Monday, December 02, 2013

The Advil Calendar 2013 Day 2: SO LONG, SELEUCIDS EDITION

So... I forgot to go to work yesterday. Yup. WELCOME TO THE HOLIDAYS.

Well. Not exactly forgot - there was a schedule mix-up - but still. When my supervisor called to ask where the hell I was, my phone probably vibrated and hollered to itself wherever I had misplaced it and then shrugged and shut up. Despite having had a cell phone since about 1998, I have not developed good habits with the thing. That is some last-generation behavior right there.

Oh shit. I have become one of the older librarians who are impossible to get ahold of.

And I would rather be anywhere else / than here today.
That makes me almost I wish I had a bad reason to have missed work. I don't. I was not hung over from my high school reunion the night before - drinking at your high school reunion is almost as bad an idea as drinking at an office party.

I was also not out at the mall shoring up the economy.

I didn't oversleep.

I wasn't depressed.

I wasn't binge-watching Veronica Mars, partly due to the fact that there's something wrong with the first disc in my Season One box set. (OH THE HUMANITY)

I had not impulsively boarded a midnight train to Georgia, even though that's where a whole squad of the best relatives a girl could ask for had just returned to after having spent a reasonably peaceful few days here in Baltimore eating my mom's cooking and making me laugh. Place is a little lonely without them.

Nope. I'm just distracted. Aren't you?


YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARIAN GOES LOOKING FOR HANUKKAH AND GETS A LITTLE SIDETRACKED

Like, what are the tabs open in my browser RIGHT NOW?


1). An article on Buckie, the strong, super-caffeinated Benedictine "tonic wine" that is frequently blamed for all manner of hooliganism in Scotland. Police in the Strathclyde district once told the BBC that Buckfast "had been mentioned in 5,638 crime reports between 2006 and 2009 (the bottle was used as a weapon in 114 of them)."

The stuff sounds awful - thick and syrupy. There is a set of amusing, potentially life-threatening "cocktails" - really just mixtures of Buckie and... that sound exactly like what my kids used to do when they'd make experimental potions around the house. "What would mud aaannd... Windex! look like?" "How about water and dandelion fluff aaannnd... Sriracha!"

So there's Malifast - half Malibu rum and half Buckie; Buckshake - a half-empty bottle of Buckie topped up with cold milk and shaken vigorously, that one actually has some craft to it; and the charmingly named "Chuckfast: Bottle of Buckie, 4 cans of redbull and half a bottle of vodka."

I looked up Buckfast because it's referenced in a Ted Leo and the Pharmacists song that had gotten stuck in my head. Look how fast that cute li'l vegan fucker can sing - Buckfast contains as much caffeine as eight cans of Coke. Mmm-hmm.

Ok that one makes sense.
2). Also a website called Drinkify, which says it will match any music you're listening to with an appropriate cocktail.

Bullshit. Drinkify knew all of the bands and artists I put in - from Goldfrapp to Moby Grape - but they matched Mika with Jack Daniels, Rush with Bud Light, and Ted Leo with weed. That's a No, a NO! and an excuse me WHAAT??

3). I have the Canter's Deli website up, because my friend Lara mentioned she's taking her kid there, and I wondered if their "World Famous Kibitz Room Bar" would have some kosher kocktails I could swipe. No dice. Just a daiquiri, Irish coffee, a margarita, a Bloody Mary and a Cosmo. That's exactly what I want with my kasha varnishkes - a Cosmopolitan.

4). Somehow I found myself reading an amazing account by a Lithuanian Holocaust survivor named Solly Ganor. In 1939, young Solly met Japanese vice-consul Chiune Sugihara by chance at his aunt's fancy foods shop in Kaunas, and impulsively invited the diplomat to his family's Hanukkah party. 

The Ganor family was sheltering a Polish refugee and his young daughter at the time, and hearing this man's story seems to have been an activating incident for Sugihara and his wife Yukiko. Before the embassy was shut down and the Sugiharas sent back to Japan, the vice-consul had hand-written an estimated 6000 Japanese visas for Jewish refugees in Lithuania - working 18- to 20-hour days, in defiance of Japanese Foreign Service policy , and the only diplomat in Lithuania to have taken such action.
Shochu is a Japanese
distilled spirit with an earthy
or fruity taste.

Man. Let's drink to Sempo Sugihara.

I think we should do that at Shalom Japan, a highly-praised new fusion restaurant in Brooklyn that claims to be "authentically inauthentic." They've got a couple of truly bizarre-sounding items on their drinks menu, including the Seikyo Stinger - Seikyo Sake mixed with Giffard Menthe Pastille AND TO THAT I SAY WHAT AND NO.

But if I were in New York during the 8 nights of Hanukkah, I'd make a reservation there and toast the brave and selfless Chiune Sugihara and his family with a
Sweet and Sawa
Mizunomai Shochu
Weller Bourbon
Yuzu Honey
Egg Whites

5). The last tab open in my browser - and it's been up for days, because IT'S PERFECT - is the seasonal cocktail featured in Tablet magazine. Called the Apple Tea Fizz, it's by cocktaileur Oliver Kakos (of Momofuku - another connection with Japan!) and combines apple, honey, lemon, and smoky tea, evoking the tastes and scents of both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.

We made it with Laird's applejack and Earl Grey, lacking Lapsang Souchong, and it is a lovely, tart drink. The taste of the honey really comes through, so this is the time to bust into that cool artisan honey that you found at the farmer's market.

Ooh! Artisan Honeys of the Farmer's Market - that could totally be a calendar! Who am I kidding - it probably already is a calendar.

Anyway, I'm drinking one right now and here is what I have to say:







What's next? On the third day of this mess, I actually have the day off - as opposed to just thinking I have the day off, god I am such a loser - so I think we're going to spend some time in the kitchen.

Yes. I've just decided. Tomorrow is the the day we make Evil. (Also, pickled oysters.)