Tag Archive | writing

MICHEL TORNINO CUMA TORRONTES—Celebrating another Liebster

My Fellow Inebriates,

I was lucky enough to get nominated for another Liebster Award yesterday by the Lords of the Drinks.

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It’s been a long time since I was included in one of these awesome award chains—probably because I’m usually too drunk to read a ton of blogs, which makes me a real douchebag as far as the blogging community is concerned. But I do appreciate the nod, and despite already having a Liebster on my mantel, I’m going to treat it like an Oscar and put the new one beside it, with the understanding that I can stockpile as many of these damn things as I want, and the caveat that someday the Academy will hate me for it.

The Liebster comes with 11 highly topical questions formulated by the Lords of the Drinks. Here goes…

  1. What country are you from? CANADA.
  2. What’s your age? THE AGE OF REASON. YES, THAT MEANS I’M 7. BEARS ONLY LIVE TO BE ABOUT 32, AND THAT’S IF THEY DON’T GET SHOT FOR RAIDING SOMEONE’S CAMPSITE.
  3. How old were you when you first got drunk? A COUPLE OF DAYS OLD. I HAD JUST COME TO LIVE AT THE LIQUOR STORE AS A CHRISTMAS CHARITY BEAR, SO IT WAS INEVITABLE.
  4. What’s your favorite drink? GIN. AND RED WINE. AND BEER. AND SCOTCH. AND RYE.
  5. How many units of alcohol do you approximately drink per week? EIGHT, UNLESS I GET INCREDIBLY LUCKY.
  6. What kind of drunk are you (angry, sleepy, extra-social, horny, dramatic, dancing, etc.)? SOCIAL, EXTROVERTED, AMOROUS, HAPPY, SLEEPY, IN THAT ORDER.
  7. Is there any interesting local drinking custom, ritual, or game that you can share with us? LATELY I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT YUKAFLUX, THE CANADIAN PRACTICE OF FLOATING CHUNKS OF FRUIT IN A COMMUNAL TUB OF HARD LIQUOR.
  8. Describe your most epic drunk night. “MOST”? I WOULD NEVER REMEMBER THE MOST EPIC ONE.
  9. Which drink (or mix) is certain to screw you up? TEQUILA WITH AN ILL-CONSIDERED WHITE WINE CHASER.
  10. Got any tips on how to have a good (drunk) night for little money? STAY AT HOME AND DRINK CHEAP HARD LIQUOR FROM A PLASTIC JUG.
  11. Is there a relatively unknown drink you can recommend us? RECENTLY AN ISLAY GIN HIT THE MARKET. I’M SALIVATING TO TRY IT.
I'd like to thank the Academy, which I hope will note the tasteful way P's kelly-green gown covers my six nipples.

I’d like to thank the Academy, which I hope will note the tasteful way this kelly-green gown (who’s dressing me? why, Miss P, of course…although I am a boy bear, damn it) covers my six nipples so tastefully.

And how do we celebrate our second Liebster? Why, with a gorgeous, aromatic Argentine Torrontés of course. Not only is MICHEL TORINO CUMA TORRONTES (2012) organic; it’s also a bargain at $13.99.

Torrontés is fast becoming my favorite varietal, with its lush, floral aromas and easy drinkability. The name Torrontés actually describes several types of grape, all originating with Muscat of Alexandria and varying in degree of fruity aromaticity. CUMA grapes come from the Cafayate region of northern Argentina, a landscape of dramatic variety situated about 1,700 metres above sea level where Tannat and Chardonnay grapes are also grown with great success.

CUMA torrontesCUMA is on the Consultants’ Choice rack at our local booze shop right now, and for good reason. Generously aromatic with apple, nectar, honey, melon, and spice, its olfactory invitation simply can’t be ignored. Even my dad, after trying a sip from Mum’s my  glass, went to the cupboard for his own glass, then matched me sip for sip until most of the bottle was gone. CUMA goes a step beyond FINCA LOS PRIMOS TORRONTES with an additional layering of flavors, firm structure, and decisive minerality. The finish is middling, so you find yourself going for the next sip sooner than you otherwise might and getting slightly drunk as a result. In other words, all good.

