Whiskey Vinyl Vibe #4

INXS

One would think that with the cold, icy night here in Charlotte I would have selected a mellow and moody album to settle in to. Instead, I know just what I need – my own brand of comfort music: INXS – Listen Like Thieves. Not only is INXS likely to show up on any given day in my playlist (if you’ve ever been around me when I’m playing DJ, you know this to be the case), but today also happens to be Michael Hutchence’s birthday, so it seems all the more appropriate.

As a freshman in high school, a friend gave me her copy of Kick on cassette because she didn’t care much for it, and from that day forward I wore that tape out. INXS immediately became one of my favorite bands, and 27 years later, that still rings true. Sure, I was a little late to the party just discovering them with Kick, but hey – I was young and too immersed in New Order and OMD to notice much else at the time. After exposure to Kick, I quickly dug back and figured out what I had been missing with Shabooh Shoobah and the glorious Listen Like Thieves. It’s no surprise that one of the first additions to my newly expanding vinyl collection would be this album, and on a night such as this, with another fabulous cocktail concoction, things are starting to warm up nicely.

-Her

 

Since it’s cold and icy outside, I figured a little spice would be welcomed tonight – so I decided on a rye whiskey cocktail.

Enter the Old Pal. We used an overproof, single barrel Whistle Pig tonight, I wanted something boozey to stand up to the Campari. It was a hit with the Mrs. and me both, the right fit for the right evening.

Another simple recipe, which I favor because it lets the main spirit shine.

Old Pal:

1.5 oz Rye whiskey

.75 oz Campari

.75 oz Dry vermouth

Lemon twist

Add the rye, campari and vermouth to a cocktail pitcher about 2/3 full of ice. Stir well, until the cocktail is good and chilled (30-40 seconds), then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.

-Him

 

Whiskey Vinyl Vibe #3

Costello

She talked me into rummaging through the bins at the local “antique mall” today – as she was after some vintage vinyl to add to the collection. I, of course, indulged her – as we tend to do that for each other when it comes to our own little obsessio…. err… hobbies.

After a lovely lunch at our local German-style brewery/biergarten (Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, if you’re interested) we toddled off to the antique mall. I’d been there once before, but never paid any attention to the records on offer.

She made out pretty well, we both had a good time and I managed to score a really solid copy of Elvis Costello’s “The Best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions”.  So, that’s the record we put on when we got home, as it was now her turn to indulge me. I love Elvis Costello.

Elvis is, obviously, British and I remembered recently reading an article from Hayes and Jarvis about the UK’s favorite cocktails, and the most popular whiskey cocktail to make their list was the venerable whiskey sour. So, that’s what we’re drinking.

This one is easy folks, so the recipe is short and sweet:

2 oz of whiskey (we used Rough Rider Distillery’s rye whiskey – I like the spice backbone of rye in this cocktail)
2/3 oz of fresh lemon juice (about the amount you get from a half of a decent sized lemon)
1 tsp of super fine sugar

Combine all of the above in a shaker full of ice and shake well. Strain into your preferred glassware – we don’t have sour glasses, so we went with coupes – garnish with a cherry, orange slice, both or neither.

Now sit back and enjoy this working man’s cocktail with your favorite blue-collar music.

Cheers!

-Him

Vinyl Find 2

First of all, he is absolutely correct – we do tend to indulge each other’s interests, which is not always the most responsible behavior, but we sure do have a good time. As for today’s finds, I am pretty happy with the score. Granted, Paul Young and John Waite may not exactly be hot items, but I was a fan back in the day and for $2 in near mint condition, how could I go wrong? Even the husband had to admit that the Donna Summer was a pretty fantastic find. My love for Giorgio Moroder productions continues to grow, and both the Donna Summer and the Flashdance albums add to that particular obsession. Last, but not least, the near mint Lena Horne might be what I’m most proud of. There is something pretty special about owning a 1958 album that looks like it was untouched, and my brief test play confirmed just how beautiful this record is going to be. I can’t help myself but to wonder who owned it before me, that might be one of my favorite parts of picking up vintage vinyl.

