May 29, 2020

In queso emergency: Cocktails

Whatever you have planned for this afternoon, we can suggest something gouda. But don’t take my curd for it, just brie there, from 5pm. You don’t have to be provalone.

Link below, later.

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  • So you should be able to join using this meeting ID, which I prefer to putting the link he... - Karen
May 23, 2020

Cocktail Party Debrief

Regular readers of the blog will know of the long-standing tradition of the cocktail hour – a weekly occurrence in which Karen would invite readers to place drinks orders on Friday morning and then basically spend her entire day using this to compose a funny and charming post. Obviously this is predicated on her not having anything more important to do with her Friday, so some years it’s happened more often than others, depending upon what her job was at the time.

Finding these cocktail hours posts can be quite tricky. You can use the cocktails tag, but that also turns up some other posts about cocktails, and only goes back as far as March 2013 (as we didn’t do any tagging before then). Or you can try searching, which goes back to April 2004, but this also has the flaw of providing some false positives, and also apparently missing some occasions when we didn’t use the word “cocktail”. And there are even earlier examples than that, but thanks to an embarrassing incident involving the entire site being deleted, they are hard to get to and the stylesheets are broken (UPDATE: I fixed the stylesheets!). But here’s evidence that it can be done! It took me about half an hour to find that.

Due to time pressures, Karen had to basically stop doing them in 2015. There was one in summer 2019, but other than that, nothing.

Back at the end of March we decided to throw a little online Zoom-based cocktail hour. It was, I think it’s fair to say, a bit of a success, so the weekly cocktails have been resurrected into a regular “sesh” which I think has been a pleasing salve during lockdown. Ten weeks later, and I’m thinking that we should be keeping some sort of record of this, so that when younger generations say “hey, Grandad Pete, what did you do during the 2020 pandemic?” then I can dandle them on my knee and say, weeeeeeelll, on the 22nd May we all got together and talked about the following items:

  • Cheese. Approximately 20 minutes of discussion about cheese, including a heated debate upon what is and isn’t considered to be legitimate cheese. At one point Stuart nearly stopped himself in the middle of a story when he realised how spectacularly dull it was, but we all forced him to finish it anyway. Fluffspangle had a lot to say about cheese, as she always does.
  • Beaches. Clair briefly showed us the sea view from her window, which induced a chorus of jealous groans, and we all agreed that the sight of the sea can do wonders for your mental state.
  • Pissing in peoples’ gardens. The jury was unanimous on the verdict that when someone invites you to their house, then they implicitly give you permission to “water” their garden. While still on the topic of urination, we discussed the utility of a crinoline skirt in allowing one to carry their own portable vessel for collecting waste, while ensuring that your companions are none the wiser.
  • There was a brief rant about people who can’t observe the 2m rule while out and about. It was a brief rant, as we’ve been able to mostly get this out of our system already in previous weeks. However, the Uborka Brain Trust did make another one of their startling discoveries, which is that the reason for people standing too close together in supermarkets can only be explained by a bending of the space-time continuum caused by the excessive gravity coming about as a result of all the
  • Cheese
  • There was also some fantastic punwork on display, man-of-the-match here probably being Lyle. At one point we were making electricity-themed puns, and I was able to say “What?” (watt) about six times before it stopped being funny. As Karen said, between paroxysms of laughter and glugs of bubbly, “You’re so funny when I’m drunk”
  • Colour-changing goldfish. That’s what I’ve written down here. My memory’s a bit hazy here, but I think I recall a story about someone convincing their daughter that goldfish can change colour at will, and the daughter believed this until they were 21?
  • The smell of smoke on your clothes. Gammidgy and Ms Gammidgy (let me know if you prefer me to use a different pseudonym here) were recounting how the smell of woodsmoke permeates her clothes after an extended period of re-enacting days of yore. Lori reminisced about her youth, when she was able to hide her smoking habit from her parents by dint of the fact that everyone’s clothes smelled of smoke after a night at the pub, whether they’d been smoking or not.

All of this in under an hour. If you missed it, then the die is cast, but you can at least endeavour to not miss next week’s as well.

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  • I have become the Uncle Colm of the Uborka family. - Stuart
May 22, 2020

The second Not-A-Wedding lockdown cocktail party

As you will recall, we reviewed, reconstructed and re-expressed the Uborka Virtual Cocktail Hour (Original And Best ™) in order to celebrate the date we had re-arranged our Civil Partnership Signing for, which was the 3rd April. It didn’t happen then, and it also didn’t happen today, which is the date it was originally booked for. This is my convoluted way of telling you that if you want to dress up for cocktails today, you won’t be alone. See you at 5. Link in the comments shortly.

