Saturday, May 30, 2009

Go Cubs Go

I'm a Cubs fan. On a recent trip to Chicago to watch a game, we opted to stay at a friends house and drink instead of enjoying the expensive Chicago nightlife. I think city folk tend to want to impress their country bumpkin visitors with mysterious concoctions they think we can't get in these parts. I'm fine with that because on this particular trip I was introduced to the world's easiest pina colada.

Rum--My host used Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Lime Rum because he felt like coconut rum would make it too coconutty. I disagree. I think there is no such thing as too coconutty. I would use my favorite summer drink rum, Malibu Coconut rum.  I also think it would be good with a chunk of pineapple and a maricino cherry or two as a garnish. The Cubs glass was a nice touch.

I've been waiting for the Cubs to string together a couple of wins before I shared this post. Needless to say I've been waiting for some time. Drinking helps when you're a Cubs fan.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Drink Your Medicine

A spoon full of sugar may help the medicine go down, but pretending like your medicine is a fancy Italian cocktail is even better in my opinion. Here's a scenario that happens more often than I care to admit at my house: eat homemade meatball pizza, drink bottle of cheap Lambrusco, feel kind of sick.

When that happens to me I like to pretend like it's time for an after dinner drink and I reach for the Brioschi. As far as I can tell, Brioschi is like an Italian Alka Seltzer only cooler. First, you gotta love the blue container with the red Brioschi. Second, it is like little pellets and reminds me of rat poison or something.

I like to put a capful of Brioschi in the Marta Double Old Fashioned glass and sip it down like a fancy cocktail.  Bellissimo!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Book Club & Blue Margaritas

Last night was book club night. We went to a Mexican joint where we ended up being one of two book clubs meeting there. We were definitely the coolest book club. Our gracious host not only picked a good book, Canone Inverso by Paolo Maurensig, she treated us to appetizers and margaritas. Our second pitcher of margaritas was blue.

I promised I'd do a little research and explain what made them blue. We knew it was Blue Curacoa. K was correct that it is pronounced kyur-ə-ˌsō. It's basically orange liquor with blue coloring added. 

We all agreed that it was sweeter than our pitcher of regular old green margaritas. I have a couple of theories on that, just like we had a couple of theories on the book. It could be that because they need to add enough of the blue curacoa to make the drink visibly blue, they added more of the sweeter blue curacoa and less of the tart tequila. Or, it could be that looking at something blue plays a trick on your mind and makes you think that it is sweet. Either way, somebody sold their soul to the devil. Sorry, couldn't resist a little book club inside joke. 

Although I hated the artificial color of the Hurricane, for some reason I like the concept of blue curacoa making drinks blue. I'm going to track down a couple more blue drinks and tell you about them in future posts. Until then, what do you think of blue drinks?

Ice Orb Baby

We now get to one of the main reasons for this blog's existence. . . sweet, sweet, justification. Now that I actually need to post things about drinking, I also need to buy things that support my drinking. 

Ice is a very important and often overlooked component of the whole drinking experience. Ever since a friend shared the "Ice Snobs" article with me, I've been obsessed with getting the whole ice thing right. 

I have an old refrigerator that does not have an ice maker. Which is fine with me because I think ice from automatic ice makers sometimes tastes funny. I've also never had much luck with those things. Is it just me? It seems every time I start to use one the host runs up to me explaining that it doesn't work. 

When I have guests coming over, I try to buy ice at the store and put it out in several ice buckets in strategic locations around the house. But it gets expensive to buy all that ice. I've also read the bigger traditional cubes actually keep a drink colder longer than the smaller store-bought cubes. 

I've done some research, and I think the Ice Orb is going to solve all my problems. And now, I have a reason to order one. Actually, I think I'll get two. Thanks Glass Half Full. 

P.S. Reading through this post, I feel like it has a very Andy Rooney quality to it. My apologies. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rock Me Like A Hurricane

Today is Memorial Day. About 1:00 I started dreading the work week ahead. I wanted to feel like I'd accomplished something over the three-day weekend so I started cleaning my kitchen cupboards. I found Pat O'Brien's Hurricane Mix. I don't know why I have it, but I've had it for years. I decided rather than throw it out, I'd mix up a Hurricane and see if it could push off the work dread feeling for a few hours longer.

Now I know this blog is called "Glass Half Full" and the title suggests positivity, but I have nothing positive to report about the Hurricane experience. It's a classic example of the type of drink I don't like. It's super sweet with no pay off.  And did you see what it did to my counter? I cut my losses, dumped it down the drain and opened a beer.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Lavender Zinski

The Lavender Zinski is very hard to photograph, but it's very easy to drink. 

This is a special post because I created this drink for a good friend. Zinski was her mother's maiden name. Check out Sew.Zinski's photostream on flickr to see her totally cool hand embroidered leather wallets. 

The thought of drinking something lavender might make you think of drinking perfume, but I promise it's not like that at all.

