Gin & Tonic: Spain’s Obsession, Despite the Recession

Gin and Tonic

SRapallo, Strawberry G&T II, watercolor, 2017
SRapallo, Strawberry G&T II, watercolor, 2017

You probably always thought Gin and Tonic was just another kind of drink, right? Just put gin, tonic and some lime, right? Yeah, me too, but not in Spain. You even may think that is definitely not the most exciting cocktail you ever tried, but once again, not in Spain. In Spain the casual G&T is practically an art form, as bartenders pays attention to which gins they use with which tonics, and add thoughtful garnishes and thick ice cubes, serving the drink in goblets. They have entire booklets for G&T on bars, you can even get lost trying to choose one recipe over the other. Literally every bar you go into, from a cocktail bar to a crappy little sports bar, had 25 to 30 gins.

To write this post I made a little research over the subject and found out they have 65 types of gins, but only 5 types of tonics. There are not a ton of different tonics on the market in Spain. They have a dozen or so different tonics and a lot of companies make them. But most bars make their own tonic syrup and carbonated it. They are also very picky about the ice too. Just not any type of ice… no, most fancy bars just use Kold-Draft. Because the idea is that you want larger, denser ice with less air trapped in there, so it melts slower. It keeps the drink colder longer and there’s less dilution, which is ideal for something you’ll be sipping on.

They also have special Gin Clubs where you can choose from more than 40 gin brands paired up with their own trimmings. You can take it into infinity and beyond. It is refreshing, not overly sweet, and easy to drink. But in my case, just one drink for the night, the second G&T normally gives me a brutal headache the day after. But like the Spanish after discovering that G&T is much more than a normal and even boring drink served in plastic cups, it’s safe to say I had never tasted the true potential of this glorious convergence of grain and bubbles. Sounds even poetic.

The recipes are endless, from juniper berries, verbena, edible flower, black pepper, strawberry, cucumber, lime and lemon of course, but also orange, herbs like rosemary, chili and quinine, rhubarb, celery, melon, raspberry and thyme. You can be insanely creative on Gin & Tonic. Enough talking, let´s have a drink!!!! Here a simple strawberry gin tonic I prepared. I must say it was a pleasure night, preparing the post, making the G&T, photographing it, drawing and painting it and sipping my G&T while listening nice music. Jazz, of course!

Strawberry G&T

SRapallo, Strawberry GT, watercolor, 2017
SRapallo, Strawberry GT, watercolor, 2017

Ingredients

3 strawberries
18 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 12 oz. navy-strength gin
4 oz. tonic
Cinnamon stick

Instructions

Muddle 2 strawberries and ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper in a shaker; pour into an ice-filled goblet. Stir in 1½ oz. navy-strength gin. Top with 4 oz. tonic; garnish with a strawberry and cinnamon stick.
If life give you lemons, make a Gin & Tonic.

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Chamberi Food Market

Mercado de Chamberí

Calle de Alonso Cano, 10, 28010 Madrid

SRapallo, Langostino, watercolor, 2017
SRapallo, Langostino, watercolor, 2017

This food market is in my neighborhood,  half a block from where I live. The market dates back to 1876, but after a thorough renovation it was inaugurated in 1943, then last year they renovated the food court. The Chamberí Municipal Market is not particularly famous like market Boqueria in Barcelona or San Miguel, that I wrote about on my latest post. But even though I consider a privilege having a fresh market  so close by. We totally changed our food shopping routine after moving to this neighborhood. I usually went to a supermarket like once a week for the fresh and daily products and like once a month for major shopping.

But nowadays, my husband goes to that market everyday, serious… every single day. He asks me what I want for lunch and he goes to Chamberi Market, buys super fresh ingredients and prepares it for us. I love cooking too, but… I have to go to the Embassy, where I work. Instead of having tons of products at the fridge, we just have one or two fruits and fresh vegetables that he buys daily. The secret to the soul of a mercado (market)  is its fresh produce. Adopting this lifestyle we eat better and by the seasons and save money.

