How to Make Five Cocktails and One Salad Dressing.

Rum and coconut espresso martini.

 

25ml each of rum, espresso, coffee liquer, and coconut syrup.

 

Put in a shaker with a lot of ice. Shake it.

 

Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with coffee beans.

•••••

A while ago we found a restaurant that plays the music I listened to as a teenager. The Killers, Jet, and a bunch of other bands whose songs are familiar but the names escape me. Almost everything on the menu is $18MXN. For those unsure of the exchange rate, this is cheap. Beer, tacos, burritos, and cocktails for $18 each. In England, Cesia and I made cocktails together. We’d crush cherries in rum and syrup, shake it and strain it and top it up with ice and lemonade. Or mezcal, lime juice, and ginger beer to invent the Mezcal Mule.

The Mezcal Mule.

 

25ml of Mezcal, half a lime, ginger beer.

 

Fill a large glass with ice.

 

Squeeze half a lime into the glass and drop the rind in.

 

Add the mezcal and the ginger beer.

•••••

I had never been a gin drinker until I found a bottle of what I understood to be good gin on a very good sale. The only drink I knew was gin and tonic.

Gin and Tonic.

 

Put gin and tonic in a glass.

•••••

I bought the gin and a four pack of tonic water and found that I enjoyed it. It’s a little like grapefruit juice in that it’s a very dry flavour, but very refreshing. And one warm evening, a tall refreshing G&T sounded perfect, and here, it was only $18.

I have no idea what I was served.

I am certain that there was no tonic in it. It might have been watered down lemonade, but it was not tonic. I’m pretty sure there was no gin either. There was probably no alcohol at all. Cesia had ordered a mojito.

Mojito.

 

25ml each of white rum, lime juice, simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar dissolved in a saucepan. Do not boil.) Soda water. Fresh mint.

 

Crush the mint in the rum and syrup.

 

Strain the liquid into a glass with ice.

 

Add lime juice and top up with soda water.

 

Garnish with more mint leaves and a wedge of lime.

•••••

The restaurant we were in had not followed that recipe. Again, there was no taste of alcohol, and we don’t know what the rest of the ingredients were. There was mint in it, floating like pond life on the surface of the pale green drink.

We switched to beer.

In most supermarkets in the UK there are often several brands of tonic water but in Mexico it is harder to find. We found a six pack of schwepps; little glass bottles the size of hand grenades that we mixed with Tanquaray gin. It was kind of annoying because Schwepps is expensive and back home tonic is so cheap. Also, it meant we had to deal with six little glass bottles. First world problems.

Then one day we found a bottle, a real size bottle, of agua tonica. There were two on the shelf and we bought them both.

I want to make cocktails again, and use the shaker and muddler I brought with me from England. I want to made Gin Fizzes, and Mojitos, and Martinis. Money is a factor, and the ingredients for these are luxuries that we probably shouldn’t indulge in right now.

Also, my cocktail shaker is stuck closed. I screwed the top on too tight the last time I used it and I can’t get it off. The last time I used it was for a salad dressing.

Raspberry Vinigerette.

 

50ml each of balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. A handful of raspberries. Sugar.

 

Sprinkle suger over the raspberries and leave for ten minutes.

 

Put raspberries, balsamic vinegar and oil in a cocktail shaker. Shake.

 

Strain slowly, directly onto salad.

 

Raspberries can be substituted with strawberries, cherries, probably a lot of fruits.

•••••

Last night we tried to make raspberry gin fizzes. This is the recipe:

Raspberry Gin Fizz.

Try to open your cocktail shaker. Fail.

Put a handful of raspberries in a glass and add 25ml of gin.

Muddle together with the muddler from home.

Try again to open the cocktail shaker. Fail again.

Attempt to strain mixture through a paper coffee filter.

Spill some on the counter top.

With one hand holding the coffee filter, grab a cereal bowl from the draining rack.

Put the raspberry gin mush into the bowl.

Consider giving up.

Take the plastic coffee filter from the machine and rinse it.

With a paper towel, mop up some of your mess so Cesia won’t realise how badly this is going.

Put the raspberry mush into the plastic coffee filter, put the filter into another cereal bowl, fill bowl with lemonade.

Wiggle the filter as if panning for gold. Do this until the only thing in the filter is seeds and raspberry flesh.

Clean the glasses you tried to use earlier, before you thought this through.

Fill with ice.

Pour the liquid from the bowl into one of the glasses.

Using a paper towel, clean up the mess.

Realise you need more paper towels. 

Decide to clean up later.

Over the sink this time, pour the remaining liquid from the bowl to the second glass.

Serve with confidence.

Help Cesia clean up.

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Diez cervesas, por favor.

 
Since I’ve been here I’ve watched the first season of How to Get Away with Murder, and now I’m several episodes into Season Two. It’s often too hot to be outside for any length of time so we binge on TV shows until it gets cool and we can go out to eat.
 