Crushed Ice, 
Two shots of vodka, I use Tito's (more about Tito's later), 
Lime wedge or zest if you want to be all fancy. 
Rub the lime along the glass edge and then rim glass with lavender sugar. I happened to have some in my cupboard. I got it at some bed and breakfast five years ago when I was on my honeymoon. I was glad to finally find a use for it. Now that I've found the perfect use for it, I'm going to make more. I'll share that adventure with you when I do, but for now, click here if you'd like to find out how to make your own.
Garnish with small stem of lavender. I've planted some in my yard so I'm always ready when Sew Zinski stops over.

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's okay to mix in a water. . .

I'm home from work and getting ready for the three-day weekend. I've been to the liquor store where I made some great purchases. 

However, I'm currently drinking a glass of cold water. Why? Because as a wise friend said to me during a day of drinking and watching the NCAA tournaments, "It's okay to mix in a water."

We all know the benefits of drinking water, so I won't bore you by rehashing them here. I will take this opportunity to discuss the glass from which I'm drinking my water. 

It's the Marta Cooler from CB2 and it's the best. When I'm not drinking from old jars, I'm most likely drinking from the Marta Cooler or Double Old Fashioned. I bought mine on a recent trip to Chicago. They are cheap, so you can get enough of them and replace every mismatched, less than perfect glass in your cabinet. 

There will be more posts this weekend because obviously I'll be drinking, and when I do I'll try to remember to share it with you. Have a great holiday weekend and don't forget to mix in a water.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jar Half Full?

This is a repurposed, upcycled. . .okay, let's just be honest, it's an old jar now used to hold beer. When I first saw my husband walking around the house using a jar as a glass, I was annoyed. We have more than enough nice glasses. More than enough.

But then I decided to embrace this whole concept of jars as glasses and maybe take it to the next level. First, we put the jars in the freezer. The only thing better than drinking out of an old jar is drinking out of a frosty old jar.

Next, I found myself at the grocery store actually choosing my food products based on what would make the best jar glass. The one shown in this picture is a current favorite. Once a former holder of sport peppers (sport peppers are one of the things that make a Chicago Dog a Chicago Dog), this jar glass is tall and easy to hold on to.

This whole concept appeals to my need to always have more more more without seeming materialistic and greedy. For example, if I have 20 jar glasses, it's okay because I've recycled them. With every drink from a jar glass I prove I'm a good earthy person. I also justify my growing jar glass collection because I don't like drinking from plastic cups or requiring my guests to drink from plastic cups. With a jar glass your guests don't have to worry about breaking a family heirloom. Although I've got to say that if at this point you broke sport pepper jar glass, I'd be bummed.

What do you think about jar glasses? If you came to my house and got your drink served to you in a frosty jar, would you be creeped out?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Simple Syrup Things in Life

This is a picture of the simple syrup I used in my mojito. I've also been feeding it to my hummingbirds. I like it when I can justify things, like spending time and money to make simple syrup by pretending like it's for the good of nature. Really this is just some seriously sugary stuff. 

I've been into these old Ball jars lately. I've made terrariums in some of them. This one I'm using for my simple syrup. I feel like one of the Baldwin sisters on The Waltons sharing "the recipe."

So here's my recipe for simple syrup:
Add equal parts sugar and water in a pan and heat until boiling. For the batch shown I used four cups of sugar and four cups of water. Some people will add more water, but I think the point of this stuff is to be super sweet, and it's not like you can't just add some extra water or soda when you make the actual drink. That's it. I've heard stories of people screwing this up. I can't figure out how you could mess up simple syrup.

First Mojito of the Season

I got home from work last Friday and decided that a mojito on my patio was the way to start the weekend. Usually during the summer months I can make a mojito happen anytime because I have the ingredients on hand. However, this being my first mojito of the season, I had a little bit of prep work to do.

I stopped at the store and bought some mint and some limes. The mint was like $2.69 for a small package. This was not good considering mint is an invasive plant that will take over your garden if you let it. I had to pull all of mine last year when standing in my garden in an already tipsy state, I realized I couldn't tell the difference between my cat nip, lemon balm, common weeds and mint. 

So this year I'm going to start a mojito container garden. I'll post about it later. It will basically contain mint since limes are pretty cheap and wouldn't grow well in Iowa.

Next I had to stop at the liquor store and get some rum. I have rum at home, but I like to use Malibu Coconut Rum for my mojitos and I don't usually have that on hand during the winter. Are you starting to see how I get obsessed with my drinks? I mean this was a beautiful Friday afternoon and in the time I'd wasted getting my ingredients I could have been home on the patio downing a couple of Old Styles.

I think traditionally a mojito contains cane juice. I'm going to try cane juice at some point this summer, but for now I planned to use simple syrup. Which, of course, I had to make. But like the name implies it's simple to make and I can use it to feed the hummingbirds too. I'll share my simple syrup tips and a great picture of my hummingbirds soon.

So I mixed it up and drank it down. I'm glad it took me a lot of time because if I'd have just headed straight home and started in on the beer, I would have been too drunk too fast. All the preparation was a great way to unwind after a long work week.