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Category Archive for 'alcohol'

As an icebreaker at the beginning of the birthing classes we took in preparation for the arrival of our first-born, participants were divided into male and female groups and invited to sit together and discuss their greatest hopes and apprehensions for impending parenthood. The biggest concern of our fellow soon-to-be-parents turned out to be making […]

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Many among us, ourselves included, can be forgiven for spending a few wistful moments during the more tedious passages in our lives wondering what it might be like to wander exotic locales, rubbing shoulders with cultured types all while sipping fine wines over plates artfully decorated with exquisite regional specialties. When we come out of […]

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With wine there is probably more room for personal interpretation and opinion than in any other area of gastronomy. The sheer variety of wines available from across the globe encourages this, but the reputation of the wine connoisseur and his often ridiculous descriptions of the perfumes to be nosed out of the glass makes wine-tasting […]

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“We may have lost paradise because of the apple, but we’ll get it back with cider.” – Asturian saying “Reach out your arms, as far apart as possible – one high, one low – then just bend your wrist, but do not look!”, instructed the waitress. “Oh, and beginners like you must stand over the […]

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Most Brits associate mincemeat with Christmas – its intoxicating mix of fruit, spices, booze, nuts and mixed peel provide Pavlovian stimuli, stirring memories of cherubic choirs a-caroling, roasted poultry, and the Queen’s speech – whereas I associate it with Easter, because it was always around then that we finally ran out of mince pies. I […]

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We understand from our Colombian friend Juan Camilo (who longtime readers may remember from this podcast) that the Bogota nightlife is on a par with any of the world’s party capitals, and that when it comes to late night boozing, the aguardiente-loving natives of Colombia’s capital are among the most experienced. It should come as […]

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Every now and then I’ll sit through one of those “secrets of the ancient world” shows on the History Channel. You know, the ones in which they have modern experts try to “decode” how the pyramids or the hanging gardens of Babylon were constructed using graphics that make you feel like you’re watching B-roll from […]

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In the tiny Cheshire hamlet of Lower Peover (pronounced “peever”) is the delightfully rustic country pub “The Bells”, so-called because one has to literally walk around it to get to the parish church. In fact, so aligned are church and boozer that the two are separated by only fifty feet of graveyard, a low gate […]

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Every stereotype, no matter how absurd the caricature, has, at its core, a grain of truth. Though I doubt anyone has ever seen him, the beret and black and white hooped sweater-sporting Frenchman with a cigarette hanging off his lower lip and a baguette under his arm, remains an abiding image of France; and in […]

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My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man; So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die! The Child is father of the Man; – William Wordsworth, 1802 The term formative experience refers […]

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Even though mulled wine should remind me of being in the church choir as a cherub-faced youngster and singing Christmas carols with frosty breath overlooking a seasonally-decorated nave and a sea of pink-cheeked parishoners, it doesn’t. In spite of this being the way I was introduced to this most famous Yuletide beverage, my abiding memories […]

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These days, it seems something is always the new something else. You know, Thursday’s the new Friday, brown’s the new black, Palin’s the new devil, Obama’s the new Messiah, etc. But to me, for example, comparing the pain and anguish at dragging myself from bed on a Friday morning after a few drinks the night before, […]

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When you think of Brazil what do you think of? Is it the lazy sway of coconut palms, golden beaches, beautiful, bronzed people, a back-drop of Sugar Loaf Mountain, and soundtrack of relaxing bossa nova? Is it a throbbing samba rhythm, huge, garish paper-mache heads, and crowds of people dancing at carnival? Is it the magnificent […]

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Those of you who have watched or read Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, will be familiar with the idea of top fives. In the movie, the main character (played by John Cusack) is a record shop owner, who spends most of the movie revisiting the demise of his past relationships, and in so doing, constantly re-imagines […]

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When, two months ago, during a post on vin santo I mentioned the British holiday/vacation tradition of buying a bottle of the local firewater and then leaving it rot in the dark recesses of the liquor cabinet upon returning, I was thinking primarily of the kind of bottles that are simply unavailable anywhere else: artisanal […]

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For this month’s drink, I considered writing about several summer classics, and was nearly persuaded that a paean to my proletarian love — cold beer — might suffice in both the “pure sunshine in a glass” sense, and because it’s typically my leading beverage in terms of volume consumed between June and September. The problem […]

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Regular readers must find us horrible bores as we bang on about our wedding and honeymoon in Italy last year almost constantly. On our penultimate day of our three week trip, we raided an enormous supermarket in the suburbs of Montevarchi for the Tuscan products we cannot find or cannot afford here in NYC, and […]

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Normally, when I think of prunes my first thought is the familiar TV commercial showing the side-by-side comparison of someone experiencing “bloating and discomfort” and someone enjoying the verve and gaiety brought on by just one bowlful of California prunes. However, since last Thursday, my first thought is now “when can I have some more?”. […]

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To us, and we’re sure to many who enjoy eating, the pairing of a meal with a complementary beverage is a beautiful thing, but one which often seems intimidating. After all, haute cuisine restaurants can either prosper or fail on the recommendations of their sommeliers. Just imagine you ordered a $500 bottle of vintage Burgundy […]

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I should’ve written this drunk, as it may be a funnier, better post. You see, like many of you out there, I tend to get loved up when I’m drunk. This is exactly why I was specifically told not to use the phone ‘back in the day’ after a night out on the piss (to […]

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“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” – William Blake Have you ever thought, as you sit red-faced, breathing shallowly, “just… one… more… bite”? Have you ever then taken that extra bite and thought to yourself — in your blood-starved brain — “maybe, after all, I could manage another one”? And, finally, […]

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It’s freezing here in New York. Freezing! Yesterday, it didn’t get above 26F/-3C. Just the kind of weather when you need something to warm (as they say in London’s East End) the cockles of your heart. Years ago, on a freezing January day I took a walk with a friend around Alexandra Palace in north […]

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As regular readers will know, we recently visited Madrid and gorged ourselves at its myriad restaurants, tascas, bars and any other hostelry we could find. Because of this excessive consumption, we’re currently going through what can only be described as a traumatic process of catharsis, in which we’re avoiding all meat and all booze for […]

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Ahead of our recent wedding in Italy, I penned this blog post because I wanted to write about Italian potables other than wine in the expectation that after a week of chianti, our wedding guests would be ready for something different. As it turned out, many became worryingly wine-dependent over the course of their stay […]

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