High Society Comes to Toronto

groucho_guinness

Here is one of those things that it is simply hard to believe no one has thought of before.  According to this morning’s Canada.com, a theatre in Toronto is experimenting with a new idea, serving alcoholic beverages to movie patrons.

“It went very well,” said Pat Marshall, vice-president of communications Cineplex Entertainment. “Our guests were happy and we’re delighted.”

Movie-goers who are of legal drinking age can pay $5 to sit in a VIP auditorium where in-seat food service is already offered and order alcoholic drinks. Beverage service stops once the movie begins. A beer costs $4.69 plus taxes.

First if all, I can’t believe how long it has taken someone to figure this out.  Yes, adults, who are the ones paying mind you, like to have a bevy now and again while watching a movie.  There certainly is no lack of drinking going on in the movies themselves.  Is that too much to ask?  We can get a beer at a baseball game, why not a movie?

Secondly, kudos to the theatre for selling the beer at such a reasonable price.  I would expect, like everything else that is sold in movie theatre, to pay some astronomical amount of money.  Now I can get a snickers bar and a beer for, I don’t know, somewhere in the 25 dollar range?!?!

— Written & posted by David McBride

Photo courtesy of Dr. Macro.

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Published in: on December 16, 2008 at 9:18 am  Comments (1)  
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OF CHRISTMAS CAROLS AND SMOKING BISHOPS

dickens_christmas_carol_cover_small2Chris Poh, the editor of AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW and I, the Creative Director of the said on-line journal, produce a weekly, free form  radio show called THE BLEECKER STREET CAFE on WDVR FM – 89.7 in central New Jersey. We are on the air Fridays from noon until three E.T. You can catch us on the web at www.wdvrfm.org.  Every year on the Friday before Christmas we perform an impromptu, unrehearsed, hugely improvised, and otherwise completely unprepared radio-play of Charles Dickens,’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Because we at AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW are blessed with a staff that share, for better or worse, a distinctive worldview and similar opinions as to what constitutes thespianic talent, we, of course, engage the profound, theatrical faculties of Kathleen Connally, our photoblogger extraodinaire and David McBride, our intrepid Marketing Director in our yearly ruination of this Dickens’ classic.

In our “improvisation,” which has been an annual event now each year for about eight, The Bleecker Street Players seem to unknowingly rehash identical attempts at comedy year after year, and we forgetfully over-play the same dramatic elements of the good ol’ story every time too. It’s loads of fun though.  We likewise repeat much ado about the selfsame curiosities that crop up in the story which are unique to those Dickensonian times in 19th Century London. Among those curiosities is a libation that Scrooge, after his epiphany, proposes as a shared consecration of the new found friendship between himself and his long-suffering employee, Bob Cratchit. The drink is called a “SMOKING BISHOP” and it never fails to prompt questions as to the recipe and lore of this enigmatic elixir.

It seems that in certain regions of England at that time, spirited beverages, especially wines, acquired figurative, popular-culture, nicknames from the world of the ecclesiastical. “Pope” meant burgundy, “Cardinal” was champagne, “Archbishop” represented claret, and “Bishop” was the apellation for port. So “SMOKING BISHOP” indicated a hot and steaming, port-based beverage to be enjoyed in the candle light as a brace against the chill of the London winter and perhaps as an analgesic to soothe the sinus headache effected by the all-pervasive and tormenting coal smoke.

Because we at AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW consider it our mission to serve the pub community with the history, the traditions, the legends, the news, and any practical knowledge as to the world of spirited beverages and their purveyors, we offer this recipe for an authentic, Dickens’ style “Smoking Bishop.”

Procure six bitter oranges such as Sevilles and bake them in a medium oven until they begin to turn golden brown. If you can’t find bitter oranges, use four, regular, juicey oranges (not navel oranges) with one grapefruit, or perhaps two lemons.

Prick each orange with five whole cloves. Put them in a bowl (not a metal pot) with a bottle of decent, but hardly world-class red wine and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cover with a towel or board (no metal lid, nor foil). Leave it out on the counter for a whole day and night. Don’t refrigerate.

The next day, remove the oranges and squeeze the juice back into the wine. Pour everything into a pot (now you can use metal) with a whole bottle of port. Heat, but be careful not to boil or evaporate all of the Christmas spirit. It should be steaming however when it is enjoyed in warmed glass mugs preferably with handles.

Ed Petersen, Creative Director of AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW

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The High Ball – Remembrance of a cocktail

highball-002-de11My parents entertained frequently as I was growing up in the 60’s. On many a Saturday night, I was put to bed early while my father and mother hosted festive soirées for the gang from The Presentation BVM Parish Society.  These were not the composed and level-headed “cake and coffee” socials of friends well met through their church congregation.  No, these were Roman Catholics who appreciated gospel stories where the operative metaphor was the miraculous transformation of water into wine. These Faithful accepted as Divine Revelation that Jesus himself enjoyed a party, savored the spirit of the grape, and even knew, but did not always hold to, the etiquette of when, during a celebration, to serve the finest vintage. In other words, The Presentation BVM Parish Society partied at my parents’ humble home in Northeast Philadelphia with a generous flow of love in their hearts and the holy distillation of God’s own harvest in their cocktail glasses. For a while, as any kid would, I fussed about my banishment from the living room and our lone TV. But, I soon discovered that from my stealthy, spy perch at the top of the steps I could secretly bask in the adult exultation downstairs. I also learned that the most popular drink by far which was raised in the countless toasts proposed was the Highball .  .  .  at least it was at my parents’ Kennedy-era galas.

A recipe is available for this cocktail which is simple, but not without requisites. Please click:

The High Ball

Posted by: Ed Petersen


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