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The Great Conversation: Is Excessive Moderation Excessive or Moderate?

 

In my last post, I mentioned the Greek maxims Know yourself and Seek the mean in all things. Today, I’d like to touch on  the latter and one of its implications.

While I prefer the above translation, usually MHDEN AGAN is translated “Nothing in excess,” and that is certainly the spirit of the saying. Don’t drink in excess; don’t shop in excess; don’t swear in excess; yadda yadda. Straightforward enough. But is unyielding moderation still moderate?  Can one be excessively moderate? I’m not sure what the commentators have to say on that, but I say: NO and YES. I think to really adhere to the maxim and to be a healthier spirit in the long run, moderate dabbling in excessiveness is appropriate.  This brings me to my ultimate point:

Drinking in the morning is ok.

I don’t mean that you should drink excessively in the morning, and I don’t mean you should drink every morning, and I don’t think that you should do it if you have a drinking problem, but let me tell you something: a well-timed and well-deserved Sunday brunch cocktail is SO beautiful that it would be a damn shame you let yourself miss the experience. I don’t care about the CAGE questions or about what your local pastor would say. Therefore:

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Brandy Milk Punch: MP

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 oz aged rum
  • 2 tsp simple syrup (2:1)
  • Milk (please, please, don’t use skim)

Fill a lowball glass with ice; then add the booze and syrup; then milk to the top. Shake well. Garnish with shaved nutmeg.

CR2

Corpse Reviver No. 2:

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz Lillet blanc
  • 1 dash (7 drops) absinthe or other pastis

Shake with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist a swath of lemon peel over the glass (to express the oil) and then use the peel as garnish.

Ramos (New Orleans) Gin Fizz:

RGF2

  • 2 oz Old Tom gin
  • 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1.5 oz heavy cream
  • 2 heaping Tbsp  confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 drops orange flower water
  • 5 drops pure vanilla extract
  • chilled club soda

Shake egg white and citrus for 20 seconds, then add other ingredients and ice and shake the everliving-crap out of it for 1 minute (I mean it). Strain into a Collins glass, making sure not to damage the meringue. Fill with club soda until the meringue is as high has you can get it. Express oil from an orange peel over the top. Drink with a straw, and let your eyes roll back under closed lids as your cares melt away…

French 75: F75

  • 1.5 oz brandy or gin (this is HIGHLY debated; I vote brandy)
  • 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz simple syrup (2:1)
  • Champagne

Shake booze, syrup, and citrus with ice, and strain into a Champagne glass. Slowly pour in Champagne to the top. Garnish with a lemon spiral.

Champagne Cocktail:

CC

  • Champagne
  • 1 sugar cube
  • Angostura bitters

Fill a Champagne glass with Champagne. Soak a sugar cube in Angostura bitters and drop it in. After a few seconds, give it a little stir.

Enjoy!

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About David L. Smith

Columnist: Great Conversation. Passionate student of ancient history. Smith has a BS in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Yale, and is a radiologist. During his day-job he is more apt to write articles like: Disseminated Histoplasmosis in an Immunocompetent Patient. Seriously, that’s on his CV. Ugh.

3 comments

  1. Honestly, I’m surprised it took you two posts to get to mentioning cocktails. I was thinking they were going to make an appearance in your first post. :)

  2. As my cardiologist buddy always says: everything in moderation, including moderation.

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