I Just Made This Frozen Peach Daiquiri and It’s Delicious

Frozen Fresh Peach Daiquiri at the Pool

Frozen Fresh Peach Daiquiri at the Pool

I like my rum and I like my rum drinks. They’re great for the pool and for the summer and for the heat but, even so, I mostly stick to variations on rum punches or spicy mojitos rather than frozen concoctions. If I do make a frozen drink, it’s usually going to be that decadent deliciousness that is a pina colada. But, I was going to the pool yesterday and I had some really ripe peaches that I wanted to incorporate into a cocktail so I started looking around for a way to use them. Since it’s summer, I wanted to include rum so I considered a frozen daiquiri. I went to my go-to site for cocktail creations (Bar None Drinks) and found this simple recipe containing a fresh peach, dark rum, triple sec, lime and sugar. I know I have some triple sec around here somewhere but I just made a batch of wonderful homemade falernum (which is my mini-obsession right now) so I was intent on using that instead. I decided to substitute half a shot glass of the falernum for the triple sec and sugar since the spicy flavors in the falernum seemed like they’d meld nicely with the peach flavor. The result was delightful! It was smooth, peachy, citrusy, gingery with hints of spice and it was still refreshing enough for the pool. Here is the modified recipe I ended up using:

    Frozen Fresh Peach Daiquiri

1 oz. gold rum (I used Mount Gay Eclipse)
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 peach pitted and peeled
.75 oz Velvet Falernum (homemade or store-bought – half a shot)
Ice

Pack it all in the blender and blend until smooth. This makes one serving.

I may try this with a spiced rum, too, although it may be a bit much with the falernum. We’ll see. In the meantime, enjoy!

Las Vegas Neon Museum: See Their Names in Lights

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The Neon Museum’s sign is made from other signs: the first “N” is from the Golden Nugget, the “E” is from Caesar’s Palace, the “O” is from Binion’s, the second “N” is from the Desert Inn, and the stars and diamonds are from the Stardust. You can see the Silver Slipper in the background.

A few weeks back, I saw a special feature on “The Today Show” about the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. A lot of locals and visitors already knew about this place, and it has been a popular place for music videos and photo shoots for a whil. I love old Las Vegas and the history of the city so I really wanted to make a visit to the Neon Boneyard. Fortunately, I was going to Las Vegas with my mom and she was a perfect companion for checking it out.

The Neon Museum is pretty close to the Fremont Street area. If you’re staying on the Strip, I think the Deuce bus actually goes all the way to the museum but we decided to get on the bus early in the morning and stop at the Fremont Street Experience to grab some breakfast. We got on the bus  at 8:15 AM in front of Paris casino and we were in the Four Queens casino by 8:45 (our museum tour was at 10:00). After breakfast, we took a quick taxi ride to the Neon Museum since we were advised that the walk was not too enjoyable (and it was already pretty hot). When you go to the museum, you do need to be prepared: everything is outdoors, there is little shade, and it’s particularly warm when you’re walking around all the signs. Bring water and wear sunscreen and a hat if you burn easily. They do have water bottles there, too, and you can get one with a small donation.

Giant pool player and the Jackpot Motel.

Our tour guide led the group into the boneyard area where we first encountered signs from smaller local businesses. These included hotels, motels, casinos and a dry cleaner. Even though they weren’t for the big casinos and hotels, they still were very creative and ornate. It seems like everyone wanted some bling for their business.

We continued on and made our way to the bigger, more well-known names of casinos and hotels. Along the way, our guide gave us background information on the sign designers and a company that manufactures a lot of the signs in Las Vegas. This same company, Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), also repairs signs and has teams that go out every night checking signs to see if they need bulb replacement or repairs. If they spot a sign in need, they will contact the business and offer to repair it for them (for a fee, of course). Since no one really wants to climb up on a really high ladder in the desert heat to try and repair their own sign, they will often just have YESCO go ahead and fix the sign. It seems like a pretty good way to drum up business.