In this market they also have a food corner with like 8 or 9 small restaurants. They called La Chispería de Chamberí, which with its name honors the “sparks” (the chulapos of the neighborhoods of Maravillas and Chamberí, where forges and smithies abound).

Restaurants:

Lambuzo: Cuisine of the province of Cádiz. El Rincon de Lupe: Castiza cuisine made with products from the market. La Valona: Chalupería, fusion of Mexican and Spanish gastronomy. El Loco Antonelli: The cuisine of national and international port. La Pitita: Grilled meats and the best selection of Iberian. Chambí: Peruvian ‘buns’ and ‘sanguches’ made from coal with machinery imported from Peru (Chinese box and cylinder) Café La Torbellino: In which you can enjoy the desserts of the 6 seats. Brewery El Ocho: Offers fresh Mahou beer from tank.

We haven´t tried them all yet but this market is a good option if you are not in the mood for a car of subway. Just as you buy your groceries for dinner here, the food stalls are doing the same, and with the same ingredients as you, they’re making something your kitchen could only dream of. You can find wide variety of products on this market: meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, wine and other spirits . You can also find some other European types of food, like German, French and Portuguese.

Source: http://www.mercadodechamberi.es/p/la-chisperia.html

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(Português)

Mercado de Chamberí

Rua Alonso Cano, 10, 28010 Madrid

Este mercado fica no nosso bairro, meia quadra de onde eu moro. Foi construído em 1876 e depois de reformado, foi reinaugurado em 1943, mas recentemente, a praça de alimentação foi renovada. O Mercado Municipal de Chamberí não é tão famoso quanto o Mercado La Boquería, em Barcelona ou o Mercado de São Miguel, que já mencionei em no meu último artigo. Contudo, considero um privilégio ter um mercado com produtos frescos tão perto de casa. Nós mudamos completamente nossa rotina depois que nos mudamos para esse bairro. Eu costumava ir ao supermercado pelo menos uma vez por semana para comprar frutas e verduras e uma vez ao mês para compras maiores.

Mas hoje em dia, meu marido vai ao mercado diariamente. Definimos qual o menu do dia e ele compra tudo absolutamente fresquíssimo no mercado. Eu adoro cozinhar também, mas como tenho meu trabalho na Embaixada, deixo essa tarefa para ele. Ao invés de estocar demasiados produtos na geladeira, compramos frutas frescas e legumes frescos diariamente. A alma de um mercado desse gênero é justamente a frescura dos produtos.  Adotando esse estilo de vida, nos alimentamos melhor, comsumimos produtos da estação e ainda economizamos dinheiro.

Neste mercado eles também tem uma praça de alimentação com uns 8 ou 9 pequenos restaurantes. Chama-se La Chispería de Chamberí, adquiriu esse nome em homenagem às faíscas, onde ferreiros e forjas eram a especialidade dos bairros de  Maravillas e Chamberí. 

Restaurantes: Lambuzo: Cozinha da Província de Cádiz. El Rincon de Lupe: Castiza cozinha feita com produtos do mercado. La Valona: Chalupería, fusão de cozinha Mexicana e gastronomia Espanhola. El Loco Antonelli: Cozinha de porte nacional e internacional. La Pitita: Carne grelhada e grande variedade de Ibéricos. Chambí: Peruano ‘buns’ e ‘sanguches’ elaborados com maquinaria a carvão importada do Peru e Café La Torbellino: Com seis opções de sobremesas. Cervejaria El Ocho: Oferece cerveja Mahou diretamente do tanque.

Ainda não conseguimos experimentar todos eles, mas é sempre uma boa opção quando não se quer sair de carro ou metrô. Assim como compramos nossos produtos frescos neste mercado, os restaurantes usam os mesmos produtos do mercado para produzir iguarias frescas que vc nem pode imaginar. É possível encontrar grande variedade de produtos neste mercado: carne bovina, frango, peixes, vegetais e legumes, frutas, vinhos e outras bebidas. Há também oferta de produtos europeus, como alemães, franceses e portugueses.

