Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Here is some more tips on drinking, bartending and eating, from

There’s no two ways about it: The cocktail world has been progressing ever deeper down the rabbit hole of culinary influence for some time now. Whether a bar is influenced by a complementary in-house kitchen or using comparatively unusual ingredients (horseradish, turnips or turmeric, anyone?) to up its booze game, the line between bartender and bar chef is increasingly blurry. Even garnishes frequently resemble standalone, outlandish snacks these days. (We’re looking at you, over-the-top Bloody Marys.)
The knowledge that can be shared between bartenders and chefs about building flavor profiles and experimenting with complementary (and perhaps unusual) ingredients can be an invaluable, symbiotic relationship, offering a completely new perspective and complex, thoughtful dimension to drinks.

Below, seven bartenders outline the greatest lessons they’ve been able to transfer from the kitchen to the bar, from cooking in Grandma’s kitchen to a magic ingredient that revolutionized an entire cocktail menu.


“There’s one particular thing I’ve learned about building bar programs from restaurants,” says Alba Huerta, the owner of Julep in Houston. “Almost two decades ago, the kitchen is where I first saw respect for the job. Watching a kitchen team work in unison is like sitting in front of the world’s greatest orchestra. Communication, timing and temperatures rule their universe. Add the element of customer service, and the same rules apply to any cocktail bar program.”


Phoenix Cocktail Club
“My background in flavor profiling dates back to being a young child and helping my grandmother cook for the holidays,” says Joey Houghtaling, the co-founder of Phoenix Cocktail Club in Milwaukee. “I watched and learned so much from her over the years. [As an adult] I’ve tried to learn everything I could from people around me who are successful chefs or bartenders. I was never really the kind of person who wanted help learning, so at first, even though I had the palate, I wasn’t sure about how to translate that into making drinks.
“My first attempts consisted of me going to a grocery store, buying every sort of produce and trying to make something happen. I quickly learned that wasn’t going to work, but then I found The Flavor Bible (Little Brown and Company, $38). Seeing the flavors in print helped make my senses open up, and I started to understand how a lot of different flavors worked.
“It was about five years ago that someone told me I should start matching drinks with food I loved. I had been winning some local competitions but had a creative block. This is when I really started to research different techniques of incorporating flavors into spirits through methods such as fat washing, infusing, creating and mixing different bitters and using different compound syrups. I entered a Manhattan competition where my inspiration came from barbecue: I smoked a coupe with cherry wood, then made a Manhattan with bacon-fat-washed bitters.”


“[Our chef’s] mastery of flavors really gives the cocktail program a culinary advantage,” says Gregory Westcott, the bar manager at Hinoki & the Bird in Los Angeles. “His feedback is always the final step in making sure the cocktails are ready to be placed on the menu. What better palate to give feedback than a chef’s?”


Haitian Divorce cocktail at Eight Row Flint
“My favorite creative moments while developing drinks, without a doubt, always happen when I’m bouncing ideas off our culinary director, Vincent Huynh,” says Morgan Weber, the beverage director at Eight Row Flint in Houston. “He has an amazing palate and brings to the table decades of cooking and eating experiences that have shaped his unique approach to food.
“Not having the same background in cocktails that I do, Huynh is not encumbered by ‘too much cocktail-focused education.’ He understands where I’m coming from with the classics but constantly throws out ideas based on his cooking experiences. The drinks that accidentally come out of those R&D sessions are consistently the most interesting that make it onto our menus, like the Haitian Divorce, which came from a discussion about how to incorporate the flavors into a Tiki-style cocktail.”


“I come from the opposite perspective, because I’m a bartender who has never had the opportunity to work with a great chef or the benefit of having a full amazing kitchen to utilize for the bar,” says Cari Hah, a bartender at Big Bar in Los Angeles. “Every bar I have worked is just a bar with bar food or a place where the kitchen and bar don’t necessarily work in conjunction with each other.
“I wouldn’t call this a disadvantage, because it has forced me to be creative in how I prep ingredients and work with the space and limited equipment that I have. But I definitely have experienced great envy when I hear my peers talk about how much their chefs help out and offer advice on culinary techniques that I would love to learn. I don’t think there is better or worse. There is just different. I have been able, though, to figure out culinary techniques in a rather DIY way since I don’t have expensive equipment (e.g., sous vide, a big range-top stove, dehydrators, vacuum sealers, etc.), so I am very imaginative in that way.”