The Little Dry Cleaning Guy

The boneyard features signs from Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, the Stardust, Lady Luck, the Golden Nugget, the Desert Inn, the Liberace Museum and many others. I think my favorite signs here were everything from the Stardust (the stars and diamonds, the letters and the “Lido” sign). Sassy Sally’s and Binions had really big signs that were fun to see up close. The little dry cleaning guy, the swinging lady, the ugly duckling and the “House of Lords Steakhouse” were really nice, too.

The Yucca Motel.

In front of the museum is the refurbished silver slipper from (you guessed it) the Silver Slipper. Our tour guide told us a story of how when Howard Hughes was staying at his hotel, the Desert Inn, he could see the spinning silver slipper outside his window and he thought that it was peering straight into his window (he feared deeply for his safety). So, Hughes called up the folks at the silver slipper and asked if they would stop the slipper from spinning. They refused so Hughes did what he liked to do: he bought the Silver Slipper, filled the shoe with concrete and made it stop spinning forever. We also learned that the Silver Slipper was originally called the “Golden Slipper” because there already was a Silver Slipper in Las Vegas when it opened. Once the other Silver Slipper shut down, they reclaimed the name and the corresponding spinning footwear. They also have some signs erected off-site along Las Vegas Boulevard and on Frement Street. It was kind of fun to track these down and see if we could spot them.

The boneyard itself is very picturesque and was even more interesting than I had hoped. It was very clear why it is so popular for photographers (you can inquire about doing a photo shoot by clicking here). Even if you just want to go for a regular visit, you will need to book a few weeks in advance because the tours do sell out and they don’t allow walk-ups without reservations. It was well worth the $15 admission and since the signs on display are on a rotation, I would definitely return for another visit.

Sassy Sally’s and Binion’s.

There are lots more photos if you click “Continue Reading”!

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Weekend Rum Report – Vegas 1.0

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They have rum in Las Vegas! (In case you were wondering). They also have pretty much anything else you could ever want and I ate and drank most of it. This was a great trip, with my mom, where we spent time at the pool, on the Strip, at the Neon Museum, on Fremont Street and even at Circus Circus (for old times’ sake). It was good fun.

The Funky Monkey at the Pool Cafe at Bellagio.

First of all, it’s not super easy to find different brands of rum in Las Vegas. Places will generally have Bacardi and often Myers, and you can usually find some Mount Gay Eclipse (yay!) and, of course, Captain Morgan. Whenever I saw something else interesting, I made sure I ordered it. It all started off on Friday morning at Bellagio’s Pool Cafe, where I ate my breakfast al fresco before heading over a few feet to sun myself and assume my favorite position in the pool (standing, holding my cocktail). The cocktail of choice for pool time was the Funky Monkey. This is a blended and frozen cocktail consisting of Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, Cruzan Banana Rum, Banana Puree and coconut water. It’s blended with ice but is more slushy than frozen – it was easy to drink with a straw. It was garnished with toasted coconut and little banana chips. Overall, it was very delicious but, as with all frozen cocktails, I was pretty full after just one, especially right after breakfast.

I switched to Champagne with Campari for the rest of the day while gambling. It’s important to look mature and professional at the craps table so I advise against frozen cocktails there. If you have one and are below the age of 40, you’ll probably get carded, especially if it’s in a souvenir cup. Frozen cocktails (like the pina colada) are completely acceptable when playing video poker or slots, however, or when hanging out in the sports book.

My custom rum drink with Appleton Reserve at Julian Serrano.

The next rum drink I tried was at Julian Serrano at Aria. We had a really lovely dinner here on Friday night, where I was able to partake of their Agua Serrano cocktail and also a custom rum mix-up that I requested from bartender extraordinaire, Premo. I honestly can’t recall exactly what was in the Agua Serrano but I know it had rum and I am going to check on it next weekend and report back. My custom cocktail was the basic Trinidad punch made with Appleton Reserve rum, simple syrup, lime juice, bitters and club soda. It was delightful, as always, and I did enjoy the Appleton in it. After these I switched to coffee with Bailey’s and Frangelico and whipped cream for the night, pretty much just because I could. We also proceeded from Aria to Monte Carlo where I caught the Clay Guida and Gray Maynard fight. I needed Guida to win it somehow in order to win my four-fight parlay and $700. That didn’t happen. But, I did win my pool at Kountermove.com so that almost made up for it!

