Monthly Archives: November 2016

Bombed out

Come what may in this crazy world that many fear is on track to go down in a ball of flames, the civility of Cocktail Hour must continue, so today we’re looking at an IBA Official Cocktail that is appropriate for a number of reasons (and comes with a message of hope).

The B52.

Invented in 1977 by bartender Peter Fich at Banff Springs Hotel, where he named it not after the massive long-range aircraft designed to carry nukes (cheery), but after his favourite band The B-52s (for the pedants out there, they dropped the apostrophe in 2008).

b52It’s easy to remember the recipe  – 20mLs each of Kahlua, Baileys (shockingly, another dropped apostrophe – doing my head in), Grand Marnier – pour in that order, carefully over back of a cold spoon to create layers and you can set fire to the top, or not.

It’s sweet and tasty, but like all shots, is more about getting bombed rather than enjoying a sociable time over a cocktail.

Surprising then that the band it was named after was formed after what is possibly the most sociable cocktail.

The B-52s came together in 1976 after the band members-to-be shared a Flaming Volcano cocktail at a Chinese restaurant in Athens Georgia (also birthplace of REM and Indigo Girls).

They didn’t have enough money to eat so chose to pool funds and share a cocktail.

The Flaming Volcano is not so much a cocktail as a s51s7qg-m-nl-_sx425_hared alcoholic experience. You don’t drink
it out of a glass, you pour a large amount of rum, brandy and juice into the purpose-built vessel like this one and drink through long straws.

The long straws are to avoid the dangers of head clashes and your hair catching hair on fire from the small flaming pit in the middle.

It’s just the sort of thing you drink in your 20s with your friend who you met at the local bong shop.

mi0003516017Thus, over a cocktail of sorts, a creative collaboration that is still delighting fans 40 years later, was sparked. And by the way, you can see The B-52s playing classics like Rock Lobster and Love Shack with Simple Minds and the Models around Australia in early 2017.

But sadly, without founding member Ricky Wilson.

December 1 is World AIDS Day.

The day is designed to raise awareness of issues surrounding HIV and AIDS.

HUGE news in 2016, with AIDS being declared to no longer be a Public Health Issue in Australia. This means that the number of people being diagnosed with AIDS each year in Australia is now so low that we can say that we are one of the only countries in the world to have beaten the AIDS epidemic.

This was inconceivable just a few decades ago when the world was gripped with a panic about AIDS. Bloody good job scientists.

Ricky Wilson, who died in October 1985 of AIDS-related illness, just ten days after Rock Hudson died, was one of the first celebrities to succumb to the disease that first started appearing in 1981.

USA President Ronald Reagan did not even mention the word – think 1101860707_400about that, a massive public health risk that was killing thousands but it was so contentious, the President of the USA wouldn’t even say its name until 1985 – perhaps inspired by the diagnosis of his friend Rock Hudson?

The 1980s were scary times and people behaved in an ugly way towards one another (see where I’m going with this?).

Families whose kids had HIV were being run out of their towns and having their houses fire bombed (good job West Virginia and Florida).

But it wasn’t just in the USA – on the same day Ricky Wilson died, this Good Weekend article appeared in Australia, looking at the cruel treatment of poor little Eve Van Grafhorst who was pushed out of day-care on NSW’s Central Coast because of fear and ignorance surrounding her AIDS. The family had to move to New Zealand to find a welcome.

Way to go Kincumber.

250px-thedayafterAdd to this the Cold War panic which gave us a genuine fear of nuclear attack by the USSR.

At school we were shown films about what we would do in the event of a nuclear attack – FYI, the answer is the same for school drills today – get under your desk. (Seriously, what do they make those desks out of?)

In 1983 we all watched terrifying movies like The Day After, to help us prepare.

The Day After is still the highest rated television movie of all time.

In brief, its message is: in times of crisis, even Steve Guttenberg may not know what to do.


These were dark times, filled with the dread and fear that many are feeling now about what one man moving into the White House might mean for peace and the treatment of minorities and women.

But here’s the thing, we got through the 80s.

Ok, there were precisely zero civil rights legislation for lesbian or gay individuals passed during Reagan’s 8 year tenure and there is still one of his appointees on the Supreme Court, 28 years after he left office.

But think of all that has been achieved in spite of that lingering – and yes, influential – legacy.

And we won’t go back because of a change in President, because Governments can’t actually tell us what to think. And we do think differently now.

The first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was held in 1978 as a protest march and the police beat the shit out of peaceful marchers and arrested 53 of them. Now the organisation is able to tell the Prime Minister he is unwelcome.

323c5eac00000578-3494517-image-m-8_1458109805975This is the same country that ignored the USA’s inaction on AIDS and started a massive public education program.

