Pontocho Road

Ever since I found a very cool cocktail shaker at a garage sale, I’ve been experimenting with my mixology — often motivated by given culinary circumstances (let us not forget our recent adventure into Campari on a warm night when Italian food was being served). Necessity or at the very least context being the mother of invention, I’ve been inspired to some lofty heights with spirits.

One recent evening, I was making Japanese food. My wife, having a rash that she was convinced was yeast related, was off beer. So the Sapporo that I was drinking got the stiff arm. Furthermore, she had spent much of the afternoon organizing the children’s reams of school artwork and bins of toys, and was in need of something stronger — something much stronger. All of which I took as a gauntlet being laid down. Was I mixologist enough to rise to the challenge? More

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Italian Summer in a Glass

“The days were long and the nights were long and the life was good.”
—Gertrude Stein, Fiesole, Italy, Summer 1908

A few weeks ago, drinking and dining with my friends/neighbors/mortal enemies (envy is a terrible thing) Chris and Glennis before they left for a week in Venice, Italy, we got talking about Campari.

Chris was pontificating that Europe had an appreciation for bitter foods and spirits that you don’t see as much in America. That set me to forming theories and pontificating in turn about how bitter as an entire taste realm was absent altogether from American cuisine — we like our sweet (OH, how we like our sweet!) and our salty, we’ll dabble in sour. But bitter is completely unrepresented — replaced, perhaps, by fried. And more salt. More