Mom and me and a pina colada.

On Saturday morning, we were up pretty early to take The Deuce bus to Fremont Street and head to the Neon Museum from there. We grabbed some breakfast at the little restaurant in the Four Queens where we had a very reasonable breakfast of eggs and ham steak (mom) and an omelet with lots of toppings and a bloody Mary (me). I love the the downtown casinos and their cheap food. And, my bloody Mary was only $3.50 (of course, they’re free when you’re gambling). We headed to the Neon Museum (which was amazing and will have its own post tomorrow) and then back to Fremont Street to check everything out. I got mom signed up for a few players clubs and she did all the things required to get lots of free stuff (match play, free ace on blackjack, free deck of cards, free photos with $1 Million at Binions). I convinced mom to use her match play to try out the $5 craps table. This was her first time playing craps and she happened to be the shooter so you know this turned out well. She turned her $10 bet into $110 (after dealer tips) and then moved on to blackjack where she got her first card free ace and landed a black jack. This was all at the Four Queens so that is now her favorite casino.

The Myers pina colada at the Bellagio sports book.

Throughout all this, we drank free pina coladas. Well, I had to stop after two but mom kept on for a few more. There were actually pretty good and every place seems to serve them with whipped cream on top – very rich. After fun at Binions, the Four Queens, the Golden Nugget and The Plaza, we jumped back on the bus and didn’t stop until we got to Circus Circus. Mom had another pina colada at Circus Circus and we both took advantage of the players club sign-up offer of $45 in chips for $30. They’re no-value promo chips that can’t be cashed in and must be played but I did really well with my stack at the craps table. Mom came by a bit later to try her luck and it didn’t go well.

We headed back to the Bellagio and didn’t drink too much more (I had my coffee with Frangelico) and then the next morning ventured to The Venetian for breakfast. I had a bloody Mary with breakfast, which was delicious and comes with pickled asparagus. Mom was in a bad mood, however, and also ate too much, so we headed back to the Bellagio where she regrouped in the room and I hit the craps table before taking to the sports book to watch the Italy vs. England Euro 2012 soccer game. I drank quite a bit as I sat at the bar playing video poker and watching the game. It was really fun and I had Champagne with Campari before switching to a pina colada (when Mom showed up). The bartender advised that his pina colada is better when made with Myer’s Dark rum and I agreed to test it out. I got a little drunk because it was quite tasty.

Champagne with Campari at The Ballagio sports book.

After soccer, we headed to the pool for a bit, where I got to try another Funky Monkey and converse with the bartender as he made it. He said I could make it at home. I watched and I agree with him. My mom liked my drink but didn’t want one right then so she waited and attempted to order a frozen banana daiquiri while playing video poker. She pretty much got a pina colada (but it was tasty).

We went to The Mirage that night to eat dinner at BLT Burger. My falafel burger was good but what was even better was the absolutely perfect vegetable salad they have there. It is so delicious and comes with avocado, lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, red onions and feta. I highly recommend it. After dinner, we had a drink at the outdoor lounge Rhumbar where (duh) they have a lot of rum. They had an extensive rum cocktail list and a whole bunch of rums on the menu, too. I chose to have a Zombie cocktail, which they make with Ron Zacapa rum. It was very good, if a little sweet, but I think that’s the nature of the drink. It was a perfect cocktail to sip while watching the Mirage volcano show.

The Zombie with Ron Zacapa at Rhumbar at The Mirage.

And that was pretty much it for rum drinking last weekend. I’m sure I’ll step it up this weekend since I’ll be home and mixing my own stuff up. It should be an excellent pool weekend and I’ll be sure to report back. Cheers!

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Be Sure To Go Vote in the Latest “The Fighter We’d Most Like To” Poll at Gals Guide to MMA!