Yesterday we went to a fish restaurant for lunch. I don’t know what I ordered but it was good. One was a tostada, the other wasn’t. A tostada it a tortilla with something on it. The other thing was also on a tortilla, but wasn’t a tostada. I have no idea what the rules are for what is an isn’t a tostada, but I enjoyed both dishes.
 
The restaurant offers a bucket of ten beers, and we figured that the 190ml bottles, split between two of us, would be around two pints each; a fun, but not crazy amount for a weekday lunchtime. We ordered ten small bottles of Indigo. They came in a big bucket of ice that the waiter set on a little stand by our table. Cesia and I were talking about something and we kept talking as the waiter opened two bottles and left. We were thirsty and drank half a bottle each before we realised that our order was wrong. We had been given ten 325ml bottles.
 
We looked at the menu to see if it was our mistake or our waiter’s. We weren’t sure. We considered saying something, but decided against it. So, we sat on the terrace enjoying our food and lots and lots of beer. I practised my Spanish, saying Desculpe to the waiter when we needed him to open our next bottle, and when he didn’t hear me, Cesia shouted Hey.
 
We went across the street to look at furniture for the apartment we were hoping to get, and we decided all their rugs are ugly. We looked at coffee makers and chairs and mirrors. And when we were done we took a taxi home to continue watching How to Get Away With Murder. While we were binge watching, Cesia got an email saying the apartment we wanted was ours.
 
Soon we will have a place, and a chair, and a mirror. Maybe a coffee maker. Hopefully a rug that isn’t ugly. And we’ll have a bucket of beer to celebrate.

Last weekend my best friend, Alex, stayed with me for a couple of drunken days. He’s going to be the best man at my wedding and, as the wedding will be in Mexico, it will be hard for him to organise a stag do, so this was kind of my stag do.

I had a long day, including a three hour train journey and a thirty minute walk, and I arrived hom to find Alex in his underwear, dancing to a Craig David song. I was a few drinks behind. I opened a beer and drank it down.

We went to a pub and played pool until we decided to go back home, do the power hour, and then go out. The power hour is a drinking game in which participants drink a shot glass of beer every minute for an hour. It’s like the centurion which lasts for 100 minutes. While drinking games have never appealed to me, this is one that sounded easy. It’s a shot of beer. That’s nothing. I set a repeating alarm on my phone and settled in for a refreshing and envigorating sixty minutes.

By minute nine we were swearing at my my phone. A couple of shots later we got a glass of water each and drank it between beers. At about twenty-five shots Alex resigned and went for brief but energising vomit. I soldiered on. At each shrill beep I manfully raised the glass to my lips. With the smooth motion of an expert gunman drawing his weapon I poured the liquid down my throat and reloaded. The beer fizzed like and acid bath. I considered quitting; Alex already had so there would be no shame in it. But no. I have given up on too much in my life; karate, juggling, genetic engineering. Not this tme. I would finish this.

My phone beeped for the fiftieth time and, after a deep breath, I drank the shot. Almost before I had poured my fifty-first, it beeped again. This was requiring a lot of effort. My hands struggled to coordinate the next pour but they did. My phone beeped. I called it a bastard. I drank. I drank, and I drank, and I drank until I hit sixty, at which point I walked around my flat with my hands in the air, cheering. I was drunk.

We went to Missing, a gay bar we had been to several times in the past. On a recent visit we considered trying to pimp one of us out and to run off with the money and spend it on chinese food. We didn’t do it because Alex can’t dance seductively enough.

We had some drinks, and mindless conversations that had to be yelled over the music, and then were given a shot each of absinthe. Neither of us wanted them, but here they were. We drank them, looked around, realised we weren’t having a good time, so we went home to watch Fifty Shades of Grey.

This film, as you may very well know, is trash. I saw it in the cinema with a friend who had read the books and we laughed all the way through. It is stunning that there are two beautiful people on screen, naked, and yet it has the erotic charge of putting out the bins. After an hour of mocking the film I went to bed and Alex put a blanket in the bath and slept there (no reason).

I’ve moved before, and moved countries before, and every time, I have lost all my friends. I am terrible at keeping in touch, responding to messages, or letting people know when something happens. This blog post is a week late and I’m surprised I haven’t already given up on the whole blogging thing already. I have before, three times. But they say fourth time’s the charm, and I did finish the power hour so I know I can do some things. Alex has a real job in London and a girfriend in Germany. I’m going to be in Mexico. It would be very easy for our friendship to fizzle out.

The day after the power hour we worked on a script that we have been kicking around for a while. A year ago he wrote the first half of a mockumentary. We started on the second half and talked about how, through timing, discipline, and hard work, we could keep this project going until we finish it. Timing, discipline, and hard work are how I completed the power hour so I know this technique works.