Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Squid Mixes: Castor's Gold

A Castor's Gold combines light rum, honey syrup, lime juice and horseradish.  I got the recipe from The One-Bottle Cocktail by Maggie Hoffman who in turn credits Adam James Sarkis of Phoenix Cocktail Club in Milwaukee.  The drink is named for Nicholas Cage's character in Face/Off.

This was my first experience with double straining, I assume to keep the little bits of horseradish out of the drink.  I will confess that I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to horseradish, even going pretty light on the wasabi with my sashimi.  Here, I have to admit that it made for a rather exciting drink.  Mind you, the scant quarter-teaspoon goes a long way.

Friday, July 19, 2019

A Window Above: True

Song: "True"
Writer: Gary Kemp
Original Release: February 28, 1983
Band: Spandau Ballet
Album: True

Pretty sure I first heard "True" in the school dance scene in the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles.  It kicks off with one of the all-time great intro hooks.  You've also got to admire lyrics that pay tribute to both Marvin Gaye and Vladimir Nabakov.  "Seaside arms" is a Lolita reference.  "True" was by far Spandau Ballet's biggest hit, topping the British charts for four weeks, climbing to #4 in the US.

Want to hear all of the songs I have featured in a convenient playlist?

Enjoy: A Window Above

What are you listening to these days?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Squid Cooks: Stir-Fried Chicken with Broccoli

I got this recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything: The Basics.  Typically of stir-fry, most of the work is in the prep.  I'd probably pick different vegetables next time - something in season - but the end result was decent.  The girl happily ate two bowls, always a good sign.  As I have written before, I've been making stir-fries for much of my life but usually with a bottled sauce.  Making my own is a new adventure.

Friday, July 12, 2019

A Window Above: I Can't Hold Back

Song: "I Can't Hold Back"
Writers: Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan
Original Release: August 1, 1984
Band: Survivor
Album: Vital Signs

"I Can't Hold Back" is Survivor's best song.  Oh yes, I hear you gasping in astonishment.  "Eye of the Tiger" is a classic of its era, surely the song that will carry the band's legacy from now to the end of time, right?  Yes, probably.  But it's not their best.

A couple especially clever songwriting moments in "I Can't Hold Back":
  1. The pre-chorus, as Peterik himself describes it.  Comes up first at 1:12 in the video.
  2. The bridge folding back into the pre-chorus at 2:19.  Throughout the song, the melody has a Steve Winwood-esque wrap-around feel to it.  That 2:19 point is where I feel it most strongly.

Want to hear all of the songs I have featured in a convenient playlist?

Enjoy: A Window Above

What are you listening to these days?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Squid Mixes: Frozen Daiquiri

A daiquiri combines lime juice, sugar and rum.  I got my recipe from Eric Felten's How's Your Drink?  I haven't had much luck with frozen drinks in the past but this one turned out nicely.  I expect I've been too skimpy on the ice historically - not a problem this time.

Lime juice and rum!  It'll be the perfect drink to serve Andrew and Susan if they ever come over.

Friday, July 5, 2019

A Window Above: Sailing

Song: "Sailing"
Writer and Original Performer: Christopher Cross
Original Release: December 1979
Album: Christopher Cross

"Sailing" is the soft rock song to end all soft rock songs, a dreamscape anthem for what would eventually come to be known as yacht rock.  It won a ton of Grammys for Christopher Cross before MTV killed his career.  It is ridiculously schmaltzy and yet I find it irresistible.  The orchestral intro melting into the gentle guitar riff... hooks me every time.  

Want to hear all of the songs I have featured in a convenient playlist?

Enjoy: A Window Above

What are you listening to these days?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Squid Mixes: Tiburon

I got my recipe for a Tiburon from The One-Bottle Cocktail by Maggie Hoffman.  She credits T. Cole Newton of Twelve Mile Limit in New Orleans.  The drink combines tequila, lime juice, honey syrup and a dash of Tobasco with a salted rim and a lime garnish.  I skipped the salt - not a fan.  Tiburón is the Spanish word for shark.

The concept of The One-Bottle Cocktail is wonderful: combine a single, staple spirit with ingredients easily found at the grocery store.  This contrasts with the purist mentality of Robert Simonson's 3-Ingredient Cocktails: spirit, bitters and sweetener.  But while the two writers spar during the imagined dinner party in my brain, I hope my own craft shall benefit.

As with Simonson, I enjoy Hoffman's approach to flavor, though hers is certainly more adventurous.  The Tobasco is the intriguing choice in the Tiburon.  It's a common bar ingredient, of course, as it's essential in a Bloody Mary, though unexpected in a Margarita-like concoction.  She's clear on the limits: no more than a dash or it gets vinegary.  The result is "pretty exciting" in my wife's words.