Over the course the past five or six years, I’ve attempted to establish a tradition of creating and distributing an end-of-the-year mix CD to those friends and well-wishers who would appreciate such a thing. However, in my quintessential way, after the first few years of diligent and punctual distribution, my discipline began to flag.
For example, one recent year, I took the time to burn a stack of 30 or 40 CDs, and then proceeded to allow them to collect dust on my desk for five months. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my average level of follow-through!
And to top it all off, I don't believe people actually use these wasteful plastic discs anymore. I know I certainly don’t. If I were to personally receive a compact disc from a friend, my best option for listening to it would be to pop it into the ol’ Playstation; not exactly the ideal or most practical listening experience.
A paradigm shift is clearly in order. As they old saying goes, a demoralizing lack of follow-through is the mother of invention.
From now on, for the foreseeable future, I will feature my end of the year mix on this website (that is until our TechBro overlords invent some way to implant the sounds directly in our iBrains™). I'll also provide a link to the Spotify playlist (until Spotify goes the way of the CD and becomes the next obsolete vehicle) so that you can take it with you in your mobile device.
Now, a little bit about the playlist itself….
For starters, I don't play by the rules of selecting cuts released this year and this year only. While most of these jams will fit that criteria, I also like to throw in whatever I happened to glom onto in the past 12 months that may not have been on my radar previously.
I suppose I should also include a sidebar, lest you assume I had some sort of miserable depressive year based on the general gloominess of these 14 tracks, allow me reassure you: I always listen to this caliber of downer music.
In conclusion, I would like to sincerely invite you to make yourself a cocktail (more on that below), crank up the volume, and allow me to thank you for sticking with me this year.
Last call to porter
Adapted from Dinner Party Download
In addition to offering a playlist here, I would like to make an annual tradition of offering a cocktail to ring in the New Year. This is the season of cocktails, after all, with the egg nogs and the hot toddys and such.
I’ve already addressed the much maligned egg nog last year (though that is a cause for which I will tirelessly evangelize). And, while I like a good hot toddy, that seemed too pedestrian; I wanted something a little outside the box for this first installment of my yearly cocktail party playlist bonanza.
Fortunately, a cocktail that fit the bill reached out and tapped my eardrums as I was recently falling asleep to the Dinner Party Download podcast. Each episode of that program features a cocktail inspired by a recounting of a historical event, in this case the Great London Beer Flood of 1814. For our purposes here, let's gloss over the horror/glorious death that a tsunami of porter might cause, and examine the cocktail it inspired!
It's called Last Call to Porter, and it struck me, not only because it combines a number of components near and dear to my heart (I have a hard time saying no to anything incorporating Chartreuse), but also because it seemed to have such a soulful wintertime flavor profile.
It evokes equal parts floral honey, deep cocoa, rich oak, and a light kiss of herbal refreshment. Although it’s shaken with ice, warming really is the best way to describe it.
Go warm yourself up.
- 1 oz. Knob Creek Bourbon
- 1/2 oz. Green Chartreuse
- 1/2 oz. Drambuie*
- Porter beer**
*The original recipe called for Benedictine, but I don't have any, and Drambuie is sweet and herbal, so—it works.
**I used the Bell's Porter because we only recently began to receive Bell's distribution in Southern California so I've been on a big kick lately, and it worked out quite lovely. But as always, just choose your favorite variety.
Pour liquor into ice-filled shaker. Stir for 10 to 20 seconds.
Strain into a coupe glass, then flood the mix with your favorite porter beer.
Drink and dance.
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