Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Alcohol and Headaches

About five months ago, Felicia started experiencing some killer migraine headaches. Felicia will spare you the gory details, but the frequent episodes involved vertigo, inability to keep food down and the sensation like a hundred angry gnomes were digging out chunks of her brain with sling blades (Felicia calls it a kaiser blade). Trying hard to be a good patient, Felicia explained her migraine symptoms to her doctor, who inevitably asked, "How much alcohol do you drink?"

Never answer that question honestly if you are a bartender, mixologist, lounge owner or general cocktail enthusiast.

Even after Felicia minimized her drinking habits so as not to frighten the doctor, the advice was still, "Alcohol can trigger migraine headaches. You should stop drinking alcohol." Ummmm, is this an option?

To Felicia's relief, a weekly shiatsu massage ($65 a pop - yep, city folk, it's more affordable in the pseudo-country) and a regimen of allergen-free dietary supplements (multis - $24; selenium - $12; calcium/magnesium - $22) seems to have resolved the migraine problem for now. For around $300 per month (ouch), Felicia is living pain-free and yep, she's still drinking.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Road Trip! Grassroots Festival

As mentioned in a previous blog, our thermoses at this year's Grassroots Festival were filled with Trumansburg Lemonade. Below is a summary of the rest of our Grassroots experience as relayed by texts we sent each other. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Tuesday July 15
11:30am (Pinky): Want a grassroots ticket?
12:15pm (Goose): Yes yes YES!
12:20pm (Pinky): Consider it yours.
12:23pm (Goose): And just when i thought i couldn’t love u more!
Wednesday July 16
3:00pm (Pinky): G roots tickets arrived in mail!
3:13pm (Maverick): F@ck yeah, baby!
3:50pm (Iceman): Yay! I think Charlie was hoping we could leave the tick at the front gate for him.?
3:52pm (Pinky): I’m cool if front gate is cool
4:03pm (Iceman): Sweet!
5:00pm: (Pinky): Have paycheck for you so you can buy g roots ticket
5:12pm (Betty): We cant find it
5:15pm (Pinky): That was literal. Have it here. Home. Tburg. With me.
6:32 pm (Betty): Alright bring it to grassroots tomorrow
Thursday July 17
12:50pm (Maverick): Bubba?
12:55pm (Pinky): What time you arriving there? Leather is scared to be alone with hippies.
1:00pm (Betty): We’re going to park at yr house
1:04pm (Maverick): Very shortly I’m in tburg. & she does realize that u & I r hippies, right?
1:10pm (Pinky): I fool her by shaving under my arms. Meet you there? Or park at our house?
1:18pm (Maverick): Come now I’m headed in meet me @ bubba George
6:46pm (Betty): Where u at?
6:48pm (Pinky): Grandstand
7:01pm (Betty): I see you
7:20pm (Leather): I see you
11:10pm (Leather): Do not drive drunk! You can stay at our house.
Friday July 18
8:42pm (Maverick): WTF?
8:43pm (Leather): We’re coming in about an hour
8:54pm (Maverick): OK, got Sly Fox and Bud cans. Just got here.
9:53pm (Iceman): Let me know if u all r here so can look for u while I crap in my pants!
10:22pm (Maverick): W-T-F???
10:25pm (Pinky): Iceman has show at g stand in an hour. Going to calm her down b for find you.
10:34pm (Leather): Where are you?
10:34 pm (Iceman): At family tent
10:36pm (Leather): See that moon?
10:53pm (Pinky): We are in tent city behind g stand if you want some nice music and some booze. Friends playing old time in white tent.
11:06pm (Pinky): We at in field looking for you
11:09 pm (Maverick): I’m near sail in tent cty 1st row nr grndstnd
11:11pm (Pinky): Stop and waln toward in field
1:40am (Pinky): Where are at?
1:53am (Maverick): Dance tent
2:03am (Pinky): We are about to leave. Come to gate or show up at house for sleepy.
3:05am (Maverick): Thx, im safe & sound
3:05am (Pinky): Sleep tight!
Saturday July 19
1:14pm (Wilma): You gals here?
4:30pm (Pinky): Slept all afternoon. Back tonight around 930
8:16pm: (Pinky) Are you hungry?
8:17pm (Leather): I’m good with vendor food.
9:22pm (Pinky): Going to dance tent
9:25pm (Maverick): When?
9:28pm (Pinky): Ten min. Getting on bikes.
9:44pm (Pinky): Left hand side of dance tent near back
9:45pm (Pinky): No, front left
10:51pm (Pinky): Have you seen Leather?
11:24pm (Iceman): everything ok?
11:26pm (Pinky): We lost each other but I just found her. You still at family tent?
11:28pm (Iceman): Yes madam! Resting in chair before djembe
12:23am (Maverick): WTF?
12:24am (Pinky): Took the bitch home
12:26am (Maverick): More beer 4 me! C u tomorrow @ 930
12:30am (Pinky): You got it
Sunday July 20
9:30am (Pinky): Girl is sleeping. I don’t dare wake her up. Will text when up.
10:50am (Pinky): Leather still not awake.
10:50am (Maverick): Wake the bitch up. I’m volunteering compost 11-12 BIG BRKFAST waits!
10:52am (Pinky): I will keep you posted. After antics last night, enjoying peace.
12:09pm (Pinky): We are at american legion tent. Just got last big breakfast of 2008!
12:24pm (Iceman): R u all here my phone is almost done
12:24pm (Pinky): Yes! American legion breakfast!
1:26pm (Pinky): You still at rockridge bros?
1:44pm (Maverick): Yes
1:45pm (Pinky): I was there for a few and then they did their richie stearns imitation which was weird so I left
1:50pm (Pinky): Hello? You get lost?
1:54pm (Pinky): Where are you?

