And we’re back.  Three weeks in Italy (give or take), and another two to recover.  I’ve managed to start working on my dissertation proposal again; I think I can spare a few minutes to update you on my drinking habits.

I have many brilliant and amusing thoughts filed away in my amazing brain, many delicious drinks both realized and hypothetical, but for now I will leave you with a few photos and a drink born of desperation.

While in DC and Italy we picked up no fewer than 18 bottles.  Here is a picture of them:

The highlights of this particular haul are a bottle of 3-year Havana Club (!)*, a bottle of a peculiar amaro called Amaro Sibilla (which may be more bitter than Fernet), and a bottle of Liqueur a la Truffe.  Expect great things from these in the future.  So we dragged these bottles back to Vermont – some of them for more than 4000 miles – and I decided it was time to clean off my bar.  After all, we do have two cats and a working dust factory.  I put it off for almost two weeks, but after waking up from another stress dream to find that, while I still had teeth, they were aching from being gritted for six hours straight, I decided I had no choice.  Here’s what my bar looks like without anything on it.

All of the bottles have been moved to my table, on which they are uncomfortable and awkward.

After polishing each goddamn bottle, and the bar, too, here is the happy ending to that story:

In the process of all of this wonderful cleaning I discovered a number of bottles containing only pitiful remnants of their former glory, and, in order to cram everything back onto the bar, I decided to spend the next couple days making cocktails with, um, cachaça, apricot brandy, Licor 43 (yeah, yeah), single-malt American whiskey, Jamaican rum, Pimm’s, and just a dash of Fernet.  I called tonight’s the Necessity, for obvious reasons.  It’s actually pretty awesome.


  • 1 1/2 oz cachaça (Leblon)
  • 1/2 oz Licor 43
  • 1/2 oz Pimm’s
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
    Juice the lime, then drop the empty shell into the shaker (I hope you washed it first).  Add the rest of the ingredients, shake vigorously with ice, and strain into a mini-coupe.  Why a mini-coupe?  Because it is the most aerodynamic of all cocktail vessels.  Go on, prove I’m wrong.  Don’t question me.  G’wan.  Make me a drink.  This drink.

Obviously I’m not really in the best frame of mind to accurately describe this cocktail, but I do want to note that the reason I still have a bottle of Licor 43 is that, unlike many citrus liqueurs, that stuff has not a hint of bitter, aromatic peel, making it pretty much useless as an ingredient.  Adding the Pimm’s and shaking it with the lime shells fixed that.  A damn tasty cocktail, and all the more satisfying for being made under such ridiculous constraints.

*Why did no-one tell me that Havana Club has a bit of the burnt-sugar and grass that makes rhum agricole so awesome?  I would have brought back many bottles of this stuff.