Who Needs 12/21/12?
Forget the Millenium.....it is possible that the end has already occurred.....and we didn't notice.....
Like that great movie set in Philly with Bruce Springsteen and the amazing actress from Muriel's Wedding.....
"I see dead people....."
OK, it wasn't Bruce Springsteen....it was that other washed-up, balding, Wal-Mart ass-kissing Bruce...
Due to my position as World Leader of Beverage Trends......or else possibly due to my position as Some Random Guy With Internet Access....
I received a press release about Ulitmate Ice.....aka Glace Luxury Ice.
(There is an umlaut over the "a" in "glace" which my skills cannot reproduce in this blog. The umlaut turns the vowel below it into a really long sound......think the "o" in "Lowenbrau", or the "au" for that matter.....Wait, who am I kidding? No one reading this has ever heard of Lowenbrau, or cares about pronouncing it right...... "Glace" with the umlaut would be pronounced "glace" like "glade", not "glace" like "glass".)
Google already knows about this stuff......my browser tells me of 70,000 references.
Who knew that we have been failing....failing!!....our friends and customers....by denying them access to pure frozen water in its most pure form? Our crappymountain spring water ice has been polluting their drinks and their senses for five years now......
A UC Davis student engineering student from Nicaragua has set himself on the road to reform all our plebian drinking habits....
Regular ice, you see, is possibly artesian-sourced....and full of nutrients and off-flavors that can wreck the subtle flavors of seriously expensive distilled alcoholic beverages.
If you can pay $400 for a fifth of Ketl One or "Goose" in a shitty bar that Paris Hilton once charged a quarter of a million dollars to hang out in for fifteen minutes.....you need Celebrity Ice. Especially if your date, and the cocktail waitresses, are all either failed ....or future.... pharmaceutical sales reps.
I am a failed engineer myself....electrical version. Despite my many and varied engineering failures, I cannot escape my education.
For instance: I often have to explain to Brides and Moms-of-Brides why they should have four-foot tables that seat 7-8 rather than five foot tables that seat 9-10 at their receptions...so to experience a more geometrically realized social interaction......
And quite possibly.....eternal love.
The circumference given any guest at banquets is always the same....about 1.8 feet. As the table gets bigger (a 6, an 8, a 10, etc) the circumference per guest stays the same, but the area the table takes up goes up by the square of the radius. A twelve-top takes up half again as much area per person as an eight-top. And the linens are bigger and more expensive, the centerpieces are bigger and more expensive, and the guests are further apart....so no one can talk.
Almost no one listens to me either.
The same thing happens with new bartenders or wine geeks.
I explain how I want the bar/wine station laid out: "Hexagonal closest packing....OK?"
Each glass touching another in rows, slightly offset....so each glass touches six others. Hex is Greek for six. Dummy chemistry from eighth grade....everywhere but Carmel (thank you, Mr. Pal for a generation of mathematically and scientifically deprived CHS grads).
All my bar people but Lee smile and nod at me like I am an insane person. "Sure, Mike. Science class.....heptisional closet stacking." And procede to line the glasses in nice, inefficient rows of little vitreous soldiers, waiting to be knocked over and gunned down in their solitary little rows without being able to touch their six friends........
Lee, of course....given time.....is perfectly willing to dredge up Pythagorus and give me a run for my geometric money. But Lee is a Cal guy....saved by the Blue and Gold.
I was amused by the Glace kid, therefore. His whole pitch is based upon the geometric fact that his ice is "scientifically proven to have the maximum surface of cooling.....for the minimum volume of frozen water"! A breakthrough! Science conquers beverage cooling....and you can be a part of it! Just log on and order!
OK.....my friend Andreas Baer, an engineer who survived Mr. Pal and CHS..... will now explain what shape has the maximum surface area vs. the minimum volume.....
"A fucking sphere, Mike".....says Andreas.
Glace sells spheres of frozen distilled water......with flair. They promise the slowest melting rate and greatest cooling rate of any shaped ice product. A sphere, in other words.
It is a "meticulously designed and differentiated drink-ice product".
It is a "perfectly spherical 2.5" diameterice product designed to occupy the top position of the premium ice market."
"Diameterice"? Hey, Pythagorus....got a take on "diameterice"?
Pythagorus, meet Roberto Sequiera...founder of Glace, whose "unique talent and passionate dispostion has (sic) fueled his rise as an extraordinary entrepreneur......"
Mr. Sequiera....late of Managua....now resides in California where he "balances the demands of a brilliant career with the laughter and intimacy of family and friends. He credits his warm and optimistic personality to his parents (sic) influence and many life-long friendships which have contributed to his embodiment of the American success story."
The tidal wave of enthusiasm for Glace is readily apparent in their press releases. Just now, at the Arpa (?) film festival in Hollywood ("Hollywood is all about Glace!") none other than Ken Davitian had his drinks cooled with Glace.
You remember Ken.....you know....the fat, hairy guy from Borat and SNL.....the token Armenian?
