Monday, May 10, 2010


As May lumbers on, the Northlands heats up. Today is an exception; it is cold and rainy, but mostly warmer days are ahead. Now some people like to resist the seasons. Some people listen to tropical music during the cold dark days of winter and listen to some arctic music to cool down during the dog days of summ- no, they just turn on the air conditioner. Still, I can't abide tropical music in the winter, and I prefer to avoid outright cold music during the summer. Sorry Darkthrone and Ulver, you'll have to leave the ipod.

So what then? Heitor Villa-Lobos.

Now you have a few choices for what to drink with Villa-Lobos. Obviously, he knew how to live like a man. Shooting pool, smoking cigars, living large. You might immediately think rum, and for that I suggest you start with Rhum Barbancourt. Distilled in a pot still, aged in oak for 4 years, and still in the Captain Morgan pricerange. No cartoon character on the bottle, but very drinkable on its own. There are older vintages should you find yourself with the means and the thirst.

Now fine brandies are a delight, and if you can find it in a liquor store stateside, Osborne's Veterano is a very good brandy for the price. Quite frankly I have yet to find a New World brandy that is its equal and even remotely in the same price range.

I still can't recommend a true tropical whisky yet, as I have not yet had the pleasure of sampling. But I can tell you that Kentucky gets quite hot in the summer and stays fairly mild in the winter, and I'll stand by OGD against many premium brands.

Yes, I stay with the brown liquors. Honestly if you've ever smoked a good cigar you'll know why.

As for the music, I'll recommend all the Bachianas Brazilieras. They are a delight, even if some of them are less Bach than others. The string quartets are a mixed bag for me. Some of the later quartets are quite cerebral, a few seem to borrow melodies from each other, but I still give them a thumbs up overall.

Perhaps it is colored by my experience reading Old Man and the Sea with this playing, but I tend to see blue waters with this

It seems carefree, like a summer afternoon, but thick like the air in July.

As a tangential anecdote, I had a transcendental experience on a hot August night drinking Boonesfarm. I've never been so comfortable with the heat and humidity as with a refreshing drink and wearing a loose fitting rayon shirt. With this recipe I have learned to avoid the air conditioner all summer long. Maybe you'll find it beneficial as well?

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