What makes CUMA’s value extraordinary is its organic methodology. Indeed, the word “CUMA” means “clean and pure” in the pre-Incan Aymara language. Michel Torino adopted ecological “zero farming” practices back in the 1990s, using organic material from the soil and weeds to farm the vineyards, thereby minimizing the use of chemicals and fertilizers, and achieving organic certification in 2005.

CUMA’s finesse and sophistication go beyond its modest price. It was the perfect bottle to celebrate a second Liebster, although—let’s face it—once I was half-shitfaced I had no inclination to go through the formalities of passing the torch. Go ahead, call me a dickhead.

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And the award goes to…DR. FUNK DUNKEL

My Fellow Inebriates,

We have fallen off the wagon.

Not that wagon. That wagon has left town.

The writing wagon. First we went away for the holidays, then the computer needed a brain transplant, then my parents got super-busy…next thing you know this blog had become an afterthought—with the abysmal stats to show for it.stats Feb 2013

Not that it’s ever had great stats! Even after being Freshly Pressed (which turns out to be a bit like the Oscar curse), this space is less a blogging thoroughfare than some random, deviant alleyway into which a lapse in judgment might propel you. My stats suck so much, MFI, that I don’t even really look at them anymore.

So I couldn’t have been more surprised to receive a nomination this week.

Very Inspiring Blogger award

Egad, what the hell is that? Flattering, no doubt, but the majority of LBHQ’s inhabitants shudder  to think what sorts of activities this blog inspires. But we’ll take it, right?

The kind nomination came from ONCE A PERSON, NOW A PARENT (resonant, wouldn’t you say?). Even though I was never a person or a parent, it resonates with me—at least at the intersection of family life and alcohol (and there is one).

These awards come with rules, which my two neurons usually forget or mangle somehow, but the gist is you have to:

  1. Display the award.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and notify them by linking to one of their posts.

Before I distort these rules, I should mention my neurons have been bathing in PHILLIPS DR. FUNK DUNKEL, a Bavarian dark lager my dad found this evening. After flagellating each other for a while, the two brain cells decided we would nominate 4 fellow bloggers so that we could spend some time explaining why they inspire us and still have time to flood ourselves with more DR. FUNK DUNKEL.

2742_drfunkWhich is to say we like it. Neurons 1 and 2 agree—it pours a dark but clear chocolate hue with tan froth that laces the glass generously and lingeringly while issuing agreeable caramel, malt, and coffee notes, plus some more basic roasty-toasty chords with perhaps a little metal. Victoria-based Phillips Brewing Company has a definite “house” tasting note, and while it’s present in DR. FUNK, it’s not amped up. Sniff this stuff and you’ll want more.

On the palate DR. FUNK is crisp and punchy with a delicious malty payoff: chocolate, coffee beans, and nuts with nicely balanced hops that linger pleasantly. The mouthfeel is creamy despite generous carbonation, creating the sort of equilibrium that couldn’t otherwise be communicated across my solitary synapse. This dunkel offers all sorts of interesting stuff without any big taste departures; it’s a pleaser without sucking up. And the ABV? At 5% DR. FUNK isn’t the creeper my brain cells and I favor, but as with our newfound award, we’ll take it.

7 things

Okay, so 7 things about yours truly. This is a toughie, because I want to share 7 new(ish) things, and let’s face it, I have bugger-all going on.

  1. I sleep with my eyes open, especially when Fluffy the possessed bear is nearby.
  2. The song “How Soon Is Now?” by the Smiths is often stuck in my head.
  3. One day I would like to visit the Creationist Museum and join one of its willfully fact-blind tours. Maybe I could ride one of the animatronic dinosaurs (the way people did 6000 years ago)… ;)
  4. The funniest book I read last year was “The Corrections” by Jonathan Franzen.
  5. I really hope my parents dissuade 7-year-old Miss P from joining Brownies. It seems to be all about conformity.
  6. Sometimes I like one of the kids better than the other, and just when I start feeling guilty about it, my preference shifts to the other.
  7. BONUS FACT!! I lack a functional anus.

