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The balls you want in your CROWN ROYAL RESERVE

Whaaat, my fellow inebriates? You say you don’t want balls in your Canadian whisky?

Well, you might want balls in your Canadian whisky if they were THESE balls.

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That’s right, my fellow inebriates! Giant balls of ice!

My dad brought home these spherical ice moulds for my mum’s birthday a while back. At first she was very ungrateful, not having ever expressed a wish for such things, but after experiencing them in a rock glass of CROWN ROYAL RESERVE Canadian rye whisky, she repented of her birthday brattiness and agreed that Dad had found a good thing.

20170118_2008191Now, whether you should add ice to your whisky in the first place is its own controversy. If your whisk(e)y is cask-strength OR cheap and nasty, you need no excuse. But what about a reasonably nice rye whisky like CROWN ROYAL RESERVE? Purists might urge you to drink it neat—all the better to fully experience it. And adding water (not ice) can actually help release flavours in a good whisk(e)y that might not otherwise come out, by breaking the surface tension of the drink and creating a reaction that releases aromas. But ice? That’s where purist and drinkers like my mum diverge.

Adding ice to whisk(e)y isn’t unforgivable, but it does limit the “nose.” If you have a very high-quality beverage, purists will urge you very strongly to forgo the ice. But if you, like the dwellers of LBHQ, are on a soul-destroying budget, well, you’re gonna want to add ice your wretched but affordable swill.

crown-royal-reserveSo how did a thing like CROWN ROYAL RESERVE enter our house? Not for donkey’s years has my mother purchased a rye that didn’t come in a plastic bottle.

It was my Uncle J (who doesn’t know I call him that) who brought this delightful premium version of CROWN ROYAL to LBHQ. In kneejerk fashion, we got out the ice (and the Coca Cola in Uncle J’s case) and went to town on the bottle. While we can’t report what it tastes like neat, we nonetheless detected CROWN ROYAL RESERVE’s notes of maple and caramel, its smoothness and its balance. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for with its well-behaved sippability. All of us went back for a second belt, and my mum crunched her ice into nothing.

Which is probably why Dad bought her the ice balls. When you have a mouthful of screaming dental work as my dad does, listening to your wife of 13 years crunch the shit out of the ice in her CROWN ROYAL RESERVE must make you want to call a lawyer. Hats off to my dad for taking the high road and buying her ice balls instead, underappreciated though they were initially.

A few warnings about these very large balls:

You have to be smart about how you put them in your drink.

RULE ONE: Ice first. You cannot pour your rye and then chuck one of these balls in. You’ll lose your rye. And yes, Mum tried it.

20170116_1959091RULE TWO: Be careful. These are big honking balls. Even if your rock glass is empty, you mustn’t drop them in or you’ll risk breaking the glass. And yes, Mum tried that too. (Run hot water over the spherical ice mould to loosen the ice ball, take off the ice-mould lid, put the glass upside down over the mould and then flip it right-side-up with the iceball pressed against the bottom of the glass. Voila!

RULE THREE: Knowing that you can’t put your booze in the glass first, if you’re concerned about measuring that booze, you won’t be able to use the iceball-filled glass as a visual measure for your pour-line—at least not until you get used to having big balls in your glass. Grab a jigger so you can measure your booze and then pour it onto the ice.

And if you don’t want to measure, that’s fine too. No car keys, though, my fellow inebriates! Stay home and keep pouring CROWN ROYAL RESERVE over the ice until it melts. Your balls will stay with you all night long.

FEENEY’S IRISH CREAM—For breakfast, while being watched

My fellow inebriates,

I promised you a sob story revealing why my typists (aka Mum and Dad) have left me to twiddle my thumbless paws for over a year now while my blog wallows in the lowest reader stats it’s ever seen.

But then I had breakfast (aka FEENEY’S IRISH CREAM), which had been lurking in the back of the fridge since Christmas. Obviously my mum was the last tippler, because the top was barely on (she has no idea how to close anything; either it’s barely on or it’s hopelessly misthreaded and you have to bash it against the sink to get it open). Anyway, it was my mum’s incompetence that enabled my miraculous Feeney’s breakfast.

An odd breakfast, you say?

feeneys-2You wouldn’t say that if it was in a morning coffee on New Year’s Day, would you? Then it would be okay. Or if you were camping. If you’re camping anything goes! To further make my case, I had no idea what date it was today. For all I knew, it could have been New Year’s Day. I don’t pay attention to calendars. So I slipped the top off the Feeney’s, inserted a straw, and…OMG, my fellow inebriates, what a yummy breakfast! You have to try this, people. Never mind what day it is. I suggest doing it just because it’s a day.

A 750mL bottle of Feeney’s sells at our local booze store for $20.99. That’s $6 less than the more famous Bailey’s Original Irish Cream. So how does it compare?

