Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scotch Part III - Speyside

Today we'll be checking out Speyside, the fine scotch whisky producing region in the north-east of Scotland.  This is Part III in our ongoing scotch series!  If you missed Part I, an Introduction, or Part II, about peaty scotch producing region Islay, check them out.

Speyside has the highest number of whisky distilleries in Scotland, which is saying something considering its relative size when compared to the Highland and Lowland regions.  But it's not merely a whisky region, it was also the birthplace and longtime home of arguably the most famous literary character of all time.  Know who it is?

I'll give you some hints:

1.  It's a male.

2.  He lived in the 11th century.

3.  He was the King of Scotland.

Many of you should know who it is by now, but for those still on the fence, here's one last hint: His name sounds traditionally Scottish.  No?  Nothing?  Fine, one more: "To be, or not to be, that is the question."


So what does Speyside whisky taste like?  Here are a few ideas:

"Speysides are essentially sweet whiskies. They have little peaty character (although some have a whiff of smoke) and their salient characteristic is estery - typically, this aroma is compared to pear-drops or solvent (nail varnish remover, particularly). They can be highly perfumed: scents of carnations, roses, violets, apples, bananas, cream soda and lemonade have all been discovered in Speyside malts. They take maturation in sherry-wood well and can be rich and full bodied, medium and light-bodied." 

From thewhiskyguide.com:

"If you wish to introduce a friend to the world of whisky, a Speyside is a good choice with its rich flavour, complexity and relatively mild character."

My favorite scotches from the region at reasonable price points, are the following:

Balvenie Doublewood, 12 year old:  This is a very reasonably priced bottle, around $40 or so, and has a really nice clean taste.  Anything from the Balvenie distillery is a good choice.  I'm particularly fond of their 21 year old Portwood - it's a little over $100, so definitely more expensive.  It's fantastic though.

Macallan, anything.  You could buy their 10 year old, or something aged 25 years, and it will be great at its price-point.

Cragganmore, 12 year old: A nice little complex 12 year old bottling, worth the $40 or so that it costs.  You'll get more peat/smoke notes, but they are not overpowering in the way many Islay scotches would be overpoweringly peaty. 

Give these a try, or try one of the many other Speyside offerings - you really can't go wrong.  Wikipedia actually has a stellar listing of all of the distilleries in the region.  You can find their listing here.

Mexican Mule

And we're drinking!!  Great success!

I've been talking about the Mexican Mule for at least a week now, and we're finally giving it a try. 

Mexican Mule
The Ultimate Bar Book, page 294

2 oz gold tequila
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
3 to 4 oz chilled ginger ale

Shake all ingredients but the ginger ale vigorously with ice.  Strain into an ice-filled highball glass, and top with ginger ale.

This is a great cocktail for the end of the summer.  It's sweet, but not too sweet.  It's refreshing, shaken over ice and served over ice.  And, it's got an interesting spice to it too, in the same way a hefeweizen has a little spice. 

I wouldn't have paired ginger ale and tequila together on my own.  The combination would never have occurred to me, but, it works.  The ginger ale obviously adds some fizz, but it counterbalances from of the harsher notes of the rest of the drink (the acidity of the lime juice, the flavor of gold tequila - not my favorite flavor profile among liquors I assure you).

Also, you'll notice in the picture above that I made some simple syrup and am using my own bottling of the same.  It's incredibly easy - 1 part sugar to 1 part water, bring to boil.  Use any bottle you have lying around the kitchen, or, go purchase one of the oil/vinegar bottles at Target.  Just make sure it's clean, and refrigerate it.  I also added a tablespoon of vodka so that it keeps a bit longer (upwards of 6 months or so, though if ever looks cloudy, throw it out). 

Definitely give the Mexican Mule a go some time before the summer is out - you won't regret it. 

Also, I promised a Speyside post yesterday, and plan to put it up here this afternoon.  Until then, cheers!

Monday, August 30, 2010

What We're Drinking This Week

Definitely excited about drinking this week.  Last week, as you may recall, I wasn't feeling 100%, and alcohol didn't sound all that appealing.  This week, I'm very excited about the two drinks that we'll be trying: the Mexican Mule and the Georgia White Peach Smash.

First though, Soundtrack of the Week!