Página Oficial: http://www.mercadodechamberi.es/p/la-chisperia.html

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The Market of San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

SRapallo, Percebes, watercolor, 2017
SRapallo, Percebes, watercolor, 2017

This is one of the most visited markets in Madrid. Walking distance from Plaza Mayor, in the heart of the city. I love their concept, it’s not a traditional grocery market but a gourmet tapas market where you can get a beer from one vendor and some tapas from the other. Just find a place to sit (if you are lucky enough) and enjoy it! I strongly recommend the oysters and Cava, just to start. The Mercado de San Miguel is one of the best things in Madrid, and the popularity of the market’s food and wine stands and convivial atmosphere has soared to a stratospheric level. The weekends are heaving with happy locals and tourists alike munching on the gourmet goodies (stuffed peppers, oysters and champagne, Galician octopus, Catalan canelones, marinated olives, artisan cheeses, Jamón de Bellota, Chorizo, etc) and buckets of vino de Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Sherry, Cava, Priorat….

And if you find yourself in Madrid, a visit here is a must. Best enjoyed midweek and before dinnertime. If you don’t mind crowds, the weekends are a whole lot of fun. But take care with the pick-pockets … it’s a very touristic place.

Official website: http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/en/

 

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(Português)

Este é um dos lugares mais visitados em Madri. Perto da Plaza Mayor, no coração da cidade. Eu gosto do conceito do lugar, não é um mercado tradicional mas um espaço gourmet de tapas, onde vc pode pegar uma cerveja de um vendedor e algumas tapas de outro. Apenas escolha um lugar para se sentar (se vc tiver bastante sorte) e aproveite! Eu recomendo começar saboreando ostras e Cava. O Mercado de São Miguel é um dos melhores lugares de Madri e a popularidade do local é bem alta e tem uma boa atmosfera. Nos fins de semana fica muito movimentado e tem uma ampla variedade de produtos espanhois (pimentos recheados, ostras e champanhe, polvo da Galícia, canelones Catalanes, azeitonas marinadas, queijos artesanais, Presunto de Bellota, Chourizo etc) além de barris de vino da Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Sherry, Cava, Priorat….

Se vc estiver por Madri é certamente um lugar imperdível. Melhor passar por lá nos dias de semana, antes do jantar, para uns drinks. Se vc não se importa com multidão, nos fins de semana, fica muito movimentado. Mas cuidado com os batedores de carteira… É um lugar muito turístico.

Página Oficial: http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es

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Bluebird´s Nest

Bluebird’s  Nest

SRapallo, Bluebird's Nest
SRapallo, Bluebird’s Nest

I totally forgot to fetch my pencil case at home when I came to work today, as I usually do. The only available pen in my bag was a Montblanc Meisterstuck filled with a turquoise ink, which I also like very much – the pen and the ink.

Today´s prompt is ¨Woody¨… well, blue is not a woody hue, so the solution was to make a Bluebird´s nest…. so I could work both ways, the little blue sketch on pencil and later on, at home, paint the nest with watercolor. Well you have to play with what you have in hands, right?

Lucky me… even the eggs were blue!! Thanks Bluebird…

Playlist: Bluebird, Paul McCartney from the album Band on the Run

 

 

 

 

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(Portuguese)

Hoje esqueci totalmente de colocar na minha bolsa o meu estojo de lápis como sempre o faço. A única caneta que eu tinha era uma caneta tinteiro, a  Montblanc Meisterstuck , carregada com tinta turquesa, que eu gosto muito, tanto da caneta quanto da cor.

O tema de hoje é ¨amadeirado¨, bem, como azul não é obviamente um tom de cor amadeirado, a solução encontrada foi fazer um esboço de um ninho de passarinho azul, o Azulão, assim eu poderia cumprir com o requisito amadeirado mesmo usando uma cor completamente distinta. Pois é, foi um pouco de esperteza minha, mas acho que a gente tem que usar o que se tem nas mãos, certo ?

Para sorte minha, os ovos do Azulão são, obviamente, azuis….Beleza!

Trilha Sonora: Bluebird, Paul McCartney do álbum Band on the Run

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London Pea Soup

SRapallo, Pea Soup
SRapallo, Pea Soup, watercolor, 2017.

