Hosed for the Holidays (+ Hot Buttered Rum)


A few weeks ago I received this email from a certain veganfied, yoga-doin’, sweet-singin’ goddess I know:

hey, got any drink suggestions for a major american holiday that a lot of people spend with stress-inducing parents?

Funny you should ask…

So, You’re Going Home for the Holidays

Whether you go home or invite the fam to your place, winter holiday time usually means a lot of exposure to people you probably don’t see regularly, all tightly packed into hot living rooms that are thick with the goodly smells of spiced pie, turkey, whiskey, and the bittery-sweet tang of your own anxious sweat. Continue reading “Hosed for the Holidays (+ Hot Buttered Rum)”

Gluten-Free Brewing; Also – A Contest for My Extremely Limited Readership


Tytron has been brewing our own delicious beer for the past several years, and he has a serious talent for creating amazing home brew from scratch.  I’m not just biased, either.  With very few exceptions (namely the Blowout Brew that scented our home with heinous gaseous emissions until I ordered an immediate halt to consumption) his recipes have resulted in delicious, well-balanced beers that rival any specialty, store-bought varieties I’ve tried.

The biggest challenge in brewing we’ve had so far has been in the gluten-free department.  To be frank, a girl can only drink so much wine and cider and hard liquor.  Sometimes, only an ice-cold, quality beer scratches that itch. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Brewing; Also – A Contest for My Extremely Limited Readership”

Fruity, Frozen, and Fabulous


Summer drinking has been on my mind almost constantly since I posted for Memorial Day.  The season offers a fantastic opportunity for creative drink-making using beautiful seasonal herbs, fruits, and veggies.  Today we’ll talk about FROZEN drinks specifically.  We’ll get to the fruit drinks and savory herbs later, and our summer conversation will culminate before Independence Day with a special set of patriotic shots and one of my super awesome top-secret party recipes.  Sound good?  OK, let’s go.

Creamy, frozen, ultra-sweet:  This category of cocktails is the boon of summertime, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed for ordering one of these chilly delights. The languid permissiveness of summer allows even the manliest of mens to throw his dudely reserve aside.  The nostalgia associated with hot summer days that smell of grills a-cookin’ and just-mown grass has a tendency to bring out the nineteen-year-old girl in all of us, and that fresh young lady should be appeased with a drink that’s fabulous, fruity, and practically begging for a maraschino cherry and tiny umbrella garnish.  So, put away the whiskey and dust off that blender, ‘cause today we’re whipping up some classic froufrou fare featuring rum, tequila, and vodka. Continue reading “Fruity, Frozen, and Fabulous”

Stress Drinking


Recently, my fiancée and I made a cross-country move.  We meandered our way down the Pacific Coast from our former home in Olympia, Washington, visiting friends in California along the way, and eventually arrived at our new city-of-residence:  Austin, Texas.  We had precisely $1500 in our bank account when we arrived, largely due to the many pleasures and various alcohols of which we partook in the gloriously seductive city of San Francisco.  We had no jobs and only a few friends in Austin.

As if this, in and of itself, wasn’t enough to explain the onset of a committed drinking binge, a month after we’d arrived in the great state of Texas we were evicted from our temporary home when the woman from whom we were subletting neglected to pay her rent.  Please keep in mind I’m not asking for your sympathy; I’m merely setting the stage.

So, here I am in guest room at a friend’s house – and by “friend”, I mean a really awesome guy who took us in when we’d only known him for three weeks.  I have no car, and the fiancée is working and living in San Antonio temporarily.  I am residing in this guest room with a pissed-off rabbit and an eight week-old kitten whose demonic personality is only just becoming apparent.

Stage is set.  Let the drinking commence.

Stress drinking is an important ritual that allows us to control something (the way we feel, the volume of alcohol we drink, the Universe – if you’re drunk enough you begin to believe this) when our own personal world devolves into chaos.  Whether your stress comes from a breakup, an eviction, a heavy workload, or just because sometimes life gets stressful even when everything is going right, stress drinking can be a useful tool in blowing off a little steam.

The guidelines, of course, conform to those I’ve previously mentioned:  don’t over-drink because the hangover isn’t going to help with the stress level, stay safe, don’t go getting STDs and DUIs and other unpleasant three-lettered acronyms for horrible things, blah blah blah, etc., ad nauseum.

Here’s the great thing about stress drinking:  If your friends know you’re “in the shit,” they won’t say a damned thing about your drunkenness.   Here’s the bad part:  Stress is liable to bring out some of your less charming personality traits.  Combined with drinking, this could be a recipe for disaster.  So while your friends are silently watching your downward spiral into intoxication, they’ll probably forgo mentioning late night bitch-fests and angry drunk proclamations such as, “When I get to work tomorrow, I’m going to tell my boss to suck on this shit!” as you push your jeans down to your ankles and wave your junk off the balcony of their apartment at 3am.  This could go on indefinitely, until cops show up or your friends begin receiving weird passive-aggressive notes taped on their doors by the disgruntled neighbors, or until you step over the line and get so drunk you mistakenly pee in your friend’s girlfriend’s shoes because her blue Nikes looked like the toilet.

