Thursday, December 28, 2006

Malt or Milton

I make an absolutely dreadful drunk. The problem is I simply don’t drink enough.

Back at art school it may have been a different story on a couple of occasions. But even, in the throes of youthful exuberance, there were many times when I’d end the night virtually stone cold sober while everyone else was stumbling about and tipping arse over teakettle. No more so than a first year day-trip, life-drawing in France, that turned liquid even before we reached foreign soil.

Writing at the desk on Boxing Day, I finished off a bottle of ginger ale*, forgetting that I had bought it specifically to make Moscow Mules by using up the rest of the vodka that had been sitting in the fridge for... how long? Six or maybe seven years is probably a conservative estimate.

Also on the shelf, being kept chilled, is a bottle of champagne. It was a going away present when I left an animation studio back in 1990. I liked the people I was with and the work I was doing. The animation director, one of the best in the business, was someone I had the greatest respect for.

I left because he had finally got finance for a film he’d been trying to get off the ground for something like twenty years. Just from his way of working, and where his priorities lay, I knew it was going to be a train wreck. Ultimately, it was a train wreck. I left because I didn’t want to be there to see it fail.

I went travelling and came back to working on documentaries. The bottle stayed chilled. I decided to open it when I had a good enough reason. In the late 1990s a girlfriend expected me to crack it when she got hired by Dreamworks. She was seriously put out when I declined.

Work Buddy and I still have a way to go with the projects we’re trying to set up. You know what they say; Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light. But we’re putting our shoulders to that big rock, always moving forward.

It may well be premature, but I think next year the wire will come off the bottle and the cork will finally get popped.

[* If you're about to say "Hey, muppet, it's ginger beer that goes in a Moscow Mule," you're too late. I've already had my knuckles rapped in the comments. The thing is, it was ginger beer I was drinking. I just didn't pay attention to the label. Hopeless!]


At 11:58 pm, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

Ginger ale? Ginger ALE?

Ginger beer goes in a Moscow Mule, as any fule kno...

Actually, Smirnoff used to make their own premixed ones and they were gorgeous. Typical then that they stopped making them years back, as everyone decided that "alcopops" were far nicer. Blechh...

At 2:25 am, Blogger wcdixon said...

Okay, for us tea toddlers?...what is a Moscow Mule supposed to be?

At 8:44 am, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

A Moscow Mule was a drink invented by some enterprising guys to start Smirnoff vodka selling in the US.

Using various ratio combinations of vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, and served from copper mugs with two kicking mules on them (ewww..), they became quite popular at the Cock & Bull bar on the Sunset Strip back in the 40s.

It also helped sell ginger beer too, I believe. It's pretty grim on its own. :-)

Because vodka's got a fairly nondescript flavour, it doesn't overpower whatever it's mixed with. I think someone once described it as "the boneless, skinless chicken breast of the mixer world" Moscow Mules are actually lovely and refreshing, but a little dangerous in the obvious fact that they get you pissed too...

Like I mentioned above, Smirnoff made a valiant attempt to bring them back with a premixed version in lovely coppery-coloured bottles, but I think that only lasted a few years before the alcopops craze took over (think hideously sweet and inappropriately-flavoured booze, like chocolate or raspberry fizzy, sugary crap).

Without coming off as a snob (a difficult process, because I am one), there's an awful lot of stuff being sold over here with the sole purpose of getting shitfaced enough on a Saturday night to either:

a) summon up the courage to actually speak to a member of the opposite sex

b) pick a fight with the nearest inanimate object

c) indiscriminately stab someone - for a laugh

d) steal that car you've always wanted

A little shot of a good single malt whisky every now and then can be a real pleasure, as can many different spirits, wines and beers (hmm, beers is probably pushing it, especially in the US). Moderation and restraint, as in all things...

Oh yes, we'll be having Kir Royales to see in the New Year, a lovely blend of creme de cassis and champagne. Yum!

Trebles all round!

At 10:09 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

Oh dear, oh dear. You see, it shows how much I know about drinkies.

I'll stick to a nice hot mug of cocoa.

At 1:41 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Er... just putting the rubbish out. Had a look at the empty bottle.

It was ginger beer after all. Sainbury's Ginger Beer.

Obviously too engrossed in work and The Wire to pay attention to what I was chugging down.

For a moment there I thought I was a philistine!

At 3:37 pm, Blogger wcdixon said...

Riddley - you used to bartend? Or just a vast wealth of info?

At 4:11 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Actually, a long time back, I spent a summer working behind a bar.

Scary, I know.

At 6:25 pm, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

@Will: I spent most of my late teens, early twenties and into my thirties in various bands and working as a session musician, so I got onto really friendly terms with booze... ;-)

Plus, I really actually like Moscow Mules. Very refreshing if you don't down too many of them.


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