You Call These Old?

February 2nd, 2016

Some “web-site” with the unlikely moniker “DNAinfo” has compiled a listing of the Windy City’s 11 oldest bars. I’m afraid I must confess that, sadly, I was unaware some of them had even opened in the first place! Clearly, further investigation is in order.

Churchill on Quitting a Winner

November 30th, 2015

“Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.”

Sir Winston Churchill, whom, as The Economist notes, spent approximately £1,160 each year on wine (a mere £104,400 when adjusted for inflation). He was born on this day in 1874.

Nominative Determinism Strikes Again

November 9th, 2015

Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters and Amari

This young fellow should count himself fortunate that he was not descended from the Liqueur or Cordial families—or, heaven forbid, the American Schnappses.

Bonfiglioli on Proper Proportions

October 14th, 2015

“Jock was at my side in a twinkling, forcing one of his famous brandy-and-sodas into my nerveless fingers. (The secret of Jock’s famous b-and-s’s is that he makes them without soda: it is a simple skill, easily learnt.)”

— Kyril Bonfiglioli, The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery

I’ll Be Home Soon, Dear – First I Must Stop in at the Library

April 5th, 2013

Naturally, the Designated Drinker has been seen, at various times, in all of these fine establishments. Let your own tour begin.

Sanchez on Professionalism

September 11th, 2012

“You’re an amateur drinker—you drink in public places. Noah is a professional. A professional, he drinks alone. He doesn’t need an audience.”

— Thomas Sanchez, American Tropic

Block on Fish and Poison

February 23rd, 2012

“You drink like a goddamn fish,” Charlie said.
“That’s nothing. I swim like an alcoholic.”

— Lawrence Block, writing as Sheldon Lord, 69 Barrow Street

“He got the hell away from Sondra’s place and the Gila Monster and found a bar, a nice ordinary bar where the customers were quiet, clean-shaven alcoholics and liquor was the only poison used on the premises.”

— Lawrence Block, writing as Ben Christopher, Strange Embrace

Ballard on Thirds

June 7th, 2011

“I finished my Scotch, already thinking not of the next drink, but of the one after that.”

— J. G. Ballard, Millennium People

Hastie on Literary Tastes

February 26th, 2011

“It tastes like licking a library book from 1964.”

— John Hastie, after drinking Jeppson’s Malört

Sours Are Sweet

February 2nd, 2011

…to appropriate the vernacular of today’s youth. To wit: the Pisco Sour. Being snowed in, these made quite the tonic for cabin fever. (Followed by fondue, if you must know.) Given a bartender who mixes these correctly, home would become but a distant memory.

1 1/2 oz. pisco
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. heavy simple syrup
1 egg white
several drops Angostura bitters

Shake vigorously, strain, etc.

Recipe from Dale DeGroff, via Auntie Iris. Seldom have I needed to tamper so little with a prescription. The bitters are a revelation!