You may be going for the prolonged drunk that is born of beer consumption, or the quick one-two punch of a couple six shots of tequila.   No matter what you do, make sure you maintain your friendships during this time and try not to urinate in anyone’s shoes.  The supportive people in your life will be a much more viable long term solution to stress than incessant drinking.  But, still, drinking has its place.

As I finish up this bottle of wine I started at three in the afternoon today, I can tell you one thing:  I definitely feel less stressed, except that now I’m out of wine and it’s only six o’clock.  It’s important to be prepared when you start your little pity-fest, because once you begin sedating yourself, you won’t want to stop until bed time.

Oh, and what’s the ideal stress cocktail?  Scotch, of course.  I don’t even know why you asked.

I’ll be back before the 4th of July for more holiday boozing advice, so until then….

Happy Stress Drinking!

Memorial Day Drinking


Ah, holidays: designated dates spanning the calendar year upon which it is generally agreed that we should gather with friends, family, and celebrate whichever traditions are appropriate for the holiday in question. Whether opening presents, spending a day at the lake, or setting things on fire, drinking has its place in nearly every holiday celebration plan.  So whatever it is you’re celebrating, for heaven’s sake don’t forget the hooch.

Summer holidays are especially geared toward drinking oneself silly – slowly or otherwise, and with a combination of high temperatures and outdoor activities such as barbeques and beach parties, your featured drink should be something light and refreshing.

Regarding Beer

If you’re serving beer stay away from heavy, dark varieties like bocks* and porters, and opt instead for crisp pilsners and lagers.  Hefeweisens (like Pyramid) and witbeir (like Blue Moon) have a light flavor but tend to be heavier in body, leaving you with a “full” feeling and making them a less ideal choice for sultry summer days than beers that fall into the pilsner and lager categories.  However, these can still make for a decent summer selection, especially when paired with lemon and orange wedges, respectively.

*Shiner Bock doesn’t count. Really.   

Our resident brewmaster’s top picks to accompany hot summer days and BBQ:  Beck’s, Stella Artoise, Hoegaarden, Grolsch, Shiner, Pilsner Urquell, Corona, and Bitburger; chosen for their light, refreshing quality and wide availability.

If you happen to live in a Trader Joe’s town, look for Simpler Times Lager.  At a mere $3 per six pack, a great full body and flavor, and 6.2% ABV, Simpler Times is a solid, all-around beer choice.  Careful, though – that 6.2% packs a big punch.  If you’re planning on sustained drinking over a long day, Simpler Times probably isn’t the right choice for this soiree.

The Specialty Drink Pick

Early in the summer when market stands are resplendent with big, sweet, luscious berries, my Memorial Day pick is, without a doubt, Hard Berry Lemonade.  Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries all make for excellent pairings with that old-fashioned citrus standby, and nothing hits the spot on a sweaty day quite like the sweet-tart shiver of cold lemonade sliding down one’s gullet.  Add vodka for some extra kick, and you have yourself a party.   If you don’t want to make your own lemonade from scratch, I suggest starting with Newman’s Own, Florida’s Best, or Tropicana. They’re all well-proportioned and tasty, and inexpensive enough to make a party-sized serving.

Pook’s Hard Berry Lemonade

This recipe makes about 1.5 quarts, so you’ll probably want to double or triple this for a party. If you’re using premade lemonade, just toss it in the blender with the berries, add vodka, and strain out the seeds before serving.

  • 1 ¾ c sugar
  • 8 cups water (split)
  • 1 ½ c lemon juice, with zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup hulled berries
  • ½ liter (approx. 2 cups) vodka
  • Optional Tips – Fresh mint garnish is excellent.  Sub 4 cups sparkling water in place of still water for extra awesome.

Boil 2 cups of water and all the sugar in large saucepan for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining water (if using sparkling water, only add the remaining 2 cups of still water at this step), lemon juice, and lemon zest. Let cool.

Add berries and lemon juice mixture to blender and blend well.  Strain out seeds and add remaining water, if any.  Chill. Serve over ice.  (Vodka can be added at any time after lemon mixture is cooled.)

This lemonade should be carefully consumed, as it’s easy to drink and dangerously delicious.  Be sure you have a designated driver and your holiday weekend will be super fun and awesome, if you can remember it.

Happy Memorial Day boozing!