Be Sure To Go Vote in the Latest “The Fighter We’d Most Like To” Poll at Gals Guide to MMA!

This week’s topic is “The Fighter We’d Most Like To Be Our Sidekick In A Bad Action Movie”. Pat Barry is winning the contest so far so be sure to support him, or vote for your favorite if you disagree!

The Weekend Rum Report – Everyone Likes Coconut (Rum)

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My less-than-half full bottle of Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coconut rum. It’s the good stuff.

First things first: I opened batch three of my home brewed ginger beer on Saturday afternoon. This one sat in the fridge for almost a week before opening (previously, I’d been too impatient to wait for more than two days). It had lots of air pressure when I opened it so I had to go really slowly but it was, once again, worth it. This was the best batch so far. It was very bubbly and tangy, and full of potent ginger flavor. I was so inspired that I made up another batch Saturday night. I’m loving this ginger beer. We drank this on Saturday with the remainder of the bottle of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and also with Mount Gay Eclipse. We drank a lot more of it on Sunday with the Mount Gay, too. People who like ginger generally seemed to like it, but those who are not big ginger fans didn’t care much for it. I like it.

I made it to the pool on Sunday at around 1:30 because I made myself go to the gym before the pool (yay me!). Since it was technically still Sunday brunch time, I decided I wanted something to drink that was a little brunch-y. I decided to tap into the bottle of Brinley Gold Coffee Rum that was anxiously awaiting my attention. I tasted it on its own first and, naturally, felt I could probably just pour it on ice and sip it. But, I had no intention of drinking too much at the pool on Sunday because I had someplace to be in the evening so I decided to mix it. The mixer of choice was ginger beer. I thought this might be a not-that-great combination so I performed a little taste first and I actually really liked it. The coffee rum (which is really delicious) went nicely with the ginger and gave the drink a more rounded – and slightly sweeter – flavor than with some other rums. I could taste the coffee but it wasn’t overwhelming. It was a good drink.

Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coffee Rum

In addition to thinking their rum tastes fabulous, I really love the story of Brinley rum. You can check it all out on their website but here it is in incredibly brief detail. Basically, Bob Brinley (the chairman of the rum company) had an electronics factory on St. Kitts for 20 years before it closed down.  He wanted to stay in St. Kitts so he started making flavored rums there. His son, Zach, gave up his Wall Street gig to join the new family business and they started making their delicious flavored rums (starting with vanilla) which quickly won awards and distribution in the U.S. Their website says the rum can now be found in 29 states. I feel really bad for the other 21.

Now the really important thing: Everyone loves Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coconut rum. This is not really a surprise but it was great to hear that everyone agreed with me that this rum is particularly delicious. I made a pitcher of drinks that consisted of 8 ounces of Brinley’s Coconut rum, 4 ounces of homemade falernum (which I really cannot say enough good things about) and probably about 12 ounces of club soda. This was a potent drink and I didn’t want to overdo it with just booze. My friends really seemed to enjoy it. It smelled great (someone said it smelled like coconut cake) and had a spicy, real coconut flavor. It did taste like dessert but without all that sweetness. It’s sweet by its nature but it’s still not a dessert drink. The drink was basic enough that you could taste the coconut and the rum flavors. I probably could have cut back on the falernum and the drink would have been just as great. Brinley coconut rum is such a delightful spirit! I feel addictive feelings about it. I want more now. I actually feel a very strong desire to try the other Brinley rums now (vanilla, mango and spiced). Some of them will need to be specially ordered but fortunately I know some awesome people who can help me out with that.

A bottle of Richland Rum (from their website).

Have you heard about this place in Georgia that makes rum? They’re in Richland, Georgia and the company is called Richland Distilling Company. They make a product called Richland Rum (go figure). The rum is made from locally grown sugar cane which they press and process into rum right there in Richland. The first batch came out just a little while ago and the supply is now depleted, but they are expecting their next batch in the Fall and offer an opportunity to reserve a bottle in advance. They also invite people to visit them in Richland to check out the production. A road trip is already being discussed (with a stop in Cordele to buy watermelons and various stops to pick up pecans, etc.).

