drink a “Columbia Skin.”
  • The Sling is little more than a strong, cold Toddy with nutmeg: 1 teaspoonful of sugar, 1 oz water, 2 oz spirits, a lump of ice, topped with fresh grated nutmeg. In the early- to mid-1800s, the Gin Sling was the drink to have, imbibed by all, and recommended for consumption morning, noon, and night.
  • The Sangaree derives from the Spanish term Sangria, and is little more than a cold Toddy made with strong wine: 1.5 oz port wine, 1 teaspoonful of sugar, fill tumbler 2/3 with ice, shake well and top with grated nutmeg.

So go forth and make copious amounts of delicious drinks this holiday season, wherever it is that you end up. Because no matter how dismal things might seem when you open Grandma’s liquor cabinet and find a bunch of dusty bottles staring back at you, the moral of the story is: some booze in a glass with a little water and some spice and is probably going to taste pretty damn good.

And for you culinary folks, why not try a Hot Buttered Rum? Yum. Here’s Dale DeGroff’s recipe:

HOT BUTTERED RUM
1 oz dark rum or spiced rum
1 oz light rum
.75 oz simple syrup
.5 tablespooon Holiday Compound Butter (below)
Cinnamon stick for garnish

In a goblet glass, combine the dark and light rums with the syrup. Add the hot water and stir to mix. Add the butter, stir a couple of times to start to melt it, and garnish with the cinnamon stick.

HOLIDAY COMPOUND BUTTER

The yield here is huge – scale/adjust accordingly*** depending on how many of these you want to drink.

Soften 1 lb unsalted butter in a mixing bowl. Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ground allspice, .5 tsp cloves, and .25 cup dark brown sugar. Mix well to thoroughly combine. Using a sheet of wax paper, form the butter mixture into a log or rectangle – your choice – and place in the refrigerator to set. When the butter is firm you can slice it into individual serving pats of .5 tablespoon apiece, or just cut up as needed to serve. Either way let the butter soften and warm up before serving.

***I have the vague sense that you could add some amount of baking powder, egg, flour and vanilla to the leftovers and make some sort of cookies. Maybe something like these?

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Many thanks to all who joined us for yet another fabulous Punch Party at GRAND! The feeling was festive indeed. To recreate the magic at home this holiday season, here are the recipes:

THE FATAL BOWL (aka The Wallop Bowl)
Recipe by David Wondrich
4 lemons
1 cup demerara sugar (or Sugar in the Raw)
4 English Breakfast Tea bags
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 cups Cognac
1 1/2 cups Dark Rum
fresh nutmeg

Remove the peel from 4 lemons with a vegetable peeler, and place in a large punch bowl. Pour demerara sugar over the lemon peels and muddle to release the lemon oils from the peel.
Boil 2 cups of water and steep the 4 tea bags for 5 minutes.  Add hot tea (tea bags removed) into the lemon and demerara mixture.  Let cool for 20 minutes, if possible.
Add Cognac, Dark Rum, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Place large chunks of ice, of an ice mold into the punch. Top with grated nutmeg.

SINGLE MALT SANGAREE
Recipe by Jim Meehan of PDT, New York City
1 bottle (750ml) Dubonnet Rouge
2 bottles (750 ml) Red Wine (a spicy Zinfandel or Syrah works well)
1 bottle (750 ml) Single Malt Scotch
(We used Chivas 12 year, thanks to the kind donation from Pernod-Ricard!)
.75 oz Grand Marnier
.5 oz demerara syrup
[combine equal parts demerara sugar (or sugar in the raw) and water in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved]
8 cinnamon sticks
The peel of 3 oranges (peel off small round pieces of peel with a vegetable peeler)

Pour all ingredients into a crock pot, stir, and heat until almost boiling. Serve in heat proof mugs with an orange peel.

HOT TODDY
2 liters Jameson’s Irish Whiskey
(another kind donation of Jameson’s from Pernod-Ricard!)
13.5 oz fresh lemon juice
13.5 oz wildflower honey syrup
(combine equal parts honey and hot water, and stir until dissolved)
cloves
lemon wedges

Combine whiskey, lemon juice and honey syrup.  Pour 2 oz of mixture into a heat proof mug. Drop in a clove studded wedge of lemon and top with hot water.

Cin-cin!

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topFrom 7 pm-10 pm tonight we’ll be hosting another fabulous punch party at your new favorite boutique, GRAND [374 Somerville Ave, Union Square, Somerville]. The event will be a fabulous night of holiday shopping with the Ladies of LUPEC!

Enjoy some festive seasonal (and complimentary!) cocktails like Hot Toddies and Single Malt Sangaree as you search for the perfect present from Grand’s huge selection of contemporary furnishings, apparel, and gifts.

And if they didn’t have the coolest collection of merchandise already, Grand has teamed up with The Boston Shaker founder Adam Lantheaume, to offer one stop shopping to the cocktail and barware enthusiast. From hard to find bitters and syrups, to shakers, jiggers, glassware and vintage cocktail book reproductions. We haven’t seen this complete a collection of all the things we love, since……..well…….ever!

We’ll also be selling copies of our Little Black Book of Cocktails, of course, and have a special holiday offer! Purchase one book for $15, two for $25 or 3 books for $30!  And it wouldn’t be a LUPEC event if there weren’t some sort of charitable element, so for every Little Black Book of Cocktails sold, LUPEC will donate a canned good to those in need.

Grand will also offer a 20% discount on all merchandise to all attendees who bring a canned good with them!

We hope to see you there!

