Top o’ the morning to ya, and I know I’m a bit late in posting about a St Patrick’s Day celebration, but as a wise, New Zealand-born food-lover once said, ‘better late than never’.
London Bloggers’ Meetup Organiser, Facilitator and All-Round Guru, Andy Bargery and the team at Splendid Communications (Haran, Emma and Chris) recently arranged a heady evening of Guinness and Bushmills whisky-based cocktails at Diageo’s London Headquarters. Here’s the cocktail list for you to dribble over –
I confess I had not one, but two Bushmills apricot mules thanks to Splendid Chris accidentally (on purpose?) over-ordering for me. There’s something about the ginger ale that gives a particularly refreshing zing to this drink, so I didn’t exactly refuse the two highballs of deliciousness. I also braved a Bushmills Black Bush Vanilla Sour, which was wonderfully nostalgic in flavour, the vanilla present but not overpowering. In fact, with cocktails like the Old-Fashioned and a version of the Mint Julep featuring on the menu, everything I tasted made me think of times of yore.
At some point, someone suggested I try the Irish Coffee, but I needed some convincing. Then I saw one, served in a Martini glass, and sneaked a sip. Two dangerously more-ish Irish Coffees later and it was time to learn how to pour a Guinness.
Duncan makes sure I don’t spill a drop… ‘Allo love. What kin i getcha?
The mixologist for the evening was one Duncan Macrae and a patient man he must be for he spent some time teaching a small crowd of us to pour Guinness. We were told to hold the glass at a 45 degree angle, start to pour against the side of the glass and as the glass fills to around the two-thirds mark, ease it into an upright position, stop pouring and leave to settle. Once the liquid has turned completely dark, it’s time to top up the pint. Duncan showed me how to do a shamrock shape on the head, and this I managed to achieve… just, although it looked like the sort of shamrock that had been trodden on by a herd of marauding sheep, i.e. not the smoothest shape you’ve ever seen.
Those are the chins of serious concentration and the bud of a shaky shamrock.
Splendid Chris enjoys a pint o’ the black stuff.
Flanked by Melanie Seasons of Fake Plastic Noodles (left) and Splendid Chris (right).
Duncan Macrae tells Timinator that under no circumstances will he be served again tonight. No siree. Enough is enough.
Katie and Andy Bargery with their Bushmills Irish Coffees.
Apart from testing the Bushmills cocktails and learning to pull a pint, we also discovered that Maltese Guinness is alcohol free (it tastes quite nice, really, but nowhere near as dark or heavy as the real McCoy), that there is such a thing as Red Guinness only it isn’t red, it’s just branded that way, (in fact, when I tried it, the main difference was in the taste. It’s just like regular Guinness only maltier), and Drew from Chameleon Net spoke to us about the (then) forthcoming talk at the next Meetup, featuring the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
That Meetup happened last week. Once again it was good to catch up with all the regulars and meet some newbies to the blogosphere. The Equality and Human Rights Commission were represented by some passionate and entertaining speakers, raising our awareness of what they’re all about. One of their key areas of debate was whether to use traditional journalists or bloggers to write about their causes. Personally, when I hear of more hard-copy periodicals closing their doors and more on-line periodicals opening up, I think we’ll be left with no choice but to find a way for the two to co-exist. Yet, it’s also easy to understand that a fully-qualified journalist will be better equipped with certain skills than your average blogger, but sometimes bloggers explore viewpoints which journalists have failed to represent.
Technology is also changing opinion on who would be better suited to covering certain stories, especially as with a single click on our phone/PDA/ laptop we can upload content to the internet, be it to our blog, or in 140 characters or less on Twitter, using any one of an increasing number of social networking sites and applications. In summary, technology is making it possible fofr just about anyone to break a story or contribute to it.
So, where to tonight? I’m off to a foodies’ Easter egg tasting, courtesy of Word of Mouth, the Guardian’s online food blog. Thank heavens I didn’t give up chocolate for Easter. Missing out on this event would have been an Epicurean travesty.