Soundtrack of the Week: The xx, "XX".  This is really wonderful Saturday morning hangover music.  It's chill beyond chill.  If you need some music to mellow out to, this is an ideal album.  My favorite song on the album is actually the first track, called "Intro."  It's an instrumental song, but it's got a really nice combination of sounds, and a really lush sound. 

Book of the Week: "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie 100 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind Them"  This is a really cool book for any cocktail lover.  It's well researched, and features a ton of drinks that can easily be made today.  My fear when purchasing the book was that it'd feature obscure alcohols and combinations that I simply couldn't put together.  My fears though, were quickly put aside when I saw the recipes.  They feature normal alcohols, with commonly available additions, like orange bitters, and simple syrup. 

What We're Drinking This Week:

First, thanks to all who wrote when I was under the weather.  I felt like crap for 24 hours, but then, healed quickly.  I don't get sick too often, so this hit me like a truck.  I'm 100% though now, and have been for about 5 days or so. 

Second, I can't tell you how excited I am for these two cocktails.  They are very different from one another, but I think they both will be stellar.

Tuesday:  Mexican Mule - tequila based, with ginger ale.

Friday: Georgia White Peach Smash - bourbon based, with peaches, obviously! 

And, as an added bonus, we'll be exploring scotch region Speyside later today.  Look for it.   Until then, have an excellent Monday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Drinks Links, and Health Update!

What's that?  You're incredibly interested in receiving a health update of yours-truly?  Aww, thanks guys! 

All kidding aside, I've been a touch under the weather of late, and while I'm on the mend (I'm probably a solid 85-90%), I didn't think it prudent to consume alcohol last night, and JB wasn't interested in acting as the stand-in taster.  As a result, we're pushing back the Mexican Mule drink, and perhaps too the Ginger White Peach Smash.  I'm very excited to drink both, but not until I'm in tip-top shape.

In the place of some quality drinks, I'm passing along some quality links:

Kansas City Bartender Competition:  Here's the thing, I'm all for bartending competitions that relate to the drinks themselves, but I'm not so keen on people who can fling a bottle around themselves.  I think such flair is often unnecessary.  Impressive, yes, but the drink is what matters.

NYC Bars - New Openings: The great thing about NYC is not merely the numerous outstanding establishments that already exist, but the steady stream of new bars and restaurants that are added to the mix.  If you're tired of the same places, no need to wait a week, a new place has probably opened since you first conceived of the idea that you even wanted a new place to go. 

London Cocktail Week: Taking place in early October, this is the first year for the event.  How is that possible?  Say what you will about the English, but there's no question that they love to booze!  I've been told on good authority that for each gin drink ordered, you get some black pudding on the side at no additional cost.  Classy.

Create your own cocktail in Boulder: Interesting idea at SALT Bistro in Boulder, CO - build your own cocktail!  I like this idea for a few reasons, not least of which is that the drinker becomes more invested in the drink they're consuming. Good on ya SALT Bistro, and solid post by Ms. Walter.

We may be drinking tomorrow, who knows!  But, I will try to deliver the quality cocktail goods you've come to expect here at The Amateur Mixologist.  Appreciate the support my friends!

Monday, August 23, 2010

What We're Drinking This Week

The Amateur Mixologist is under the weather at the moment, so today's What We're Drinking post will be short and sweet.

Wednesday: Mexican Mule

Friday: Ginger White Peach Smash

Definitely looking forward to both drinks, but, right now, I need to concentrate on hydration!  See you soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bacardi Cocktail

Wowza!  It's been an interesting last 48 hours.  Today, we'll be drinking the Bacardi Cocktail in the place of the Mexican Mule.  More on that in a minute...

E-mail went down at the office yesterday, for the entire morning and afternoon.  We couldn't send or receive e-mail, nor could we retrieve e-mails from the system generally.  In other words, if your only way to obtain contact information from someone was in an e-mail they sent, you were SOL.  It was strange to be so isolated from information that is so valuable for daily tasks.  I didn't miss the mundane e-mails that come and go, day in day out.  I did miss the opportunity to access information quickly and efficiently from prior correspondence.

In any event, today we're drinking the Bacardi Cocktail for one simple reason - I don't have any ginger ale.  None. Nada.  I started pulling the Mexican Mule ingredients together, and noticed I was missing out on one of its key ingredients.  And, it was late.  I fumbled through The Ultimate Bar Book, and found a more-than-suitable alternative: the Bacardi Cocktail!

