Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Advil Calendar 2013 - BACK IN THE SADDLE

Oh my god.

Really? Oh my god.

The crown...caging the pink tulle shrubbery...there's a joke
there but i just can't get to it. I'm distracted by the vacant
sliced-off boy heads.
Is it really that time again? Am I really sitting here watching football with my family on Thanksgiving night, barraged by Walmart ads, realizing that my Internet is acting all flinky because THE ENTIRE COUNTRY is online buying shop-vacs and One Direction cologne and DVD box sets. Wait, Christ I'm old. Nobody is buying DVDs anymore. Something ELSE to be depressed about!

Also, the Ravens are acting like total frickin amateurs, which wouldn't be so bad except they're playing the Steelers, and the Steelers think they're such platinum-dipped hot cocks. Ugh Ben Rothelheinie. Just ugh.

Now somebody on TV is suggesting that we all need a tablet. According to this ad, guys need a tablet to do their fantasy football trades. Oh here's a lady! What does she - oh of fucking course. She needs a tablet so she can Skype with her mother so her mother can tell her "four cups of breadcrumbs." FUCK YOU AMERICA. Women play fantasy football too!

Also, what the hell recipe requires FOUR CUPS of breadcrumbs? Maybe stuffing. But that's cubed stale bread, not breadcrumbs.

We're starting so well, aren't we. RESET! After the break, my mood improves...


See? Wreaths are SQUEEE!
Hello, friends! Welcome to The Holidays! It is a nice time! There's extra time off school, and cousins show up for gab-fests and pizza, and you get to buy a wreath if you want to. Aren't wreaths nice? Better than wraiths. I would totally have like 47 wreaths in my house instead of a tree if that were not like a bizarre thing to do.

It's a nice time, with much socializing, but it can also be kind of a stressful time. Kind of. So a few years ago, inspired by a couple of conversations with seven-year-olds (no, it makes sense), I started writing holiday blog posts about alcohol. I called it the Advil Calendar.

I did blog posts with liquor and cocktail recipes, a week at a time in 2010, and then a day at a time in 2011, and then I punked out in 2012. I was busy. This year, I have dragged my family and friends into it. I solicited drinks recipes from my favorite foodies, drinking buddies, and friends in the children's literature industry. Make no mistake, people who write children's books drink too.

Here are just a few of the things you have to look forward to if you follow the Advil Calendar this year: a Perfect Manhattan, a perfect Sazerac, a Hannukah fizz (I think I can get that snuck in before the 8 days are up), Pudding Shots (!), a grilled grapefruit margarita that sounds 100% DIVINE, Ghetto Mulled Wine, an applejack sour, the best simple Bloody Mary you've ever tasted, and The Call of Cthulhu (because Elder Gods have a holiday season too). Oh and I've got a post about boilermaker combos that will strike you down like a decapitated Jedi.

But I've still got plenty of room in the calendar for your best recipes and ideas. If you've got a good one you'd like to share, please - shoot me an email! I like drinks with stories.

Since I am (rather uncharacteristically) getting a jump and writing this December 1 post on Thanksgiving night, let me offer up the drink I made for Thanksgivukkah. I cook ok, but my mother hosts Thanksgiving, and she is just a solid-gold PRO at Thanksgiving dinner. People bring sides and desserts, but I am content on this one day to pretty much sit back and consume mom's turkey, stuffing, sauerkraut, and gravy, and anything anyone else brings. All I do is bring the booze. I am not the cook, or the host - I am basically the enabler.

NOT aesthetically satisfying.
Sure-fire Seasoning of the Season Punch - makes a pitcher
32 oz pear nectar
32 oz sparkling cider
1 cup bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
1/4 cup ginger syrup
1/2 cup cranberry juice (the 100% all-cranberry kind, not cranberry juice cocktail)

Stir together in a pitcher, serve over ice.

I borrowed the basis for this recipe from Martha Stewart. I was looking for something appley, but you know Martha. I think Martha is like, well everyone does apples. When possible, Martha will always reach for a pear. I think she thinks they're more aesthetically satisfying. Whatever, Martha. The pear in this punch keeps the acidity low but doesn't make it taste wet or pulpy. But Martha's version had seltzer, and I left the seltzer in the trunk of the other car, so we skipped it, and added the ginger and cranberry to make it more Thanksgiving-y.

My cousin's wife Junko helped me sample and put this together (she also took that pretty picture up top), and she was the one who really nailed the proportions of tart cranberry and sweet ginger syrup. While we were at it, she and I  mixed up a non-alcoholic fizzy pitcher so that everyone had something festive to toast with:

Ginger Cranberry Sparkle Punch
a bottle of sparkling cider
1/4 cup of the ginger syrup
just a splash of 100% cranberry juice to give it a warm color and to cut the sweetness.

Ginger Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
about an inch of ginger root, sliced very thin or even minced

Stir together in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium low and allow to simmer about an hour.

Let cool, then strain into a clean jar. If you left the ginger sliced, you can let it dry on a paper towel and then you sort of have homemade crystallized ginger - useful as a garnish.

I hope you will follow along as we roll out the recipes I've been collecting over the year, and I hope you don't mind as I lapse into occasional incoherent screeching about commercialism, culture, people and how they can't drive, gender bullshit, and why my children won't wear slippers.

This is Your Neighborhood Librarian - cherishing you at the holidays. 

OH WAIT PS! CONFIDENTIAL TO MARY KAY AND CHERYL: Flyin' high and feelin' free - we're the class of '83! Five years from now, we'll take over the bar, okay?