And now for the nominations:

A Clown on Fire. All those things I should be doing with this blog, Le Clown is doing, and more. He has a hell of a community, a zillion comments per post, and too bad if you’re offended. Le Clown sets the bar for carnies like me.

Artstormer. Life without art would be almost as meaningless as life without alcohol. I never miss an Artstormer post.

Beerbecue. If you thought my reviews got a little tangential, check out beerbecue’s. The difference is, he brings everything into focus, PLUS he actually knows about beer. All while breathing the eucalyptus-and-gin kavorka of Barry the koala.

Cider Monger. Who knew what a multiplicity of ciders existed beyond my local booze shop? Cider has been badly neglected at LBHQ but reading Cider Monger will get us educated.

That’s it: 4 nominations. No matter how good your blog is and how much I admire it, my paws are tired of clicking on that little “link” icon. Besides which, nominating just 2 bloggers would make this shout-out sufficiently exponential, 4 ensures everyone everywhere will get a nomination even if they’re just standing around scratching their genitals, and 15…15 might collapse the whole goddamn universe.

LBHQ: The year in pictures

OMG, my fellow inebriates, I almost slept through the my anniversary. Only by accident did I even realize this daily dose of randomness is a year old. Holy crap, how did that happen?

One year ago I had no idea what this thing was going to be about. Well, sure, I knew it would be about liquor, but I didn’t even have any idea what to say. Uh, liquor is good? The picture above was my banner, then this one…

Up until the blog, scenes like this defined my life:

But as the humans around me realized I was actually going to do this blog thing for real, scenes like the one below became more the norm. This day in November is still one of the most awesome I’ve ever had. My parents’ friend Pixie gave me a bottle of Crystal Head vodka—the best breakfast ever.

I loved that bottle, even though the vodka was kind of crappy.

But vodka wasn’t the only inspirational liquid to flow into LBHQ. When I learned our liquor store was no longer carrying one of my favorite products, Broker’s Gin, I hastened to contact Broker’s and ended up making one of the best friends I’ve ever had. I know Broker’s Gin Business Development Manager Julia Gale would do anything for me, as I would for her.

While I couldn’t have my beloved gin (and still haven’t got it, although I’ve cheated on Julia with at least half a dozen other brands this year), I did have art. In January artist Dan Lacey kindly sent me a print:

Blogging ideas often came unbidden…

But it wasn’t as challenging as you might think to connect subjects to alcohol.

Still, I had other obligations at home…

I lived in terror. When I wasn’t involved in “play,” I was listening to Scarybear’s prophecies about the end of the world. And then there was Fluffy…

Harboring the ghost of my dead Granny, Fluffy had arrived recently from Ireland. Our home would never be at peace again…bumps in the night, freaky cold spots, big wads of paper jamming up the toilet. Was there nothing Fluffy wouldn’t do to terrify us?

I needed distractions.

Some distractions were good, others not so good…

I tried to account for myself.

I had projects to do. Talking a bunch of gummy bears into (accidentally) a suicide mission was just one of them. (I didn’t know they’d melt in the Bacardi Big Apple.)

Depressed, I went to my friend Blackie for help.

I don’t think he’s a real psychiatrist. He’s not supposed to laugh, is he?

Another project that did not go well. So I just tried to figure stuff out.

I learned all about colonoscopies.

But I couldn’t figure this out.

We moved headquarters in August and my parents liquidated our already meager stock.

I don’t think my mother ever cleans the sink; it tasted horrible.

I went on a deep search for wisdom. I was lost, people. Living with functioning human beings who didn’t descend nightly into a drunken binge wasn’t working for me. I needed a message—some sort of message that everything was going to be okay…

I think it’s going to be okay.

Thanks for reading, my fellow inebriates! You’ve made me so happy this past year. Let me know what you’re drinking tonight :)

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