🎶When the samba takes you…🎶

Week 37 in the Year of Drinking Adventurously. Cachaca.

Back to the adventure! I succeeded in finding this week’s spirit (although not any one of the brands recommended in our guide) and sampling the classic cachaca cocktail – the caipirinha, which is cachaca, lime juice and simple syrup poured over ice. (Just like a gimlet, only with cachaca. And I love gimlets.) I hope Lula had the chance to try this!

Since cachaca is distilled from sugar cane, it is often called Brazillian rum. However, while rum is distilled from molasses, the dark syrupy product of sugar, cachaca is distilled from the pure juice of the sugar cane plant. In addition, cachaca predates rum by about 100 years. And since its origins are somewhere in the 1530’s, it also means it’s the first spirit of the Americas (as in New World America… I am not going to assume the native populations didn’t produce something distilled or fermented, I really don’t know. That, however, is a subject for another day.)

As with many things old, there is a legend associated with the ‘discovery’ of cachaca, but it’s not a nice one… From our guide:

The legend associated with it—the part that falls squarely in the myth column—relates to its unexpected discovery. When the early colonials were processing sugar cane by boiling it, the steam would condense back to water on the roof. It would drip off the ceiling and sting the badly scarred backs of slaves. It supposedly got its nickname, “pinga,” that way. It was the “ping, ping” from the ceiling; probably not a legend on which makers of cachaça (or the slangish “pinga,” if you prefer) really would want to hang their hats. Slavery’s not something that a brand would proudly market as its heritage.

Not cool….

So my cocktail as seen in the photo above was good… Honestly I’d have to sample it side by side with a rum for comparison, but I enjoyed my drink. As I was pressed for time, I did not try it neat, which I am generally want to do. 

Anyway, cachaca being from Brazil, it reminded me of the samba – the dance originating from that country which in turn reminded me of the song… Avalon.

But when the samba takes you out of nowhere… Enjoy some sexy Roxy Music…

Malört Abort

Week 36 in The Year of Drinking Adventurously. Malört. And what is it? You guessed it, FAIL!

I had hopes for this week but alas, my search for malört locally was fruitless. Perhaps one of my Chicago friends would be able to comment on their impression of malört. (Boy, spell check really hates that word…) Or perhaps Lula had the chance to try it on her recent trip to Chicago. There’s little chance of finding it outside the region on The Malört Map.

Jeppson’s Malört Map
The thing that intrigued me about it is that, like absinthe, it is also a wormwood derived spirit. Malört is actaully the Swedish word for wormwood. Now you know I love my absinthe, so you can imagine my disappointment.

Once again, I was left wondering what to write about this week. I could have just regurgitated our guide’s description and explanation of the spirit, but you are certainly capable of reading all about it yourselves, in the book you have now purchased, right?

So let’s take a slight deviation from the booze path and talk about something else. Cake. But not just any cake… Guinness Chocolate Cake. Oh yessssss……

Guinness is an Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. Its signature burnt flavor is derived from roasted, unmalted barley and its thick creamy head comes from mixing the beer with nitrogen and carbon dioxide when poured. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect flavor and texture for a decadent dessert? Here’s the recipe:


1 ¼ cup Guinness stout
¹⁄³ cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1 ²⁄³ cups flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, shaved or chopped


¾ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • In a sauce pan, bring Guinness and molasses to a simmer, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350º
  • Cream together butter and brown sugar
  • Add eggs one at a time until fully blended
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  • In a mixer, alternate adding flour mixture and Guinness/molasses mixture the creamed sugar and butter, beginning and ending with flour
  • Stir in chopped chocolate
  • Grease bundt pan then dust with cocoa
  • Pour in batter and bake 45-50 minutes
  • Cool completely before removing from pan
  • To make glaze: bring cream to a boil, then remove from heat
  • Add sugar and whisk
  • Add chocolate and let stand 1 minute
  • Whisk until melted and smooth
  • Let cool 5 minutes before glazing cake

Eat while wearing stretchy pants. Or no pants at all, completely up to you. Trust me, this cake is amazing!

Disclaimer: that is not my photo, I’ve never taken a photo of the cake, but I swear that is what it looks like. This photo is from a website called ‘No Empty Chairs’

Drinking Adventurously – The Weirdo Magnet

Week 35 in The Year of Drinking Adventurously. Solbeso – Fail again….

Another South American non-starter. Solbeso is a Peruvian spirit made from the pulp that surrounds cacao beans. In other words, the part of the ‘chocolate’ plant that nobody uses. Feel free to explore this on your own, peeps. I’m skipping it. And its not like I could have found it if I wanted to anyway.

Once again, I struggled to decide what else I could write about. I thought about sharing some of my funny adventures from college and shortly thereafter. Then I started reminiscing about those days of yore and I realized that while the stuff I did back in the day with my friends was funny at the time, it just isn’t that funny recalling it now. How the hell I made it out of my early twenties alive is sometimes a mystery to me. So I believe I’ll let those tales remain untold. Besides, I don’t want to ruin my image as a dignified, elegant and sophisticated lady. I mentioned that to Lula and her response was to spit out her cocktail and remind me that that ship has sailed. Sigh…

Well, my college escapades aside, there is another amusing story I can tell you. A whole series of them, in fact. You see, I am a weirdo magnet. Not just that –I’m a drunken weirdo magnet. It’s my fate to be the girl who the ‘very drunk person’ singles out for conversation no matter where I am. Sporting event, concert, cocktail party, bar, baby shower… Oh yeah, they know how to find me.

The worst part? Everyone else leaves me to my fate. Friends, family, everyone– sees the drunk coming and bails on me. In 199_ (I forget the exact year), some friends and I went up to Montreal for a long weekend. These friends had a three-month-old baby, a five-year-old son and a love for hockey. We got tickets to see the Philadelphia Flyers play the Montreal Canadiens. We were in the cheap seats the Molson Centre (now the Bell Centre). Between the first and second periods, everybody either needed the bathroom or a beer. Except me. I was left with the three-month-old and the drunk guys sitting in front of us. Who just had to make friends, right? Because I had my Rod Brind’Amour jersey on. Because, yo, I’m from Philly and I’m always going to represent my team… And they’re from Vermont and they loved John LeClair (another Flyer) and they just had to fangirl about him. And explain the game of hockey to me. C’mon guys…

Seriously though, Rod Brind’Amour…

Meet Rod Brind’Amour mid-90’s

And oh, party parties…. From time immemorial I’ve been the cry-on-the-shoulder person because “my girlfriend left with another dude, I’m flunking out of calculus and I’ll never be an engineer, The Smiths broke up, and I’m mourning the death of society. It’s a Druid holiday and no one is celebrating but me…  did anyone ever tell you you sound just like Demi Moore but you look like Christina Ricci?” Nope, never heard that one… More than twice. It’s why I gave up cigars… (Kidding)


Sorry, Christina, this is your future! Ahahahahaha *evil laugh*

Football games, my seat is inevitably next to the shirtless guy with the face paint in the middle of November who can’t feel the cold for his level of inebriation. And he will make me do the wave or curse the refs (ok, that I would do anyway) or sing… Yeah.

Cry, bitch, moan, complain, celebrate, dance, cheer for the team… apparently I’m your girl! There is an invisible sign above my head that says ‘if you’re loaded, go talk to Meg’ because it happens  All. The. Time. My best friend in college -Michael P- started calling me the ‘weirdo magnet.’ It eventually got shortened to ‘weirdo’ because, well… I suppose that’s kind of obvious. Your vibe attracts your tribe.

So I guess all you weirdos are welcome. But it’s BYOB.