Thursday, December 18, 2014

New cocktail: MAILER-DAEMON failure notice: "Mailbox full"

Why on earth anybody responds to a famous author's writings is beyond me. I guess we all think we're going to give the great man pause in some superb way, or we're going to be discovered, too. All we get is a ding in our inboxes, encouraging us to subscribe to whatever online magazine the famous author writes for; or we get a MAILER DAEMON failure notice. This time it was "mailbox full," which I gather is unusual in these post-floppy-disk days. Oh well. Here's what I wrote him. His groupies, know him as VDH.  

Dear Mr. Victor Davis Hanson,

Every once in a while, I think your editors ask you to write something optimistic, and the "Still Dazzling" article seems to me to be the latest. Right on schedule too, around Christmastime. They always seem to follow a more heartfelt (and depressing) piece chronicling the disintegration of life in rural CA. Anyway thank you for the dose of good cheer.

You're right, it's all about ordinary people carrying on, the trouble is it's also the ordinary people who foot the bills, and I sometimes think authentic crisis will come when ordinary people figure out they have no voice left except tax revolt. Then we may see what the government is willing to do to get their hands on the money.

I also agree with something Dennis Prager said years ago, that liberalism is a religion. Using politics to fight it does not work. Eighteenth century political cycles, i.e. voting every two years, move too slowly to keep up with 21st century, left-wing compassion tyranny. Or royal edicts, for that matter. I sometimes think a true opposition leader, when he comes, will be a religious figure -- not even necessarily a pastor or Bible-thumper, but someone with some kind of inner core that will be impervious to the weapons of the entrenched media/academic elite. I look forward to the first president who does not have a White House press corps, and sends no representatives to "the Sunday morning shows." I think maybe he'll choose to live in Detroit, or Branson, or maybe even (if he has a lot of imagination) Mexico City. Why not? 

You said the ordinary American keeps on working, taking care of his family, ignoring pop culture, and doing what he excels at. Good for you, yes, I think you're right. Years ago when I still read the Chicago Tribune I read an article of yours in which you wrote that what distinguishes today's America from earlier, declining empires was the presence in our midst of an elite which loathed the country and fought hard for its worldwide contempt and collapse. Even the Romans, you said, did not have that. I've always thought that was the best thing you have ever written and the thing historians will remember you for. 

Thanks again for the dose of Christmas cheer. Looking forward to next year's version.


Drown your frustrations with a little something from a very pre-floppy-disk era. We're going to resurrect and re-christen the Calvert Party Encyclopedia's [1961] "Princeton cocktail," a delight not only from 1961 but from the early 1900s. Paul Clarke at Serious Eats records that the Princeton was created by "New York barman George Kappeler, who mixed it [ca. 1900] along with other Ivy League-named drinks at the Holland House bar." It must be true, since our Encyclopedia lists the recipe for the Yale on the very next page. The Princeton is simpler. It requires two of our favorites, gin and port, plus orange bitters.

Specifically it requires Old Tom gin, a style sweeter than today's usual gins. Mr. Clarke says that if you can't find new makers of Old Tom, the flavor can be approximated with a mix of regular gin and a bit of simple syrup. I suggest regular gin and -- why not? -- a bit of apple cider, or possibly even apple cider liqueur. Let's try Journeyman Distillery O.C.G. (Old Country Goodness) apple cider.

Therefore, our new cocktail becomes --

1 jigger (1 and 1/2 ounces) gin
generous dash -- say, 1/4 teaspoon -- apple cider liqueur, such as Journeyman
1/2 ounce -- a little less than half a jigger -- port
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with 4 ice cubes. Strain into a cocktail glass. The usual garnish is a twist of lemon peel, which seems to me a jarring note. Port and lemon? No. A little cube of apple with peel seems better. Mr. Clarke by the way says the gin and bitters only should be mixed together with ice; after they are strained into the cocktail glass, the port is poured carefully down the side of the glass, so that it  may settle prettily at the bottom. Kind of like voters.  

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