The Grim Reaper campaign had the double impact of showing us that there are actually men walking around in our country spelling Simon with an extra i, and no doubt, contributed to this year’s declaration of the AIDS crisis in Australia to be over.

Those of us old enough to remember the 1980s not only have the moral superiority of knowing that our music really was the best, we have lived through what seemed like scary times before.

So on December 1, to celebrate the amazing work of our medical scientists, public health officials and men named Siimon, have a cocktail – flaming or otherwise – and have a little faith.




With or without the D, you can keep your Long Island Iced Tea

There is an IBA Official Cocktail that I was fairly certain I wouldn’t cover. Because it’s awful.

But these are extraordinary times. So in the week of what is predicted to be an inexplicably tight US election, we need a stiff drink.

LIIT.pngEnter the Long Island Iced Tea.

Basically take everything in your drinks cabinet – tequila, vodka, rum, gin (but don’t waste any of your good stuff) – put it in a long glass with a shot of Coca-Cola to give it its tea-like hue and there you have it.

Then some people like to drink it.

Go figure.

I have lifted this photo from the Instagram account of a couple of loyal Muddlers and am advised that they enjoyed it.

Let’s be honest though, any drink on holidays is a good drink . Tom Cruise could saunter on up in his tight white pants and serve us all a round of Red Eyes on holidays and we’d down them with gusto.

The LIIT was invented in 1972 in a bar on Long Island, New York.

Long Island contains, among other counties, the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and mv5bmtc0ndmyntu3m15bml5banbnxkftztcwmjm0mtgwna-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Queens. It was the setting for The Great Gatsby, the home of George Constanza and Billy Joel, and was the setting for horror shows like The Amityville Horror and Everybody Loves Raymond.

It’s had a significant impact on State and National politics in the past and while traditionally Republican, has been delivering Democratic majorities over the past decade.

Let’s hope it continues that trend this week.

The town of Babylon on Long Island is now the subject of an FBI investigation into a possible serial killer (after the search for a missing woman turned up another – wait for it – 10 bodies by the highway in 2010/11).

More cheerfully, the same part of Long Island was also the home of the Oak Beach Inn, closed in 1999 and demolished in 2003. This was where a bartender who goes by the handle Rosebud invented the Long Island Iced Tea.

Rosebud’s name is actually Robert Butt which is ironic given the taste of his signature cocktail created for a competition for cocktails containing triple sec – Cointreau or otherwise which we profiled HERE.

There are better examples of triple sec cocktails.

But today we find ourselves contemplating an IBA “Contemporary Classic” – the Long Island Ice Tea. You’ll note that it isn’t “Iced Tea” according to the IBA. Every other reference to it I can find adds the D, including Bob Butt the inventor.

Drink one and you won’t give a rat’s darse.

It has a significantly higher alcohol content (22%) than most other cocktails, so if you want to drink to forget – say on November 9 and every day for the next four years – it is just the ticket.

This is the drink’s most frequent reference in popular culture and seemingly its primary selling point

w630_wherearetheynowgilmoregirls-1411096847992756964Like when narcissist Lorelei Gilmore downed a couple at her hen’s night before she was due to marry poor mild-mannered Max in series 2 and instead did some drunk dialing to an ex and brought the engagement to an end. I can’t judge her for that, but I can judge her for what she chooses to drink.

And I will.

The Gilmore Girls ran almost entirely during the George W Bush years, this witty and well-written (certainly at the beginning) series, giving us hope that even if the worst happens this week and Trump is elected (shudder), there may be some good things that can still happen in the world.

Here’s two.

Weather permitting, down here in Australia where we don’t get to vote for the USA 1478149228592President but will all be deeply impacted by the result, we’ll at least get to appreciate the Super-Moon of the Century on Monday November 14th.

A super-moon is a full moon when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit so it will appear bigger and brighter than at any time in the past 70 years.

Read more about it HERE – this photo from the Sydney Morning Herald shows the last Sydney super-moon in 2014 and this one is due to be BETTER.

It won’t be like this again until late 2034 so let’s hope for clear skies.

Come what may with clouds and elections, we have The Gilmore Girls revival to look forward to onedward-herrmann Netflix from the end of November (sadly without Richard Gilmore, played by the late Edward Herrmann who we saw in last week’s Halloween post as our second mild-mannered Max of this LIIT Special Edition  – this M-M Max just happened to be head vampire in The Lost Boys showing that still Maxes run deep).

I’m going to pair my Gilmore Girls viewing with wine, but if you want to drink yourself into oblivion, whipping yourself up a couple of Long Island Iced Teas is at least on-theme and may allow you to go back in time to October 2000 when the first episode aired and we had a Clinton in the Oval Office.

Let’s drink and hope for symmetry.


PS On a more sombre note, Shake, Stir, Muddle received the sad news this week of the passing of a loyal and enthusiastic Muddler. Vale Annie.