London Pea Soup

 

Today’s prompt on World Watercolor Group is “Hazy”. Good for learning and training a new technique or at least some reflection over the theme. For this challenging subject I choose the fatal episode in England’s History to illustrate the effect of a green smoked lethal Londonian incident  that happened in 1952 called, later on, “pea soup”… because of the greenish color of the sky. Ugh!!! Chimney’s are charming but they can also be dangerous if combined with other climate factors. |That thick, greasy, grimy fog descended on the city and killed 12,000 people in four days. A blanket of soot hung over the streets so thickly that visibility was reduced to a couple of yards or less.

Pea soup, or a pea souper, also known as a black fog, killer fog or smog is a very thick and often yellowish, greenish, or blackish fog caused by air pollution that contains soot particulates and the poisonous gas sulfur dioxide. This very thick smog occurs in cities and is derived from the smoke given off by the burning of soft coal for home heating and in industrial processes. Smog of this intensity is often lethal to vulnerable people such as the elderly, the very young and those with respiratory problems. The result of these phenomena was commonly known as a London particular or London fog, which then, in a reversal of the idiom, became the name for a thick pea and ham soup.[1]

From as early as the 1200s,[2][3] air pollution became increasingly prevalent, and a predominant perception in the thirteenth century was that sea-coal smoke would affect one’s health.[4][5] From the mid-1600s, in UK cities, especially London, the incidence of ill-health was attributed to coal smoke from domestic chimneys and industry combining with the mists and fogs of the Thames Valley.[6] Luke Howard, a pioneer in urban climate studies, published The Climate of London in 1818–20, in which he uses the term ‘city fog’ and describes the heat island effect which concentrated the accumulation of smog over the city.[7]

In 1880 Francis Albert Rollo Russell, son of the former Prime Minister Lord John Russell, published a leaflet that blamed home hearth, rather than factory, smoke for damaging the city’s important buildings, depriving vegetation of sunlight, and increasing the expense and effort of laundering clothes. Furthermore he charged the ‘perpetually present’ sulphurous smoke with increasing bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. More than 2000 Londoners had ‘literally choked to death’, he wrote, on account of ‘a want of carefulness in preventing smoke in our domestic fires’ which emitted coal smoke from ‘more than a million chimneys’ that when combined with the prolonged fogs of late January and early February 1880, fatally aggravated pre-existing lung conditions and was ‘more fatal than the slaughter of many a great battle’.[8][9][10]

The most lethal incidence of this smog in London occurred in 1952 and resulted in the Clean Air Act 1956 and Clean Air Act 1968, both now repealed and consolidated into the Clean Air Act 1993 which were effective in largely removing sulphur dioxide and coal smoke, the causes of pea-soup fog, though these have been replaced by less visible pollutants that derive from vehicles in urban areas.[11]

Source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pea_soup_fog#cite_note-11 and Daily Mail:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2243732/Pea-souper-killed-12-000-So-black-screen-cinemas-So-suffocatingly-lethal-ran-coffins-How-Great-Smog-choked-London-60-years-ago-week.html

SRapallo, Londonian
SRapallo, Londonian, watercolor and Indian ink, 2017.

Playlist: Pink Floyd REDUX, A New Experience

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Shine on your crazy diamond

Shine on your crazy diamond

The only thing I came up to fulfill the prompt for World Watercolor Group was Pink Floyd… Well, my generation! Here is the lyrics for one of the greatest songs from Pink Floyd, from the album I Wish You Were Here, 1975.

SRapallo, Crazy Diamond, 2017
SRapallo, Crazy Diamond, 2017

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.

Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky
.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the cross fire of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger,
You legend, you martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
Rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter,
You piper, you prisoner, and shine!

Nobody knows where you are, how near or how far.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Pile on many more layers and i’ll be joining you there.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
And we’ll bask in the shadow of yesterday’s triumph,
And sail on the steel breeze.
Come on you boy child, you winner and loser,
Come on you miner for truth and delusion, and shine!

Playlist: Pink Floyd’s 1975 concept album Wish You Were Here.

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