La Corsha Hospitality Group’s Boiler Nine
“Before we began planning our food and beverage menus [for upcoming locations], chef Joshua Thomas and I discuss what is available locally, then create a deck of ingredients we both want to focus on,” says Jason Stevens, the director of beverage and bars at La Corsha Hospitality Groupin Austin. “We break each ingredient down to all of its usable parts and work together on how we can use the whole of the ingredient. The kitchen is using Rio Star grapefruits for suprêmes? The bar can use the peels for citrus cordial. Our overall food and beverage program has more synergy when we approach it this way.”

For more click here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kid Rock for senate?—hopefully NOT!

By SJ Otto
I have to wonder why people want to make rock stars, movie and TV stars into politicians. On one hand, they claim that most of Hollywood, most movie stars and music celebrities are liberal. And yet when such people run for office they are almost always Republicans.
The latest celebrity is Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie. He has been named as a potential Republican contender for Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow’s Senate seat next year.
What we really need to ask ourselves is what makes a rock star—or a movie star— political material. What makes them qualified as opposed to other people who are already involved in politics.
A lot of celebrities have been elected to public office, including Fred Grandy, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood have all been elected to public office. For the most part, most elected celebrities are elected as moderate Republicans. Few movie or rock stars have been elected Democrats.
Frank Zappa was considering running for president before he died. He leaned towards libertarianism. But he ran out of time, due to his prostate cancer.
So what kind of politician will Kid Rock turn out to be? More than likely—very conservative. He endorsed Donald Trump's presidential bid. Anyone who doesn't like knee-jerk reactionary politics will likely not want to support Kid Rock. From the left perspective—he is a jerk—pure and simple. He is also pro-imperialism for our military.
It makes us wonder if anyone on the celebrity circuit should run for office and/or if any of us should support the if they do. I have to admit I liked it when Al Franken ran for office. He turns out to be a very good United States Senator from Minnesota. But the others—well maybe they should have stuck to entertainment. Let's not forget Ted Nugent , a major political ass hole and rocker.

Nerf Herder - Van Halen

Friday, February 10, 2017

Poetry Corner—“Know your place and don’t be an ass”

Welcome to Poetry Corner.  Now and then I get the urge to write poetry. So here are a few ditties I wrote. –SJ Otto

Know your place and don’t be an ass
We need liberation for the masses,
Not the dumb asses,
Be self owning,
Not self loathing,
No need for deprivation,
No one wants starvation,
Only the rich can go on vacation,
What they deserve is mutilation,
Only the rich,
Need a good snitch,
If you fight for your class,
You’re not full of hot gas,
Know your self interest,
And, to the rich you’re a pest,
To be a revolutionary
Good for us—for our rulers—scary,
Scare them well,
Make their life a living hell,
Don’t be a Republican,
Don’t like Ronald Reagan,
Don’t be a disgrace,
Know your place!

It always stinks in Stenchville
Take the last train to Stenchville,
I’ll meet you at the mooring,
With Stenchly Stench and his orchestra playing at a still,
His band is playing and he’s boring,
Along with the Stenchville Brass,
And the tale of Stench Muligan,
Full of hot gas,
Stench was a hooligan,
Working for the FBI,
And Stenchville’s favorite preacher,
Gives us pie in the sky,
And from the pond comes the creature,
He smells like Richard Nixon,
Ronald Reagan made us into chumps,
A Stenchville favorite son,
And of course there’s Donald Trump,
And Richard Nixon.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

