fitting that i should come back around to Kingsley Amis’ Everyday Drinking eventually, as it was in the grip of this delightful book of booze essays that i coughed up my first volley of posts (awful mixing of metaphors, that). on a related note (ie: mixing), in said book Amis describes a drink ostensibly invented (and much utilized) by Evelyn Waugh (in whom i’ve been eyeball deep of late,with my xmas acquisition of the Selected Letters thereof, and more recently A Little Learning), about which i was immensely curious, consisting of a generous ounce of gin, the same of ginger beer, and topped up in a pint glass with Guinness.
some months ago i tried to reproduce this drink with inexplicably disastrous results which i now attribute to, in all likelihood, the excessive sweetness of the Golden Cockerel ginger beer i used – but having undertaken it a second time (with a twist, no less!) i can say in all confidence and no misplaced pride that we (me and mike, my co-conspirator) have invented (reimagined) a cocktail that i would actually drink again, in lieu of straight gin even (as mixed drinks have fallen out of my favour, particularly where is concerned gin, to which i at most add a few drops of bitters, as a matter of course)!
huh? aside from replacing the Golden Cockerel with Stewart’s (still sweet, but less so), the secret to our success, unfortunately to be eventually irreproducible (see below), was foregoing Guinness in favour of our slightly disastrous homemade chocolate-espresso stout. see, mike and i not being experienced brewmasters (home or otherwise), managed to fuck up approximately -all- of the steps in the brewing process, so it was with some incredulity that we discovered our beer tastes delicious (hoppy and not too sweet, with distinct mocha undertones), even if its accidentally excessive carbonation causes it to EXPLODE EVERYWHERE when you open the bottle, leaving approximately 1/4 – 1/3 of the original volume remaining. consequently, we named the beer Ratwagon, as it is unique among beers for being self-ratwagoning.
after extensive and presumably scientific testing, we decided that a 1-1-4 gin-ginger beer-beer ratio works best, with a little tweaking for taste, which should you try this at home will be all the more necessary, as in the absence of weird homebrew you will be forced to opt for the ersatz Guinness, which will inevitably taste considerably different.
at the time i was unable to recall whether Waugh (or Amis) provided a name for the drink (although i have since learned that it answers to the “Noonday Reviver,” not to shabby a name in its own right), and so we took it upon ourselves to search among Waugh’s literary back catalogue for an appropriate moniker, eventually settling (greatly satisfied and somewhat tight) upon Black Mischief, for obvious superficial reasons, owing nothing to the book itself, which is a satirical story about an English-educated emperor of a fictional African country’s ill-fated attempts to modernize his backward and corrupt nation, and which i have not actually read. the first reader review on Amazon assures us that “This novel is not racist,” which is good because i too am not racist.