In which I inflict my “talent” on my neighbors in an update of the classic Bijou cocktail.
I “created” this one for a homegrown talent show in my community, in which I was invited to demonstrate my, um, “talent” in mixology at halftime of the festivities.
You’ve reached a sad point in life when your most recognizable skill involves alcoholic beverages.
And yet, here I am. Best to make the most of any opportunity life hands you, I say.
The Bijou: A jewel. A really big jewel
Since “Carderock’s Got Talent” was a song-dance-performance event, I searched for “theatrical” allusions in the cocktail canon. This led me quickly to a pre-Prohibition classic called the Bijou. Early in this century “Bijou,” a French word meaning “jewel,” was a common name for a town’s theater.
The Bijou cocktail, debuted in the 1880s, was given the name because its high dose of Green Chartreuse gave the drink a hue of a dusky emerald.
Problem is: The original Bijou is a snoutful, intensely herbal from the Chartreuse, busy with the cutting notes of gin, fragrant with vermouth. Some say it disappeared with Prohibition not because it was forgotten but because it was too intense, as tastes drifted to simpler settings for gin, like a Martini.
A more accessible jewel?
But this was for a community event, where palates probably were more used to TGIFridays’ beverage menu than, say, that of a grand hotel bar filled with robber barons and their retainers.
Could I turn this big, uncompromising classic into something suburban showgoers might enjoy sippin? Let’s see, shall we?
Tom Waits no longer drinks. This didn’t stop me from creating a beverage inspired by his characters and stories. Warning: Things get a little weird
If you’re acquainted with Tom Waits — the most important and breathtakingly talented songwriter and performer of his generation I-don’t-care-what-you-say-because-if-you-disagree-you’re-wrong — you’d think it would be easy to come up with a Tom Waits drink.
Many of Waits’ early songs are exquisite, heartbreaking, often hilarious soundscapes where the main characters have been, to put it generously, over-served. Just a few titles illustrate: “The Piano has Been Drinking.” “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.” “Gin-Soaked Boy.”
Until he met his wife Kathleen Brennan in 1987 and together they embarked on a remarkable journey of musical exploration that too few people know about, Waits says he lived a lot like the Bowery-bum scoundrels and layabouts that populate his songs.