Down here, in Texas, I am seeing a big drop in economic activity over the last 6 months.

"Don't just do something, sit there."
-Sylvia Boorstein

"Alcohol is your yoga, baby."
-Love and Rockets : Yin and Yang (The Flowerpot Man)

Down here, in Texas, I am seeing a big drop in economic activity over the last 6 months.  Our healthcare businesses' volume over this period is at 629, down from 770, year-on-year, almost a 20% decline, and the worst six month decline in our 15 year history.  We have been pulling out all of the stops for business development, cutting overhead, and running all the QC traps to determine if it is something within our business, within our local market, within our industry, or having to do with the economy in general.  

In this period, we have seen seven competitors go out of business in our city.  We have recently confirmed similar experiences with colleagues in Kentucky, Colorado, and elsewhere in Texas.  One of them asked me, "If this is not temporary, what would the strategy be?"  My response was, "Hunker in the bunker and wait for everyone else to die."

To that end, I present to you hedgeless_horseman's E-Z Internet Guide To Enjoying A Truly Great Cocktail While Watching The Circus Go Bankrupt.

Manhattan - My favorite winter cocktail, especially good when enjoyed in a hot bathtub on Sunday with a dozen candles while listening to Patrick Ball's Irish harp music, or in front of a wood-burning and global-warming fireplace with a faithful dog and a great book.  


For a truly great cocktail you're going to need great barware...

9)  Previously beloved Waterford Crystal tumblers, cocktail stemware, and decanter. Four tumblers or stems will cost between $90 and $600, and about the same for one decanter.

We visited the Waterford crystal factory in Ireland, just as they were shutting down production and moving it to Eastern Europe.  It was incredibly sad.  I have always found that a an Irish whiskey, cocktail, or Champagne is so much more enjoyable when served from, and in, Irish crystal.  Fortunately, the people at can still help you give this experience to the people on your gift list that would appreciate some of the finest things in life.…

For a great Manhattan, fill a Waterford Crystal deep champagne saucer with ice and set it aside to cool.  
In a Waterford Crystal cocktail mixer add 3 shots of Maker's Mark bourbon and 1.5 shots of Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, along with a generous scoop of good clear ice.  We will see if Uncle forgives me for suggesting whiskey over rye.  Watch and listen closely while you lovingly swirl the mixer 33 times counterclockwise for right handed people, and clockwise for wrong handed freaks (this necessity makes it nearly impossible to trust a wrong handed bartender).  Using the crystal stopper, strain the drink lovingly into the chilled crystal deep champagne saucer.  Drop in two Luxardo marachino cherries and add two dashes of Angostura Bitters.

St. Margarita - Yes, I know that mezcal is best enjoyed straight out of the bottle with friends while sitting in the dirt around a campfire under a clear night sky, as we did last month in Waco, and a couple weeks earlier in the Mojave Desert.  However, y'all have been fucking up Margaritas so badly everywhere we travel, that I feel compelled to try and straighten things out, especially before we head back to Romney this August.     

Begin with salting the rim of a vintage-green-depression-vaseline-glass tumbler, small Mason Jar, hand-blown Mexican margarita glass, or Irish crystal stem by holding it upside down and dipping it in a saucer of water, and then quickly into a saucer of coarse sea salt (mrs_horseman gets pissed when I do this with Waterford crystal because the rim is so delicate).  Next, squeeze into a cocktail mixer the juice of three large limes.  Add in one shot of St~Germain, 1/2 a shot of Cointreau, and three and 1/2 shots of Yuu Baal anejo mescal. Fill mixer 3/4 with ice, then shake it hard, like a crack baby, 100 times.  Strain into the tumbler, but allow several of the small and severely bruised pieces of ice to sneak in as well.  Garnish with a slice of lime on the rim.  Serve with a grande bowl of homemade guacamole and some of those freshly made tortilla chips from your local carnicería that are so oily they require a note from El Cadiólogo.  