Finally, I want to send out a special thank you to my neighbor, Joel, who paid me in rum for watching his dog while he was out of town. He is not the first to do this but I appreciate it always. My present this time was a bottle of Flor de Cana Grand Reserve 7 Year rum – yay! Enjoy your cocktails!

I Fixed My Washing Machine and It Was Really Exciting

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This is the old and broken lid switch I removed.

A little over a week ago, I did some laundry and, as I tend to do, completely forgot about the last load in the washer for a few hours. When I finally remembered it, I eagerly opened the lid of my Kenmore top-loading washer, ready to pull clothes out to transfer them to the dryer, only to discover all my clothes were still soaking in the rinse water. Upon further inspection of the machine, I noticed that the little cycle selection thinger was still in the middle of “Rinse” and would not proceed to “Spin”. Since the task of pulling all my soaking wet clothes from the water and then manually draining (scooping) the rinse water out of the wash basin seemed less than fun, I kept trying to find some setting that would let the water drain. I didn’t have much luck.

In my dire situation, I was forced to turn to the internet in an attempt to resolve my problem. This was a very good call because there is a ton of information on the internet about fixing Kenmore washers. I typed in things like “Kenmore washer won’t drain” and quickly found a plethora of pertinent results. After reading through many of the results, I felt fairly confident that there was an issue with the lid switch on the washer. I was also excited because it seemed like a problem that I could fix myself. I was able to confirm the lid switch was the issue, too, because I could manually push the lid switch down with a butter knife that has a tapered handle and I got the water to drain out. Yay!

The first thing I had to do was detach the back panel from the cabinet so that I could remove the cabinet.

According to the internet, the most difficult part of this whole repair was ensuring that you ordered the correct replacement lid switch for my washer model. I must say, this did take me about 10 minutes to make sure I really know which part to get. But, I finally determined the precise part number and then looked for it on Amazon and there it was! The best part? It was only $7.50 and was eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping. I found something else I needed (so that I could qualify for free shipping) and ordered it.

In the meantime, I also took a good hard look at my laundry room/kitchen pantry and decided that since I was going to have to take a lot of stuff out of the room in order to get the washer cabinet out, I might as well do some reorganizing. So, I checked out Target.com because they have these snazzy storage cubicle shelves that I use EVERYWHERE in my home and I ordered some of those. I was now just waiting for the lid switch and the cubicle organizer to arrive and create a perfect storm of organizational fix-it fun!

Inching the cabinet away from the wash basin.

As it turns out, everything arrived on or before Friday afternoon. Because I’m a really exciting girl, I would have loved to plan my Friday night to fix the washer and organize my closet and then watch that guy walk on the tightrope across Niagara Falls, but I had made plans a while back to go watch some Muay Thai fights with a friend. The stars were in alignment, however, as my friend had to make a sudden and unexpected road trip to Tennessee and wouldn’t be back in time to go to the fights. The fix was on.

I began by putting together the new cubicle shelving storage system. The box held everything I needed but I’ll have you know that I used a screwdriver and a hammer to complete this task. I then pre-organized everything in my closet as I removed it to make way for the washer repair.

The naked basin.

Next, I called up two different Youtube videos that showed the step-by-step process for replacing the lid switch (this one and this one). I watched both of them the whole way through and thought that I had all the tools necessary. The main video I used is about 3 and a half minutes long but I, of course, had to pause it every 10 seconds or so to execute the task they demonstrated. I won’t give step-by-step details because they are all in the videos above but I am proud to say that I successfully completed the repair and my washer is now fully functional. In the process, I also discovered (or remembered) that I own a ratchet set. Ratchet sets are freakin’ cool. And, I learned that the hardest part of the repair was putting the cabinet back onto the washer assembly. It took a while to find the perfect fit.

Once the cabinet was freed, I could replace the switch.

