Monday, November 28, 2005

Cocktail Of The Week: The Letters T & U
Tie Me To The Bedpost and Umbrella Man

I hadn't wanted to post another cocktail entry so close to the Thanksgiving offering, but I am still researching what I wish to write about next. The irony is that I can do my homework and in the end find the whole piece falling apart and never coming to creation. Such is the world of blogging. I'm getting close to the end of the year, the end of my cocktail project, and the end of the alphabet. This week's cocktails were Tie Me To The Bedpost, and Umbrella Man.

The Tie Me To The Bedpost cocktail consists of the following ingredients:

1/2 ounce coconut rum

1/2 ounce melon liqueur
1/2 ounce sweet and sour mix
1/2 ounce lemon vodka

Shake with ice, (re) strain and serve in an old-fashion
ed glass.

My brother (who did the Photoshop work on these two pictures) was funny. I had taken the photographs of the cocktails and found the background art (in this case the bed), but I had to laugh when I saw what he came up with for his creation. When we spoke on the phone he said (in all innocence), "If you think the Dominatrix is too much, I can take her out, but I'd like to leave the rope I made." Not something you usually expect to hear a relative saying to you. I asked friends what they thought, and they all said "leave it as it is." So...not exactly PG-rated, but...

Tie Me To The Bedpost Cocktail

When I first heard of a cocktail called the Umbrella Man, it made me think of so many things, and it fascinates me how one idea will trigger a string of others: the lyrics to the Hollies song, Bus Stop:

Bus stop, wet day, she's there, I say
Please share my umbrella
Bus stop, bus goes, she stays, love grows
Under my umbrella

All that summer we enjoyed it
Wind and rain and shine
That umbrella, we employed it
By August, she was mine

Also the bespoke umbrellas made by the British firm Swaine, Adeney, & Bigg. They are a wonderful London company that has been in existence since 1750 when the company made whips (appropriate subject for this blog), and they have since expanded over time to hold a Royal Warrant to make leather goods and exquisitely crafted umbrellas.

Their umbrellas are carried here in Washington by a company call
ed Sterling and Burke, Ltd. on Connecticut Avenue: by Sterling and Burke Ltd

I also thought about the French film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies du Cherbourg) made in 1964 and starring Catherine Deneuve. Deneuve plays a 17-year old girl working in an umbrella shop with her widowed mother. The movie was novel for it's time in that all of the dialogue was sung. It's not well remembered, but Catherine had an older sister, also a beauty, and also an actress, named Françoise Dorléac. She died in a car accident in 1967.

Catherine et Françoise

Now Memoirs of a Geisha is about to open in movie theatres, and there are even more umbrellas, lovely paper ones in the snow:

There are also intrigues surrounding the umbrella: in 1978 a Bulgarian dissident named Georgi Markov was killed by a poison dart filled with richin fired from an umbrella.


Just after crossing Waterloo Bridge in London, Markov felt a sharp jab in his
thigh and saw a man picking up an umbrella. He developed a high fever, and four days later he was dead. The only reason his assassination was not detected is that the pellet carrying the poison had not fully dissolved, as expected. Since that time two people suspected in the assassination died under odd circumstances: one in an unexplained car accident, the other committed suicide. The third suspect, a General, was sentenced to prison after destroying his ten volumes of material on the case. All had ties to the KGB.

Mysterious Umbrella Man on the lower left

And then there is the infamous mystery man: The Umbrella Man connected to the JFK assassination. His actions have long been speculated on in terms of being a signaler to the assassin, and JFK Umbrella Man remains a mystery to this day. The Umbrella Man

Umbrella Man Cocktail

Lastly, I thought of the French artist René Magritte who used umbrellas frequently in his paintings. His bowler-hatted men fell from the sky like rain, held umbrellas, even danced with did Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain. The Umbrella Man cocktail is created in equal parts use the following:

coffee liqueur

Bailey's Irish cream
Grand Marnier orange liqueur
Drambuie Scotch whiskey

Mix in a shaker with ice, serve in a highball glass with a tiny paper umbrella. Oh yes...more umbrellas...for cocktails.

A Postscript:

Phil of
The Playaz expressed disappointment in no mention of The Penguin from Batman (and his umbrella), so just for you, Phil:


Blogger Megarita said...

I feel a little tipsy from reading this -- is that normal? Love the stream of consciousness...

1:54 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

I'm disappointed no mention of The Penguin was made.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I'll add it, Phil. Just for you.

2:16 PM  
Blogger DC Cookie said...

