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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

xmas cocktails

Ultra-Lounge Christmas Cocktails

It's coming up a year to the day when - equally unfettered by job or income - I fled to Europe for an extended and overdue reunion with mother in Greece and brother in Tuscany.

I'm asked why I'm not profiting again this year from the same enforced idleness and the answer is clear: spadework.

In fact, that whole Greece-Italy blog is rife with grim reminders of what seemed to be almost a daily occurrence: leaves to rake, earth to dig, twigs to clear, drains to unblock, leafy stuff to trim, barrows to trundle, gravel to level ... groan, it was like a minefield of a thousand-and-one 'pièges-jardinières' to trap one into bending or lugging over some dismal trench of loam.

Yikes and blimey - no thank you - assez c'st assez.

But let us not dwell on such unpleasantness. I have happier memories, especially *planning* the trip when Anna and I were scouting round for some suitable gift to give her sophisticated uncle.

I knew it the moment I saw it - Christmas Cocktails ("Hi-fi holiday cheer from Santa's pad ... eighteen hot toddies [which] will surely melt your snowcone ... you're in Yulesville, baby.")

Even a helpful "File under 'Lounge' ", which would raise a hefty guffaw from Busker frère.

It was too perfect and we had to retire to Metrios for large hot chocolates and whipped cream for me to set the scene:

  • Pete's house - or rather houseS, since it's a three-part nunnery from some ridiculously youthful century - is the soul of good taste,
  • The last place where ultra-lounge music would befoul the air.
  • We'd pimp up in our flashiest gear
  • Cocktails of the flashiest
  • Pencil 'taches and Brylcreem'd hair
  • Swaying and slithering around in best lounge lizard fashion.

    Even Amazon.com's Martin Keller has fun in his review:

    "A perfect martini-and-mistletoe combo, Christmas Cocktails will gaily seduce you with its bevy of nostalgic and occasionally campy holiday fare. Vocal vixens Peggy Lee, Julie London (her "I'd Like You for Christmas" will melt the ice cubes in your fridge), Kay Starr, and Nancy Wilson join forces with perennial crooners such as Lou Rawls, Dean Martin, and the immortal Nat "King" Cole, along with a handful of instrumental big-band numbers and odd, at times cheese-ball-shaped jazz organ pieces from Jimmy McGriff and the flammable Eddie Dundstedter, among others. But the essential item that makes plunking down your pelts for this very chi-chi set is none other than Billy May's lovably kitschy workout called "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo." It's a scream. The package comes complete with its own cocktail minimanual and the recipes for Hot Toddys and Hot Tom and Jerrys. Garishly retro and naughtily nostalgic, this kind of slinky Christmas gift should probably be illegal in many prudish states."

    And what did I do? Packed everything else *but* the cocktails CD, so I'm mailing it to Italy in good time for everyone to enjoy it *this* year.


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