Monday, December 31, 2012

Ombudsman's Report 2

We're back with another Ombudsman's Report, this one to look back on the year prior and tie up a loose end or two.

Ombudsman: Well?

MoD: That's it? You're not going to nitpick?

Ombudsman: The recipes and writing have been more consistently strong after we last talked, ahem.

MoD: Passive-aggressive much, are we?

Ombudsman: When we deign. Still, that you're doing work that gets mentioned by brands speaks to their quality and is quite an achievement. Solerno has done special Facebook posts for Hebe and Sun King's Crown, and Urban Moonshine sent out a newsletter featuring Karya. (no telling how much time was needed to test those recipes, what with the more intricate ingredients involved in each)

MoD: Each one of which I'm very proud. It's not something I would've imagined happening, or at least not nearly so quickly, when I started Feu de Vie. The learning curve's been a bit rough, but I think I've gained a better sense of what balance means and how important it is. Also, not stopping and settling when you know a recipe isn't quite right.

Ombudsman: Balance in all things, of course.

MoD: Woo boy, yeah. Testing Tiki drinks on a tight schedule is not something I'm going to do again - big kudos to those who Tiki regularly. It's good to have learned some limits, learned how and when to ease off and give it a rest, and then learned how to re-approach more judiciously. Planning a cocktail with a good sense of the ingredients and how they work together in a structure or formula is a way to save time and liquor cabinet resources (and your liver). I'm also more ok with pouring a drink down the drain if it isn't there - no sense in drinking something if it isn't good, and it better enables me to continue this blog over the longterm.

To throw a slight wrench into the above, formulas can be crutches. They can be great when you're looking to dash a recipe out and nail it first time, like say, for a holiday party during a period when you're trying to abstain. But I'm also already noticing a touch of dependence on the Sidecar structure that I want to move away from (even though it served as the foundation for possibly my first got-it-all-together recipe El Clavel Rojo hey, for whatever reason it's been getting a lot of love recently - thanks to whoever's been spreading the word, of all my recipes to me that one is an especial jewel). When I started Feu de Vie, I was pretty much a know-nothing from the hinterlands feeling my way through to complete recipes - maybe I miss the Use-the-Force-like intuition of the early days, but starting with a template can be problematic from an artistic perspective in first seeing the structure, but not the cocktail itself with all its flavor intricacies. I feel seeing things anew each time and being able to innocently ask "Why not?" (and only bringing in structure at the end to firm up the proportions) helps to keep things interesting, at the very least. Again, balance.

Ombudsman: But you'll still be making the wild and crazy garnishes, right?

MoD: Goodness gracious, yes. Mixology Monday has been nothing short of spectacular on so many levels: the sense of vibrant community, getting to see what special things everyone comes up with every month. And it thrilled me tremendously that the Fall Carnival helped inspire November's Garnish Grandiloquence theme. Now to improve the timing of my posts..

Ombudsman: So then, the loose ends?

MoD: I'd like to first give a big shout-out to Dagreb, the Garnish God. Back in October I may have done a little muse-ly poking and prodding to see what he could do with Jack-o-Lantern garnishes, which, wow (and doesn't that first one have a cheeky l'il grin?). I was working on a Cinderella's Coach recipe - now finished - and wanted to throw in a shout-out to his pumpkin work since I wound up doing something similar, but got bogged down in writing a side-story to go with it for the post. My dear departed Boomer (my Twitter avatar) would feature, and me and my little Sidecar buddy would banter cutely as we chased after the Coach. The Great Clobbering of October got the better of me, but I figured I'd still have time the week after Halloween what with All Saints/All Souls/First Day of Winter on the 8th, etc.. Then the family dog Peanut died after a long illness, and well... I should (I hope) have it in me to finish that post in time for next Halloween - shout-out intact.

Secondly, I've been intimating some drink ideas on Twitter. The Anti-Cider needs to be taken back to the drawing board, Fortune Teller needs more ingredient exploration, Candy Corn Shooters need to be redone with the right ingredients - all for next autumn, naturally - I do like to keep seasonal, and it's one way to manage the overflowing number of idea drafts. Vanilla Lace Bitters posts tomorrow, after a delay due to recipe modification. You should then see follow-up recipes exploring its usage later this week in La Dame de Chantilly and The Lady's Piercing Eyes.

So stay tuned, and thanks for visiting! Feu de Vie just passed the 4,000th hit mark today. I'm grateful for your interest and hope to keep bringing the joy and wacky ideas for 2013! Happy New Year!