After repairing and reassembling the washer, I cleaned the floor really well and then set about reorganizing. I moved all the stuff back in and fit it all into or onto the cubicle shelving and now it looks so nice and happy. And, then I had a mojito with my remaining Cavalier rum from Antigua and watched the tightrope guy (after making the announcement of the successful repair on Twitter – thanks for all the support!). I was in bed early enough to not be exhausted at Core Fusion Cardio class the next morning. What an awesome Friday night!

Wednesday Night (Emergency!) Rum Report – This Stuff Tastes Good

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Look at all the rum we had to taste! And, look at my giant pour of Santa Teresa on the far right.

Last night, I got to attend a wonderful rum tasting at Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits in Doraville. This event was held in their tasting room, which is a pretty snazzy little place right behind the store. They put on a really good show that featured (in addition to the rum) nice seating, a welcome cocktail, substantial snacks and water to keep us hydrated. I’m happy to say that there were very generous pours of the five rums we were tasting, even though there was no way I could or should have finished them all (it was pretty much five shots of rum in about an hour – I would have been sleeping under a table).

I had a great time with Todd!

The rums that we sampled included three by Atlantico, an 8-year rum by Bacardi and the Santa Teresa 1796. Here’s what we had, in the order we tried them:

Ron Atlantico Platino (Dominican Republic): Did you know that Enrique Inglesias is a part owner of this company? Now, you do. This was a very nice white rum. It smelled and tasted like vanilla and had a creamy texture. I think it would be a very good mixer. $17.99 at Tower

Ron Atlantico Reserva (Dominican Republic): This is a nice amber rum that was pretty smooth. It had fruit and then spice and would also be lovely in any rum cocktail. $22.99 at Tower

Bacardi 8 (Puerto Rico): This is an amber rum that was darker than the Atlantico Reserva but was a bit harsher and not as smooth. It did have spice and some body but I smelled and tasted the alcohol a lot. Still, I would use this in cocktails in a pinch, especially for the price. $19.29 at Tower

The besties: Ron Atlantico Private Cask (left) and Santa Teresa “1796″ (right).

Ron Atlantico Private Cask (Dominican Republic): Now we’re getting to the really good stuff. This amber rum uses the solera process for aging so you never really know how old it is. The solera process is like a giant pyramid scheme except that everything flows (in part) to the bottom where the funds (rum) are removed every year for bottling, but part of the rum stays in the container to get mixed with the next oldest stuff on top of it so that some part of the bottom container is always super ancient. Or, something like that. Anyway,this is rum is delicious. I found it to be very smooth with lots of spice up front and a nice finish. It could definitely be a sipper (even for someone like me) but could shine in a cocktail that really focuses on the rum. The price on this seems really low for how good it is. $34.99 at Tower

These two came home with me.

Santa Teresa “1796″ Venezuelan Rum: Yum, yum, yum. This one was really good, too. It had a lighter and sort of fruity taste at first and then it totally changed flavors and became full and spicy. It was really nice and just as good for sipping (if not better) than the Atlantico Private Cask. The price on this also seems fantastic. $33.99 at Tower

Everyone running the tasting was so nice and helpful and interested in what we thought – the distributor, the representative from Atlantico, and Gregg from Tower. They made the tasting enjoyable. There were a few smartypants-types there who were participating, including one guy who kept telling me to try things because “girls like it” or because “it’s good for people who don’t like rum”. I was tempted to start discussing MMA and ask him which rum goes best with legally sanctioned violence, but I refrained because that would be mean and saying things like that is probably why I’m still single. I certainly am no rum expert and definitely not a rum snob but I do like to try lots of things and this was a great opportunity to do just that. And, I now have some seriously good rum residing in my house so be nice to me and I might let you try some. I’m looking forward to the next tasting!

Weekend Rum Report – I Like Coconuts

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A Dark & Stormy made with my second batch of ginger beer and Gosling’s Black Seal rum.

This was a great weekend for cocktails and I have several exciting highlights to report. They involve rum and they were all extremely pleasant.

