My Old-Fashioned Summer

Several friends this summer fell in love with my Old-Fashioned cocktails.

Several friends this summer fell in love with my Old-Fashioned cocktails. One friend said he always loved the simplicity of my preparation. I said I never did anything fancy. It was always simply about the drink and about the ceremony of sharing that first sip with someone special.

Salud …

 


1. I begin with a beautiful glass …

 



2. I drop in a Demerara sugar cube …

 



3. I douse it with aromatic bitters. Three or four dashes. I give the cube a moment to soak it up. ​…

 



4. I use a muddler to crush the soaked cube and mix it with the bitters. Essentially, I’m trying to make a paste or syrup base.​ …

 



5. I drop in a single large ice cube or sphere.​ …

 



6. I slowly pour in three fluid ounces of bourbon, usually Bullitt.​ …

 



7. I gently stir it 20 times, keeping the back of the spoon lightly pressed against the inside of the glass as I stir.​ …

 



8. I cut off an orange rind, and with the white part facing up, I hold it over the drink and quickly fold it lengthwise. The oils spray into the bourbon. I then rub the rind along the edge of the glass and the inside of the glass. I then drop it into the drink.​ …

 



9. I drop in two Luxardo cherries and two spoonfuls of the dark syrup.​ …

 



10. I light a cigar, watch the sunset and take a moment to appreciate the small luxuries and pleasures of life.​

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: FEMA and Hurricane Maria / Dear Abby and #MeToo / Learn to be happy at Yale / Understanding Sarah Huckabee Sanders / Summer books, movies, and TV

This week: FEMA and Hurricane Maria / Dear Abby and #MeToo / Learn to be happy at Yale / Understanding Sarah Huckabee Sanders / Summer books, movies, and TV

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. FEMA Was Sorely Unprepared for Puerto Rico Hurricane, Report Says
By Francis Robles | The New York Times | July 2018
“The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s plans for a crisis in Puerto Rico were based on a focused disaster like a tsunami, not a major hurricane devastating the whole island. The agency vastly underestimated how much food and fresh water it would need, and how hard it would be to get additional supplies to the island.”

2. Plane Bae Teaches Us That Other People’s Lives Are Not a Movie for Us to Watch
By Dan Solomon | Texas Monthly | July 2018
“How a chance encounter on a flight to Dallas turned into an internet sensation, and why it shouldn’t happen again.”

3. Dear Abby, #MeToo
By Jessica Weisberg | The New York Times | April 2018
“[#MeToo] created room for the sort of discussions that once were restricted to, essentially, just one type of public space: advice columns. For decades, the columns were where women with creepy bosses or abusive husbands went to air their grievances.”

4. At Yale, you can take a course on being happy
By Billy Baker | The Boston Globe | April 2018
“The success of the class has been unprecedented. So many students signed up that the meeting space had to be moved to Woolsey Hall, a cavernous, cathedral-like auditorium typically used for things like symphony concerts. The sheer volume of students requires two dozen teaching fellows.”

5. Margaret Atwood on How She Came to Write The Handmaid’s Tale
By Margaret Atwood | The Folio Society :: LitHub | April 2018
“The origin story of an iconic novel”

6. The Puzzle of Sarah Huckabee Sanders
By Jason Schwartz | Politico Magazine | May/June 2018
“How a bright, competent and likable young operative became the face of the most duplicitous press operation in White House history.”

7. Hear Stanley Kubrick Explain the 2001: A Space Odyssey Ending In a Rare, Unearthed Video
By Matt Miller | Esquire | July 2018
“The director famously refused to give his interpretation of the sci-fi masterpiece.”

8. Summer Reading: Movies & TV
By Ben Dickinson | The New York Times Book Review | June 2018
New books about Bruce Lee, David Lynch, The Wire and 2001: A Space Odyssey, along with recommendations on new thrillers, true crime, travel, sports and more.