How to make your own absinth

By SJ Otto
Commercial absinth is both a liquor that is distilled and infusion of herbs. But a drink tasting almost the same can be made by infusing herbs in alcohol or water. Here is how it is done:
Take on fight bottle, doesn’t matter what it is from, whiskey, wine, etc.
In that bottle mix in one pint of Everclear (or any brand of straight drinking alcohol) and one pint of tap water.
In one jar mix in:
One teaspoon of liquorish root.
One teaspoon of anise seed.
One anise star.
¼ teaspoon of fennel seed.
One teaspoon hyssop.
Put all ingredients in a jar and pour half the alcohol water mixture. Let it all steep for 24 hours or at least overnight.
In a second jar mix in a dash of angelica root.
Ad in one heaping teaspoon of Wormwood.
Ad in the rest of the alcohol and water mixture. Steep for three hours.
Put a funnel into the fifth bottle. Pour the alcohol-wormwood mixture over a coffee filter and into the fifth bottle. Throw the filter and the solid herbs away.
Next pour the liquorish herbs into a funnel and coffee filter into the fifth bottle. Take a second bottle of Everclear and pour until the bottle is full.
This mixture should taste just like commercial absinth.    
It should taste wonderful.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Stock up for Super Bowl Sunday- the big day is tomorrow

By SJ Otto
Here are some cans of beer squaring off for a football game at my local Maize Liquor Store. Kinda' funny right! And here are suggestions of places to order the booze you might need and a meat site for snacks.

You may need some Sparkling Wine.

Friday, February 03, 2017

It's Super Bowl Sunday again! Another time to party!

Super Bowl Sunday is probably the largest un-official holiday of the year. It is not a real holiday and it is not based on anything religious. So we all get together with friend, make snacks and drinks for this day. Then we sit, watch and eat and drink all day.
Some of us don’t give a rats ass about football. But we do get to sit with friends and party. And that is the whole point.
This year Lady Gaga will be the half-time performer. Sometimes they get some real crappy top 40 type musicians, such as Justin Timberlake. But this year they got someone good. –SJ Otto

Football fans: The moment we’ve all been waiting for is almost here, and we can’t wait for Super Bowl Sunday to begin.
But before kickoff, there are still some serious decisions to be made about your Super Bowl party strategy. Whether you’re hosting a bash or going to one, we have nine amazing drinks that you and your friends are sure to love more than just a six-pack of beer. (If you insist on serving beer, don’t worry; we included several delicious sudsy cocktails.)
The best part is that our drinks pair perfectly with a range of traditional Super Bowl party foods, from chips and guacamole to pizza and wings. (Speaking of guacamole, check out celebrity chef Rick Bayless’ delicious tomatillo and bacon version!)
Now let’s play some football!
Don't forget the chili! Here's a chili recipe that will knock your guests' socks off.


Super Sunday Punch Bowl of Freedom

Throwing a Super Bowl party is serious business. From making sure that the pizza comes on time to worrying about having enough chips and dip, it can be quite stressful. To make your day a bit easier, we suggest making this bourbon- and brandy-based punch from talented Chicago bartender Mike Ryan. The best part is that you can prepare it ahead of time. Now that’s what we call a winning play!


Love atomic hot wings? You’re going to want to try this cocktail. The fiery recipe calls for, of course, hot sauce, plus spiced rum, lime juice, ginger beer and some pilsner. It’s easy-drinking, but spicy enough to keep you on your toes so you don’t miss any questionable calls by the refs!


Since this is the biggest game of the year, it’s time to pull out all the stops. So impress your friends with this slushy and delicious spin on the classic Sazerac from cocktail consultant Tad Carducci. The frozen treat calls for rye whiskey, absinthe, lemon juice and Peychaud’s Bitters. You may need to call a timeout to recover from your brain-freeze.

For the rest click here.

