I met this guy who I’ve known for quite some time the other day, and he said I was extreme. Me? What? This was coming from a guy who had his wife’s placenta dried, whereupon he then split it in half to bury one side with a tree in America, and the other in Australia. This from the same guy who had just come into the bar with blood trickling down his neck after getting part of a chopstick embedded in it. Me? Extreme? I don’t think so. And then there was that youngish dude who just came into the bar after a hospital visit. He said his blood pressure was measured at 207/195. How this dude got here without the aid of an ambulance is beyond me. There was another sixty-something-year-old engineer who used to work for the CIA back in ‘Nam. He married a former nun of all people. I once met another bloke who claimed to have run a marathon after only two days of training. This was the same bloke who then borrowed a cool million in cash from a casual friend only to have it show up at his doorstep in a big duffle bag. Girls feeling a bit left out? No need to worry because I know this girl who got a metal medical tray of golf ball sized tumors removed from her only to have a fully healthy baby the next year. Who could forget that Irish girl who came into town with her Wenzhounese/Danish older boyfriend to open a bar. They did it, split up, and she finally went back to the U.K. to have a son with none other than her cousin. That’s over the top. How about the southerner who set fire to a business partner’s fleet of Cadillac limos after a deal went awry? Chinese people feeling left out. I once knew a girl who started selling “fashionable” clothes out of a ten square meter shop back in the 80s. Standing a full head and shoulders shorter than me, and speaking in a voice squeakier than a chipmunks’, she built that little shop into a “tiny” fashion empire.
So the next time you’re sitting in a bar, and the unfamiliar guy next to you says that he’s been in China since he was twenty years old, please don’t let out a muppet-like, “Wow!” For starters, you’ll make the guy* feel really old, not to mention, you’ll make him feel as if he’s something other than normal. Because let me tell you something, that shrimper who comes here a few times a year, doesn’t consider himself abnormal, though he did go to Afghanistan in ’74. He’s just telling us a good story, and he just wants us to laugh, and enjoy his experiences. And man does that guy have great tales to tell or what? May your Year of the Horse be filled with the extreme. It’s normal for us.
By Tim Hoerle
by Logan Miller
Special Request Alert! Someone finally sent in a request to learn a drink, a Pisco Sour, and wouldn’t you know, I had never heard of it. But I wasn’t about to let anyone down, so I got to work! After some research on the origins and history, I was genuinely excited to give it a try. Of course, finding pisco, a South American grape brandy, was a bit of a chore (Thank you, Taobao) but once I finally got a bottle, the rest was just simple trial and error. For those who actually know pisco, the one we’re using hails from Peru, not Chile. To keep things interesting though we will get a little more technical so all you aspiring mixologists can continue honing their craft!
Fresh Lime Juice
1. Take an Old Fashioned glass and fill it with ice to let chill while you are mixing the other ingredients.
2. In your cocktail shaker add 60ml pisco, 30ml fresh lime juice, 30ml simple syrup and one egg white.
3. With your ingredients in place, take the ice from the Old Fashioned glass and add it to the cocktail shaker, then shake for almost a minute. The reason for the extended shake-time is to create thick foam to form on top of the drink after pouring it into the glass.
4. Add three small drops of bitters on top of the foam. This adds a unique aroma to the cocktail. For a little trick take a knife and cut into each drop in a clockwise motion adding a swirl style for a cleaner presentation.
5. Finally, sit back and enjoy!
A few tips:
1. If you are making this for guests who are worried about the egg white, just tell them the bitters kills off any bacteria.
2. If you are not confident in your egg white extracting skills, have a glass on hand and pour the egg white into that first before adding it to the cocktail. This will ensure that nothing gets ruined by the yoke accidentally falling in. If you happen to fail a few times then whip up some scrambled eggs!
Stay thirsty my friends!
My mishaps seem to never end, though they are getting fewer and farther between. Just the other day, my zipper broke, right when the mercury dipped to make Santa’s house seem like a sauna in comparison. It sucks because though I know exactly where to get it xiued, I’m not going to go around in this wet cold without a jacket, so it’s better to just hug myself while walking to and from my daughter’s school to pick her up. Buy a new one? Ha! You should know me by now. Though I’ve been known to drop a thousand in a night in Shanghai, I’m not known for buying new clothes. That can only be seen in the way my now formless pants desperately need to be held up by my eight-year-old belt. And yeah, I’ve gotten slimmer these past couple of months, but that’s quickly ending with the arrival of all of these new restaurants in town. Then my shoe sole came loose, and where am I to get that xiued? I can’t imagine me sitting there on that little wooden stool in front of the shoe repair guy while he fixes it. And there was the time my bag was “lost” after that Bermuda Triangle ride to the Bangkok airport, and I really had to buy a new wardrobe. That sucked.
And not to mention the time when I broke a couple of ribs while taking off my “new” shoes on the shoe rack, and the time when I smashed my face on the fence outside of my house. And the time, a long time ago, when I got put in the clink by a taxi driver for refusing to pay. And it was eleven years ago as of last month that I got stabbed in the back in the bathroom while taking a piss by some dude I didn’t even know? By a guy who got paid a guitar to do it as well. Anyway, my mishaps seem to be happening a bit less than they used to happen. I mean after all, I’ve got enough money to buy McDonalds for breakfast, and take a taxi to it because I can remember a time, when I had nothing but a few coins in the tray by the door, and I had to ask a local restaurant owner for a loan every month. I can’t thank him enough for that. And I’m grateful for all my friends because that’s what it’s all about now isn’t it? And I can’t think about how I waste water every time I brush my teeth, but instead thank the Buddha that I live in a place, and support a culture that fosters plumbing. So, as I’ve been known to say, turn on the tap, and think not about what others don’t have, but instead be happy for the fact that we have them. Let’s hope that the year 2014 has more goodness in store for all of us. I need it every now and then.
By Tim Hoerle