I haven't been blogging much recently which is more due to my day job than anything else. Its been a rough couple of weeks, with our machinery at the job site essentially having catastrophic failures across the board and lazy and unresponsive service technicians both bringing my departments workflow to a halt. As it is, its been pretty stressful and the hours took a lot out of me, I've quite honestly been running on empty the last couple of weekends. Its always amazing though what can put the spring back into your step. Today, in spite of the snow, I decided to take Huckleberry, my great dane, to the park to let him romp in the snow and get a bit of exercise. As we approached the park, I could hear squealing and giggling, the sounds of children at play. When the park came into sight, it looked as if the whole neighborhood had sent their kids to the park to sled. Kids were going sledding down the hill on garbage can lids. skateboard decks, Rubbermaid tubs and commercial sleds and one little girl had even fashioned some sort of sleigh out of cardboard. Watching all these kids and their sheer, unadulterated joy at sledding down a hill made me realize that you have to take joy in the moment. It was just what I needed. They weren't worrying about an impending ice storm or dreading the upcoming Monday, they were all just living in the moment and enjoying sledding down the hill on whatever they could find. Most of the time, bartending does the same thing that sledding did for these kids today, but fatigue had taken a bit of that joy away. I've got the night off because of the snow and, to be honest, I'm already missing being behind the bar. In any case, I thought I'd offer up a few more good holiday gift recommendations before the New Year. Tonight, I'm tackling vodka and tequila, and I'll try to move on to a few more categories, time permitting, before Christmas.
I'm writing this with a wee dram of Bruichladdich 10 yr single malt in my hand, one of my preferred winter warmers. I've also gotten into drinking green chartreuse with cocoa (although not today), a perfect beverage for a snow day.
I'm not going to spend a lot of time on music since this is a food, wine and spirits blog, but I will say that music plays an important part in my creative process. I'm never in the kitchen without music, and while my standby is James Brown, right now I'm listening to a lot of good tunes from the Budos Band and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. These artists are in heavy rotation when I'm in the kitchen or creating cocktails and I recommend checking them out if you aren't familiar with them.
I'm sure its pretty well known by now that I'm not a big fan of vodka. Actually, I really don't care to mix with it but there are some good products on the shelves. Martin Ryan vodka, available here in Oregon and made in Oregon, makes two vodkas that really push the definition of vodka since they both have a ton of character. Medoyeff vodka, made here in Portland by House Spirits, is another good vodka. Made in the Russian style with 100% rye this is really a nice clean vodka.Zodiac vodka, out of Idaho is a recent discovery of mine and while I liked it, the vodka afficionados that I shared it with absolutely adored it. I just tried the Austrian product, Oval vodka, and have to say that its also a very nice product. Lastly, of course, should you not be able to find any of the above, a bottle of Grey Goose is probably always going to be appreciated.
Those that know me know that I'm generally a Tequila Cazadores man. When I'm in Baja, its Dos Equis lager and shots of Cazadores. Back here in Portland, I tend to drink my tequila in margarita form more than neat, and Cazadores is my favorite tequila for margaritas. There are some great tequilas on the market here and 7 Leguas, Corzo and Partida tequila all stand out as top choices. I'm particularly enamored with Partida anejo right now, I find few tequilas work well as "sipping tequilas" but I think that the Partida anejo in particular is one tequila worth sipping.
I will note that I get plenty of press releases and PR folks contacting me wanting me to recommend products. Just a note to all of you that read this. I have tasted and personally enjoy everything that I recommend on this blog. I do occasionally receive samples for review. If I don't care for a product, I just don't review it. The ones that I like I might mention (no guarantees). I also review and mention products regularly that haven't been sent to me to sample or review. I do not accept advertising on this blog in order to maintain some semblance of neutrality and everything on this blog is a product of me, Lance J. Mayhew and shouldn't reflect upon any bars, restaurants or brands with which I may have any association.