Though the texts stop here, our story ends with one last toast as our heroines find each other, weave home on their bicycles and fall into bed, dreaming of hippies, beer, great music and an obscene amount of Tburg Lemonade.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mixology Monday: Pimm's Cup

Last week, all the mixology gurus in our fine booze-loving nation were in New Orleans attending Tales of the Cocktail, a culinary and cocktail festival that involves drinking, presentations, drinking, history lessons, drinking, mixology classes, drinking, eating and drinking. For all of Felicia’s cocktail-blogging pals, it also involved writing.

Felicia’s blogging budget ($0.00) did not permit her to attend the festivities this year. She vicariously experienced the event through all the other mixology bloggers. Thanks to them, it almost felt like Felicia was there in New Orleans, especially since it’s been 95 degrees and muggy here in the Ithaca area. Felicia even ate some alligator meat on Friday at Trumansburg’s Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance.

A dozen or so myths exist as to exactly where the idea of the cocktail was born in the early 1800’s. One such story is about some dame in New York who garnished beverages with a feather from the tail of a cock. Get it? Cock. Tail. Another etymology is that the term cocktail is derived from coquetier, the French name for an egg-cup thing that was used around the same time to serve alcoholic beverages in New Orleans. This history and the large amount of imbibing that goes on there make New Orleans an important place in the cocktail world. For the record, in case you did not guess: Felicia’s worst subject in high school was history (Felicia prefers to says that she specializes in living in the moment).

You will not find most New Orleans-style drinks at Felicia’s unless it happens to be Mardi Gras, with the exception of this one: the Pimm’s Cup. Fellow bloggers at Married…with Dinner recently posted a fresh, classy recipe for this beverage that involves such antics as squeezing fresh lemons and using French soda. Luette, a former bartender at the Hustler Club on Bourbon Street, told Felicia yesterday that she makes a Pimm’s Cup with Pimm’s and ginger ale with a cuke garnish. She added, with great New Orleans bartender wisdom, “I think Pimm’s is kind of gross.” One of Felicia’s own bartenders, who likes Pimm’s, describes Pimm’s as tasting “sort of like flat coca-cola syrup mixed with bitter iced tea.” The back of the Pimm’s bottle reads more mysteriously, “a light, refreshing spirit carefully blended from fine liqueurs and fruit extracts.”

Try it, and form your own opinion.

Now who can Felicia speak to so in order to get a line item for blogging added to the lounge budget?? If you are lucky, maybe Felicia will see all of you in New Orleans next year.