Bacardi Cocktail
The Ultimate Bar Book, page 252

2 oz Bacardi light or gold rum
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz grenadine
Maraschino cherry

Shake the liquid ingredients vigorously with ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with the cherry.

I had a little help on the tasting of the drink from JB.  She thought that the drink tasted tart and sweet.  "It tastes like some fruity drink I would have had in college," she said. 

I agree.  This is a rather sweet, tart cocktail.  It's good, but not great.  It's similar to the Celeb_U_Bot we tried last week - a fair amount of juice and added sugar (in this case, the grenadine, the Celeb_U_Bot, good old fashioned sugar).  One of these is likely enough, if for no other reason than the juice and sugar will give you a wicked hangover if you have too many of the Bacardi Cocktail.

Next week, we will no doubt tackle the Mexican Mule, with ginger ale and all.  Until then, have an excellent weekend and drink one for me!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tomorrow - Mexican Mule

Friends!  We're going to do the Mexican Mule tomorrow, as a result of having to work a touch later than expected.  See you then!
Of course, if you need a cocktail, feel free to make a selection on the right side from one of the drinks we've made!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Yorker

Today we're drinking the New Yorker cocktail, a bourbon based drink that surprised me, even when it shoudn't have.

New Yorker
The Ultimate Bar Book, page 360

1 1/2 oz bourbon (or rye)
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon of sugar
Dash of grenadine
Orange twist
Lemon twist

Pour the bourbon and lime juice into an ice-filled old fashioned glass.  Add the sugar and grenadine and stir well  Twist the lemon and orange peels over the drink, and drop them in.

This was an unexpected flavor profile, but upon some reflection, it should not have been surprising at all.  I looked at its contents before drinking it, and despite seeing a few additions that should have clued me in, I just assumed this was related to an Old Fashioned.  It isn't.  This tastes like an alcoholic fruit drink.  A strong one, but still, the lime juice is quite prominent.  The sugar and grenadine are both adding plenty of sugar too, to cut through the tart qualities of the juice.

You'll notice that I did not include an orange twist in the cocktail.  No doubt it would have imparted some flavor to the drink, though I believe the cocktail worked out just fine without it.  As my internal rules state: never let a garnish stand between you and a cocktail.

I'd make one of these for standard summer fare, a BBQ or a gathering of friends.  I would suggest though, using a basic bourbon, as the nuance in something more expensive, like a Woodford Reserve bottle that I used, will be lost in the shuffle.

See you on Thursday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

What We're Drinking This Week

If you watched the end of the PGA Championship, you saw a rather strange and unfortunate finish.  Dustin Johnson was putting for the win, but missed his final putt, putting him in a 3-way playoff for the title. 

Not so fast though!  Dustin grounded his club in a bunker, a bunker trampled over all day by patrons, a bunker that was extremely difficult to detect given the circumstances (surrounded by thousands, many of whom were in the remainder of the bunker). 

Grounding your club (literally, placing the club on the ground in a bunker/sandtrap) is a rule violation.  As a result, Johnson was given a 2-stroke penalty, and was out of the playoff.  Obviously, there is no guarantee of victory in a playoff, but he never had the chance to compete. 

This is one of those situations in which the inherent rule-oriented quality of golf is one part a time-honored tradition, an endearing quality to the game, and another part unduly strict punishment under the circumstances.  Good on him though, for proving his mettle, returning from his collapse at the U.S. Open (a 4th round 82, at Pebble Beach).  And, of course, congratulations to the winner: Martin Kaymer.   Hopefully people remember Kaymer's steady, consistent play on the final day, more so than Johnson's horrible mistake.

Album of the Week - Cut Copy, In Ghost Colours  This album is a couple years old, and after hearing Cut Copy at Lollapalooza, I am unable to turn the album off of my iPod.  A few of these songs capture the very best sound that New Order had, with lyrics that are superb.  My favorite song on the disc, "Out There On The Ice" has a wonderful closing line "If that's what it takes, then don't let it tear us apart, even if it breaks your heart."  The whole album is filled with synth-laden dance tracks that will brighten your day, I assure you.

What We're Drinking This Week

We are drinking two distinctly different cocktails this week:

Tuesday - New Yorker - a whiskey based cocktail that will remind you of an Old Fashioned.

Thursday - Mexican Mule - tequila based cocktail with ginger ale.

