One of the things I like
to do when I travel —
is to bring back a bottle
of exotic booze from wherever I go.
It’s not like I drink
all that much…..
and I’m certainly not
what you’d call a connoisseur….
More like a collector.
But , not like most collectors
who wanna keep their
collections to themselves.
Me, I like to share my collection
with folks who visit.
I love to watch my guests’ faces
when they first try something
they’ve never had before.
That first taste of Campari —
……..well, the facial expressions
It’s certainly worth the price
of a bottle that I’ll never touch otherwise.
that stuff’s BITTER, man.
Now, you could say that’s just
my sadistic side acting out,
but it’s not really like that.
Some of the stuff I bring back
tastes pretty darned good.
Maybe not always to anybody else.
Absinthe, for example.
It used to be banned
in most civilized countries
( and some pretty uncivilized places, too) —
but it’s making a huge comeback,
and is now perfectly legal
in the United States.
Actually, it never was banned in the U.K. ,
but still is banned in France,
where most Absinthe was made — go figure.
I guess it’s the same kinda deal as Jack Daniels—
That stuff is made in a dry county !!!
Absinthe is my drink of choice,
assuming I’ve got the kit to go along with it.
Oh…. I guess better explain.
You see, you can’t drink absinthe
just out of any old glass.
You gotta do the whole absinthe trip……..
you need a decanter of ice cold water
you need some sugar cubes
you need a special slotted absinthe spoon
you need a special fluted absinthe glass
and of course, you need some
120 year old Henri-Louis Pernot absinthe.
you fill the bottom reservoir of the glass with the absinthe,
place the spoon on top of the glass, place a sugar cube on it,
pour the ice cold water very, very slowly through the sugar cube,
admire the louche ( the Green Fairy)
inhale, and then sip.
You have just completed
your first absinthe ritual.
Is it worth all the trouble, you ask?
Well, I dunno…..
It kinda depends on whether you get your jollies
from drinking it the way that famous artists
like Degas, Van Gogh, Lautrec, and Manet did….
Not to mention that it’s the way
they’ve been drinking it in Europe for centuries.
Plus, it’s kinda fun.
Is it dangerous?
I been drinking it for decades,
and I’m normal, right?
Ummm… well….. don’t answer that.
Saint Maarten in the Caribbean
is a great place to pick up some exotic booze….
They have a local fruit called a ‘guavaberry’ ,
…… and they make a potent liquor out of it.
I might also mention
the beautiful nude beaches,
… great restaurants, casinos, and all that.
But I won’t.
( psssst….. Orient Beach……
…… I’ll be the one wearing
black cross-trainers and a smile )
Oh, and if you happen to be down there,
…. you might also pick up a bottle or two
of what they call “Bois Bande”.
This is a specially prepared rum
that has a secret ingredient —
said to be the bark of the Yohimbe tree —-
— a stimulant supposed
to be good to keep
your wang… err…
I mean… , yang up.
It tastes not altogether horrible …..
and it’s nice to have around
in case of emergencies, ya understand.
Perhaps it seems strange to combine something
that’s supposed to help a problem usually
caused by the very stuff it’s dissolved in.
And perhaps that sentence
seems overly convoluted and contrived.
Maybe that’s where the whole ‘yin-yang’ thing comes in.
Maybe only the Buddha really knows.
But one thing’s for sure ….. he ain’t sayin ‘.
Recently, an online friend of mine
had posted an article on the uses of the spice caraway…
and I remembered tasting a liquor
made from it while I was in Denmark years ago.
That liquor is called Akvavit or Aquavit ,
and is popular all over Scandinavia,
…………. and also has it’s own ceremony-
called “drinking schnaps“.
The glasses used are usually chilled,
and tulip shaped…
The guests are seated around
a table and the glasses are charged.
Then, the host raises his glass,
and the guests all turn to each other,
… nod, after which the host calls out “Skoal!” –
and everybody drinks.
Everybody sets the glass back down,
and the process is repeated.
Being at one of these “snaps parties”
will make you learn very quickly
how to pace yerself, believe me.
Also how warm it can get in Kopenhavn in the winter,
………… if you have enough friends.
The last time I was in Mexico,
I brought back some Damiana liquor…..
Damiana is a Mexican herb also
supposedly having aphrodisiacal powers…
it’s in the same botanical family as chamomile,
and the Maya made a tea like concoction out of it with honey,
that supposedly would keep you ‘interested’ for hours.
I dunno about all that ,
but I call tell you that it smells
and tastes like a wet rope with a twist of orange.
The bottle is very cool, though,
( it’s in the shape of a nekkid goddess’s torso ) —
and makes an interesting conversation piece.
Women get all giddy….
………… and men get all kinds of ideas…
just looking at it.
Speaking of getting ideas…
a lot of folks are surprised when I give them
a taste of Turkey’s national booze –
— Raki or “Lions Milk”.
Most folks figure since the majority of Turks are Muslim,
that they wouldn’t drink….
… but one taste of Raki will convince ya that somebody over there does……
They take their Raki very, very seriously, indeed.
It’s very much like a non sweet version of Anisette —
… and it’s got a burn that follows you all the way down.
Actually, there are versions of Raki all over the Balkans,
with slightly different flavors and recipes…..
like Zavania in Cypress ,
or Tsikoudia in Crete….
or Albanian Raki.
Greek Ouzo is somewhat different –
although the burn is very similar.
Don’t get this confused with a booze called “Turkish Delight” ,
which is widely available in Southeast Asia —
“Turkish Delight” is a rose flavored liquor with chocolate overtones….
And, for someone who likes exotic booze, an orgasm in a bottle.
I’ve never seen it in the U.S.,
but if you see it, buy a box.
I’ll be right over.
Here’s a coupla recipes that
you can use with all that exotic booze :
Death in the Afternoon
1 shot of Absinthe
pour ice cold champagne slowly into glass
( named after Hemingway’s book-
he also was an absinthe drinker )
Campari American Cocktail
1 shot Campari
1 shot sweet Vermouth
Fill with lemon-lime soda
Garnish with lemon peel
Save some for me …..