And who can forget the night at the Playboy Mansion?
Back to Pythagorus.
2.5 spherical inches of water turns out to be about a half cup....4 oz. For the moment, we will forget the fact that frozen water takes up more space than liquid.
The hell we will! If frozen water were not less dense than liquid water, there would be no life on earth....Ice floats and forms a cap that protects and insulates the creatures underneath....
Frozen water is about 9% less dense than liquid.
Glace sells for about $8 per sphere.....no wholesale.
This is $8 for four ounces......which runs out to, trust me......a mere $241 per gallon of distilled water.
I think our Nicaraguan friend, Sr. Sequeira is on to something.
He does embody the American dream.....
Sell a bunch of dummies with too much money a glizty product that will enable them to reach out and touch their dreams of being Platonically perfect.....in form and in idea. A robust understanding of the English language is irrelevant.
The American Dream.
Of the Bush Years.....
For what it is worth.....independent of the "science" of the sphere of ice.......the chilling vs. dilution of drinks is a subject close to my heart.
Years ago....decades ago....I worked in New York City as a Union bartender. The bartenders' union is like SAG...it is a bitch to break in, and you have to have skills.
When I was a bar-back, working towards my card.....I would spend my shifts washing glasses, bringing ice, and praticing pouring tiny measured amounts of liquid on scales: 5ml, 2ml, 10ml, 7ml, etc.
Beyond that there was the actual physical practice of pouring in front of the guests....cutting the fruit, juicing the lemons, limes and oranges, shaking the drinks, straining them, etc.
New York City in the early '70's was a Martini town. If it was not Martini's.....it was Manhattan's. It was not yet cool to be out of the closet gay...so the boys always had super-model dates who hung at my bar while the boys played in the booths. The girls drank old-school drinks: Golden Cadillacs, Pink Squirrels.....and my personal favorite, Stingers.
I had a long bar at The Colony at Madison and 61st Street. The girls would line the bar and order fun stuff just to fuck with me. Because of all the different mixed and shaken drinks I had three rinse tanks for my shakers: a clear tank, a fruit tank, and cream drink tank. The tanks were scattered along the 25 foot bar....so based on what I was doing I spent a lot of time racing back and forth, rinsing my shakers....trying to keep up.
The other hurdle was that the boys at the time were into poppers....amyl nitrate capsules that one would crush under someone's nose to.....supposedly bring them back to life from a faint.....but really to enhance orgasms from your partner.
The girls held the poppers.....and part of their idea of fun and tipping was to lean over the bar and snap a popper in my face as I was racing from rinsing a martini shaker and a brandy alexander shaker and a daiquiri shaker.....
Bang! Everything goes all electric and fuzzy and slo-mo....
All the drinks were shaken and strained into beautiful glassware......
And the last big hurdle to clear from being bar-back to getting you Union card was the shaking/stirring thing.
The ice had to be fresh and dry (bar-back land....). The booze went in fast....the stirring and shaking were such that the ice cubes jumped around in the shaker or glass.....and were strained immediately.
Any slowdown, lack of skill or laziness or slack on the cleanliness of the shakers or glasses resulted in a drink that was "bruised".....not cold, too much water. Or cold, too much water.
A properly shaken or stirred drink is alive with oxygen and tiny bits of ice.....and one of the great pleasures of modern civilization.....
A properly shaken or stirred drink requires a highly trained bartender with a huge support network, and an equally huge fear of failure....great glassware......good ice, and a management with a good dose of fear of failure on both the labor front, and the ingredient and glassware front.
I won the "Best Martini in Manhattan" award in 1972.....despite a fucked up management. I would rather have that prize than the Nobel. Nobel does literature, but not drinks.....despite being a Norway thing....
Fuck this Nicaraguan idiot from Davis.......
If this clown is not sharing a cell with Karl Rove and Dick Cheney....or at least celebrating his new job of bringing them tofu-scrambles at Guantanamo by this time next year......us Union bartender guys will hunt him down and kill him.
If you love your spouse or friend.....here is a great drink, reaching out to you from the days of Watergate.....the last time American Democrats searched around and found a set of balls.
Even if you are a Republican....and are still bummed about the whole Nixon thing, it is still a great drink and an awesome anti-depressant....and possibly best consumed with former or future salesgirls of other anti-depressants.
The Colony Restaurant Stinger:
1 oz Get Mint
4 oz decent Cognac (We reject the idea of using XO, etc for a mixed drink....unless you are trying to get Angelina Jolie back to your hotel. In that case, ask the barman for some Glace ice. A good VSOP, or even a nice Armagnac will suffice)
Good dry ice. Not "dry ice". Ice that is not wet.
Fill a martini glass with ice and set in front of Angelina Jolie.
Fill your shaker with good dry ice. Pour in ingredients. Shake according to Union standards. Toss ice from glass, strain the drink into the glass with a proper Union flourish...
Step back in case she has a popper.
Rinse your shaker and set to dry.