MxMo XXXVI Hits You Where It Hurts

Happy Mixology Monday, fellow tipplers! The theme this month is Hard Drinks for Hard Times, and the host is the hard man himself, Matthew Rowley. What Matt wants to know is, has the recession affected your drinking, and if so, how? Matt, himself, has already chimed in on this problem, with a story that begins with his own recent job loss.

I understand where he’s coming from.

Y’see, in the last few months, my own working life as a freelance copy editor has dried up to nothing. When Jen and I moved to Providence in April of last year, I was very busy. So busy, in fact, that I was turning projects away and supporting both of us, while Jen searched for work in her field. I was so busy, too, that I didn’t see any reason to seek out other work, or make contingency plans in case things fell apart.

Which, of course, is just what happened. Things fell apart, and at the moment, I’m not working at all.

Fortunately, Jen’s salary is enough to cover our living expenses, so that any money I might bring in goes toward savings, travel, spendier bottles of liquor and wine, and so on.

As my workload has dwindled, our drive to the bottom of the liquor industry’s pricing structure has quickened. We’ve been rocking the Evan Williams since before Dave Wondrich sung its praises in Esquire. (At about $22 for a 1.75-liter bottle, it’s almost stupid not to buy it.) I’m feeling especially lucky in that my personal favorite martini is based on Beefeater, which we can get in 1.75L form for about $30 around here.

We’ve even lately–it is like confessing a murder–brought in boxed wines for our everyday drinking, saving our bottled-wine budget for weekends and holidays.

But enough about this–two more comments, and I’ll move forward with a drink recipe.

What Does This Mean for A Dash of Bitters?

I’m happy to announce that this month marks the third anniversary of this blog, A Dash of Bitters. Despite our recent change of fortunes, I have every desire to push on to year four, and I have plans for the next year that will stun and amaze you! I’ll even ask you to help me out with ideas for my Big Project of 2009! More on that in a week or two.

Is Dietsch Going to Tales of the Cocktail?

Less happily, my current unemployment is forcing me to reconsider my commitment to attending�Tales of the Cocktail this year. This is not an easy decision, but unless my workload rises to at least part-time levels soon, there’s no way we can save the money in the short time between now and July. Further, Jen has a newborn niece and an 88-year-old grandmother; she’s never met her niece and hasn’t seen her grandmother in three years. I have a teenaged nephew I haven’t seen since he was a pre-teen nephew. Our travel priorities for 2009 are for family, I hope you’ll understand.

If things change, I’ll be happy to let everyone know that I or we will be in New Orleans this July, but at this moment, I can’t possibly see it happening.


We’ve been living pretty high off the product samples lately, and they’ve really helped us eke our way through some otherwise-dry patches. I thought, for this MxMo, I’d put together a drink based almost entirely on product samples.

Main ingredient, Bulleit bourbon. I love this stuff. The mashbill is such that it apparently has the highest rye content of any bourbon on the market. I love rye, so perhaps that explains why I love Bulleit so much.

Next up, Cherry Heering, followed by B&B. A little Grand Marnier, some fruit juice, and a hit of bitters. Squirt on some charged water, and that’s your thing.

The bourbon, Cherry Heering, and B&B were all product samples. I had the Grand Marnier on hand, alongside bitters and citrus.

What we’ve got here is a Singapore Sling variant, of course. I call it the Recession Special Sling, after the hot dog specials at Gray’s Papaya in New York. We both loved it. Now, finally, the recipe:

Recession Special Sling, using whatever the fuck I had on hand already

2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. Cherry Heering
1/4 oz. B&B
1 oz. Grand Marnier
3 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. lime juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake, strain into a Collins glass, and top with club soda or charged water.�

photograph by Jennifer Hess.


7 thoughts on “MxMo XXXVI Hits You Where It Hurts

  1. Yeah, I’m with you, and followed a similar track this year. In the past month I’ve watched one magazine I write for shut down its print edition and another that I’d planned on writing for cease business entirely. It’s a tough market for freelancing.

    This drink sounds good, and with a substitution of Cointreau for GM I could make it without buying anything. I’ll give it a try!


  2. Sorry to hear that you’re not busy and not gonna make TOTC this year.

    I’m in the opposite mode here in Houston. I figured I needed more wine and spirits experience, so I’m working Saturdays and some nights at the local Spec’s Liquor store while still holding down a 45+ hour week job as a web developer. Fortunately none of this will keep me from Tales of the Cocktail this year.


  3. obviously we need to find you a panel to speak on at Tales. Hm, maybe a little late for that? OK, then let’s just think positive and hope that hard times for full-time employees means more work for the contractors.

    I’m sorry we might not see you in Nola, but I am sure you won’t be the only one who won’t be there for the same reason. {sigh}


  4. Bonus points for using free sample hooch! I’ve been doing that a lot myself, lately, as budget cutbacks meant I had to opt for part-time work at my previously full-time gig, rather than head back into unemployment. At least for now.


  5. I feel your pain. I’ve recently had my own source of income effectively dry up as well, and in today’s economic situation finding anything is proving to be quite a struggle.
    Fortunately, we are not in the poor house yet, but it is demoralizing to say the least.

    I will have to give Bulleit and Evan Williams another try. I don’t remember being too fond of them the first time around, preferring Rebel Yell as a bargain bourbon. I just found it nuttier.

    Here’s to better financial times! ( In the mean time, there is much to be thankful for. I have a good friend who was just diagnosed, at age 50, with advanced liver cancer. It’s kind of put things in perspective.)


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