Tag Archives: booze

photo friday: sparkle, shine, shimmer

16 Oct


In case you were wondering if the rumors are true, yes, northern Michigan is rife with wineries, distilleries, and craft breweries.

This is not a bad thing.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite, particularly when you come across something you’ve never had before, namely a sparkling pinot grigio in a lovely winery with a spectacular view of Grand Traverse Bay.

Dear Sparkling Pinot Grigio,

Where have you been all my life?

You are pretty and I like you.



But as to the other rumors, that Michigan is also great lakes, great times, well, okay, well, yes, those rumors are true as well.

photo friday: no, thank you

21 Aug
HFS, this stuff is awful.

HFS, this stuff is awful.

Swede and a friend got it in their heads recently that we should all get together and drink Malört.

I’m pretty sure they were drinking other adult beverages when they came to this decision, because there is no way a rational, sober person would not only come up with this idea, but also think it is one upon which he should act.

But get together we did, and the Malört was poured out, and we all did a shot and it was as terrible as you think it will be. Why someone once acted on the idea to distill liquor whose main ingredient is wormwood is beyond me, but my guess is that other adult beverages were involved in that decision as well.

If you’ve never had Malört, the best way to describe it is as a taste combination of:

  1. The most bitter cucumber peel you’ve ever eaten
  2. Acetone nail polish remover
  3. Aquanet hair spray

And honestly, that’s kind of handle-able. It’s the fall that will kill ya. Immediately upon swallowing the Malört you’ll feel a burn in your chest, and you’ll think, “Okay, that wasn’t quite as bad as I was expecting.” And then 90 seconds later there’s a follow up burn that you certainly weren’t expecting, and you didn’t even know it was possible for your sternum bone to spontaneously combust, but there it goes, and holy shit, should someone call an ambulance? There’s a bit of concern that your body has just imploded in revolt. Once you’re reasonably sure that you don’t need emergency help, everything does settle down. But then you’re left with a lingering, non-negotiable taste of dirty, spoiled…I don’t even know. Gym socks? Rhubarb? Soiled felt from a seat on the red line?

Chugging water doesn’t help.

Diet Pepsi doesn’t help.

The only thing that appears to help is another adult beverage, preferably one that is not foul. The only problem is that the adult beverages are what started this whole episode to begin with.

So probably your best bet is to run, if Malört is ever mentioned in your presence. Run far, far away, and don’t look back.

Just be careful that all that running doesn’t further fan the flames of your spontaneously combusting sternum.

photo friday: books on pub-rade

20 Mar

A couple weekends ago Swede and I traveled to Atlanta to visit some friends, because it just wouldn’t be spring if I didn’t spend a month of incredible weekends being not at home. Swede checked us in the night before our flight, but Southwest wouldn’t let him print boarding passes, and to make a long story short (too late?), the airline gave us each a fistful of cash to take the 1 pm flight rather than the 9 am flight as planned.

Now, I’ve sung the praises of BWI airport, but let me tell you something about airports you don’t know: If there is one in which you need to kill four hours, BWI has nothing on Midway. It’s hard to describe, but let’s just say that the fact that they give you free Starburst on Concourse A really just makes it skyrocket to the top of my airport list. (That and the fact that it’s 15 minutes from my house, but that’s a whole other carryon.) And Swede and I, as we waited for the kind Southwest agents to issue our fistfuls of cash, made the executive decision that we’d hit up Miller’s Pub for a cocktail while we waited. For four hours.

“Listen, if I end up on that show about drunk and disorderly airline passengers, I’m blaming you,” I warned one of the ticket agents.

“Me? Don’t blame me, blame her,” she said, and pointed to her colleague.

“Okay, I can do that.”

ANYWAY, the point is that we sat at the Airport Miller’s Pub for a bit, and then at the Airport Reilly’s Daughter, and then at the Airport Halsted Tap, in an Unintentional Midway Pub Crawl, and I did some writing and Swede did some reading. He just happened to have, quite possibly, the most appropriate book tucked in his bag.

Appropriate pub crawl drinking

Appropriate pub crawl reading

I’m not sure it’s like a full-on joy, but for this nervous flier, let me tell you that a few pops made that flight a whole lot nicer.

photo friday: cider houses rule

25 Jul

There seems to be—to me, anyway—an influx of ciders on drinking lists these days. It’s not bother to me—I’ve been a fan of Strongbow since I was a wee 20 year old studying abroad in Rome.*

But what’s even better is that the ciders I see popping up on menus hither and thither aren’t the cloyingly, over-applefied ciders I’ve frequently experienced in the past. You know the kind—one pint and you suddenly want to grab the nearest tube of Crest and brush vigorously lest your teeth rot on contact.

The ciders I’ve seen around lately are drier, crisper, lighter. Strongbow, I’ll always love you (probably), but some of the new kids on the block may become fast friends.

DSC_0808Photo taken at Virtue Cider in Fennville, Michigan. I’d recommend the Mitten. 


*Because obviously living in Rome you drink…cider.

photo friday: what are you trying to say?