First things first: I opened my second batch of homemade ginger beer on Friday night while I was watching UFC on FX (which was a great night of fights, BTW). This batch of ginger beer was a lot like the first (it used the same basic recipe) but I changed it up this time by adding more ginger (I used 14 ounces), more sugar (I used a full cup this time) and the juice of two lemons. The pressure inside the bottle this time was much higher than the last batch so I had to open it extra slowly. It was completely worth the extra time (and ingredients) because this batch was delicious. It was really full of ginger flavor and had lots of zing. It was good. The best thing about a strong ginger beer is that it goes perfectly with rum for a Dark & Stormy. I actually strayed away from the Gosling’s Black Seal Rum this time and opted for Mount Gay Eclipse. It was a good choice. The ginger beer held up all weekend as I forced everyone I encountered to taste it. Rest assured that I did make sure that the ginger beer went well with Gosling’s Black Seal. I’m sipping one of those right now. Tasty stuff.

Even more of a highlight than my own modest accomplishment was the Brinley’s Shipwreck Gold Coconut rum that I finally got to try. This rum is clear and comes in a very elegant bottle. I had to special order at Mac’s and wait for a week but it was well worth the wait. I’d heard really good things about this one so I was sort of worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations but I wanted to try it, nonetheless. Holy crap. This stuff is outstanding. When I opened it, I smelled it and it smelled like a coconut. Not like a fake coconut or suntan lotion but like I coconut I would like to attack and eat. It smelled so good that I wanted to try it straight so I poured a little glass and shared it with my friend, Stephanie. It was so smooth and delicious – definitely a good sipper. We both wanted to just drink it on ice but I decided I should add club soda so that I wouldn’t drink too much too fast. Once I added club soda, I also wanted to add a little falernum (the stuff I made), and that made it just pop. It seemed to just enhance the coconut and make everything more complex. Stephanie drank hers with just club soda and she really enjoyed it. too.  I highly recommend Brinley’s Coconut Rum. It would make a delicious drink with pineapple juice and I plan to try it with lime and bitters in a Trinidad Punch just to see how it is. I think with the coconut flavor, you could skip most or all of the simple syrup. So, it’s a diet drink, really. I will only share this rum with people I like a lot.

Brinley also makes a coffee rum (which I have in my possession but haven’t sampled yet), a mango rum (which I want to try), a lime rum (which I also want to try) and a spiced rum (which I have tried and it’s really good and I’ll write about it soon).

My other exciting rum encounter this weekend was at Campagnolo restaurant here in Midtown Atlanta. They have some interesting drinks on their menu, including one with “dark rum” that I felt the need to try. It’s called a “Pantheon” and the menu says it has dark rum, mint, Amaro Averna, yellow chartreuse, lime and tonic.  When I asked the bartender what it was like, he said it was basically “an Italian mojito”. I tried it. It was rather like an Italian mojito and it was very good. I think the rum was something gold and not really dark but I was surprised that the drink was not really, really sweet with the tonic and all. It was refreshing and I enjoyed the herbal flavors from the Averna and the chartreuse. (I don’t presently have Averna and chartreuse in my bar and I’m feeling like I should). I would order this cocktail again.

In addition to the tasty rum libations I consumed this weekend, I also enjoyed a few Bloody Marys at Cypress Street Pint & Plate and they were lovely and delicious.

That’s all for this week. There’s another batch of ginger beer brewing and I hope to get into that Brinley’s coffee rum soon. And, I’m going to a rum tasting at Tower on Wednesday so I’ll be sure and update about that. Ciao!

I Hate Las Vegas (and Other Lies I’d Never Get Anyone to Believe)

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I actually don’t hate Las Vegas at all. I really like Las Vegas. I relish my little trips out there to relax, play, eat, drink and not worry about where I have to be. A lot of people don’t understand it. A lot of people really do hate Las Vegas. I get it. I’m just one of those people who loves it. Let me take this opportunity to explain some of the reasons why I like Las Vegas so much.

The holiday display in the conservatory at The Bellagio in Las Vegas.

It’s smoky in Las Vegas and that’s probably my least favorite thing. But, I think the free drinks and the fact that I can carry my free drinks anywhere I want makes up for the smoking. It’s also pretty easy to get outside for some air from almost any casino. This is great except when it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and August.