Break-Up Boozing


Virtually every woman has been there: Standing in line at the grocery store with mascara smeared across puffy cheeks, a bottle of tequila clamped tightly in one angry fist while the other clutches a box of Kleenex and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. This purchase will be immediately followed by an evening at home watching Grey’s Anatomy with your best friend and sporadic bouts of crying and compulsive toe-nail painting.  Depending on what kind of girl you are, this scene may vary. If your bestie is a man or a super awesome party girl, you may find yourself at a dance club revealing your drunken breasts from a stage, trying to see through your tears as you eagle-eye the crowd for a reasonable candidate to provide some one-time-only rebound sex.

For men, the break up ritual involves Man Time Get-Together with your buds in which you eat bologna slices or uncooked side of beef while crushing beer cans against your furrowed brow and pointedly not talking about feelings of any kind.  Maybe this happens while playing video games, or wrestling with each other in the living room.  Maybe it happens outside next to a fire pit or grill, where you’re brutally searing the dead animal that gave its life to nourish and heal you during this fragile emotional time.  If your bestie is a super awesome party dude, you may end up at a dance club salivating over the intoxicated tart who’s flashing her B-cups from a plexiglass platform. Wait, is she crying?  Does it matter?

In all scenarios, the common denominator is that we inevitably turn to drink for solace in this harrowing time.  Regardless of your sex, it’s a natural reaction in a breakup situation to go bottoms up in an attempt to drown one’s worldly sorrows in the sweet respite of alcohol.

This morning I was asked what the best alcohol is for post-break up drinking, and why.

My immediate response is “scotch”, because scotch is pretty much my answer to any of life’s big questions. After seriously considering this question for the larger part of today, I’ve realized it’s important to share more of a “do’s and don’ts” list in relation to Breakup Boozing to assist anyone who is considering the alcohol approach to problem solving.  Regardless of your taste preferences and financial situation, these four helpful tips will serve you well as you’re considering what to drink when your current destined-to-fail relationship is twitching its final death throes.

  1. Know your limits.  Knowing your limits when all logic has abandoned you will save you a world of hurt and help you steer clear of making poor decisions while you struggle to heal your heart.  For instance, if you know a sixer gets you pretty well schnookered, don’t buy a twelve pack.  You’ll probably drink exactly what you have and no more.  You’re tired and vulnerable, and you’ll want to go to bed once your drink has run dry.  Breaking up is tough enough without adding a case of the clap to the equation because you decided to sleep with the cute guy who wandered past your house at three a.m. on his way home from the bar. Only have on hand what you know you can handle, and chances are you’ll make it through this time with only minimal damage to your liver and sex organs.
  2. Mixers Are Evil.  Trying to make your booze taste like kool-aid is a dangerous game.  Drinking more than you should because you truly don’t realize how much you’re consuming is a common issue; this is one solid line of reasoning for choosing a high end bottle of booze and drinking it neat or on the rocks, if that falls within the scope of your tastes.  If not, this may be a good time to learn.  Drinking Blue Hawaiians at a time like this is a big, fat no-no.  On the other hand, if you’re nursing a glass of twelve year old scotch you’re most likely not going to throw it back like water. Besides, all that extra sugar is going to kickstart your hangover.
  3. Don’t try new things.  Stick with what you know for now.  I could tell you about an incident involving Southern Comfort, but that brings back all kinds of horrid memories I ought not revisit.  Varying types of alcohol will affect your body in different ways, so – going back to “know your limits”  – drink alcohol you’ve had many times before in an attempt to reign in the unexpected effects of introducing your body to a new type of poison.
  4. Limit drinking time to evenings.  There’s nothing sadder than a broken-hearted boozer cracking open a beer at eleven a.m.  There are other cases in which early drinking is acceptable; this is not one of those.  Limiting your drink time to the evenings is a good way to keep yourself on track.  You don’t need to lose your job just because Chad is a cheating asshole.

Bottom line, you’re probably going to get drunk.  You might get drunk every night for a week.  Just remember that adding a wicked hangover, a DUI, or an STD to your woes isn’t going to be helpful in the long run.  Aim for “pleasantly sedated” over “lips to the floor” and you won’t regret turning to alcohol to help solve your problems.

Good luck with that broken heart, and don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Cheers!

GET YOUR DRINK ON


Let me start by saying I’m truly flattered that you’ve come to me for drinking advice, and I hope I can fulfill your needs as a guru on the subject.

If you find me lacking in a category, please let me know and I’ll do my best to fill any gaps, even if it requires extensive research on my part. I’m here for you. If you would like to ask me a question regarding the perfect alcoholic beverage for an event or situation, please feel free to comment on this post or email me. I also welcome any feedback you may have regarding my drinking advice.

This blog in no way should be considered a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or psychiatrist, and please note that despite titles on upcoming releases such as “How to Vomit Correctly”, one should always imbibe responsibly, and I do not encourage the over-consumption of alcoholic beverages or other intoxicants. Not officially, at least.

That said, I hope you are able to find helpful information in my posts and I do welcome your comments.

Cheers!

Pooks