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The Life of P

Tag: cocktails

“Careful Man, There’s A Beverage Here!”

Pairing wine with food is considered a fine art that has led to the dedicated job of the sommelier. Often people wonder why only wine? My curiosity was broader: why only food? As someone who approaches both his audiovisual entertainment and his beverages with an appropriate level of gravitas, this has led to a loose system of pairing drinks with whatever I decide to watch (and occasionally vice versa). To satiate several people’s curiosity, here’s a handy guide to what you’re drinking.


Archer: “All I’ve had today is, like, six gummy bears and some scotch.”
Arrested Development: anything that uses up the rest of the vodka. “It’s vodka. It goes bad once it’s opened.”
Back to the Future: Pepsi Perfect
Battlestar Galactica: Bushmills, mostly for that squared off bottle
Big Lebowski, The: a Caucasian (White Russian)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s: champagne, but not before breakfast
Crank: all the energy drinks
Film Noir (any): rye whiskey or Laphroaig
Four Rooms: “When you’re drinking champagne, you’re drinking champagne. When you’re drinking Cristal, you say you’re drinking Cristal.” Okay, well you’re not drinking Cristal.
Game of Thrones: red wine, port or mead
Godfather, The: a Godfather (Amaretto and Scotch)
Good Will Hunting/Gone Baby Gone: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
In Bruges: Belgian beer, easy on the horse tranquillisers
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: “Stuff it down with brown. That’s the best way to deal with things.” Accompanied by rum ham.
James Bond (Daniel Craig era): Vesper Martini
James Bond (other): Vodka Martini (but stirred, not shaken; you’re not an animal)
Jessica Jones: your convenience store’s cheapest whiskey
Justified: any Kentucky bourbon, ideally one produced by Buffalo Trace
Lost in Translation: “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.” Yamazaki or other Suntory whiskey


Léon: a glass of milk
Mad Men: Old Fashioned
Manhattan: Manhattan. Did you really have to ask?
Onegin: a single gin
Parks & Recreation: “There’s no wrong way to order a Lagavulin.”
Pirates of the Caribbean: Kraken black spiced rum
Rick and Morty: “Can you make me a Dumb Grandson Peptalk? It’s one part lame advice about stuff you know nothing about and a loooot of vodka.”
Rules of Attraction, The: Jack Daniels, straight from the bottle
Sideways: Pinot Noir. “I am not drinking any fucking Merlot.”
Suits: Macallan
Treme: Hurricane; don’t forget to torch the cocktail umbrella
Withnail & I: Literally anything you can find. But maybe skip the lighter fluid.

Let me know what I’ve missed…

Resolutionary Road

Well, 2016 is finally over and, if you are reading this, it looks as though you survived it. The New Year celebrations brought proclamations that 2017 had to be a better year. I certainly hope that is true but, if so, it means we have a lot of work to do in order to clean up the mess left in 2016’s wake. Disney reportedly has a $50 million insurance payout with which to address Carrie Fisher’s presence is Episode IX of Star Wars, but amongst the various treats bestowed by 2016 we still need to deal with navigating Brexit, the commencement of a Trump Presidency and rebuilding Syria should the current ceasefire hold. We can certainly make 2017 a better year than its predecessor but let us not pretend it will be an easy one. Instead, let us roll up our sleeves and embrace these challenges now that we are prepared for them.

I am not generally one for New Year’s resolutions. If you want to do something, you will do it anyway, so the practice has always seemed more like setting oneself up for failure with most resolutions lying in tatters by the end of January. On the other hand, it does offer an opportunity for interesting endeavours based on the calendar year. In other words, for me resolutions are for frivolous projects.

My film watchlist has gradually grown to well over 300 and, although I knock off many each year, overall the list continues to grow. With time off in the week leading up to the New Year I have managed to watch a film on the list each day, which inspired a resolution of sorts for next year: to watch one film from the list each week. That would guarantee 52 films removed from the list by the end of the year. Undoubtedly new films will be added during the year (and invariably I will be watching a lot of “non-list” films) but hopefully this will result in a net reduction rather than unfettered growth. I am not prioritising any particular films on the list and it will likely be guided by availability on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

My intention is to check in with periodic updates on progress. I hope you will enjoy the journey even if, in the venerable tradition of New Year’s resolutions, I fail spectacularly. If you have made any interesting resolutions, whether serious or frivolous, feel free to share.

Meanwhile, for no particular reason, here is a recipe for the Corpse Reviver #2, my preferred hair-of-the-dog cocktail. It strikes me as a fitting cocktail not just for today but for 2017 in general.

1 part gin
1 part Cointreau
1 part Lillet Blanc
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 dash absinthe
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: orange peel

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled glass and garnish.

Shochu Lounge

Following a pleasant Korean meal to catch up with Lucia, James and Dave, I was tasked with selecting a bar for us to see out the remainder of the night, and where we would meet Annabel and her not-so-new beau. Given that we were near Tottenham Court Road and to maintain the evening’s Oriental theme, I decided it was a good opportunity to try out Shochu Lounge.

The quiet basement bar is located directly under Japanese restaurant Roka and unless you are looking for Roka you are likely, as we did, first to walk straight past. Shochu Lounge is dimly lit and moody, with rather blocky decor, the bar top being carved from a large slab of wood. The bar itself and small tables on one side are available for drinkers, while the larger tables are kept for those dining (the food being supplied by Roka upstairs).

The bar’s namesake Japanese drink, a vodka-like spirit but about half as strong, is found throughout the cocktail menu both in variations on classics and in suitably contemporary options like the Final Fantasy. Given its relative weakness, the spirit’s flavour tends to vanish somewhat in cocktails, resulting in refreshing drinks when mixed with fruit juices or ginger, but somewhat bland in other drinks like my (admittedly very fresh) cucumber martini.

Although the bar was only half full on a Sunday night, service seemed rather inattentive and distant (with the bar itself often left vacant — perhaps table service was better). At least, that is, until I enquired about pure shōchū. At this our bartender came alive, producing a few small tasting bowls and explaining enthusiastically that shōchū can be made from a variety of bases but typically barley, potato or rice. He provided us with the (almost flavourless) house brand for mixing, along with some more nuanced varieties that he suggested would be drunk alone in Japan. One smelled powerfully of potato whilst lacking a distinct flavour; the other tasted like a whiskey watered down to half strength.

A pleasant experience, I don’t see shōchū becoming a fixture in my cabinet though I can see myself returning to the bar on occasion for a quiet post-dinner drink. Not nearly often enough, however, to consider purchasing one of the 4.2 litre jars which sit on a shelf with your name until you next return to drink from it. Yet at £260 they are actually a surprisingly affordable goal for those who take more of a shining to this particular spot.

"Luck is the residue of design."

(CC) BY-NC 2004-2021 Priyan Meewella

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