Monday, February 20, 2012

A Recipe

     I'm notorious amongst my friends and family for my lack of culinary skills.  I haven't used an oven in twenty years, and in that same time I've used the rangetop (burners) probably about five times.  I've made burgers on a grill perhaps three or four times, used a steamer once, and cooked via fondue pots twice.  One of the major reasons for this is a lack of patience--I've never understood how people can spend fifteen minutes, a half hour, an hour, or more to prepare dinner.  I'd rather do almost anything else--the thought of it bores me nearly to tears.  Fortunately, my job as a field archaeologist means I don't need to cook--we get per diem, meaning a daily food allowance.  The amounts vary, but about $25-30 a day is a good average, meaning I can eat out/take out/get delivery very frequently.  I do use a microwave, but even with that I'm impatient.  Friends joke that I pace around, angry that my meal is taking all minute, and it's not much of an exaggeration.  So you won't see many tidbits of food preparation advice from me, and if you do, it'll be something like, "Open sardine tin.  Find a fork.  Enjoy."
     However, I do like an alcoholic libation every so often, usually beer, but occasionally a shot or a mixed drink.  Here's one that's probably not that well known.  I learned this in college.

  "Flaming Dr. Pepper" (not affiliated with the real soda company, registered trademark, please don't sue)

You'll need:  A mug or wide-mouthed cup (a glass mug is best).
                    A shot glass.
                    12-16 ounces of beer.  Should be a regular lager.  A strong-flavored beer like a Guinness
                                                      or an IPA probably won't work too well.
                    Amaretto.  Disaronna seems to be the best brand choice.
                    An extremely high-alcohol content liquor.  Bacardi 151 Rum is the standard, but similar
                                                                                  strength alcohols or grain alcohol should do as well.
                    Matches or a lighter.

Directions:  Pour beer into mug.  Pour out an almost full (at least 75%) shot of amaretto.  Top off the shot glass with the 151 or other strong liquor.  Carefully light shot.  Drop into beer, which will obviously extinquish the flame.  Drink fairly quickly--you don't have to chug it necessarily, but don't nurse it either.  Somehow (magic?) the resulting concoction tastes amazingly like the soda.  Also, the 151/strong liquor element is only for the flame effect--just the beer and amaretto are required for the correct taste.
     I've always been curious about how mixed drinks are developed.  Nerds in labs?  Bored bartenders?  Not to mention, I wonder what the ratio of good mix discoveries is to the horrible, affronts to Nature mashups.  1:100?  1:1000?  Even higher?  However long it takes, when it works, it's incredible, like the Long Island Iced Tea--so strong, yet still so mild-tasting and awesome.
     Years ago, again back in college, a friend and roommate of mine was inspired by the "Flaming Moe" episode of the Simpsons to try something similar--we didn't have cough syrup, and the results weren't strong enough to be flammable, but he mixed small portions of every liquor in our cabinet together in a blender and then drank some.  Some of the liquors were vodka, rum, tequila, Frangelica (!), and various other liquors I can't recall.  Unlike the cartoon, the resulting cocktail was literally nauseating.  But, the important thing is he tried.  And I'm sure even Edison, Tesla, George Washington Carver, and Marco Polo puked every once in a while in their pursuits.

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