Bottoms Up

In other Atlantic-related news (as I refine my Encomium of Ross), the Food channel has now been launched. Clay Risen is boozeblogging. His first post is on schnapps. I’m excited that Risen has already, with a single post on a liquor no one should have any use for, transcended the joylessness that is the Times’ booze blog (Proof, which usually seems to be a blog about formerly drinking). But I do have some requests.

1. If schnapps is in bounds, talk about sherry, which has been relegated to old lady status for too long. Amontillado is full-flavored without being syrupy on the one hand and flinty on the other. Plus it’s stronger than wine but weaker than Wild Turkey.

2. A month or so ago, I realized my appreciation for (Spanish) sherry was part of a broader love for Mediterranean booze — ouzo and limoncello in particular. There’s something sun-imbued about the liquor of southern Europe that you just don’t get in the north. When you feel like unwinding, the southern spirits are relaxing, not soporific. When you’re ready for action, they’re easy to sip but never chugworthy. Yet Americans tend to ignore these tasty, good-natured drinks, reaching all too often for the suds, the vodka, or the J├Ągermeister. The time is ripe for a good inspirational polemic.

3. There is a bar in Adams Morgan that serves avocado martinis. (Conor, Californian that he is, tells me it’s delicious. Californian that I am, I believe him). There is an Italian liquor made from artichokes. (it’s called Cynar, and I can report that the second glass is better than the first.) Surely a drink-your-greens top ten list is just waiting to be penned.

4. The world has no need for further comment on single malts.

5. Classic cocktails: not faddish. This principle needs vindication.

6. On a sociological note, I wonder how microbrews are being affected by the Tab that Ate America. Might we face a future in which boutique beer is rarer, better, and crunchier? More of a vocation, less bourgeois? Less like making sport bicycles and more like making pipe organs? Are there any beer-savvy New Monastics in the house?

I could go on, of course. Until next time, cheers, Food channel.