Oh well … it’s the end of January and by now, if you’re like me, any health-related resolutions have probably been broken at least once. My wife and I had considered avoiding alcohol during the week, but then a much-anticipated Tuesday happy hour at Ember materialized on our calendar. Later, the same week, we simultaneously had a pizza craving and decided on a visit to Mellow Mushroom. Yes, they serve some excellent salads (I absolutely adore the Esperanza dressing), but, as I said, it was a pizza craving we were trying to address, not mixed greens.
I have been partial to the Kozmic Karma pizza for many years, since the days when I lived in downtown Decatur and a Mellow location opened within walking distance. On this occasion, however, we opted for the Holy Shiitake, a mélange of assorted mushrooms, caramelized onions, and cheese all piled on that inimitable perfect crust. It was exceptional. Of course, I can’t be expected to eat a pizza without an accompanying beer – so once again, the “no alcohol on weeknights” prohibition was suspended. As an excuse, I offer up that the beer list at Mellow Mushroom is just about as extraordinary as their pizza crust. The list of the seasonal and local favorites is impressive – plus there’s a full bar.
After extensive perusal of the list I finally chose a double IPA from a Decatur-based brewery called 3 Taverns. Decatur didn’t have breweries when I lived in that city so I am always amazed to see a beer from there – especially one as delicious as this. The Rowdy and Proud brew features notes of citrus and is a smooth and refreshing accompaniment to food like pizza. Even my wife, an avowed non-beer drinker, found it tasty. A little research after our meal revealed that the beer is a collaborative effort created with a group called Resurgence, a “rowdy and proud” club that rabidly supports the Atlanta United soccer team. I am, admittedly, not a fan of soccer – but am indeed a fan of this beer!
In addition to breaking resolutions, I have been reading a great many articles that purport to tell us about all the stuff that will be “trending” in 2020. For instance, according to the folks at Zadig & Voltaire the (or should I say THE) color for this year is New Blue. I wasn’t familiar with Zadig & Voltaire (although the latter name did seem to ring a bell – writer? philosopher?), but it turns out it is a fashion house that sells its wares at such upscale establishments as Neiman Marcus. How they know that New Blue will be the “it” color for Coastal Georgia I cannot fathom. Besides, I checked out New Blue and it bears a striking resemblance to Same-Old Blue.
Another article dealt with home trends for the new year. According to Etsy we’re going to have a lot of indoor plants in 2020. I am inadvertently joining this trend as I shuttle our usually outdoor plants in and out as the weather dips into the 30s and back up to near 80. More folks, conscious of their excessive consumption or carbon footprint or something will be renting their furniture. Oh, and ever-more luxurious master suites will be the ambitious renovators challenge. I, myself, am just happy to own a king bed with an adjacent bathroom and a double sink.
And, finally, the drink trends (you knew I’d get here eventually – right?). Those in the know predict we’ll be drinking more flavors – everything from whiskey to gin will join vodka in offering innumerable flavors. Look for hard seltzers to really take off, with brands like White Claw and others adding to the past fruit flavors by introducing more floral and spicy offerings. Experts also predict beverages like cold brew coffee, iced tea, and kombucha will get the “hard” treatment and become slightly alcoholic.
One hundred years ago, in 1920, the failed social experiment called Prohibition began in the United States. Meant to eliminate alcohol consumption, the Prohibition era (1920 – 1933) actually saw liquor consumption increase. It also gave rise to the mixed drink – since the alcohol was often of low quality, bartenders in those illicit speakeasy days resorted to mixing the spirit with various fruit juices, sweeteners, and sodas to make their concoctions more palatable. When life gives you bathtub gin you do what you have to do…
I predict you’ll enjoy these throwback Roaring Twenties delicacies.
Legend has it this was the last legal drink mixed in a New York City bar before Prohibition became law.
2 oz. gin
½ oz. orange liqueur
½ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 egg white
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake well; strain into a coupe glass.
“America’s Sweetheart” was one of the biggest stars in the ‘20s, once rumored to be the highest-paid woman in the country. While filming a movie in Cuba with husband Douglas Fairbanks and friend Charlie Chaplin, a bartender at the Hotel Nacional created this drink in honor of the actress. Cuba was not under Prohibition, and apparently neither Doug nor Charlie impressed the barkeep sufficiently to get their own signature cocktail.
2 oz. light rum
1 ½ oz. pineapple juice
¼ oz. grenadine syrup
1/6 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
One of the first cocktails with a (somewhat) risqué name, this one was created at Harry’s Bar by a cheeky bartender named Patrick Duffy.
BETWEEN THE SHEETS
1 oz. cognac
1 oz. triple sec
1 oz. white rum
¼ oz. lemon juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Flame an orange peel over the glass and discard the peel.
If the Roaring Twenties gave us these classics, who knows what we in this new decade have to look forward to? I personally look forward to successfully – and safely – flaming that orange peel …