Pix from Verge Campus.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Another Allman Brother dies- Butch Trucks

My brother used to listen to the Allman Brothers all the time. I liked them also. It is sad news that Butch Trucks, the drummer died. –SJ Otto

Butch Trucks, drummer and founding member of Southern rock pioneers the Allman Brothers Band, has died at the age of 69. His death, which occurred on January 24 at his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, has been ruled a suicide, the Miami Herald reports. According to the Herald, "Trucks shot himself in the head with a pistol as his wife of 25 years stood near him in their downtown West Palm Beach condo, the records show…..
……Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1971….
For the rest click here.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Celebrities Speaking Out: Are They Helping or Hurting With Anti-Trump Antics? –They are helping us!

We are lucky to have celebrities who are willing and able to speak out against the Trump regime and all the yahoos that are presently supporting him. Celebrities do not have to give their time to such causes. And most of us can’t get the kind of attention they can give. So we owe them our gratitude for speaking out against the lunatic Trump government. I’m posting this article, although I have already answered their question above. –SJ Otto

Celebrities are given a unique platform to bring awareness to certain issues, and many do not take that for granted. In the case of last year’s election, stars came out in droves to support Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. We all know how that turned out, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying to take action when it comes to stopping President Trump‘s agenda.
With Shia LaBeouf’s arrest during his live stream protest of Trump, Madonna’s provocative remarks at the Women’s March, and Chelsea Handler’s controversial comments about first lady Melania Trump, it begs the question… are some stars hurting their own cause?
For the rest click here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

10 Celebrities Who Support John Lewis' boycott of Trump

Besides all the Democrats who will officially boycott Donald Trump's inauguration. They include:
1. Stephen Colbert
2. Pink
3. Kathy Bates
4. George Takei
5. Cameron Esposito
6. Chloe Bennet
7. Dan Savage
8. Ava DuVernay
9. Mark Duplass
10. Andy Richter

-SJ Otto

For more on this story- from CheatSheet:

There are many famous people who Donald Trump has dissed. One of the most recent, happens to be civil rights activist and congressman, John Lewis. The whole feud started when Lewis did an interview with Chuck Todd for Meet the Press. There, he questioned the president-elect’s legitimacy.
It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” said Lewis. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.” This led to Trump responding on Twitter, dissing the congressman only two days before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2017
This has pushed many people to take sides, especially since the feud isn’t over and Lewis is boycotting the inauguration along with many other members of Congress. Some people have criticized the congressman, but many more have defended him. His book, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement sold out on Amazon after the heated interaction. Then there was the Twitter trend of #IStandWithJohnLewis.
Are you wondering what celebrities decided to stand with Lewis and why? Here are 10 celebrities who support John Lewis.
1. Stephen Colbert

I stand with legendary civil rights hero @repjohnlewis. And sometimes crowd-surf with him.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) January 17, 2017
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert host probably would have acted like he sided with Trump if he still had his satirical show. However, he was genuinely supportive of Lewis on Twitter by sharing a GIF of the congressman crowd-surfing on Colbert’s show. The image was from Lewis’ appearance on the show when he was promoting his graphic novel series, March.
2. Pink

John Lewis, Donald Trump, and the Meaning of Legitimacy via @newyorker
— P!nk (@Pink) January 16, 2017
The singer didn’t use her own words to support Lewis, but shared an article that describes him as “the singular conscience of Capitol Hill.”
3. Kathy Bates
#Ihaveadream #IStandWithJohnLewis. Dr. King we need you more than ever. May your words and peaceful activism guide us in these dark times.
— Kathy Bates (@MsKathyBates) January 16, 2017
The Oscar-winner gave some touching words about not only John Lewis, but Martin Luther King, Jr.

For the rest of the story click here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The joys of Absynthe......

absinthe is one of my favorite drinks here are some examples of ways to make the use of that particular



Pour the absinthe into a Champagne flute or coupe.
Top with the Champagne.
Flavor: Bubbly

Base Spirit:
Cocktail Type:
for more information click here.

Pix by Wikipedia..

Friday, January 06, 2017

How was Christmas in the Soviet Union/ Russia?

