Tag Archives: booze

Hi-Fi Fifteen: There Stands the Glass

“There stands the glass…
That will ease all my pain
That will settle my brain
It’s my first one today.”

Those words floated into my head randomly one evening, probably as I was doing the dinner dishes, and I suddenly had the theme for this month’s Hi-Fi Fifteen. And although cleaning the crockery may have provided the initial inspiration, the theme has a special resonance for me, since I have a bit of a relationship with ol’ John Barleycorn, everyone’s favorite frien-emy.

Alcohol is the great social lubricant, and music goes hand in hand with our social interactions. Whether it’s a tear-in-the-beer weeper, or a good-time party anthem about pissing the night away, drinking songs have probably been around ever since the first time a caveman got buzzed on a fistful of fermented berries.

A few early, sneaky sips aside, I started drinking on my 21st birthday, and never looked back. A tumbler of something cold and potent within arm’s reach is one of life’s small delights. To quote Winston Churchill, I have taken more out of alcohol than it has taken out of me. It transforms me from an awkward, needy Jerry Lewis to a breezy, don’t-give-a-shit Dean Martin. It is vital in overcoming my natural aversion to human contact, and dammit, it just tastes good. Continue reading Hi-Fi Fifteen: There Stands the Glass

The Dublin

It is no secret that my family has a taste for the drink. My grandfather, Walter, owned a couple of bars in Sacramento, one of them, Goeman’s, still stands today on Franklin boulevard. Though I never personally saw the old guy overindulge, he never turned down a good cocktail. Whenever we would have family dinners, all of the adults would imbibe at least one of his signature drink: The Manhattan.

In honor of the late Walt Goeman, and to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, I tried whipping up an Irish version of this classic cocktail. They say on St. Paddy’s Day everyone is honorary Irish, and in the spirit of the holiday, the Manhattan is relocating 3,172 miles (5,104 km) to Ireland’s metropolis, Dublin.
The Manhattan is a really great drink because there is a simple way to remember how to make them. The area code to Manhattan is 212, which translates to:
2 shots of Whiskey
1 Shot of Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes of bitters
Pour those into an iced shaker, give it a couple whirls, then pour out into a glass. Martini glasses are traditional, but on St. Patrick’s day, any ship will do, ya feel me?
Add a maraschino cherry, and 1 tsp. of the cherry juice, and you got yourself a good beverage.
Now, here’s what you’ll need to make a delicious Dublin:

Continue reading The Dublin

That’s the (cheap) spirit!

In the above clip from Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946),  I feel like my drinking habits are perfectly summed up. Part of me just wants a straight simple whiskey and the other half wants something a little more exotic . All of this becomes irrelevant when my gut (played by the bartender in the clip)  tells me “get the cheapest, strongest drink because you are broke.”

So yes, all of this has conditioned me to become a little connoisseur of the cheap whiskey. While I do love a nice whiskey or bourbon (I will always remember my time with you Pappy Van Winkle), my conscience has helped me find my cheap medium. This  guide will show you what to avoid and  guide to you to an easy, cheap, drinkable whiskey.



When I was young, I thought a whiskey with a name based on a joke must be catered to those with an economic taste in mind. Sadly, I was terribly wrong. The only positive is that if you drink it with Trader Joe’s shitty beer, Simpler Times, you can reminisce about the past where you didn’t buy those things. Continue reading That’s the (cheap) spirit!

An Introduction to Irish Whiskey

Irish Whiskey. The Water of Life. Sunshine held together by water. In gaelic, “uisce beatha” (WEE-sak BAH-ha.) Though it may have much in common with Scotch & Bourbon, this whiskey is quite uniquely Irish.

The legal distinction is simple: It must be distilled from malted cereal grains at or above 94.8%, and barrel aged in Ireland in wooden casks for not less than three years.

Beyond the legal definition, the jargon used to describe whiskey in general is a confusing tangle of historical definitions and colloquial references. Phrases such as “pot still” and “single malt” are commonly used and may lead to confusion, even among Scotch and Bourbon lovers. A thorough discussion of such vocabulary is probably beyond the scope of this essay.

pot stillIrish whiskey is fermented and distilled from a combination of one of more grains, most typically barley. The shape of the still resembles a pot, thus its name. That’s probably because calling it a Hershey’s Kiss Still doesn’t have the same ring to it.

When only one type of grain is used in the pot (typically malted barley) the result is a Single Malt. When a combination of malted and un-malted barley is used, the result is known as a Pure Pot Still. If the distillates from one or more pots are combined, the resultant liquor is a Blend. Red Breast is a noteworthy Pure Pot Still Whiskey, Tyrconnell a favorite Single Malt, and Jameson, Powers and Paddy are some of my favorite “every day” blends. Continue reading An Introduction to Irish Whiskey