The 4 ryes I’m enjoying in my bear time

My fellow inebriates,

The rye aisle at my local booze shop is a wonderland, but I’ve been neglecting it.

don draperIf I had to blame someone, it might be Don Draper, with his relentless consumption of Canadian Club. Understandably, I thought Canadian Club must be reasonably top-shelf, and I drank it accordingly.

Turns out Canadian Club is fine for 10:00 am at work, but in our spare time (our bear time), we can do better. Back in December, Santa thought so too, and put this wonderful Northern Border Collection rye sampler set under the tree for yours truly.

rye mixer

I’d be lying if I said these little bottles were still around, MFI, by my memories of them linger. Over the next four blog posts, I’ll talk about each one of them while urging you to sip them at work. Stay tuned!

PS       What do YOU drink at work? Drop me a line in the comments.

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CANADIAN CLUB—an appropriate response to a day at the PNE

We bears had the house to ourselves all day yesterday. Meanwhile my parents were observing carny people—not just the blue-shirted PNE ride operators, but other, more interesting people, squeezed into all sorts of unfortunate outfits, bouncing along feeding themselves corndogs. My mum saw a woman with four nipples, arbitrarily arranged beneath a stretched-to-the-limit-of-physics tanktop. And when she took the girls to the bathroom she met a new mother dressed as a stripper.

Needless to say, they had an awesome day, although they spent a great deal of our alcohol funds on PNE-priced items such as, well water, at $3.50 for a half-litre bottle.

Now who needs water?

The only time we really need water is when we buy CANADIAN CLUB instead of CROWN ROYAL. Which we did out of curiosity today. We had just chastised my dad for buying—at the PNE—a pan-flutist’s CD for $20, which was ultimately my mother’s fault because she spent 15 minutes coursing through the PNE prize home while my dad waited on a bench being wooed by the pan flute. My mother heard it too; he was playing “Unchained Melody,” and the teenagers behind her were grasping for the artist. “The Righteous Brothers,” my mother said, which they either ignored or didn’t recognize, then the girl told her boyfriend she was sure she’d heard her mom playing that song, which netted her some noises of disgust. And she added, she would never have a white kitchen, although the wine rack beneath the deer’s head was pretty dope.

My mother didn’t mean to buy CANADIAN CLUB today, but the liquor store is right beside the bank, where she had to go to spread a small cheque between two separate accounts to cover such liquor-unfriendly things as her gym membership and the car insurance. She was trying to be nice by buying a cheap mickey of rye so she could sip something guilt-free instead of getting into the more expensive CAOL ILA 12 my dad brought back from Vegas. She was trying to do a good thing, but you have to admit she just ended up looking like an alcoholic, especially when the mickey fell out of her gym bag at Steve Nash Fitness World.

I’ve come to the defense of CANADIAN CLUB many times, especially since it’s typically pitted against fit-for-royalty CROWN ROYAL, which is a nice, smooth rye. If you order a rye ‘n’ seven at the bar, the bartender will usually try to pass off CANADIAN CLUB on you for economy’s sake. And with 7-Up or gingerale, this is perfectly reasonable. CANADIAN CLUB is plenty rough compared to CROWN ROYAL, but who cares when you’re mixing it with pop? Neat, or even over ice, it’s a different story.

When I drink CANADIAN CLUB, I feel like a ruminant. I can taste grass and hay, along with some jagged alcohol, which I like. What it lacks in nuance it makes up for in straightforwardness. With a sweet, fizzy mixer, I actually prefer the rougher-edged CANADIAN CLUB; it asserts itself better, and the pop hides its earthier tones.

If I were a cow, like the one the kids observed giving birth at the PNE, I’d wonder what the hell humans were doing with grains, making things like CANADIAN CLUB. I’d also wonder why there was a set of crowded bleachers right beside me while a farmer stuck his whole arm inside me, tied a rope around my calf’s leg and yanked it out. (Miss P and Miss V did enjoy the whole business, but they thought it took too long.)

There are a lot of weird things at the PNE. It makes Walmart seem downright sedate, and apparently it takes a lot of energy to spend 10 hours there with a four-year-old and a six-year-old. I’m delighted it drove my mother to drink, even if it was just CANADIAN CLUB.

Crown Royal

My Fellow Inebriates,

Cyborg bear!

I had no idea what Cyber Monday was until I googled it today. When you spend as much time messed up and glazed over as I do, a term like that could mean anything. Doesn’t it evoke Terminator-like images of cyborgs yanking us out of bed Monday morning, hungover, to make us work? Holy shit, Cyber Monday sounds like the freaking end of the world.

Well, it really is. Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year. It’s the day for all those folks who would normally put on their favorite shopping outfits and go to Walmart…to instead stay home in their jammies, skivvies or birthday suits racking up their credit cards in cyberspace.

So I guess in a way Cyber Monday is a blessing for those of us with eyeballs already sore from a hard night of carousing.

So how do I get in on Cyber Monday? As you can imagine, I’ve been denied all credit card privileges by my purportedly responsible parents. My PayPal account has $0.02 in it. It hasn’t occurred to anyone to email me money lately either. So it looks like I’m shut out of this marvelous occasion (with its impressive six-year history). Holy crap, what do I do?

First of all, what was I thinking of buying? My friend Blackie Bear got me thinking of some Crown Royal when he sent me some tasting notes:

Yeah, I like a bit of Crown, Crown Royal you know, sometimes when I’m sitting on the couch watching a show or whatever. I like to mix it with like gingerale or something like that. And you know, just sip it slowly. It kind of takes the edge off, cuz I have some worries, dude, you know, like the way there are no girl bears around and stuff. I’d kind of like to meet a girl bear and we could watch TV together and cuddle. We could share snacks.

Awesome! I love Blackie Bear; he’s totally one of my posse, and I find his tasting notes incredibly descriptive and informative. You all know I don’t have any Crown Royal of course, but I do remember what it tastes like.

Crown Royal was introduced by Seagram in 1939 to honor stuttering King George, who was visiting with his woman Queen Elizabeth.

It’s a great thing being a royal, or any type of celebrity for that matter. You get all kinds of swag and rarely have to pay for anything. A little royal blood would help my friend Blackie, for instance, since he doesn’t have a job and is enamored mostly with his couch lately. Cyber Monday is really designed for us shut-ins who don’t have much going on but feel an itch to charge something on our credit cards. Those of us who have credit cards, that is.

I told Blackie he could stretch his dollar by having Canadian Club for a while but he disagreed without articulating any reasons why. So I’ll try to help:

Crown Royal is a deep golden color, with a nose of caramel, oaky rye and ever-so-slight apricot. A smooth sipper, it nevertheless has a playful bite. It’s a lovely team player with mixers and with other alcohols. Fit for a king indeed.

Canadian Club hits the tastebuds with astringency and bitterness, clouting you with mineral spice and overwhelming rye. I love it with gingerale but I wouldn’t drink it straight unless I didn’t have any gingerale.

So what kind of deals can I get on rye today?

Googling “Cyber Monday deals on rye” got me some wicked deals on breathalyzers such as the AlcoHawk, for people who always want some alcohol in their systems but are concerned enough to keep a measure on it. Kudos for caring. You really don’t want to get into your car after sitting on Blackie’s couch drinking Crown Royal. But then again, you don’t really want to stay the night with him either.