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Thursday, August 31, 2017


Before I go into Vesper, Roku (and this is not the streaming player you have providing TV channels--we are talking about a new Japanese gin) and Irma (a potentially dangerous hurricane), I felt compelled to extend the Jake Shimabukuro post by showing you my Kamaka Ukulele, to the left.

Well, this is Pearl's, and I'm considering learning how to play it.  We have classes here at 15 Craigside.  And, by the way, a brand new one can be purchased for around $1000.  However, if you've kept up with this blog site, you know that my first priority is to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on my new 61-key Portable Light Keyboard Electronic MII Keyboard to the right.

For the record, a chicken, Jokgu, is smarter than me.  She learned how to play that song in two weeks. I'm getting close to three months, and have not yet mastered Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  
My excuse is that I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to practice.  What makes it even worse for me is that she and her sister got booted off America's Got Talent.  Me, I almost daily trip over this electronic keyboard, but can't get myself to turn it on.  But I will, someday.

So to the topic of the day, I caught The Bus into Waikiki and had lunch at Orchids with a colleague from the University of Tokyo, Miki Nakayama.  We had a great lunch with Diamond Head, starting with Bloody Mary, and I followed with a salad, then their signature steamed onaga, which was fabulous:

At this point we added the house Chardonnay.  The waiter took our photo with Diamond Head:

As Japanese visitors sometimes do, Miki gave me a bottle of Suntory Roku Gin.  Roku means six in Japanese, and refers to the six natural botanicals used to complement the Juniper:  cherry blossoms, cherry leaves, two types of green tea, sancho pepper  (not really a pepper but a citrus) and yuzu (a Japanese citrus).  Japan already shattered the Scottish dominance of single malts by in 2003 being selected as the two best blended and single malt whiskeys in Glasgow:  Nikka Yoichi 20-year old and Suntory Hibiki 30-year old.  Since then the best single malts have also come from places like Taiwan and Tasmania.  I can already predict that Suntory's Roku will be selected as the #1 gin in a couple of years.  It tastes like gin, but has a soft hint of something more.

Which country produces the best gin?  This year, the World's Best Gin was judged to be Herno Gin Old Tom from Sweden.  Best Traditional Style went to Penninger Granit Bavarian Gin from Germany.

All this is similarly unexpected, for this potion was developed in the Middle Ages as an herbal medicine, and took root in England first as an alcoholic drink.  The dominant flavor is from juniper berries, and the name derived from the English geneva, French genievre and Dutch jenever.

Miki then recounted to me his experiences with Vesper, a martini made of gin, vodka and Kina Lillet.  more specifically:
The drink was invented and named by Ian Fleming in the 1953 James Bond novel Casino Royale.
"A dry martini," [Bond] said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."
"Oui, monsieur."
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
"Certainly, monsieur." The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
"Gosh, that's certainly a drink," said Leiter.
Bond laughed. "When I'm, er, concentrating," he explained, "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name."
Ian Fleming, Casino Royale, Chapter 7

This glass to the left is standard.  As you seek to perfect Vesper keep in mind that Gordon's Gin was reformulated in 1992 and Kina Lillet had a formula change in 1986.  

You might now want to consider Cocchi Americano (think Italian Moscato di Asti with quinine), which imparts a more bitter finish.  Grain vodka is preferred and the 94.6 proof Gordon's Gin has become the gin of choice.  But this is hard to find, so the Tanqueray 94.6 proof (above right) is usually used.
Harvey continues his path to the northeast.  However, Hurricane Irma at 100 MPH just popped up in the Atlantic.

The future path is unpredictable, but here are some projection models:


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