May 15, 2020

Cocktails later

All are welcome to join us on zoom at 5pm, when, if previous weeks are anything to go by, we will talk about cheese and not going out. Have you a cheese related cheesefactlet to share? We need you. Link arrives later on in the comments.

May 9, 2020

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Twelve)

(View previous instalments here)

Welcome to the lockdown instalment of my alcohol-free beer reviews. Some of these were ordered from The Grumpy Goat prior to the lockdown beginning. Others were ordered from other home delivery sources – I will give details of these below.

Tiny Rebel Club Tropica

But don’t worry, you can suntan.

This had a really promising fruity tropical smell but had a pecularity in the flavour that, try as I might, I can’t quite put into words. Not very helpful, I know, but for once I’m stumped. Still, I did find that I got used to the weird flavour by the end of the drink, so it wasn’t a deal-breaker by any means. I’d be interested to sample the alcoholic variant to see if the same quality is present in that one too.

Big Drop / Harbour “Going Swimmingly”

Good grief this is vile stuff. Imagine that you had a glass of really bold, punchy, tangy hibiscus flavoured drink. You finish your drink, and then it’s time for bed, and you want to take a glass of water up with you. But you’ve got no clean glasses, so you just re-use the same glass that you were drinking from before. In the night, you go for a swig of water, and can still detect the flavour of your delicious hibiscus drink, albeit at homeopathic levels.

That’s what this drink tastes like.

Dolden Null

Karen added this to our Abel and Cole order. It’s not a bad IPA, to be fair, but it is a little on the sweet and malty side, so it’s not got what it takes to become one of my favourites. That said, it’s still very drinkable and I’d gladly have it again.

Brewdog Wake-Up Call

In response to “The Lockdown”, I placed a hefty order online at Wise Bartender. I’ve ordered large quantities of some of my favourites (Clausthaler, Infinite Session, A Ship Full of, Hazy AF) and some singles of some new ones (reviews will be forthcoming). I also took a punt on a 6 pack of this, which I’ve never tried before, but I was feeling a bit bold.

This is an espresso stout that contains a fairly hefty amount of coffee – I didn’t realise at the time but it’s actually got about 37mg of caffeine per can. Considering that I’ve also been off caffeine for a couple of years, I was worried that I might have pushed my luck a bit.

But it’s great stuff, and I encountered no negative reaction to the caffeine, so on the whole this is everything I hoped it would be, and I don’t regret buying 6 instead of just a solitary can. There’s an ever-so-slight whiff of tobacco, which is not a flavour that I enjoy in a drink, but it’s at bearable levels.

Maisel’s Weiss

I generally feel quite optimistic when trying a new alcohol-free wheat beer, as the standard has been consistently high. This one makes an extra-special first impression as Maisel was one of the names by which we’d sometimes refer to the fantastic and recently-departed Maisy.

The drink itself has a deliciously clean orangey flavour and is utterly divine. It’s hazy with a succulent and creamy mouthfeel, and has a head that lingers without being ridiculously overblown to start with. This beer is so good that it’s got me wondering if I need to add a “3 pint” option to my rating system.

There are more new beers waiting in the garage, so if you’ll excuse me, it’s time I went and started work on the next collection of reviews.

May 8, 2020

Thank Lockdown It’s Friday: Cocktails Later

It is VE day. In my line of work, a VE is quite a different thing, and the less said about that, the better.
Here at Casa Uborka, we don’t go in for triumphant victory marches, but we do like peace so we’ll have a piece of that and celebrate the hell out of it. Or … seriously, the church bells keep ringing at random times and it’s very unnerving. Is that a VE day thing? What for?

Anyway, cocktails will be served, and we shall wear party dresses if we want to, and there will be a link in the commentses later on today. See you at 5.

April 24, 2020

Welcome to the Firkin & Gherkin

Cocktails will be served this afternoon at 5pm in our pub. Inspired by Jon Richardson’s pub in his garage, I converted what is by daytime my workspace into a cosy snug bar, and invite you to join us with drinks, snacks, fancy outfits optional (I’m already wearing my sequins, but I suspect Pete will have changed out of his by now. Link will be in the commentses later.