If you ask my dad, who immediately noted the price difference, he’ll say Feeney’s has nothing on Bailey’s. Ask my mum, presumably responsible for the half-bottle’s worth missing before I discovered it for breakfast, and she’ll say it’s practically identical. Made with cream and aged Irish whisky, Feeney’s is rich and luxurious, smooth and slightly chocolatey. Perhaps it tastes different (better?) than Bailey’s—but who knows? I’d have to urge my parents to buy both at once, and that’s about as likely as an asteroid hitting the house. Nope, the holiday season is over, and we probably won’t see either beverage until next winter.

2016-12-17-09-41-57Totally aside, but just to give you a small update of what’s been going on at LBHQ, while I consumed my delicious Feeney’s breakfast, I was observed by GERBILS. Yes, for the past 13 months, gerbils have been living with us. They reside in a gigantic glass tank in the dining room. At first I was afraid they would make similar fridge forays to mine and finish off the booze before I could, but then I realized they’re confined to their tank. My dad says they don’t feel confined because the tank is huge, but hey—who knows what they’re thinking? (Except Miss V, who can channel them.)

To be frank, I’m a little jealous of them, because when we first got them my mum said: “Wow, it’s great having animals in the house. They’re so animated, aren’t they, LB?”

And then she said to the kids, “Make sure you never put LB in the gerbil tank. If you do, they’ll chew him up in no time flat.”

OMG!!!

ASTROLIQUOR for November 30 to December 6—What the stars say you should drink!

My Fellow Inebriates,

Here’s your booze horoscope:

Aries, you’ll run into your doppelganger this week, and you know how that usually turns out. Two belligerent freaks one-upping each other at the bar? Other astrological signs would do well to stay out of your collective way. And for the last time, yes, you can mix vodka and cognac, so don’t start a fight about it. You’ll be far more attractive to that horny coworker if you don’t have a black eye.

Taurus, you feel happy and generous this week—ready to chat with anyone, anywhere. That person at the Starbucks counter; your bankruptcy counselor; hobos… You can’t take all the credit for this social energy—you pretty much spend the week ripped out of your head on UV Blue, waking yourself up with Red Bull when your head starts nodding. What an awesome life!

Is someone ignoring your affectionate overtures, Gemini? Dissing you behind your back at work? You may be cluing in that your charisma is on hiatus this week. In fact, your charms will remain at a low ebb until January. Ordinarily hard to get, you find yourself hard to want. Hang in there with some vodka and Blue Curacao.

Cancer, your spider sense leads you to all the best parties, and you can expect to stay hammered all week. Careful, though: Malibu +vanilla vodka = a lot of mouthing off, and you might say the wrong thing to someone you care about. Try to hook up early in your drunken evening; instead of offending fellow party-goers with filthy comments, you could be soiling one of the guest bedrooms.

Leo, the stars are calling for sado-masochistic, anonymous sex with a Scorpio. You mustn’t be the sub, though! Be the captain of your genitals; your self-esteem will thank you for it. Be discreet and agree never to speak of this week’s events again. The rest of your week is less thrilling—you pull Designated Driver duty.

A happy week beckons, Virgo, featuring frivolity and triviality—and that means Malibu. Malibu and Midori, drunk out of a hollowed-out pineapple. Ahhhh! Despite your attraction to silly drinks and your disavowal of politics, economics, and books authored by people using their real names, you seek out flirtations with forceful, aggressively intellectual types. Make sure you don’t end up on YouTube.

Libra, emotions get the better of rational thought this week. Whatever you do, don’t sign any contracts or undertake anything of a legal nature. If someone says, “Hey, I’ve got this great business idea, are you interested?” say, “Hey, I’ve been wearing the same thong for most of Movember and it’s grown its own moustache.” Non sequiturs are your best conversational ally. You should make a chocolate martini.

Someone phones you this week, Scorpio. On the actual telephone. Not a text or an email but a real telephone call. What the hell? You’re so nonplussed by the weirdness of a person interrupting your day to talk that you ignore it. Nah, not really. You ignore it because you can’t move. That’s what three ounces each of Jagermeister, Goldschlager, Cuervo, and Bacardi 151 do to a person—even a Scorpio.

Sagittarius, nobody at home knows what you do at work, which is just how you like it. This week you solve all kinds of ridiculous problems, you ingratiate yourself with higher-ups, and you strike a perfect balance between strength and vulnerability, garnering both love and respect. And you pack away a 26er of Jameson Irish whiskey.

New opportunities flash like lightning this week, Capricorn. The key is socializing—go out and hang with friends and acquaintances. Be open to new experiences. Say hi to everyone. Give money to hobos and bears loitering outside the liquor store. (While inside, buy Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, and Crown Royal—the stars say you’ve run out of these products.)

Aquarius, you’ll have another run-in with the law this week, so make some hasty travel plans. With the right attitude, you can spin this into a holiday somewhere hot. While abroad, you may receive worrying communiques—ignore them.  Quell your apprehension with liquor. You probably didn’t have time to take any anti-malarials, so you’ll need lots of crappy low-alcohol beer for hydration purposes.

Pisces, you have a hectic week ahead. You have a porn-compromised computer to cleanse of viruses and worms, plus some actual work associated with your job, plus some drinks to mix to make it all tolerable. I’m thinking vodka for you with some bitters and gingerale. Then maybe a nice romantic comedy.

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