It’s a cocktail that will change your life. Well, not really to that extent, but at least your summer drinking habits. There might be another name for this, I don’t know. Having bought a bottle of the flowery French liqueur known as St. Germain a few weeks ago, I needed to find some use for the highly potent elderflower liquor which can be seen by many to be an acquired taste. It’s not exactly high in alcohol content, but it has a finish that tastes like you are drinking juice directly from an elderflower. Cocktails require just a splash because of its potency, and I don’t know anyone who drinks it straight. So, what kind of drink could we come up with using St. Germain? There are thousands of recipes. My friend introduced me to a wine cocktail which consisted of about an ounce each of St. Germain and gin, then topped off with champagne. It was very flavorful, though quite packed with alcohol and a little too strong if you’re having more than one.
Sure, I joked around when I heard about it. “No! Please tell me they saved the wine!” But the recent northeastern snowstorm which caused the roof of the Trader Joe’s in Westfield, New Jersey to cave in and the walls to buckle is no laughing matter. Thankfully no one was hurt, but quite a few employees are going to be out of work for some time. Unless they are transferred to the other location in the area (in Shrewsbury, but a bit of a hike at about an hour away). There is no telling how long it will be before the store reopens or if a new one is built. Due to the age of the building and immense structure damage, it’s safe to say they might have to find a new location altogether. The best case scenario is that they demolish the remains and build anew in the same spot.
Yesterday I had the chance to work with the director and editor for the Don’t Go in the House: Then and Now documentary which will be featured on the upcoming Blu Ray disc of the film. After contacting Scorpion Releasing last week, I was told that they are aiming for a June release, but that could change. Having hosted paranormal videos for different groups over the years, I am used to speaking in front of a camera. Yesterday’s experience was a little bit different though, but in a good way. To me, it was interesting seeing how shots are set-up, and how much lighting has an effect on everything. I was also mic’d for sound, which is different from how we usually record videos. While I was there to host the video and give a tour and history of Strauss Mansion, I also took it as a learning experience. I asked a lot of questions, and Andrew (who was filming) was kind enough to answer. He told me this was one of his more “fun” assignments. Being a co-producer for a paranormal web-series, I can say that we are always looking for ways to improve our content. Watching Andrew, a veteran of film-making, work yesterday really taught me a lot.
Hey, Lemmy practically drank himself to death with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, so the least they could do was honor him with a special bottle, right? I was hard-pressed to find a solitary obituary or tribute about Lemmy Kilmister that did not mention his affinity for Jack Daniel’s. After all, he drank a bottle a day and his fans seem to be fascinated by that and how he even lived to be 70 years old anyway. The distillery, in mastering the moment, jumped on the cash bandwagon and announced the release of a “Limited Edition Motorhead Whiskey”. 288 bottles of Single Barrel Select have been relabeled with the Motorhead insignia and will sell for $99 a bottle. Aww, that’s cute isn’t it? Well, I have a couple of problems with this: 1) the bottles are coming slapped with a little sign wrapped around the neck (meaning there is no special label; only on the box) and 2) these are just regular bottles of Single Barrel Select, which normally sell for $49.99. The only involvement Motorhead had in this entire scheme is selecting the actual barrel it came from. This means that you are paying $99 for something you could have had $50 cheaper probably a year down the line. Of course, the 288 bottles sold out instantly through pre-order…prompting an announcement from Jack Daniel’s that there would be a second run. Does that mean the price comes down? You tell me.
You might cringe a little bit when you read the synopsis: ants suddenly gain intelligence and begin working together to take over mankind and the world entire. Sounds like pure schlock, right? Maybe something you would see on the Scy-Fy Channel, or even worse, fill in as the sequel to The Swarm? Well, no, actually. Phase IV is about as intelligently crafted a science fiction movie as you will ever see. The theories by which these ants become intelligent are based in mysticism and nature. There is an event in outer space akin to a solar flare, and all of a sudden, ants are able to communicate with each other in more ways than before. They are able to make their own united civilization and essentially, draw up battle plans to attack a team of scientists sent to study what is going on in the area. It is ironic that this film contains no opening titles, since it was directed by the iconic title designer Saul Bass. In fact, this is the only feature film he ever directed, and by the end, you will wonder why and wish he did more.
Fans of old grindhouse cinema will be excited to learn that the cult classic exploitation horror flick Don’t Go in the House will be getting a Blu Ray release. While I do not yet have the exact date (UPDATE: they are shooting for June), I assume it will be sometime this year as work has already begun on it. I was recently contacted by a crew-member who works for the distributor and rights holder, the Seattle-based Scorpion Releasing. He asked if I would be willing to show him Strauss Mansion (the set from the movie and museum I currently work at) and also be filmed giving a tour for a “Then and Now” documentary. This will be included as a special feature on the disc. I said yes, of course, and noted to him the irony of the timing because it was just last week when I was discussing doing a similar project with our board president for the web-series I host. This, however, would be much more professional, and I am happy to be involved.
The following recipe is heavily tweaked from what I found online. My alterations were to make the dish a little cheaper, as well as much healthier. The original called for three cups of coconut milk in place of the vegetable stock I will use. I never cooked with coconut milk before, so when I got to the store, grabbed a can, and noticed that there are nine grams of fat (all saturated) for just a quarter cup, I nearly fainted. No, I told myself. That would be over 100 grams of fat for a pot of soup that serves four people, and that doesn’t even include the oil and other ingredients. So, I took a chance and swapped in the stock. To still be somewhat faithful to the recipe, I sautéed the vegetables in a little bit more coconut oil than recommended (or you could have used canola oil). While this still adds a decent amount of fat, I’ll take 20 grams for an entire pot over 100 any day. Upon completion, I tasted it, and I thought the soup was amazing. Would it be better if done the original way? I don’t know, and I really don’t care to find out either.