Have an amazing Monday friends, see you all tomorrow!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Campari Fizz and Americano

Today we are celebrating Campari's 150th Anniversary by drinking two relatively easy drinks to make (and even easier to consume, I assure you).  We're making the Campari Fizz, a really light-on-alcohol cocktail that goes down like a quality fruit punch.  We're also making the Americano, a drink that isn't particularly alcoholic either, and has its own refreshing qualities, similar to a French soda.

Campari Fizz

If you missed yesterday's post, take a moment to read up on Campari's origin and its founder.  Both of the following drinks are found at the Campari website, Campari.com.  It is an excellent resource for all things Campari, and, they have nice short videos of their bartenders making Campari cocktails.

Campari Fizz

1 part Campari
1 part sweetened lemon juice (1 part sugar, 1 part water, 1 part lemon juice)
1 part pineapple juice
A few drops of Angostura bitters
1 part Soda

Shake all the ingredients together except the soda.  Pour into a juice glass with ice.  Round off with one part of soda.

This is an excellent, refreshing, little-alcohol cocktail.  It actually tastes a bit like grapefruit juice. This is more of a punch than anything else.  Did I already mention how little alcohol is in the drink?  Campari is about 25% alcohol, and is only 1/4 of the drinks liquid contents.  Compared to say, a martini, or a manhattan, this is just fruit juice. 

It's still a quality drink, it's just a light one.  This would be a very good drink to make by the pitcher for parties.  If you do though, be sure to add the bitters into the mix just before serving.  Bitters tend to expand their proverbial territory in a cocktail the longer they're given a chance. 


1 part Campari
1 part Vermouth Rossa
1 part Soda

Build in a double rocks glass over ice.

This is a really interesting cocktail.  The taste contains the classic bitter quality that the Campari name is known for.  It's quite good though because the sweetness from the vermouth and the fizz from the club soda provides an interesting counterbalance to the bitterness.

I think this is an excellent aperitif, something to drink before a meal.  You could easily knock back a few of these too, largely because they're so easy to whip together.  1 part of each of its contents over ice, serve.  Easy peasy.

I hope that you've enjoyed Campari week here at the Amateur Mixologist.  I've certainly enjoyed drinking the Campari cocktails.  Until next week, ciao! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Campari Primer

Last night was going swimmingly, until I realized I didn't have an ingredient for last night's drink.  Normally, that isn't a problem.  A quick run to the store solves the issue in a heartbeat.  But, it was late.  Quite late actually.  And, I made the executive decision to push off today's Campari drink onto tomorrow.  Tomorrow, we'll be doing 2 Campari cocktails - it will be a Campari cocktail party!

Lest you leave without anything gained, let's preview tomorrow's drinks by examining Campari, the liqueur, a bit further.
Campari is an Italian liqueur, invented in 1860 (this year is its 150th anniversary), originally invented by Mr. Campari himself, Gaspare Campari.  Gaspare was a drink maker.  Legend has it that he was an expert by the age of 14, working at Bass Bar in Turin.  He invented what we know as Campari using 60 different ingredients, the contents of which are known to only one individual at a time.  Campari's recipe makes the Coca-Cola secret recipe look trivial and small.  One person knows it?!?  If that guy gets into an accident, we're all screwed!

Mr. Campari

You can read more about the man, the myth, the legend, here.

Campari is considered an aperitif (a drink served before a meal to stimulate one's appetite), though, it's also often classified as a bitter (an herbal concoction made with alcohol that contains a bittersweet flavor profile).  Campari is extremely popular, and is exported to close to 200 countries.
Tomorrow, we're going to try a couple of Campari cocktails.  I highly recommend checking out the Campari website, available here, for their recipes and nice video accompaniments.

Until tomorrow, cheers!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What We're Drinking This Week

The Amateur Mixologist had to change up the schedule this week.  I'm battling a post-Lollapalooza hangover!

Not a literal hangover, mind you, but a figurative one.  Three days of concerts, and a return home at 3am with the Official Mascot in tow (she stayed at JB's parents place), and it made for a long long day.

Lolla was a ton of fun.  I've been to the Chicago-based music festival 3-4 times now, and I simply cannot imagine a better-run festival than Lollapalooza.

It's easy to get from stage to stage; you have the backdrop of the Chicago skyline; the food is remarkable (more on that in a second); getting to and from the festival is easy; and there's no shortage of drink stations (free water and Coke/beer/wine stands) as well as bathroom facilities.

