Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What We're Drinking: The Rusty Nail - The Drink That Satisfies

Monday - 6pm. The Barfly walks into a South Brooklyn dive bar and finds a seat at the scuffed wood bar. The bartender is a wiry “dude” in his mid thirties and wears a camp green t-shirt two sizes too small for his nascent beer belly. He arches his eyebrows and nods in The Barfly’s direction. The Barfly scopes out the place. A couple of pensioners stare into their measured shots of Old Grandad. Some floppy haired hipsters in Members Only jackets are “slumming” it in Brooklyn drinking Schlitz out of a can. A Corrections Officer from the Brooklyn House of Detention reads the funny pages in the corner seat with a Bud and a shot. Then the jukebox starts playing Johnny Mercer forchrisake!

Swiveling back on the badly upholstered stool,The Barfly signals to the bartender, “got any Drambuie?”

"Sure." Bartender points to a dusty bottle on the top shelf with its seal unbroken.

“Lemme start off with a Rusty Nail.”

"Want a shot of Pepto-Bismol on the side", the bar keep asks.

“Nah, just a bag of UTZ® Vinegar chips.”


When I embarked on my journey to write this review, I went right to a few local dive bars. I believed the hype. Naturally, a Rusty Nail could only truly be enjoyed in an establishment with peeling paint and New Year’s Eve decorations circa 1987. The Rusty Nail is a quintessential “Old Man” drink that sounds like it will knock you in the gulliver and send you on a third class trip to guttersville. The name alone is enough to send a shiver down your liver. The image: A nail. Sharp. Metallic. And rusty! Not too appealing if you ask me. It does not evoke the ante bellum scenery of a Mint Julep. Nor does it enjoy the sophistication of the Manhattan. On the contrary, when we think of the Rusty Nail, we think of some hole in the wall bar serving the flophouse residents.

Blended Scotch. Drambuie. A twist. An Old fashioned glass. That combination doesn’t sound like rotgut or bathtub gin! Wait, what is Drambuie anyway?

According to the company, Drambuie means the “drink that satisfies” in Gaelic and has a long history dating back to the mid-18th century. It was a secret recipe of Scottish patriot Bonnie Prince Charles circa 1746 and even played a role in Scottish history. Prince Charles tried unsuccessfully to usurp British control over his homeland and sacrificed his secret recipe as payment during his exile to France. The liquor is a combination of Scotch blends and heather honey. It can be imbibed on the rocks or in mixed drinks. After reading up on the regal story of Drambuie, it’s hard to believe that the honored liquor has become associated with such a dive drink as the Rusty Nail.

When choosing the brand of blended Scotch to use in your Rusty Nail, the quality is important. Cutty-Sark Scotch is one of my favorite medium quality blended scotches. In my opinion, it can hold its own against the popular Dewar’s any day of the week. Cutty-Sark seems to complement the Drambuie by not being overwhelming. For my second Rusty Nail, I upped the ante with Johnny Walker Black. Needless to say, the drink was sublime. Black’s rich and velvety flavor mixed well with the honey in the Drambuie and made the drink a pleasure to sip and savor.

The Rusty Nail

2 1/2 oz. of a Scotch Blend - Cutty-Sark(if in a good Dive)or Johnny Walker Black (on payday)
1/2 oz. of Drambuie as a floater
Twist of Lemon

Serve on the rocks in an Old Fashioned Glass and garnish with a twist.

Blended Scotch drinkers, you will love the Rusty Nail. Try one next time you desire a scotch and soda or a Rob Roy on the rocks. It doesn’t have to be in a dive bar. Indeed, let’s help the “the drink that satisfies” find its way out of the gutter and onto the lounge drink menu.

- Fredo

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nicola Conte - per tutti!

by Fredo

Matt Perelli sent us a great link to a series of videos from Italy's Nicola Conte including Kind of Sunshine and Bossanova. There are also some excellent songs from Brazilian song bird Rosalia de Souza.

Nicola Conte is an Italian DJ/producer whose jazz influenced albums (and clearly video like Kind of Sunshine) are influenced by Italian cinema and late 1950s/early 1960s bossanova/Federico Fellini/jet set life. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"I thought you could walk on water!"

The last of the Rat Packers passed away Wednesday night. Bronx native Joey Bishop was born Joseph Abraham Gottlieb in 1918 and began his comedy career with his brother Maury in the 1930s. Known for his dead pan delivery, Joey rose to fame in the 1940s and 50s televison (The Steve Allen Show),night clubs, and junket circuit. Then he fell in with the notorious Rat Pack which consisted of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr. He never had the high profile as the rest of his cronies but he was known as the "Hub of the wheel" and often played the straight man in their routines.

His comedic brilliance is typified in his reaction to a near tragedy. Frank Sinatra almost drowned while filming a movie in Hawaii, so Bishop wired him: "I though you could walk on Water."

After his Rat Pack days, Joey starred in NBC's "The Joey Bishop Show" from 1961-65 and appeared in dozens of movies and television shows in supporting roles.

Thanks for the laughs Joey. The old gang is back together now.

(More information on Wikipedia)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Signore Branca finds Heaven

Paul Branca, artist and friend of Loungerati was kind enough to send us a few pictures from what can only be called Vespa heaven. He stumbled upon this shop over the weekend while exhibiting at the Frieze Art Fair in London. Grazie mille!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"Don't Think About Sex" and Lever House

by Fredo

Well now you can add actor to Loungerati Executive Director (Internazionale) Giancarlo Zingaro's resume. The "Outernationalist" sent us a video exclusive of "Don't Think About Sex", a club song by The HAVEX that is sure to be a staple on DJ's rotations from Leith to Ibiza to Berlin. The video was shot in the Leather Room of the Prestonfield Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland. Hometown hero Giancarlo plays the poor lad with the naughty thoughts of burlesque performer Gypsy Charms. I wish all business presentations were this entertaining! The official release of the song is in November.

In completely unrelated news, I enjoyed an excellent Michter's Rye Manhattan at a wedding after hours party in Manhattan's Lever House on Saturday. The power dining restaurant and bar is situated on the ground floor of the landmark 1952 glass building which changed the face of Park Avenue and office building design. The building is still occupied by the Lever Brothers corporation, a soap and detergent company. The Lever House restaurant pays homage to the Jet Age with modernist design reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. After I stopped taking in the fantastic decor, I headed straight for to the bar. My cocktail was executed properly(in other words no shaking!!) and the bar staff was very attentive despite the crowd. Unfortunately, I did not stay for too long but I was able to relax in one of the circular booths that flank the left side of the room. I will definitely be going back to sample the food and enjoy the ambiance.