Pimm’s Cup
1 ½ ounce Pimm’s
cucumber slice

Fill a double rocks glass with ice. Add Pimm's. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with cucumber slice. Toss in a slice of lemon if you are feeling frisky, as Felicia's drink photographer clearly was.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trumansburg Lemonade

Felicia brought this ice cold bourbon lemonade in a fat thermos to the Grassroots Festival:

Trumansburg Lemonade

1 ½ ounce Woodford Reserve bourbon
¾ ounce Cointreau
¾ ounce lemon juice
2 rounded tsp sugar
club soda
lemon wheel

Fill a pint glass to top with ice. Add bourbon, Cointreau, lemon juice and sugar. Shake to mix. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Road Trip! Seneca Lake

In recognition of the exodus of the Felicia bartenders who have been with us the longest, known to the drinking world as Sharon (Shay) and Nat (Gnat), Felicia rented a limo earlier this week and the whole Felicia gang headed over to Seneca Lake. For those out-of-towners reading this blog, Seneca Lake is the deepest of the Finger Lakes located in, you guessed it, the Finger Lakes region of New York. Armed with two of Felicia's best bottles of champagne which lasted less than the 30 minute ride to the first winery, the dolled-up Felicia staff piled into the limo for a night on the town, er, small town. Though Felicia clearly stated to Right Limousine that there would be 10 people on the excursion, the limo definitely only seated 9, leaving one Felicia to enjoy sitting on a lap or the hump on the floor. This fact became less uncomfortable as the night wore on and intoxication levels increased.

Felicia's first stop was beer tasting at Wagner Vineyards and the adjoining Wagner Valley Brewing Company in Lodi, NY. While the wines at Wagner remind you why you need to be cautious in buying wines from the Finger Lakes, their beers are quite tasty. The Sled Dog Doppelbock was proclaimed the staff favorite.

Second stop: Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery in Hector, where the wines were surprisingly good. Felicia has noticed more of them on local restaurant menus lately, especially their Riesling.

Felicia's next stop was the Village Marina in Watkins Glen whose ambiance can best be compared to a crab shack. Here the staff cooled down from the breeze off the lake as they drank beer (exception: Woody drank Red Cat!) at a picnic table on the shore. Appetizers were ordered and snarfed down by the tipsy crew; however Felicia would advise you to stick with beverages at this location since all of the appetizers were deep fried and tasted, well, like a deep fryer.

Dinner stop: Wildflower Cafe in Watkins Glen, home of Rooster Fish Brewing Company. Felicia really likes Rooster Fish's beers, especially the nut brown. However, the cafe was out of all of the brews except one. Strange. So the gang tried ordering from their non-local bottle menu, but they were also out of pretty much everything on there, too. Even stranger. The burgers were great, but the beer selection was obviously disappointing for a brew pub.

The details of the rest of the trip got a little hazy after Melissa bought us all a shot of Jameson (some of us recall a full moon Trumansburg) but hey, all bartending bonding experiences require a shot of whiskey, don't they? The night was deemed a success by all, and no one complained the next day about any lingering painful effects from the adventure, except for mourning the lack of beer at Rooster Fish and the heartbreak at saying goodbye to two of Felicia's own. Nat and Sharon, thanks for your excellent taste in cocktails, mixology skills and years of dedicated service to Felicia.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Strawberry-Basil Spritzer

Felicia loves mixing unlikely ingredients in her cocktails. Just like all roads lead to Rome, all potential ingredients lead to a Felicia cocktail. The culprits this week: strawberry and basil. Those who have not tried this combo may ask: a match made in heaven or strange bedfellows? The Strawberry Basil Spritzer is back at Felicia's by popular demand and at the request of many imbibers, Felicia is revealing her recipe to you. This drink contains sweet, fresh-picked strawberries muddled with aromatic basil and a hint of lime. Felicia’s verdict? Definitely heaven.

Strawberry-Basil Spritzer

1 ½ ounces vodka
4 large fresh strawberries
3 leaves of fresh basil
½ ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
¼ ounce lime juice
club soda

Muddle vodka, three strawberries, basil, simple syrup and lime juice. Fill a rocks glass with ice and add muddled mixtured. Top with club soda. Toss into shaker and back once to mix. Garnish with strawberry.