Cocktail Talk: Vanity Row
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
2w ago
I’ve only (I think – but I may be still a little tired from New Year’s Eve) had one other W.R. Burnett Cocktail Talk, he being the writer whose very first book, Little Caesar, was an overnight sensation in 1928, being made into a movie that was also a sensation (and is great), after which he went on to write many novels, screenplays, and more. Including the book we’re quoting from today, Vanity Row, which is thankfully easily available in a two-books-in-one book from Stark House (the other book included is Little Men, Big World, also swell). Vanity Row takes place in an un-named middle-sized M ..read more
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Cocktail Talk: The Boat Race Murder
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
1M ago
I’ve only yet had one other Cocktail Talk (The Case of Oscar Brodski Cocktail Talk, from the Blood on the Tracks anthology) from a British Library Crime Classics collection, though I hope to have more. These collections (there are a fair amount now, themed often in various ways) bring together some more famous, some less famous, some oft anthologized, some mostly forgotten mystery and crime stories written by British authors mainly in the early part of the last century. They’re loads of fun. Not all the stories are top shelf, but I haven’t read one yet (and I have three of the collections now ..read more
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What I’m Drinking: The Sweet Rosilita with DE-NADA Reposado Tequila
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
1M ago
As the end of another year looms in front of us (along with the joyous and jolly holiday season), it reminds me that – I am old, hahaha! So old that I remember being in New York City, the biggest city in the world, make it there, etc., to teach a cocktail class or some such, and when I went into a bar, a good bar, and asked for a Negroni, they didn’t know how to make it. Now, you youngsters with your Negroni weeks and endless Negroni variations probably can’t believe it, but it’s true! The booze world of modern times is an oft-marvelous place, even though not all Negroni relatives are as marve ..read more
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Cocktail Talk: Black Wings Has My Angel, Part IV
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
1M ago
It wasn’t that long ago (weirdly, it was like five-and-a-half years ago, so maybe long ago in some ways? Your call) that I had a series of Cocktail Talks from the Elliott Chaze book Black Wings Has My Angel (read Part I, Part II, and Part III to learn more, see more, drink more). And today, when I woke with the desire to re-read the book (as one does with good books), and then began reading, I was again mystified that the book isn’t better know. Perhaps it’s better known now than five years ago, as another reprint in English has come out – for a long time, too long, the only recent versions we ..read more
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Cocktail Talk: Double Indemnity
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
1M ago
I’ve had a few James M. Cain Cocktail Talks here, which makes pretty swell sense, as he is a noir master, and I like those kinds of books lots, lots I tell you. It’s mad to think that perhaps the most classic of the Cain classics (though opinions may vary, with good reason), The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, came out within a year of each other, or very close. What a whammo one two punch in the brain that was! The other day I had an urge to pick up a book that I could read probably in a single day, at the most two, and I reached for the latter of that deadly duo, Double Inde ..read more
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What I’m Drinking: Champagne Punch
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
1M ago
Sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics. This here (or, below here) is my recipe for Champagne Punch, the one I picked up from family holiday gatherings when I was a wee one, the one I was making for parties long before even this blog started (so, dinosaurs were walking the earth), and long before I put the recipe in Good Spirits (and probably others books and articles), and long before I started typing this sentence (which is itself rather long now, though not as long as some by, say, Henry James). It’s a basic ol’ bubbly fruity rummy punchy number, not all la-de-da, but very solid, very ..read more
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Cocktail Talk: The Heart of the Matter
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
1M ago
Our recent Graham Greene Cocktail Talking (don’t miss The Comedians Cocktail Talk and This Gun for Hire Cocktail Talk, plus more Graham Greene’s from the past) continues, this time with The Heart of the Matter, which I recently re-read, and in which they drink a lot of Pink Gins, and sweat a lot, too. It’s a classic in the more serious Greene vein, steeped in immaculate, elegant, prose, alongside delving into the interactions and motivations of the main character, including a deep look in his Catholic beliefs and how they cause in a way part of the action to unfurl. Not for the faint of readin ..read more
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What I’m Drinking: The Gizmo
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
1M ago
It is, as you probably know being up on your dates and all that, here in the U.S. the day after Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving being one of my favorite holidays as it’s focused on eating delicious things (and for many like me drinking them too) with family and/or friends. The day after Thanksgiving is a sort-of holiday, too, I call it Gizmo Day. Gizmo being this drink, the ideal way to use up leftover cranberry sauce! A simple mix, exactly what’s needed after the over-eating (who doesn’t?) and such from Thanksgiving, today is the perfect day to shake this one up. And now you have back-to-back holi ..read more
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What I’m Drinking: The Orchard Sea
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
1M ago
I sometimes feel a tiny bit of a Washington Tourist Board shill, as much as I talk about our awesomely awesome local distillers (and bartenders, and bars, and such). Which would be weird, if, well, they all weren’t so awesome! But they are, and so I’m happy to tout their lovely boozy products, and try to woo drinkers into trying them, sipping them, loving them like I do – and coming here to check the distillers out in person when possible. Really, we are spoiled with all the tipsy options being made this-a-way. This single drink is an example, and a good way to try multiple ones at once, as it ..read more
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What I’m Drinking: First Port of Call with Kopke Tawny Port 2012
A.J. Rathbun | Spiked Punch
by ajrathbun
1M ago
Our world of drinking options continues to both expand and get smaller, though I realize that sounds fairly impossible. But in a way, it’s true, as our options expand thanks to the availability of more delicious products from around the globe, connecting us to different choices, which in a way has made the globe smaller, as these connections continue. Make any sense? Maybe! A long intro for telling you that I’m happy that we have more port available in the U.S.? Definitely! I’ve always had a fondness for port, probably due to reading so much Anthony Trollope and wishing we had an after-dinner ..read more
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