Whatever you might think of Edward Snowden, you can keep to yourself; this is a booze blog, after all. But in reading a recent New York Times story about his flight from Hong Kong, I found a funny tidbit.
You see, when a group of lawyers arrived to advise Snowden in Hong Kong, he asked them to stash their phones in the refrigerator. According to Adam Harvey, a designer specializing in countersurveillance, it seems that the materials in the fridge walls serve as a Faraday cage, a space that can disrupt radio communication.
For the drinker with something to hide, however, there’s a better solution:
Another household object that functions similarly, Mr. Harvey has learned through his research into cellphone data transmission, is a stainless steel martini shaker.
“It’s a perfect Faraday cage – it will block all radio signals unless you decide you need to pour yourself a martini,” he said. Although this sounds like a plot point in a James Bond movie, Mr. Harvey has actually done extensive tests on the shaker in the process of developing a surveillance-blocking cellphone case called the OFF Pocket.
Now that’s cool. Most of serious cocktail geeks probably have four of those damn, otherwise-useless things cluttering our barware. At least they’re useful for something.
Peat, the fuel that adds smoke to scotch, is a non-renewable resource. But what are the odds of its running out? Slate takes a look.
I must say that I was stunned into submission to learn that Parker Beam, the beloved and long-serving master distiller for Heaven Hill, has been diagnosed with ALS. It is a jarringly sober moment; solemn would not be an overstatement.
More here from Allen Katz.
Friday, Grand Central Terminal marks its 100th-anniversary with a grand celebration, and with that fête comes a bit of cocktail news.
First, some of the station’s vendors are offering 1913 pricing on some items. For example, a nickel will buy you a shoe shine, or six pennies will earn you a loaf of rye bread. But Michael Jordan’s Steak House in the main concourse is offering a 75¢ Adirondack cocktail, from its transit-themed cocktail menu.
Meanwhile, DNAinfo reports that for the 2013 price of $15, The Campbell Apartment offers a glass of Centennial Punch, a mix of papaya, pomegranate and lemon juices, plus Hendrick’s Gin, Sandeman Founder’s Reserve port, and champagne.
I’ll probably be at GCT tomorrow to enjoy some of the festivities, but I’ll have a baby strapped to my chest, so I don’t think I’ll partake in a libation.
Complex magazine published a cool feature yesterday, naming the 25 best cocktails in New York City right now. What’s nice about it is how the piece is illustrated. Each cocktail has an animated GIF, as shown above.
I love this. There’s always something artistic and theatrical about sitting at a bar and watching a talented bartender working. This feature captures a bit of the fun.
[HT to Kelly Sue for passing it along.]
Here’s one you cocktail geeks mighta missed.
I haven’t been watching this season of the HBO show Treme because we didn’t pick up HBO when we moved to Brooklyn. Apparently, though, the 3rd season has featured a couple of bars that should be familiar to anyone who’s been to Tales of the Cocktail or otherwise sought out good drinking in New Orleans — namely the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone, and the French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s.
But you don’t need to subscribe to HBO to learn more. The excellent blog “Inside Treme“ is an official HBO production, written by Lolis Eric Elie, who’s a lifelong New Orleanian, journalist, and story editor for Treme. Elie features the Carousel and the French 75 in a couple of his posts. Both are worth a read, even if you don’t watch the show:
Will Elie delve any deeper into the world of cocktail blogging? For his sake, I certainly hope not, but you might check back to “Inside Treme” from time to time to be sure.
I got a funny sort of PR email today. A country artist I’ve never heard of, Kelleigh Bannen, has a new song out, and to promote it, she did a video in which she makes a Manhattan.
Ordinarily, I’d let this sort of thing pass me right by, or if I were mildly interested, I’d watch the video and then forget about it entirely. A couple of reasons I’m not doing that now. Watch the video; it’s under three minutes. I think you’ll see the first notable thing right away.
Tell me you weren’t surprised by the whiskey. Oh, and she chose rye, which sadly is notable in itself. The cherries aren’t a bad call, either. Technique? Y’know what, I don’t sweat shaking vs. stirring when it comes to mixing a drink at home. The primary reason to stir a Manhattan is to maintain clarity in the drink when you serve it. Shaking agitates the cocktail and makes it hazy looking. Aesthetics matter in cocktail making, but they’re not always crucial. Serving it on the rocks? Well, first, it’s the giant Tovolo tray, so there’s that. Second, here’s my shameful secret: I prefer Manhattans on a giant rock like that.
My only real quibble is why she’s so adamant that the bitters go on at the end.