I don't think I could double fist an Umbrella Man

2:34 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

It's not a heavy drink, Miss Cookie, despite the "look" of it's ingredients. What proved to be undrinkable (read: potency) was that Thanksgiving Cocktail.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

You really nailed the umbrella topic Cube, EVERYTHING I ever wanted to know about umbrellas... that Hollies song is one of my all time favorites ... I think of it almost daily as I look at the faces of people waiting at the bus stop ... such expression and lack of it ... "Nice to think that that umbrella led me to a vow"

4:23 PM  
Blogger MissThi said...

This reminds me that I need
to find another umbrella!
Perhaps something fantastically
large and colorful, so people
see me coming, and if the right
gust of wind comes along, I'll
be able to take flight a la
Mary Poppins, with perhaps as
graceful an ending.
As an aside, I'm enjoying the
collaboration with bro ;)


8:11 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

I think you'd have to tie me to something to make me drink Tie Me to a Bedpost, but the umbrella drink sounds good, like dessert. Cube, will you share your favorite drink from your alphabet experience? Did you include any "normal" drinks like martinis? Just curious.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Miss Thi...Sweetie! Where ya been?

Reya: When I started this cocktail project, the purpose was to have a drink never had before, and for the most part I wouldn't bother with them again if I were out and about. There were a few worthy of repeats, "The Bronx" being one. When I am out with friends, I never drink any of this stuff, but I am rather more inclined to go for a Lemon Drop Martini or a Key Lime Martini. For the longest time my drink of choice was the Vodka Gimlet: 50/50 vodka and Rose's lime juice.

Raymond Chandler has one of his female characters sitting in a bar waiting for Philip Marlowe, drinking gimlets, and it was his own tipple of choice. I didn't chose the drink because of these connections, but I always loved the passage in Chandler's The Long Goodbye, "It was so quiet in Victor's that you almost heard the temperature drop as you came in the door. A woman in a black tailormade was sitting alone with a pale greenish-colored drink in front of her and smoking a cigarette in a long jade holder. She had that fine-drawn intense look that is sometimes neurotic, sometimes sex-hungry, and sometimes just the result of drastic dieting. I sat down two stools away, and the bartender nodded at me, but didn't smile. "A gimlet," I said. The woman in black gave me a quick glance, then looked down into her drink. The bartender set the drink in front of me. With the lime juice it had a pale greenish yellowish misty look. I tasted it. It was both sweet and sharp at the same time. The woman in black watched me. Then she lifted her own glass towards me. We both drank. Then I knew hers was the same drink.

I swear. Chandler makes you want to run to the nearest bar and get lit.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Blue Dog Art said...

Umbrella Man sounds delicious. I will definitely have to give it a try.

10:45 PM  
Blogger KOB said...

Whenever I read Cube, I want to start drinking. It's wonderful.

11:22 PM  
Blogger ThaiMex1 said...

How "Cosmopolitan" of you, Cube, to mention a line from "Auntie Mame" - 'Are we all LIT?'

If only life was a film-noir where men and women would be snappy dressers with clever and intellegent one-liners...and where drinks were easy as were the women and the men were hard like their....elbows; where shadows and lighting would always compliment your portrait.

6:44 AM  
Blogger A Unique Alias said...

I love the Singin' in the Rain photoshop. It's great :-D

8:50 AM  
Blogger cuff said...

Maybe it's having young kids, but Mary Poppins...Mary Poppins... Although I suppose she's not a man. Still, the umbrella is prominent in that movie, since the handle talks...

And of course, The Avengers character John Steed (TV show, not movie), whose always handy umbrella doubled (or was used primarily I suppose) as a weapon.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Thai: You know Auntie Mame is a patron saint.

AUA: I didn't even think of the Gene Kelly reference until I was writing the piece, so it's weird how things mesh.

Mass: I thought about Steed from the Avengers and passed on him because I thought I had already gone out too far dragging Francoise Dorleac into the matter. Mary Poppins is one that flew by me and I missed. Nice catch.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

YUM! That Tie Me to the Bedpost sounds excellent. Anything with coconut rum is good in my book.

Also, your avatar of the little plastic elf boy is very creepy.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

"I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a house in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat, and a gun."
- Philip Marlowe, "Farewell, My Lovely"

My friends and I never tired of having drinks at Bix, below Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, supposedly the location of the bank where he worked when he lived there. If I were there now, I'd order an umbrella man - at the bar - never at a table, drink a toast to you Cube, and of course to Mr. C.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Scottish Toodler said...

No mention of Christo's Umbrella installations in Cal and Japan??? Great blog, btw!!!!!!!!!! I am bookmarking!!!

11:58 AM  

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