While we here in the US are completely done with the holidays, tomorrow is Christmas in Russia. So here is an article about the Christmas Celebration which comes a week after New Year than before. –SJ Otto
Translated to English by Google.
From AlternativeWorld/ Mundo Alternativo:

In the Soviet Union, a place so different from the rest of the world, also celebrated Christmas. With many quirks, but in a way very similar to the rest of the western countries. In the West the party went from being a religious celebration to being a "secular" vacation where families get together, giving a greater attention to consumption. In the Soviet Union, too, the secular character prevailed.

In the USSR, and even today in the countries that were part of the 15 Soviet republics, it is more important to commemorate the new year than Christmas itself. Until the year 1492, the new year was on the first day of March. This year was changed to the beginning of the year on September 1. It was Tsar Peter I, who put January 1st as the beginning of the year in 1700, fitting then with the Western calendar. During the 19th century many of the Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree itself, came from Russia. In 1914, Tsar Nicholas II forbade many of these traditions by being at war against Germany.
With the Revolution of October adopts in 1918 the Gregorian calendar, to be in agreement with the rest of the world. It is for him that the new year is celebrated before Christmas, since the Orthodox Church (still today) is guided by the Julian calendar, which gives rise to Christmas Day on January 7. Since then, the celebration of the new year has become more important, while Christmas is reduced to a more private religious celebration.

Between 1929 and 1935 Christmas was banned due to disagreement between the state and the Orthodox Church. In 1935 the Christmas is celebrated again. The Bolsheviks, seeing that in the capitalist West rich children enjoyed elegant Christmas trees and gifts, while the vast majority of the children had to settle for looking enviously at the rich. This makes in the USSR decided since 1935 to celebrate the new year with priority, with special attention to childhood. So that in the Christmas traditions, dedicate the gifts and the Christmas tree within reach for the children.
The Christmas trees were set up in the squares, theaters, schools, palaces of the pioneers, etc. Small houses were also set up in the houses. These in which they were decorated with all kinds of adornments made of glass or porcelain, headed by a red star at the top of the tree. Families would gather and devote themselves to many foods, sing songs of Christmas, and put into practice ancient pagan traditions of when the celebrations of winter were celebrated.

Day 1 was celebrating a big children's party. The children gathered in their homes the presents that appeared on the tree. Soon in a public place or in a square, the presents were given to the children before beginning a journey of collective jokes where the child was the unique protagonist. Those responsible for distributing these gifts were "Ded Moroz" (Grandpa Frosty) and his granddaughter "Snegurochka" (Snow Maiden). The "Ded Moroz" is the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus, and is always accompanied by his granddaughter. By receiving the gifts the children make promises concerning their behavior or studies.
The largest and majestic tree was installed at the entrance of the Kremlin, it was the tree of the USSR, and there came the Muscovite families as tradition. Lights and decorations with flower wreaths and papers made the streets look beautiful, the shop windows were filled with their finest produce, and people bought many things for dinner. In that sense, the Soviet Christmas was exactly the same as in the West. During the holidays, typical songs were played, films of the time, as well as Christmas cartoons where they mixed old traditions and Christmas tales with new entertainments for the children, the young inhabitants of the Soviet Union.

Last night of the year the families would gather for dinner and drink. It was tradition to bring new clothes, to eat and to drink a lot, with much noise, laughter and euphoria. "It will pass the year just as you will receive the other," commented all the Soviet families. Television was broadcasting the bells of the Kremlin, and at the end the bottles of Soviet champagne burst. Then the television relayed a special program with the main artists of the moment, and other celebrities like Yuri Gagarin in 1962.

Especially the festivities in the war years were harsh. In 1942, Leningrad surrounded by Nazi troops, the Soviet authorities decided to celebrate the feasts even in those apocalyptic circumstances. The object was to disturb the life of the children as little as possible in the midst of those brutal circumstances. In those years, soldiers celebrated the New Year by painting the tanks with a New Year's salute. Ded Moroz handed the presents in the Red Army uniform. But if there was a special party, this party was the one in 1946 where the sadness of the lost family mingled with the joy of victory.