Aug
20
2010

Best friends forever: Part two

—Hardie

Continued from yesterday’s “Best friends forever: Part one.”

I resumed scanning the room. Across from me in at the bar was a skinny middle-aged blond man I’d seen a few times over the last week and who—to my perhaps overly enthusiastic mind—was either pretending to have, or actually only had, one arm. Upon closer inspection, it became clear that his other arm, strung up in a sling, was obscured by his blue jean vest. He was accompanied by what looked like a younger clone—but with two arms—and indeed, my previous companion had suggested this was his beloved son. They got the father-son special: a pitcher of sangria for 13 Euros.
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Aug
19
2010

Best friends forever: Part one

Everyone knows real estate is about location. A young couple picks a home so as to be in a good school district, a businessman to have an impressive address in an upper-class enclave, a hippie to be close to “nature.” An Enthusiast is no exception.

But an Enthusiast’s real estate concerns are about how far it is to whet one’s whistle. Such is doubly important when an Enthusiast is away from his home real estate, whether on a honeymoon with a blushing bride or on a lark with a favorite prostitute—or waiting on a new visa for one’s adopted home country in the closest neighboring nation and hoping that the discovery of a nest of one’s adopted home country’s spies in one’s original home country would not derail one’s plans.
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May
28
2010

The bap

In Russia, for some goddamn reason, they call a restaurant a “pektopah” and a bar a “bap.” But you could certainly argue that the bar in this particular St. Petersburg hotel deserves a word of its own. I might call it a “movie,” because that’s what it feels like when you’re here.

It’s a long movie, to be sure, what with us hanging most nights past 4 a.m. But putting in the hours means we get to see the whole story arc. How the hookers, who don’t look like hookers at all—in the US of A they’d be the most elegant broads in the room—periodically shift tables and then one after another stand to troll the crowd. How the smooth-as-silk manager signals to them with a silent nod that he needs their table and they temporarily move to the table in the hall. How each hooker (and this small bap is generally stocked with four, distributed among two or three tables) has a rose-colored drink, non-alcoholic, on her table with a straw in it. Some kind of red-light sign, but mostly, I think, to remind the staff what’s up.

But enough of my ogling the whores. What I wanted to tell you about was the gangster part of the movie from last night.
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May
09
2010

Samogon

This guy knows what the fuck is up. Do you?

 
—Hardie
Reporting from Russia

 


Apr
15
2010

Yes We Can: Black Russian

No, I am not talking about Russians electing this guy (I’m pretty sure they didn’t). I am talking about a new series in which I review Russia’s canned alcohol goods, because while the country doesn’t have a lot of black people, they certainly have a lot of booze in cans.

Up this week, the “Black Russian.” Most of you probably know the Black Russian to be a cocktail consisting of vodka and some sort of coffee liqueur, often Kahlua, and a relation of the White Russian, which adds milk or cream to the whole mix.

But this is Russia and they don’t give a fuck about what you “know.”

The tag on the can is in English on one side, Russian on the other, and while close, their translation doesn’t fully line up. The English side labels the drink, “natural cognac with almond flavor,” while the Russian calls it, “real cognac.” But that’s just what we call marketing: the hippies shopping at Whole Foods (or are you guys still boycotting that?) buy it cause its natural, and the Russian bydlos buy it cause it’s real.

The Black Russian. 8.7% alcohol, retails for around a $1.

The can lists a bunch of those weird chemicals you find in every soda, with the addition of cognac (I guess real, but unspecified whether natural), and almond flavor titled, “Almond Special Advantages.”

I opened the can and poured half into a glass to let it open up and allow me to really judge the bouquet. It looked like Diet Coke (not sure if that actually looks different than regular Coke), with a rather singular bouquet (more like a flower), and smelled like an almond cookie (maybe a macaroon).

As the nose seemed rather set, I took a big swig, holding the carbonated beverage in my mouth, drawing air slowly over it in order to bring out all its subtleties. It was nutty, buttery, and candylike—as in, it tasted like candy. To be more precise, it tasted like that Tootsie Roll in the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop; not quite as good as a normal Tootsie Roll, but more satisfying because you had to work for it.

The aftertaste was slight, and the light bodied beverage did not linger much on the tongue. Overall, the drink was rather thin and singular in flavor, but, by tasting like candy, it really brought up memories of childhood, and anything that brings together drinking and children is okay by me.

Be sure to check out their amazing and beautiful website. Click the Да on the left to enter: http://black-ru.ru/

Next time, “Hooch,” which I think has blackberries in it.

 
—Hardie
Reporting from Russia

 


Apr
07
2010

To the drunkard go the spoils

Certainly drinking is its own wonderful reward. Wetting one’s whistle with the gods’ sweet nectar and being allowed passage to the pastoral paradise of perfectdom that is inebriation is second to nothing—so when tangible spoils come your way, they are but icing on a cake already made out of pure good times. I am talking about prizes: physical, no joke things that alcohol companies give you for the pleasure of enjoying their libations.

Of course the “civilized” US has put a stop to a lot of these amazing giveaways, but have no fear, because the rest of the world soldiers on. Just last night I won an amazing passport cover after drinking two beers. Two beers. That wouldn’t even get a toddler tipsy!

Has anyone else gotten down on the alcohol prize wagon? Are alcohol giveaways fully dead in the US?

I’ll keep searching over here, because really, regardless, to the drunkard go the spoils.

 
Hardie
Reporting from Russia