9 May

My friend Devon and I were riding the elevator up to our office recently, and she turned to me and said, “I have a present for you. I saw this on Pinterest twice and thought of you immediately both times, so I had to make if for you.”

Wine Mug

Things I love #106: Having crafty friends.

Things I love #107: Some peppermint teas bear a striking resemblance to pinot grigio.

on gin and ham

8 Jan

If you live in Chicago or the Chicagoland area, you’re probably aware that Dominick’s closed all of its stores at the end of December. Sad, to be sure, but I’d be more broken up about it if a Mariano’s hadn’t opened up a few months ago a mere three blocks from our condo.

(For those of you who live in the upper East Coast/Mid-Atlantic, it’s like having a Wegman’s open up within sprinting distance. Understand? Yes. And yes, of course I’ve been concocting wildly irrational reasons to make yet another trip to Mariano’s, just like I did for Wegman’s. And those reasons may or may not be along the lines of needing to check their soup bar every day to see if they have the butternut squash and ginger soup I like. Or bricks of feta. [No on the former, yes on the latter.] [And actually, when I think about it, these reasons seem perfectly normal to me.] )

Anyway, before Christmas, the Dominick’s stores that were closing for good, and not being turned into other grocery stores, had a CPG fire sale. Everything must go! Sale! Sale! Sale! They started with health and beauty products, slashing them to 50 percent off. And then it was on to non-perishables as people went on their own personal Supermarket Sweep. The store shelves depleted quickly, and it’s (probably) a fact that garages filled with case upon case of more canned pumpkin than you could ever need in a lifetime.

And then, a brilliant few days after the health and beauty products went on sale, Dominick’s put their liquor on sale.

Thirty percent off, with an extra 10 percent if you bought six bottles or more.


That Monday morning, when liquor sales started at 8 am, I was more than a little befuddled as to why Swede was still at home. I was walking out the door to work, but Swede works for himself, and works from home, and there was absolutely no reason why he was still in the condo when there was cheap booze to be had (and to be fair, also cheap cans of a specific brand of chili beans I use, and Kleenex. Priorities.). Thank the sweet lord he ended up leaving a little while later, and after two hours of radio silence, I got these two texts, one after another.

Text 1: Ham!

Text 2: I got 3 hams!

“I never said anything about ham,” I muttered to myself, but you know what? Ham is delicious. So I wasn’t complaining. Especially when it then followed that he’d also bought four bottles of gin.

Gin and ham.

Every McPolish’s dream come true.

A flurry of texting, imperative rapid-fire questions and statements from Swede ensued, demanding answers and responses along the lines of, “More gin or weird Absolut flavor?” (Answer: Yes.) “Want big bottles of yellowtail cab or merlot for six bucks?” (Answer: How is that even a question?), and “Someone stole Rumchata from my basket. There were three in there, but when I got to the register there were only two. Sneaky bitchez.” (Answer: I shake my fist at you, Other Dominick’s Booze Hounds.)

All told, Swede went to three different Dominick’s that day, and then braved a fourth trip with me later that evening because I wanted to experience the carnage for myself. Brave man, that one.

But look, just look, at the rewards he reaped, for a grand total of $12.*

Photo by Swede

Photo by Swede

We are set with ham and gin until at least Valentine’s Day.


*Okay, it was more than that. Maybe more like $15. 

photo friday: the idea

21 Jun


You probably know what I’m about to say.

When we travelled to Nashville last month, we stopped at some distilleries on the drives to and fro.

This is shocking, I know.

On the way back, and on the recommendation of my blogging friend Kristin, we stopped at the Willett Distillery. Unfortunately the last tour of the day had already gone out by the time we arrived, but the very nice gal behind the register still gave Swede a taste test for his troubles.

That taste test alone won him over, and we weren’t there fifteen minutes before we were back in the car with a bottle of Willett Bourbon tucked safely in the trunk.

While I didn’t participate in the bourbon tasting, I was absolutely enchanted with the grounds. It was overcast and blah weather, but that just made the slightly winding drive to the main house, and the weather-beaten stills all that more romantic looking.

And if you don’t think I’m now plotting out a romance novel that centers around a distillery, you are so wrong.

photo friday: not for long

10 May


Last weekend we were in Nashville for a wedding, and couldn’t help but stop at the Jim Beam distillery on the way down.

I love a good production tour–what can I say? It’s the CPG nerd in me–and damn if I’m not trying to come up with a bourbon version of  Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated! 

Any ideas, Interwebers?

photo friday: cheers

15 Mar


St. Patrick’s Day is on Sunday, and this McPolish would like to wish you a bit of luck ‘o the Irish. Have a Guinness, break out the brogue (on second thought, don’t), and may the road rise to meet you, and may the wind be always at your back.

photo friday: i can see for miles, and miles, and miles, and miles

18 May

When I look at these rows and rows of barrels of rum, all I can think of are those cartoons where dudes lose all their clothes and have to wear a barrel over their nudie-tudiness and that barrel is held up by suspenders.

I mean, really, that’s just preposterous.

Two measly suspenders will NOT hold up a barrel. You’d need at least seven.