Casinos in Las Vegas have wonderful bathrooms and they’re generally really close to wherever you are. It seems like someone is always cleaning them and the hand soap smells good. It’s also really great that there are a few CVS and a Walgreen’s stores right there on the strip. In addition to buying any personal items you may have forgotten to bring with you, this is also where you should buy bottled water and cheap, tacky souvenirs. I LOVE shopping at CVS and Walgreen’s anywhere but it’s extra special in Las Vegas.

Almost every casino has at least one restaurant that features a Cobb Salad. This is fantastic for me because I really love Cobb Salad. The menus of restaurants in Las Vegas also seem to feature a greater number of other chopped salads than what I generally see in Atlanta. This is one of my favorite things about Las Vegas. I like it when the chopped salad is actually diced so that everything is really, really tiny. You could eat a salad like this with a spoon if you wanted. I know. I’ve done it. You also get a little bit of everything in every single bite so there is really nothing to dislike here.

Typical Las Vegas breakfast

I really enjoy eating breakfast in Las Vegas. If I had it my way, I would have a giant Vegas-style breakfast of an omelet, whole wheat toast, bacon, coffee and a bloody mary or mimosa every day of the week, wherever I happen to be. It works really well out there: eat a big breakfast, do all kinds of fun things all day, have lots of drinks, take a nap in the afternoon, get ready for evening activities and then eat a nice dinner. It’s a wonderful way to live and there really is no point to having more than two meals a day when in Las Vegas (not including liquids or late-night snacks).

The pool and waterfall at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

The pools in Las Vegas are really great, too. They’re huge and they often feature waterfalls or a classical design, which makes you feel like you’re in a rain forest or a fancy Roman bath (back in the day). There are lots of nice people who will bring you drinks, which you have to order in the largest size available to make it more economical (and get a souvenir cup). I enjoy nothing more than standing in the pool in the middle of a hot Vegas summer day, holding my cocktail and watching all the people. The ads for Las Vegas make it look like there are always beautiful people crowding the pool but that’s not really the case. It’s a good thing, too, because people watching is really dull when everyone looks attractive and perfect.

It’s fun to watch sports in Las Vegas because you can watch them everywhere and everyone gets really excited about them because they have bets on them. I like betting on sports except when I really, really want my team to win and then I can’t bet on my team because I’d get disappointed if they won but didn’t beat the spread. In those instances, I figure that my joy from a team victory is enough and that I shouldn’t get greedy.

Playing craps in Las Vegas. I had just won a Fire Bet!

I like to gamble. I mostly play craps and video poker, with a little blackjack mixed in and some slots here and there. I try to avoid the slots completely but those penny slots can suck me in. My main game is craps. It’s a successful evening when I can put some money down on the table and play craps for a few hours without having to get out more money. Of course, it’s even better when I win. I earn comps mainly with my video poker play. The MGM/Mirage M life rewards program is where I focus my playing and they have given me wonderful offers in return. I used to focus on the Venetian/Palazzo program but they never gave me anything good. M life has been much nicer.

It’s really easy to meet people in Las Vegas and there’s always someone to talk to. Sometimes there are more people trying to talk to you than you really care to talk to. Still, it’s nice to chat with the folks at the craps table (especially if you’re all winning), or with the dealers, or even with people you meet when you dine at the  bar of a restaurant (which I do a lot because it IS so conversational). People visit Las Vegas from all over the world so everyone has a story to tell. Many of them are not annoying.

Campari and Champagne cocktail.

I presently have three future Las Vegas trips planned. I’ll be there in a few weeks with my mom. She’ll keep me in check and not let me gamble too much. I’ll also be there two weeks after that with a friend. We’re going to UFC 148 and I’m really looking forward to that. And then there is a Vegas trip planned for October with Becky and Beth. I love going there in the Fall because it’s football season and everyone’s watching the games. There should also be plenty of shopping, eating, drinking, napping and hopefully some pool time. I can’t wait!

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