Band highlights (I may be missing one or two):  Arcade Fire, The National, Cut Copy, Phoenix, Walkmen, The Strokes, MGMT, Blitzen Trapper, Black Keys, Frightened Rabbits, and the Morning Benders were among my favorite shows. 

The main drawback was a sound issue on the north lawn stages which consistently affected bands playing on either of the two stages in the grouping.  The sound would come and go to a rather large degree.  I've read that some people attributed the changes to the wind, but I don't buy that explanation.  I don't know if the speakers were faulty, or if the soundboard techs weren't on top of their game - no matter what it was, something was off.

Lolla's best kept secret is its food.  I don't know who is responsible for it, but there is clearly a directive that says that Lolla's food needs to be stellar.  And it is.  Lolla's food options make Taste of Chicago look silly (not that I thought Taste of Chicago was good, or representative of Chicago's stellar culinary scene, but I digress).

Food highlights:  Graham Elliot's lobster corndog, Kuma's Corner's Iron Maiden and Judas Priest burgers, and everything available at Sunda (my favorite was the Asian chicken salad).

[Photos of The National, and Blitzen Trapper, respectively, gratuitously ripped from the Lolla Flickr page...all rights are theirs]

Soundtrack of the Week: Crowded House "Intriguer"
  For those who remember "Four Seasons in One Day" and "Weather With You", this album will no doubt be familiar.  But, this is by far and away their most rocking album to date.  Imagine Crowded House getting a bit dirty with their sound, and playing small clubs - this is album would be the result of their time spent in such smaller venues.  My favorite track is "Amsterdam" - which reminded me of my trip back in March, and describes cool parts of the city and its overall vibe. 

What We're Drinking This Week

This week we're going to focus on Campari, the Italian liqueur that is celebrating it's 150th anniversary this year. Also, take note, we have a different schedule than normal due to the Lolla hangover, previously mentioned above.

- Thursday - Americano - Campari and vermouth are the main ingredients here.

- Friday - Campari Fizz - this is a fun cocktail with admittedly little alcohol in it - but, it's summer, and this will be extremely refreshing.

Should be a great, albeit hot, week!  See you on Thursday!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I'm heading to Chicago today for Lollapalooza.  It's one of my favorite music festivals, and is always put on in an excellent fashion.  Like most festivals, I go because of the middle-acts and not the headliners.  This year, some of my favorite bands, like The National and Arcade Fire will be playing.  Some new bands that I love, like Yeasayer, will be there as well. 

Hope you all have an excellent weekend as well - maybe this cocktail will put you well on your way:

(You can find the recipe at the Svedka vodka website.)

Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously.
Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge (optional).
  • 2 parts SVEDKA Vodka
  • 1 part Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Sugar (or Simple Syrup)
  • Splash Lemon Juice

This is a flavorful cocktail, more flavorful than most vodka based cocktails.  The lime juice is strong, adding a nice sour kick to the cocktail.  My friend Justin, who was over drinking this with me, thought that it was "sweet, with a slight bitter feeling to it."  He added "you can hardly tell you're drinking any alcohol."

It is sweet, without a doubt, but it works.  It's similar to any sour drink you'd make, and since the vodka isn't imparting any noticeable flavor, you're going to get a lot of the lime juice on your palate.

Alright friends - I'm off to see some music!  See you next week!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Celeb_U_Bot Update

We're bumping the Celeb_U_Bot to tomorrow's agenda as a result of one too many glasses of wine consumed the night before.  Sometimes, drinking gets in the way of drinking.  :)

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Today we are drinking the Canecutter, a cocktail I found at the drinksmixer.com website, a clearinghouse for drink recipes.  It's a good resource for finding random drinks or shots, and you can search by the alcohol or drink name.  Much of it is reader-submitted, so use a discerning eye, lest you find yourself mixing 1 part Everclear and 1 part tonic (maybe that's your drink of choice, I don't know).

Recipe available here: http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink2673.html

1 oz dark rum
1 oz Kahlua
Ice first, then add rum, Kahlua and fill with Coca Cola. 

I wasn't entirely convinced of this drink until I tasted it.  It is really good!  Each component can be tasted, and together, it is one hell of a cocktail.  When you think about it, these flavors pair well together - coffee, dark rum, and coke make sense.  They are each rich in their own way, and over ice, the drink isn't excessively sweet. 