Mint Julep - Best enjoyed on the front porch swing after a long hot day on the tractor, or while pissing away money at the horse races, as is tradition.  
First, make up a batch of simple syrup by dissolving six large raw sugar crystals in two cups of hot water.  This will keep in a clean glass bottle with a stopper for weeks.  Next, go out to the garden and pick one giant stem of fresh mint.  Pluck the bottom five leaves off and put them in a silver or pewter julep cup that is halfway filled with good clear ice, then add the remaining ice to fill the cup.  Cut off the top of the mint stem to be one inch higher than the julep cup, and cut an evil plastic straw to be about half an inch longer than the mint, then stick them both in the julep cup filled with ice.  Pour into the cup Maker's Mark bourbon until it is about 3/4 of an inch below the rim, then top with about 1/4 inch of the simple syrup.  Don't forget to dust the exposed mint stem with a bit of confectioner's sugar to give it the finishing touch (no, this doesn't mean you're gay).  


Irish Millionaire - The ultimate late night cocktail, paired with a good cigar and any problem you want to forget about until tomorrow.  I first started having my Millionaire made with Irish Whiskey while staying at Mount Juliet in Kilkenny, and have stuck with it ever since.  That place has a some nice horses, fair fishing, superb Irish breakfast, and a sublime bar. 

Fill a large Waterford Crystal deep champagne saucer with ice and set it aside to cool.  Fill a Waterford Irish crystal cocktail mixer 3/4 full with good clear ice.  Pour in two and a half shots of Bushmills (I prefer their single malts but Red Bush also works well for this cocktail) and a half shot of Curaçao of Curaçao (not Cointreau and for God's sake not some cheap Triple Sec).  Add one small squeeze of fresh lemon, a little shlurrp of the syrup from a jar of Luxardo marachino cherries, and one raw egg white. Very, very, slowly swirl the mixer 11 times counterclockwise for right handed people and clockwise for wrong handed.  Dump the ice from the chilled crystal deep champagne saucer, pour in a dash of Absinthe (or Pernod in a pinch) for rinsing the glass, then toss it into the back of your throat purely for, "medicinal purposes."  Using the crystal stopper, carefully strain the pinkish nectar of the gods into the chilled and Absinth-rinsed Irish crystal saucer.  


Monsoon - James Bond's drink was, of course, the Vesper.  And so it seems that dry martinis have dominated literature, film, and modern culture.  However, reading Hemingway's great book, A Farewell To Arms, I learned that vermouth was once a popular refreshment just by itself, and not just an essential cooking ingredient.  Allow me, dear ZeroHedge readers, to present to you my very own invention, the wettest of all martinis, for the hottest and most humid of days, the Monsoon.  Best enjoyed by a pool, or seaside, under a sun umbrella, with a tall, thin, beautiful, Northern European lady in a slightly warmer climate than her genetics were adapted to, so as to coax her lovely white skin into the slightest of pale-pink auras.  

The prerequisite is to always keep a 1.75 liter bottle of Russian Standard vodka in the freezer (just in case, comrades, of a healthcare emergency, for which you require an ice cold shot of vodka followed by slice of pickle on a little piece of black rye bread).  Begin by taking a sharp knife to a lemon and cutting from it a ten inch long strip of the peel, trimmed, and skewered on a toothpick in an Art Deco fashion. Once again, fill a large Waterford Crystal deep champagne saucer with ice and set it aside to cool.  Fill a Waterford Irish crystal cocktail mixer 3/4 full with good clear ice.  Add in three shots of the freezing cold Russian Standard Vodka and one and a half shots of St~Germain.  Very slowly and carefully swirl the mixer 11 times counterclockwise for right handed people and clockwise for wrong handed.  Dump the ice from the chilled Irish crystal deep champagne saucer.  Using the crystal stopper, carefully strain the cold summer raindrops from heaven into the chilled Irish crystal deep champagne saucer.  Add the lemon zest garnish on the rim and serve on a floral cocktail napkin with a bit of yellow in it.  


Enjoy, but remember that moderation is best.  One or two of these cocktails a week is a much better plan than one or two a day!

Peace, prosperity, liberty, and love,