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by Pink Ladyimg_2919

In this week’s Dig column, we shared the story of the Bloody Mary, a cocktail that is perhaps the most popular eye-opener for modern brunchers. And by eye-opener, we mean Merriam-Webster’s definition No. 1:

eye–open·er: noun
1 : a drink intended to wake one up

Daytime drinking may have fallen out of fashion in American culture, but there was a time when a morning tipple wouldn’t have branded you a layabout or a louse. Consider this treatise from Ernest P. Rawling’s RAWLING’S BOOK OF MIXED DRINKS (as quoted in David Wondrich’s IMBIBE) on the positive effects of the Fizz when taken early in the day:

“And in the ‘morning after the day before,’ when the whole world seems gray and lonesome, and every nerve and fibre of the body is throbbing a complaint against the indiscretion, just press the button and order a Gin Fizz — “Not too sweet, please!” It comes. Oh, shades of the green oasis in the sandy desert of life!”

Oh, wait. Hmmm…he seems to be talking about hangover cures. As Wondrich goes on to explain, a Fizz was the ‘Sporting Man’s’ breakfast of champions, a beverage to “moisten the clay with directly upon rising – an eye-opener, corpse-reviver, fog-cutter, gloom-lifter. A hangover cure…packed with vitamins, proteins…and complex sugars, foaming brightly and aglow with the promise of sweet relief.”

Hungover or not, we could all use a frothy glass of sweet relief every now and again. When in need, give one of these a try. The drink even has the word “Morning” etched into its nomenclature, perhaps to dispel any notions that drinking this before noon would be gauche. As Harry Johnson wrote in the recipe notes,” The author respectfully recommends the…drink as an excellent one for a morning beverage, which will give a good appetite and quiet the nerves.

MORNING GLORY FIZZ
Adapted from Harry Johnson’s NEW AND IMPROVED BARTENDER’S MANUAL as quoted in IMBIBE
.75 tablespoon sugar
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz lime juice
.5 tsp absinthe
1 egg white
2 oz Scotch whisky

Begin with the juices and 1 teaspoon or so of water in a mixing glass, stirring the sugar into it. Add shaved ice and shake vigorously; strain into a good sized bar-glass. Fill with soda water and serve.

Then of course, there is the Ramos Gin Fizz, a New Orleans eye-opener that can still be found on many a brunch menu today even outside the Crescent City. At one time, the popularity of this legendary combination of tough-to-emulsify ingredients necessitated a one-to-one bartender-to-”shaker boy” ratio at Carl Ramos’ Imperial Cabinet Saloon – a ‘shaker boy’ was a young black man whose job was to receive the ingredient-filled shaker from the bartender and shake the hell out of it. After relocating to the Stag Saloon, this epic cocktail was responsible for the jobs of 35 shakermen during Mardi Gras 1915, each passing the drink along to his neighbor once his arms grew weary. Again, with thanks to IMBIBE, here is the recipe adapted from Carl Ramos’ 1925 dictation to the  New Orleans Item-Tribune

RAMOS GIN FIZZ/NEW ORLEANS FIZZ
1 tablespoonful powdered sugar (use superfine)
3 or 4 drops of orange flower water
1/2 lime (juice)
1/2 lemon (juice)
1.5 oz Old Tom Gin (finally available in Boston!)
white of One Egg
1/2 glass crushed ice
About 2 tablespoonsfull of rich milk or cream
About an ounce of seltzer water to make it pungent

Together well shaken and strained (drink freely)
“Shake and shake and shake until there is not a bubble left but the drink is smooth and snowy white and of the consistency of good rich milk,” Ramos told the reporter. Best to have someone mix one for you if you’re truly looking for a little hair of the dog in this glass.

On the subject of hangovers, Charles H. Baker offers 27 drinks called “Picker-Uppers” in his Gentleman’s Companion, (repubbed  as Jigger, Beaker, and Glass), saying, “There are times in every man’s life when, through one reason or both, a man feels precisely like Death warmed up. In such sorry plight there is but one thing to do if we do not wish to sit and suffer through a whole day waiting for the cool hand of normalcy to stroke our dry and fevered brow — a Picker-Upper.” What follows is a fascinating list, atop which sits a unlikely suggestion: Drink Champagne.

Marches Champagne

A plain chilled pint of champagne per person with two or three simple biscuits is probably the finest picker-upper known to civilized man. The champagne must be very cold and can either have bitters, a little added brandy, or both…

Champagne in this role is somewhat more expensive than any of the other remedies collected, but when we think back there is stark realization that the time comes to every man when relative expense means little; and rather risk “turn” from the sight of raw egg, or taste of sweet ingredients, the refreshing, chill tartness of the bubbly is a dispenation straight from heaven.”

And how, Charles Baker!

Last but not least, here’s a recipe for the drink that they actually call the “Eye-Opener”, from the Savoy Cocktail Book:

yolk of 1 fresh egg
1 teaspoonful powdered sugar
2 dashes Absinthe
2 dashes Curacao
2 dashes Creme de Noyau
1 Liqueur Glass Rum
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

A modern interpretation is chronicled here, by Erik Ellestead from Underhill Lounge.

Whatever you choose to imbibe in the morning, may it pick you up and dash away your hangovers/sorrows.

Cin-cin!

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logo_headerIf you happen to be in the downtown area tonight, swing by the Holiday Cocktail Party at Marliave [10 Bosworth St., Downtown Boston, 617-422-0004]! The event is from 5 – 8 p.m. and will benefit Toys for Tots.

Enjoy free passed appetizers and holiday-themed cocktails curated by LUPEC Boston president Misty Kalkofen of Drink as you mingle. Local artists, merchants, and charity organizations will host holiday themed tables, and LUPEC Boston will be on hand hawking copies of the Little Black Book of Cocktails and other swag.

We hope to see you there!

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