9. How Syria Came to This
By Andrew Tabler | The Atlantic | April 2018
“A story of ethnic and sectarian conflict, international connivance, and above all civilian suffering”

10. The Woman Who Brought Down Bill Cosby
By Neeti Upadhye | The New York Times | April 2018
“Andrea Constand is the only woman among more than 50 accusers whose complaint against Mr. Cosby has resulted in a conviction. A jury found him guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.”

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Strangers in a strange land

Stone mourns a family friend’s death. She also notes ominously the growing epidemic of deadly disease at a nearby Confederate camp filled with Northern prisoners of war.

KS53

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

As another oppressive Texas summer begins, Stone mourns a family friend’s death. She also notes ominously the growing epidemic of deadly disease at a nearby Confederate camp filled with Northern prisoners of war.

June 14, 1864

Tyler, Texas

Comfortably seated by an open window in our lone rocking chair, I am munching Confederate cakes all alone with nothing to do. … Johnny is lying on his stomach with his heels in the air … Johnny has taken great delight in Shakespeare and reads and re-reads his favorite plays. He is already a good Shakespearean scholar. Sister is amusing herself with Sally, and the others are off spending this day with Mrs. Prentice. If there is one thing I most detest, it is spending a long summer day away from home. …

Jimmy received a letter from Mr. Hardison telling of Mrs. Hardison’s death in February. We are truly grieved to hear it. She was a high-minded good woman and one of our best friends. She died in Red River County, where they have been living since fall. Her life was a scene of trial from the time they fled from home. He writes most sadly. They have no books, no papers, hear no news, and have made no new friends and are alone on the bleak prairie, strangers in a strange land. We pity them all but most, her poor mother, Mrs. Alexander.

Anna and Dr. Meagher returned a few days ago. He is stationed here now in charge of the Yankee prisoners. The prisoners are in a most pitiable condition, perfectly destitute. Some have only a blanket to wear and others only one garment. There is much sickness and death among them and the authorities are powerless to get clothes for them. No clothes or blankets to be bought. …

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Conquer or die

As a Texas summer storm approaches, Stone angrily vows that the Confederacy will never surrender to the Union forces that shattered her family.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

As a Texas summer storm approaches, Stone angrily vows that the Confederacy will never surrender to the Union forces that shattered her family.

Aug. 10, 1863

Lamar County, Texas

Nearly the close of summer and we are still in our first Texas retreat. We have dubbed it “Elysian Fields.” Mr. Smith has been away nearly a week looking for another location. No matter where we may go, we are almost sure to meet some of our old friends or acquaintances, for everybody about Monroe is moving out this way, we hear, scattering over Texas. How good the sight of a familiar face will be. I would feel like kissing nearly anybody I had ever seen before. …

Our list of victories last month were all a mistake. Gen. Lee has recrossed into Virginia, and our march into Pennsylvania seems to have been barren of results. We do not hold nor have we destroyed a single Northern city, as we so much hoped. A dark hour for the Confederacy. The loss of Vicksburg has stunned the whole country. It is a grievous blow, and there is great discouragement at least on this side of the Mississippi River. But the reaction will come. The people will rally to strike a more deadly blow, to fight till the last armed foe expires, to conquer or die.

Mamma, Sister, and Johnny are just in from their round of investigation. Instead of renting Mrs. White’s house they rented a book. The house was already taken, but she had quite a library of books that she would hire out for fifty cents a week. She would not think of lending them. The book Mamma brought was a most worthless thing, but the engravings in it are fine. Mrs. White is an educated woman, lives in a nice house, and is well to do, but a regular skinflint. She is living from day to day on the verge of the grave, suffering from some incurable complaint, and is still very eager to make money, extorting the last cent. She has one of our women hired to wait on her. She is a Yankee. That explains all. …

We look out tonight on a windy, stormy sky. Dark clouds go scudding by, and the wind whistles through our frail tenement. The boards have shrunken until daylight shines through. Lightning flashes continuously, thunder is rolling overhead, and the whole prairie is ablaze with the fireflies, weaving in and out like fairy shuttles.