I think I used about 1.5-2oz of Coke, adding it to the top of the drink.  It ends up being the right amount to add.  Any more, and you're diluting the flavor in the alcohol.  Dark rum and Kahlua are fairly easy drinking, as alcohols go, making this a smooth cocktail all around.

I'd drink this before a night out and about.  It's a good pre-bar cocktail, because it isn't too sweet, it isn't too heavy, and when served over ice, it's fairly refreshing.  I could definitely see myself having more than one.

On Thursday we're drinking the Celeb_U_Bot, a vodka based cocktail you won't want to miss!  And, if time permits, we'll do a special scotch entry, continuing our ongoing series on the alcohol on Friday.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 2, 2010

What We're Drinking This Week

We've got a busy week ahead, with a couple interesting cocktails served up on Tuesday and Thursday.  But first, we have the obligatory Soundtrack of the Week as well as an extended foray into the Book of the Week.  If you just want to see what we're drinking, scroll down to the bottom, I won't be offended.

Soundtrack of the Week:  Arcade Fire "The Suburbs"  When Arcade Fire burst onto the scene in 2005, they were a revelation.  Their music was intricate, sincere, and resonated in a way that other bands could not imitate.  Try and listen to Rebellion without wanting to run through a brick wall, I dare you.  But after their debut album "Funeral", Arcade Fire turned in an album that was good but not great.  Hardly a sophomore slump by any means, "Neon Bible" just had to follow one of the best albums of the last 10 years - not a small feat to achieve.

With much of the weight from past success behind them, Arcade Fire's newest effort offers some classic songs.  The title track The Suburbs is crushing.  The lyric "Sometimes I can't believe it, I'm moving past the feeling" is stunning within the song, and a great line all its own.  The song Modern Man kicks the lyrical can further down the road, when Win sings "So I wait in line, I'm a modern man; and the people behind me, they can't understand; make me feel like; something don't feel right."

It's fitting that Mad Men's newest season coincides with the release of this album.  Both the TV show and this album heavily rely upon the notion that suburban life, modern life, are both incredibly false in their nature.  Arcade Fire has built out a niche with social commentary, and serious reflections of the modern family.  "The Suburbs" seems in many ways to be its own follow-up to "Funeral", almost a prequel to a family's existence and lives. 

"The Suburbs" comes out tomorrow.

Book of the Week: "Bananas: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World" by Dan Koeppel

As you have likely gathered by now, I'm a sucker for books about food (I recommended Apples by Frank Browning a few weeks back).  Bananas is a rather striking book, largely because at least half of the book is a discussion of the various maladies that threaten the banana's existence. 

We eat one variety of banana, the Cavendish.  If you go to a specialty store, you might find a couple other banana varieties, but 99% of the US market is Cavendish bananas.  Compare this to the apple market, and it's a very different beast.  We can buy upwards of a dozen apple varieties at a given store.  Bananas though - Cavendish.

Why is that?  Well, long story short - the Cavendish is one of the few bananas that had a taste-profile that was acceptable to the US market, while also ripe (see what I did there?) for production and seeming immunity to the main disease at the time of its rise in prominence, Panama disease.  The Cavendish replaced the Gros Michael banana in the 1950s, after the Gros Michel (considered a superier banana in taste) succumbed to Panama disease.

Like any monoculture, the banana plant faces serious threats from disease because if the plant is not resistant to a particular ailment, the entire crop will suffer.  The Cavendish is threatened primarily by Panama disease and Black Sagitoka.  Both diseases threaten the banana supply.  Once either malady reaches a banana crop, all of the banana plants in the area are done-for. 

At the moment, scientists are working to find a replacement to the Cavendish, a banana that is resistant to Panama disease and Black Sagitoka.  It's not an easy task though, as bananas are extremely difficult to reproduce.

I think Bananas is an excellent primer on the subject of the fruit, delving a little too briefly at times on the effect it has had on various developing countries.  No doubt entire books could be written on the destructive path United Fruit (now Chiquita) tore through much of South America and the Caribbean. 

So, with that, here's What We're Drinking This Week:

- Tuesday - Canecutter - Rum based, with some Kahlua and Coke, served over ice.

- Thursday - Celeb_U_Bot - Taken from the Svedka vodka cocktail archives - featuring vodka, lime juice, sugar, and a small amount of lemon juice.  Sound good.

See you all tomorrow!
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