After some fairly easy cleanup, every one of these made today’s antique mall visit worthwhile – god knows that place is nearly equivalent to the sensory overload of IKEA. I’m glad the hubby was able to find something to enjoy – and I’m equally pleased that I reaped the benefits of his cocktail inspiration tonight. I guarantee this won’t be his last vinyl find, nor will it be the last whiskey we share.

-Her

Whiskey Vinyl Vibe #2

Lennon 1

Since only recently starting my vinyl collection, I hadn’t yet added anything vintage or used to the collection, until this week. One might now say that I have developed a problem, but that is a story for another day. After only a few minutes of sifting through a rather large selection at a local antique mall, I pulled this gem from the stacks and was staggered by nostalgia. As a kid, there were a handful of albums in my parent’s collection that I truly loved, and this was one of them.

This may not be Lennon’s most critically acclaimed work, and Yoko Ono’s part in this is like nails on a chalkboard, but this album really meant something to a lot of people, especially given the timing of its release just before his death. I was only 6 in 1980, but I clearly remember my parents being impacted by Lennon’s death, and his music and the famous final interview filled our home for what feels like countless years after his tragic loss.

On the heels of the shocking loss of Bowie this week, I am again reminded of the impact that artists have on our lives, how we feel so close to someone that we’ve never even met, and how we mourn them when they are gone. When I started writing this, I didn’t expect to go down this particular path because as I listened to this album last night, I found myself just beaming at the familiarity of the songs, being so surprised at how much of it stuck with me after all of these years, and feeling sent right back to my childhood. Now I take away something even more from this as I reflect on it. Our connection to these artists and to the memories that they give us is a gift unlike any other, and one that should be celebrated. I feel honored to have to raised a glass last night with Lennon – and thank you to my husband for putting together something fun for us to enjoy.

For a little more information on this particular album, you can check out this write up from Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums of the 80s.

– Her

 

 

When I think of John Lennon’s solo career, I automatically think of the wonderfully weird ’70s, despite this record being released in 1980.

In the context of booze and cocktails, nothing says “the ’70s” like Galliano. So last night’s cocktail was a Galliano Old Fashioned. Galliano has a really nice earthy-vanilla note and is quite sweet, if you’ve never had it.

I wanted something relatively high in alcohol to balance the sweetness of the Galliano, so I chose Old Weller Antique at 107 proof. I also thought the orange, cinnamon and brown sugar notes of the Antique would work really nicely with the Galliano in this cocktail. I hope you agree.

Galliano Old Fashioned:

Equal parts Galliano and bourbon (1 oz ea)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes Fee Brothers Orange bitters
1 orange twist and 1 lemon twist for garnish

Combine the spirits, bitters and ice in a cocktail pitcher and give it all a really good stir. Then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Add the citrus twists as garnish, making sure to express the oils from the peels onto the top of the drink before putting them in the glass (feel free to rim the glasses with the twists, too, if you like).

Cheers!

– Him

Perfect End to a Busy Sunday

Winehouse and Perfect Manhattan

Welcome to the first post on our little project. There is much work still to do, but after a busy day of installing an incredibly difficult light fixture (yes, it took nearly the whole day), we decided to take some time off from setting up anything else…including the blog. Instead, I selected a little Amy Winehouse to accompany our wind-down time, and he put together two Perfect Manhattans with his own little twist. The combination is certainly one that will lull me into a night of beautiful sleep and I couldn’t feel any better than I do at this moment.

-Her

The Perfect Manhattan:

2 oz Kentucky bourbon
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz sweet vermouth

Add the above in a shaker over ice & shake lightly.  Prior to pouring into your favorite glass (we prefer the coupe), add the following to the glass, then pour and enjoy:

3 dashes of barrel aged bitters
2 dashes Aztec chocolate bitters
Cherry garnish

Cheers!

-Him