Cock-trails: Or, How to keep cocktailing when you travel

100903happydays1

Remember when Fonzie went to sunny California and water-skied over a shark? Of course you do.

Back in the late 1970s/early 80’s, water-skiing promised to play a much bigger part in my adult life – particularly vacations – than has eventuated to date.

gogos
It seemed inevitable that there would be many episodes of matching-outfitted in-formation water-skiing with my friends on endless summer days, like The Go-Go’s 1982 clip for Vacation. (Watch this and tell me you won’t want to be sassy brunette guitarist Jane Wiedlin too. I did in 1982 and I’m pretty sure I still do).

Not once. Not even living an hour from the Gold Coast.

SUP Caz.jpg

(Although more recently life has included this magnificent Stand-Up Paddle-boarding form so there has, in fact, been some of the anticipated water-based glamour the 1980s promised).

 

 

It seems water-skiing doesn’t occupy to same place in popular culture that it did four decades ago. And frankly, we’re all the poorer for it.

But Fonzie jumping the shark has survived in many memories.

You’d remember that some studio heavies had their car break down in Milwaukee. There they discovered the charismatic mechanic and called him out to Hollywood for a screen test.

You’d remember it was Ralph Malph who managed to get Fonzie into the situation of needing to jump the shark for a dare. And no doubt you’d remember that within hours of arriving, the multi-talented Richie Cunningham had bravely transcended the ginger’s natural aversion to the bright California sunshine and mastered speed-boat driving to tow the Fonz to victory.

What you may not remember is that it was actually FANTASTIC.

 

You may have forgotten this important fact because Jon Hein decided to use the expression “Jump the Shark” as shorthand for something that has its best days behind it. And we have all been doing it.

Easy to mock it now, in this age of television like Breakilonestarng Bad and Game of Thrones, but this was the 1970s.

And consider this; the Jumping the Shark episode first appeared on George R.R. Martin’s 29th birthday in 1977 (right about the time this photo from his website was taken).

Two years later he became a full-time writer. The link is obvious – it INSPIRED him.

As it does another writer with a birthday on the SAME DAY – me.

Conclusive.

Sure Happy Days did limp on long after it had run its course, but I submit Your Honour, that the real decline did not occur until nearly three seasons after their return from California (the beginning of Season 5).

Exactly the time Richie stopped making regular appearances on the show. At the end of Season 7.

In Neighbours, they send everyone to Queensland, in Happy Days you’re sent to join the Army (except Chuck, where I don’t think they even bothered explaining).

If you’re desperate to make an argument that Happy Days started to die when everyone went to California, make it not about the shark-jumping, but something that happened in the exact same story-line.

In the first of the three Hollywood episodes that culminated in the dramatic shark-jump (featuring actual Henry Winkler water-skiing – don’t see that on Game of Thrones now do you?) we were introduced to a sinister new character.

Yes, noted Donald Trump supporter, Scott Baio imposed himself on us as Chachi Arcola in the Hollywood story line. And he was there when Happy Days breathed its last breath.

I rest my case.

So how about we stop saying something jumped the shark and instead say it “Coughed up 280px-chachi_arcolaa Chachi”.

Who’s with me?

Well that’s settled then, back to your holiday planning.

Anyway, when the Fonz went to Hollywood he took everyone. Everyone. Because we all need a vacation every now and then.

Even you. And you’ll need to leave your cocktail cart at home.

Fear not though, with a little planning, you can take your cocktail show on the road without blowing your baggage allowance.

  1. No Ice? No Dice.

I’m assuming you’re holidaying somewhere with a freezer. Because it’s 2016, and what sort of holiday makes you pretend it’s 1840?

If you don’t have ice, you’re probably staring down the barrel of a cocktail-free holiday.

So pack an ice tray and consider investing a few dollars in one like this that makes larger cubes.

2. Your cup runneth over

Then think about your available glassware.

Nothing screams “I’m relaxing” more than a martini in my hand. But after recent experiments, I have decided to leave that to the professionals when I travel.

2016-02-28 18.32.37-2.jpgFor one reason. Martini glasses.

Last summer we experimented with plastic martini glasses – no good, it made even the ice-cold, high-quality gin we used taste like rocket fuel.

A better option – and one embraced by some bars (but I disapprove) – is to use a wine glass. It tastes better, but somehow doesn’t feel like a real martini.o

Most places you go – even crappy motels – will have glassware that can serve as an adequate low-ball. This is perfect for many cocktails.

 

3. Base camp

Then have a think about your base spirit and pick one.

Look for a spirit that gives you at least two cocktail options. A Cocktail Hour without options is really just having a drink.

In most cases you’ll be looking for cocktails you can stir rather than shake.

Of course you can – and I do – travel with your cocktail shaker, but I accept that not everyone feels the need to do that. Do take your vegetable peeler though. A good twist should not be left to chance.

And while it’s cheating, since it is another bottle of alcohol and I’ve said you only need take one, there is no recorded history of anyone ever regretting taking a bottle of bitters on holiday.

2016-04-15 14.18.04.jpgYou choice may well be weather dependent. I went away to the beach last week and the forecast was for rain and cold so took bourbon and whisky but would probably have preferred some gin and citrus cocktails in the warm weather.

Live and learn.

Gin. Vodka. Rum. They’re probably your best base spirits to create a range of quality cocktails without needing a lot of sophisticated equipment. The list below offers links to simple but delicious holiday cocktail options.

Remember that a cocktail has at least three ingredients but only one of them needs to be alcohol – all the other ingredients should be relatively easy to access in most holiday destinations.

It won’t be the greatest cocktail of your life in terms of bartending finesse, but everything, everything tastes better on holidays.

Cheers!

 

Gin

Tom Collins – gin, sugar syrup, lemon juice, soda water, bitters

Salty Dog – gin (or vodka), grapefruit juice, salt

Red Snapper – gin, tomato juice, lemon juice, garlic, horseradish, tabasco etc etc – recipe plus bonus Bronze Fonz statue

 

Vodka

Bloody Mary – vodka, tomato juice, tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper

Moscow Mule – vodka, ginger beer, lime juice

Screwdriver – vodka, orange juice, soda water

 

Rum (and if you’re looking for a new rum to try, The Grove Caribbean Spiced Rum from Western Australia just won Best in Show for Flavored Rums at San Francisco World Spirits Competition in March 2016. I haven’t tried it yet)

Cuba Libre – rum, coke, lime juice

Dark N Stormy – rum, ginger beer, bitters, lime

Aunt Agatha – rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, bitters

 

One thought on “Cock-trails: Or, How to keep cocktailing when you travel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s