I made a little rule for myself when I started Nonjatta that I would try to post on topic. I will try hard to make this post relevant to Japanese whisky but it will be a stretch. There is thing thing called Mixology Monday. Basically, lots of cocktail blogs get together and all post recipes for cocktails on a particular theme on the same Monday. Not being much of a cocktail expert, I have kept strictly on the sidelines.
But this Monday is special. It is devoted to "Blog Love". Paul at The Cocktail Chronicles explains:
... to participate, simply pick and prepare a drink — an original or a classic, whatever you prefer — that you’ve read about on another person’s blog, and write a post about it, giving a shout out to the blog where you found it...I really want to get involved in any effort that is about bringing together and celebrating the amazing community of drink bloggers out there. So, here goes. Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Nacional daiquiri was my pick, not least because I have just finished reading Graham Greene's classic novel Our Man in Havana in which the daiquiri is kind of like the story's femme fatale (see my comment on Jeffrey's post). The recipe looked delicious and the photo had me slavering.
Alas, it was not to be! I scoured the liquor stores here in Kanagawa and the more intricate ingredients were simply not available. Blast! Darcy O'Neil at the Art of the Drink came to the rescue with his post about a Strawberry Daiquiri, or rather the recipe for a classic daiquiri he appended. It was delicious. I sat there on our porch, with the rain tipping down in the middle of the Japanese rainy season, imagining I was a bit part character in Our Man in Havana.
My first faltering steps into the world of the cocktail did not stop there. Darcy's strawberry daiquiri and his comment that the daiquiri I had just been entranced by was a "bit one dimensional" had me intrigued. Unfortunately, I had no strawberries so I tried using his fruit muddling daiquiri method with cherries. It wasn't great. And then I discovered that my original inspirer Jeffrey Morgenthaler had invented a recipe for a tomato daiquiri. Sounded foul but I was on a roll. I didn't have the tomato puree Jeffrey stipulated so I kind of mashed together Darcy's fruit muddling instructions and Jeffrey's inspiration, using some fresh tomato in my shaker. Despite all expectations it was absolutely gorgeous.
So, there we have it, a big, saliva-dripping, tongue-down-the-throat Blog Love snog for Jeffrey and Darcy. Or their blogs at least!
All of which leaves me, hair out of place and rather flustered after my tumble in the hay, somewhat at a loss for how to connect this to Japanese whisky. How about this? My favourite Japanese author Haruki Murakami soaks his novels in whisk(e)y. There is hardly a story in which it does not feature, hardly a hero who is not half cut on the stuff. In "Family Affair", a short story in The Elephant Vanishes, the main character asks a girl out on an impromptu date. This is Jay Rubin's translation:
I picked her up, and we drove out along the shore just beyond Yokohama to a bar with a view of the ocean. I drank four glasses of I.W. Harper on the rocks, and she had two banana daiquiris (can you believe it?) And we watched the sun go down.I think the Japanese original goes something more like:
... and she had two banana daiquiris.So, there is my tenuous link: the daiquiri mentioned by the Japanese novelist laureate of whisky, who knows what is right and wrong in a cocktail and has his characters drink on the shore where I live. I tried the banana daiquiri idea, by the way. It was about as successful as the cherry daiquiri. Stick with the tomatoes. Someday soon I'll explore Murakami and whisky a bit more but, as this posting has reached epic proportions already, I'll call it a day there.